The above is a screenshot of the game project that I’m working on called Four//Four. It’s a rhythm game designed for mobile where the player will be tapping both sides of the screen to change their color and make cubes disappear. If the side that you tapped switches color to match the color of a square passing through it, that cube will disappear. When you make enough cubes disappear, the section of the song will progress. Needless to say, the cubes will appear based on rhythms in the song!
That’s the straightest description of the game I can give, and that’s probably for the best. It’s actually a really confusing game to describe to someone using words, which I’ve discovered after trying to describe this game to numerous people in person. It’s much easier to understand when watching the game in motion, and that will be accomplished when I actually get a playable section of the level that I’m comfortable with showing off on Youtube. Until then, that domino screenshot and my description will have to do.
I plan on making this game into something that’s at least a little bit marketable on app stores through the music in the game. I will be composing at least a couple tracks for the initial release, and with any luck, I’ll have other musicians (chiptune or otherwise) compose tracks for the game!
The name refers to the time signature 4/4, which is what most dance music is composed in. I like focusing on dance music because I don’t think it should be as guilty of a pleasure as it is for most people. The most common criticism of most dance music is that it is too repetitive to the point of over-indulgence which, while a valid criticism, indicates the wrong approach toward critical thinking about this kind of music. For a long time now, I’ve lamented the lack of good academic writing about dance music and dance music culture, and I’ve always wondered what caused this — the genre doesn’t lack for fans, and enough smart thinkers are interested in the phenomenon.
The answer to this question coincides with one of the reasons I’m making this game. One cannot think about mainstream dance music in the traditional sense; study of the theory behind this music is rather boring, in my opinion — there are only so many places one can put a hi-hat in a measure, after all. Dance music is fundamentally a physical experience, as indicated by the name itself. As such, when one thinks about dance music, it must be through the body as well as the mind. The cognition is distributed, to use a buzzword.
I feel like the same case is present in rhythm games. Most rhythm games are focused on matching visual cues with aural cues, and while such a combination is often very conducive to dance music, I believe that alternative approaches are forgotten. I want to design Four//Four to be a game that can be played without even looking at the screen; a player will simply tap rhythms that he or she believe to be the most interesting rhythms in a particular song section, and the song will respond by progressing. Obviously I’m a long way off. But I’m now at the point where I can start thinking about designing around songs I’m using, rather than thinking about how to implement yet another way to send cubes across the screen.
I’ll go more into the design process in future posts! I just felt that this game deserved an introductory post.