Tsunami Warrior (2009)
Tsunami Warrior is my participation to the 14th Ludum Dare 48 hour game development competition. The given theme was “Advancing Wall of Doom”. I didn’t get really inspired of the theme but I was inspired to try out once again an aspect of gameplay with audio element in it.
The Guitar Hero and similar games are constructed in a way that the game level is essentially the discs laid out to match the music, and synchronized so that the point of action is the part where the music is just playing. I played with the idea of using the notes from music as the level, but move the point of gameplay action away from the music position.
When toying with the idea I even made a really simple paper prototype, taking a book, envelope and a few coins. I also thought of making it a “platformer” but ended up using water as the main element with tsunami as the “wall of doom” and player character as a surfer. My original idea was to make the player swim around from little island to another, where the islands would come from the musical notes. But I soon realized that’d force the gameplay to be really slow and changed the islands to be just some floating things to collect – and thus be the main element to keep the surfer’s distance from the tsunami. At first I also thought that the music could be synchronized so that the notes play whenever they hit the tsunami. That didn’t feel significant enough, or actually barely noticeable that there even was any resemblance between level and music. And of course that didn’t work out at all when I changed that the surfer would collect the floating “notes”. So I modified the gameplay so that when notes play, they appear from bottom of the screen at the same time.
Like usual, I spent a little bit too much time tweaking art and audio. The audio part of course was very important in this case. But still the resulting prototype game is really too easy to play, and I didn’t have enough time left (during the 48 hours of the competition) to do proper iteration of it, as the levels were made by composing music. :)
Additionally I think the prototype shows at least that it is harder to make a compelling game with the premise I chose, when comparing to the Guitar Hero genre of games. I still the idea might work better for example in a sidescrolling platformer with fast-paced music, so that remembering the music would aid the player to pass all the platforms. Look at this YouTube video and imagine a little player character jumping on the platforms!