A Groovy Kind of Game


Types of rhythm
Today, while I was listening to one of my favorite songs on my iPod, it struck me that it might be a good experiment to create a game based on rhythm. Rhythm is a regular repeating pattern that appears in everything: language, art, music, nature...you name it. Could the same ideas be extended to making a game?

Artists create rhythm through the repetition of visual elements such as lines, shapes or colors. And there are different patterns that they might use. For example, a regular rhythm is when a particular element repeats without any variations—think of a series of circles placed in a line spaced exactly one inch apart, never changing. A pattern where two or more elements appear alternately is called an alternating rhythm—imagine a square and circle placed in the same line, spaced the same way, but going circle, square, circle, square. Then there is progressive rhythm, in which the same element appears but with regular changes to it. For this, imagine a series of triangles on the line where each one is slightly bigger than the previous one, or slightly farther apart.

I wanted to experiment with rhythm in Gamestar Mechanic. In listening to my song again, I listened closely for regular rhythms, alternating rhythms, and progressive rhythms and made some quick sketches of their patterns. The rhythm I chose to focus on was a progressive rhythm mixed with an alternating rhythm. In designing my game, I used these rhythms in the design of the game space and the core game play. I created progressive rhythm by increasing the difficulty of the game at regular intervals. I expressed alternating rhythm in the way I designed my space and through my enemy movement patterns. I even added a regular rhythm through the placement of Point sprites in even intervals. As I worked, I kept testing my game and getting feed- back from other Mechanics. It’s easy to get lost in creating the rhythm, forgetting that the game needs to be fun as well as musical!