This month, a game that’s all about bouncing balls off things. It maybe shares a lineage with arpeggiate the world in that it’s a single-screen arcade game without the scoring, timers and leaderboards so often associated with arcade games. Has anyone coined the term ‘post-arcade game’ yet? Can I claim it for these games?
I wanted all the audio to revolve around the (super-minimal, admittedly) music, so the SFX are actually generated by a custom granulator effect that takes the main synth chords as its input. For every collision or ball death, I trigger a single grain from the granulator, pitched up by octaves or fifths (as an aside, I think this is my first game using just intonation). To avoid triggering a silent or very quiet grain, there’s a threshold parameter so that we only write into the granulator’s buffer if the input’s loud enough. I’ve not come across a granulator like this before; I was pretty happy with how well it worked.
The nice thing about all this is that the soundscape scales really nicely, all the way from distinct individual collisions when the game’s quite calm, to the classic granular full-on wash of sound when it’s all kicking off. Something I’ve been thinking about lately is how my background as an audio programmer shapes the way I design games in specific ways. This feels like a good example of that. i.e. the SFX are connected to both the mechanical action on screen and the music, which is itself tied to the visuals with that chord-synced wipe effect. I don’t know if you’d get these kind of specific close couplings from a designer who isn’t also an audio programmer?