Wave Craze


Parts of a wave

This entire week as I commuted to and from the Gamestar arcades, I have been stopping at a quiet lake to relax after a long day of playing and designing games. I like to wander around the lake collecting flat stones to skip across the surface of the water. Although this activity is pretty simple, I find it very relaxing and a good opportunity to clear my head. As I was skipping stones one day, I started to think about the pattern the stone makes as it travels over the surface of the water, as well as the ripples in the water that the stone creates as it skips. Essentially both of these phenomena are related to waves and waveforms.

Today I made the decision to experiment with waveforms in Gamestar Mechanic. I started by creating a sine wave that starts at a crest and ends at a trough. For each of the point in the wave I used enemies, each with their own carefully set patrolling and speed parameters. This experiment reinforced the idea that individual points on a wave (or nodes, as they’re called) move at a specific tempo. If any node is too fast or too slow it will throw off the balance of the wave.

Next, I created a sine wave that starts and ends with a trough. The distance between the starting and ending nodes in a wave is known as the frequency of the wave. It can be measured, trough- to-trough, crest-to-crest, or from the start of the wave cycle to the start of the next cycle. Although setting up this wave was not much different from the first experiment, the visual result was more convincing as you could see the wave’s shape more clearly.

To finish off the day, I decided to design a few games around the idea that my enemies would move in sine wave patterns either horizontally or vertically in the game space. I can’t wait to show the Juror mechanics these games, since they are so inter- ested in patterns. I hope they like them.