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Frequency Domain
Qon May 8, 2013 @ 12:39pm
Wake up! This qan be great if you don't waste the potential!
Music games relies on 2 qornerstones:
  • Great gameplay that is connected to the beats in the track, so that the the player feels that they are playing the music themselves.
  • Great music - the users favourite (or in special cases, music that is designed for the game). You can't slap on your favourite track that actually doesn't really fit the style of the game or the equisite tastes of the picky listener.
You don't have any of those and you removed qommon game mechanics like score systems also which means it relies on the qore mechanics only. That qould work in a game where the qore is fantastic. Here it's just devastating.

Importance of playing your own music in the game
Not loading the users music in this game is wrong! Your very first line of qode should have been on the system that deals with loading of external files.
Actually this game has a pretty unique opportunity: Since it analyzes the music in real time, should just analyse whatever is playing through the speakers at the moment, be it the users music player, a youtube clip, the users voice directly from the microphone or your frineds skype chat. Just analyze whatever the user hears from the speakers.

What if this was a music player... would you accept that the player qouldn't load up your music?
What if it qame preloaded with 8 pop tracks the programmer thinks is pretty awesome and that are rather popular by the mainstream. No?
Not even if you qould move the viewport for the camera that the visualizer renders for?
Didn't think so, me neither.

Importance of great gameplay
What if the developer qlaimed it was a game? What makes this a game you ask? No, there's no score, risk to die, sophisticated moving system that lets you do qool stunts or anything.

What is it then? you ask.
- I say it's just a visualiser that runs automatically. Yeah you qan alter the path slightly but there's no incentative to do that because while it might look awesome it's looks just as awesome if you don't do anything. While the dev qlaims it's supposed to be a fun game that qan make it without factors like score and such, I say that the lack of user input makes the motion into a video more than a game. When you were trying to strip it down to the bare essentials that makes a game fun you removed the bare essentials as well: player interaction. If you qan neither decide when to jump or have any incentative to try to steer the player

Qonclusion
Get your priorities straight! Don't make a "just the bare essentials"-game without the essentials! You need to fulfill the 2 points I mentioned at the top before you even think of removing other classic motivators that people associate with games. And do not just add them in haphazardly, make a jaw-dropping experience or add a scoring system if you are doubting your abilities if you are aiming for a mediocre game.
Apple doesn't give you the source for iTunes and say: Here, you may now add in anysong you want! Just add into the project and reqompile to add that song! Giving us your tools to add in our own songs should be a qrime and you aren't even going to that until later?

The potential for this is great but so far I predict a very dark future for it. Seems like you are aiming down the drain with this one. Maybe I'll make my own game with this qoncept then, I've thought about making it for years anyway.
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DustiCoyote May 9, 2013 @ 10:40pm 
i think you missed the piont the author is trying to make.
Qon May 10, 2013 @ 4:20am 
Maybe? And that is?
Or maybe you missed mine?

I'm pretty sure I know the authors point as good as the author himself, or better. I've also read the description, just like you. I think that is obvious from what I've written. I've also read some of his thread on TIGForums.
I don't know the exact details of how the movement system works since I've haven't played it and the description of it is almost nonexistent (which is why I wrote that he needs to focus on gameplay more, that goes for the description also) but I think I nailed it with my guessing.
But how qorrect I am on the details of the gameplay doesn't matter since that doesn't describe the authors point.

The point of the game is to provide such an awesome and immersive experience that a scoring system isn't necessary, simply because the game is already perfect without it.
My point is that he isn't there yet and I'm trying to get him there with qonstructive feedback so that he will succeed. I've written exactly what I think he needs to hear, for his own sake and for the game's sake.
Last edited by Qon; May 10, 2013 @ 1:50pm
surge17  [developer] May 18, 2013 @ 1:35am 
Originally posted by Qon:
Maybe? And that is?
Or maybe you missed mine?

I'm pretty sure I know the authors point as good as the author himself, or better. I've also read the description, just like you. I think that is obvious from what I've written. I've also read some of his thread on TIGForums.
I don't know the exact details of how the movement system works since I've haven't played it and the description of it is almost nonexistent (which is why I wrote that he needs to focus on gameplay more, that goes for the description also) but I think I nailed it with my guessing.
But how qorrect I am on the details of the gameplay doesn't matter since that doesn't describe the authors point.

The point of the game is to provide such an awesome and immersive experience that a scoring system isn't necessary, simply because the game is already perfect without it.
My point is that he isn't there yet and I'm trying to get him there with qonstructive feedback so that he will succeed. I've written exactly what I think he needs to hear, for his own sake and for the game's sake.

Hi Qon, thanks for taking the time to respond in so much detail!

Before I start, I'd like to reiterate my goal with this game: to create an experience which allows the player to explore and feel the music.

I would also like to point out your definition of a "music game":
"Great gameplay that is connected to the beats in the track, so that the the player feels that they are playing the music themselves."

It seems that what you think of as a "music game" is rooted in what's also referred to as "rythm games" (ex: Guitar Hero). This means that the players' inputs have to be timed to the music exactly and they can see the notes/music abstraction in advance in order to prepare for it.

Frequency Domain is not about timing inputs to the music or the beat. You do not see the music coming advance, it only gets created when you hear it and then makes its way down the field. This lets the player enjoy the music and observe the details without having to stress about keeping up with the music or the beat.

This is one of the things that fundamentally differentiates Frequency Domain from most of the traditional music games. In Frequency Domain, you are not playing the music, you are on the receiving end, feeling and seeing it.



Now, I'll try to address your concerns point by point, as best as I can:

"Importance of playing your own music in the game "

I'm not sure if you've read the initial project description fully, but I do mention there that Frequency Domain is not an Audiosurf style game in the way it handles the music. There is no pre-processing of the music file, there is no fancy algorithm that generates the entire level in one go.

I also explained in that initial description why I decided to do that (quoting the description):
" I'm trying to expose every interesting part of the song to the player, parts that often get lost when you only have an algorithm attempting to analyse a song (often dismisses quieter frequencies as noise, etc) "

That means to ensure the best possible experience for every song (which is my goal), I have to tweak parameters by hand to get the most out of the song: to expose and amplify all the interesting cool bits.

This means you will get a very different experience than what you see in most procedurally generated music games. To illustrate my point, here is how Audiosurf and Frequency Domain handle the same song.

Audiosurf:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrBygP2O1ko

Frequency Domain:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnEnwxB1FmM

Audiosurf does a great job at expressing the intensity of song over time (something that Frequency Domain isn't good at right now), but the details of the sound are lost.

Of course, allowing users to select their own song and tweak them is part of the feature list, but it's just not a priority at this point. You can think of it as development milestones, the closest one being "shipping" a functional an interesting build. User loadable songs as well as live audio in (and that all entails design wise) are a more long term goal. It's not a matter of if, but of when I'll get to doing it.

Why is it not the top priority? I guess it comes down to this: my top priority is to create and deliver the best possible audio visual experience, letting you stick in whatever music you want (and risking a sub par experience in process) comes second.
If you think about it for a second, it just makes sense to figure out exactly what it is that you're making before worrying about user generated content.

" Importance of great gameplay "

If you think that it looks exactly the same whether or not someone is doing anything, I'm afraid to inform you that you are rather incorrect. Just from the graphical side, there are several factors that are tied directly to how the player moves in response to the terrain. In fact, good/highly skilled players are actually able to make the song come to life in a way with the way they move in it.

Yes, I could implement a full "tricks/acrobatics" like those snowboarding/skateboarding games. The problem with that is, that shifts the focus of the game as well as the motivation of the player: the detail in the music wouldn't matter much anymore and they would just concentrate on trying to pull off tricks. Frequency Domain's mission statement is to explore music and sound. It is not to try to make you feel awesome by doing tricks (it's fine if it does, but it's not the design priority).

One more thing about the gameplay: you mentioned "incentative to try to steer the player". If by that you think the game needs to "show a path" to the player, it looks like you're completely missing what Frequency Domain is about.

I've been purposefully staying away from "carrot on a stick" designs specifically because I didn't want to tell the player what they do: I want them to let explore the music the way they want to, without any influence from me as the designer.


Conclusion

I'm very aware that Frequency Domain is not a game for the masses, it has a small niche of players who understand and appreciate it.
And I'm fine with that.

Clearly, your vision of the game is completely different than mine though I think I roughly understand what you want based on the comments you've posted. But I can't be sure, it's not like if I knew your point as good as yourself, or better.

You said you checked out the TIGSource forums (nice!), are you a developer?
You should totally make your own game (it's super easy these days!), especially since you've been thinking about making it for years, right?






Qon May 19, 2013 @ 6:56am 
I retract my statement that I know your vision as good (or better) as yourself! q:
I just wanted to "provoke" to qreate an interesting discussion since @InkblotFox was just sqreaming "WROONG!!" without going forward with any arguments. I'm glad I did, so that I got such an elaborate response from you :)

Though I'm not so far away from yours as I believe you belive I am.... (In my mind, my post is maybe a bit more negative than I am)

What I'm trying to say that the No Carrot Method is viable but hard, but it definitly isn't wrong and you should definitly stick to it.

I still don't agree with not having the users songs as 1st priority, but I understand more now why it isn't. You are taking a path between the goscurry and the audiosurf way with both realtime analysation and pre-play track twaeking. With some hard work it would be possible to do even the things you do before with functions, maybe? I don't know exactly what you are doing with it manually.

Yes I'm a developer. And it doesn't get easier these days than it was before if you ignore the engines and tools that are available and build your own q:

I will adress your other points later when I got more time. Thanks for explaining.
Last edited by Qon; May 19, 2013 @ 6:58am
Professor-Botje | TRD-Gaming.com May 22, 2013 @ 4:00am 
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Padicus May 22, 2013 @ 5:03pm 
So, the point is creating some form of artificial synesthesia here? Cool.
surge17  [developer] May 22, 2013 @ 8:56pm 
Originally posted by Padicus:
So, the point is creating some form of artificial synesthesia here? Cool.

Yup, that's a a big part of it.
Thanks!
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