In the interest of sharing the creative process, producing short development logs seems like a good idea. Today the topics are the Donut prototype and a game feature called Voice Libraries.
One of the new features I'm exploring in the upcoming "Donut" prototype of Sentris is real-time selection of your current key signature. Understanding key signatures is important to making music, so I'd like to introduce them to players in a way that makes them fun. The first step forward is a toy-like approach. Allow players to change the key signature of incoming sounds at any time, and see what's fun about it.
Dynamic Key signatures started working in the prototype today, and they add quite a lot to the musicality of the game. Please enjoy this simple, first look at Dynamic Key Signatures.
The key is selected by moving the mouse left & right to turn the dial in the center of the UI. All incoming sounds will adhere to the key indicated beneath the dial.
With the Kickstarter campaign behind me, I'm back to actively developing the game. Sentris is still in a prototyping phase, for a few months so I can explore and test ideas before locking down the final game design. One of the things I'm exploring in the next prototype is a better grid for the Canvas.
What you see above is the first iteration of the canvas grid after the version present in the Debut prototype. It looks pretty much the same, but under the hood it's powered by a new system that's much more flexible and easy to control. It opens the door for a lot of animation and motion of the canvas in ways that weren't possible in the Debut prototype.
Using the new canvas layout system to recreate the same grid from the Debut Prototype was the first step. The second step is allowing the grid to communicate more about the game systems visually.
The grid in image above communicates discreet time intervals. Measures, beats, and ticks are all visually represented here like some kind of beat ruler*. This grid is not necessarily final, but it's already more readable in terms of where we are in time at any given moment. It gives players more agency about when to play certain sounds in the interest of rhythm. It's moving in the right direction.
The puzzles themselves will require players to drop sounds on the downbeat, the upbeat, and on syncopated beats. I could design the puzzles to work in obfuscation, without explicitly showing the players where they are in time. But that would work against a core goal of Sentris -- to teach musical skills that could be applied beyond the game. Showing these time intervals integrated with the puzzles opens the door for teaching nomenclature to the players. They'll be able to learn what a downbeat is, and maybe even identify it while listening to their favorite music. I'm sharing all of this to help everyone understand the philosophy behind the decisions I'll make as the project goes on. Even though both versions of the grid might look cool, it's not enough to simply look cool. It has to contain meaning, or it's not good enough.
*Credit to Jeff Junkinsmith, my community college music theory teacher, for first introducing the term "Beat Ruler" to me. Whenever I think about it, it always evokes an image of some king ruling over a rhythmical kingdom.
Tonight the Kickstarter campaign for Sentris surpassed its $50,000 funding goal. This is a huge milestone for the project! I'm incredibly grateful for everybody's support for Sentris, and I'm looking forward to delivering a fantastic game that helps everyone make music.
The campaign ends this Thursday, November 21st at 5pm PST. Funding through Kickstarter remains open until then.