I finished Thomas Was Alone the other day and it is a very polished and well-executed game. However, I finished it only after turning it off in extreme and crippling boredom several times, I played several of its levels with the sound off just to escape the story, and I left the experience wondering about the use of platformers as an expressive form.
I’ve been trying to get back into playing around with Processing again, after my quite productive jag making webcam-based platformers a little while back. This time I wanted to tackle some of the sound capabilities thanks to a few student in my class who’ve been talking about their ideas.
Turns out that, for me at least, dealing with sound is a lot harder than video. As I try to understand the library you use (called Minim), I come to realise just how little I know about sound processing jargon and metaphors and technicals. As such, I basically don’t understand how anything works except by tweaking example code. Further, my lack of understanding pretty much prevents me from tweaking the code in interesting and/or useful ways. I’m a bit stymied.
To this point the best I’ve managed is to get some live waveforms to appear, with the idea being that I could get them to behave as landscapes that you could then walk on in a game. I have a bunch of (I think) cool ideas that could go with that basic starting principle, but my lack of ability to comprehend how the sound stuff in Processing works is really holding me back. I just don’t think in audio.
Anyway, I’ll do some more battle with it if only because it’s weirdly fun testing the crappy prototypes by singing and clapping and beatboxing into my macbook’s microphone. In private, of course.