Dancing with the Sprites


Ballet Company

I’ve always been in awe of ballet dancers, and the performance I saw last night blew me away. I have never seen such perfect timing! The music and the movements worked together perfectly to express great depths of emotion. I was completely mesmerized. After leaving the ballet I began to wonder whether I could replicate this level of grace and precision in Gamestar Mechanic. The only way to know for sure would be to try. So here I am, on a design job of my own, determined to create a dance-inspired game in Gamestar Mechanic.

I began by searching the Internet to find several good examples of ballet performances, and went to the library to see if I could find some books on the subject. I observed the dancers in the vid- eos closely to see what moves I liked and how a combination of moves could be synchronized with each other and the music. I also played some games from the Factory and Game Alley to see how sprites could be made to move in particular patterns and sequences.
After soaking up all the inspiration, I was ready to create a game of my own. My first step was to find a soundtrack I liked. I listened to each track over and over again before making my final choice. I also spent some time sketching out the type of stage I wanted to use. Because I was interested in a giving my player a feeling of a beginning, middle, and end, I decided to set up the stage as a side scroller.

I then began experimenting with enemy sprites and their parameters. I added a few enemy sprites and set up different movement patterns for each, in order to see which ones were working best, individually and in combination with the music. I explored all the movement styles and settings, including start direction, turn direction, and speed. After I had a few working like I wanted, I added more sprites, repositioned a few others, eliminated some and changed settings for almost every one to make them move with the music. The process was quite complex! I was starting to understand what it takes to be a good choreographer and how much practice it must take. This was my first try, but certainly not my last. At the end I was proud of my own ballet production.