Sound System Sequels

I’m finally getting back to work on the next sound game I’ve been thinking about, imaginatively title… Sound System II. The first sound system (yes, that’s right, Sound System I) focused on using (box2d) physics to generate “natural” compositions – that is, the idea was that the game in some sense “sounded like physics” and thus sounded natural, in keeping with the underlying ideas related to John Cage’s “natural” chance composition techniques.

In the next iteration of trying to mess around with sound (as someone who has essentially no worthwhile training or aptitude) I’ve been wanted to think about it in a more “game-y” light. So I’m trying to make a composition tool that’s also a (minimal) game. That way, the music you make isn’t “natural” but rather is the sound of (simple) gameplay itself, which I like. (Here I think about things like David Kanaga’s musical scoring of gameplay, for instance, and of course Proteus itself etc.)

So you’d have a game that “sounds like” its gameplay. Which is a bit of a truism maybe? All game’s effectively sound like their gameplay. But here I’m thinking more about “scoring” the gameplay (as per David’s stuff) rather than having, I guess, diegetic music or “sound effects” etc. So that the elements of the game become instruments even more, perhaps, than they are themselves as enemies or objects or whatevers.

That’s where I’m at with this right now. The idea being that you play this game and produce music related to the instruments available (your avatar, say, and some “enemies”) and also related to your skill both at the game-qua-game (in which you try not to “die” etc., thus extending the composition) and your skill at playing-to-compose, by modulating your position and speed etc. in ways that change the music.

That’s the idea with Sound System II. It remains to be seen and heard how much of that actually exists in the thing I manage to put together. (That screenshot at the top is from an early prototype so, like, don’t get your hopes up, eh?)


4 February 2015
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