PONK: Touchless Air Hockey, with Kinect + Flash, Groovy ’80s Neon Graphics

Enough gimmick. Let’s get down to serious business, the stuff that illuminates our life and gives us a deeper sense of humanity. Yes, I mean air hockey. Yes, I’m dead serious. (Hey, I’m a fan.) In a brilliant – and brilliantly-colored – new project, the power of computer vision reinvents a familiar tabletop game. Live-animated elements and gameplay that connects with just about everybody are a recipe for something really successful. French co-creator Jonathan Da Costa explains:

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PONK: Touchless Air Hockey, with Kinect + Flash, Groovy '80s Neon Graphics

Enough gimmick. Let’s get down to serious business, the stuff that illuminates our life and gives us a deeper sense of humanity. Yes, I mean air hockey. Yes, I’m dead serious. (Hey, I’m a fan.) In a brilliant – and brilliantly-colored – new project, the power of computer vision reinvents a familiar tabletop game. Live-animated elements and gameplay that connects with just about everybody are a recipe for something really successful. French co-creator Jonathan Da Costa explains:

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FRACT, 3D Adventure Game Played with Synths and Sequencers: Myst Meets Music Making

FRACT is a curious combination of music studio and puzzle game, merging elements of games like Myst with the sorts of synths and pattern editors you’d expect somewhere like Ableton Live. You have to make sounds and melodies to solve puzzles; by the end of the game, say the creators, you’re even producing original music. The work of a small student team out of Montreal, FRACT looks like it has all the makings of an underground indie hit – at least for music nerds. As the creators describe it: FRACT is a first person adventure game for Windows & Mac …

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InvisiBall: Play Tennis with Sound, Blindfolded – or Blind

Trust your ears. It seems a simple instruction, in the teaser video for this project by Stockholm-based producer/composer HÃ¥kan Libdo. But for those of us used to having vision, focusing in on one sense – even the sense on which we rely for music and sound – can be an extraordinary experience. If digital interface design has done anything, it has forced new ways of looking at design across senses, and not just in a weary repetition of “we always do it this way.” Playing tennis in InvisiBall becomes a new experience. Sonic cues along direct the ball from side …

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Pugs Luv Beats Marries Music, Gaming on iOS: How it Was Made, How Free libpd Music Tool Helped

The iPad becomes a canvas for a game with an atypically-musical, interactive sound score. All images courtesy the developers. Photos by whatkristensaw. Truly generative musical scores in games have been few and far between, and “music games” has traditionally meant arcade-style rhythm games in which you repeat phrases or whole songs as accurately as possible. Pugs Luv Beats breaks those molds. Part of a vanguard of new gaming creations that generate dynamic music on the fly, it marries grid-based sequencing and resource-gathering gaming, as music making and gameplay blur together. The interactively-produced music could itself become a new way of …

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Music as Gameplay: Johann Sebastian Joust, Played With Only Sound and Gesture

Think back to playing a simply childhood game like Musical Chairs. The actual gameplay depends only on auditory clues – something you take for granted as a kid, but something apparently lost on game engineers who insist exclusively on advanced 3D rendering engines for visuals. And because you get your body involved, the game becomes dynamic. That musical cue isn’t just off in the background: in the dizzying run around the chairs, the soundtrack can become the singular focus of your brain, an urgent score to the — DIVE, got the chair! As the scene around game experimentation grows richer, …

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iPad Meets Kinect, Twister Meets Tenori-On: Behind the Scenes of Pxl Pusher Music Game

What happens when you meld the most futuristic Microsoft technology with the most futuristic Apple technology with the most ColecoVision-esque graphics as built in Jitter? Or you create gameplay that couples physical human contortion with the step sequencing rhythms of music? A different take on music games, that’s what. Developers Matt (“M@tt”) Boch and Ryan Challinor work, in their day jobs, on the music game as most people know it, at Harmonix. Harmonix’s roots remain in the rhythm game, so that music play, even at its most serious, is still about musical timing accuracy. Pxl Pusher is a very different …

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Parallax, Upcoming Game, Warps Space with Style

In case you haven’t yet seen it make the rounds, the upcoming indie game Parallax deserves special aesthetic mention. A kind of monochromatic take on Portal, its slick, cool, understated world opens windows through space, producing inverse chromatic values that give cues to the overlaid spatial dimensions. It’s a glimpse of the kinds of visual worlds possible with digital rendering, and in a teaser trailer, at least, appears to be a minimal aesthetic triumph. These spatial visual languages have suggestions for the world of live visuals, too — all the more so as projection mapping produces spatial illusions and 3D …

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Celebrating the Adventurous and the Indie in Berlin's Gaming Scene, Fri+Sat

There’s no question independent gaming has found its voice. But it’s increasingly finding something else: a scene. And that doesn’t just mean people huddled quietly around glowing displays in quiet isolation. Artists, advocates, and aficionados gather to celebrate gaming as an art form, as an event. It’s not just some aesthetic or nostalgic experience of gaming, either, as with the explosion of 8-bit: people are gathering for love of mechanics. And as the game mechanic and art venture in new directions, that is an exciting time for digital visual and interactive culture, generally. One such hub is A MAZE. Centered …

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