No Ray Is Safe Tonight: Raycatcher

I LOVE RAYS RAYS ARE THE BEST I WOULD MARRY A RAY YES RAY

Picked this up from IndieGames via John Walker and having given it a shot, have moved it into the “Worth being aware of but probably not play yet” file. Raycatcher is a sorting puzzle game, with beams of light falling from all directions with you rotating your device in the centre so the correct colour bulb ends up with the correct beam. But there’s a twist! Ala Audiosurf you can put your own MP3s into it, which will generate beams from its patterns. Which sounds interesting but isn’t actually in the demo version – it’s functionality which is reserved for the full version. Which the demo says is available on the site, but actually isn’t yet. Which is – er – probably a bad move in Indie marketing on at least two levels. Pah! Video beneath the cut.

Does make me wonder though – what sort of games do you think could be made workable by borrowing Audiosurf’s generative-from-music approach? We seem to have fallen into the synaesthetic path Rez trailblazed in terms of potential uses.

14 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Cooper42 says:

    You could have the Left 4 Dead director tweaked so it responded to soundtracks rather than controlled them. I would love to see it choreograph a zombie attack to Lady Gaga…

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    That’s a great idea. There was a thrash-metal soundtrack left-right scroller which did some really simple but highly entertaining action-matching to tracks. As in, in the slow grindy bits it slowed down completely in Max Payne vision, and in the thrashy bit, it motored forward.

    KG

  3. Premium User Badge

    Cooper42 says:

    Do you mean Zombiegrinder 60000?
    link to viceland.com

    I think I had that in the back of my mind when I thought of L4D. At least, after you mentioned it, I looked it up and remember playing it. Could do with some meaty shotgun sound effects – that’s half the fun of shotguns in games! (Doom 2’s super shotgun reload effect has a special place in my heart…)

    Anyhow, it’s also the sort of thing that would work really well with a manic Smash TV style game.

  4. Pags says:

    This doesn’t seem to correspond to music as well as Audiosurf does. More beams are needed imo, but of course that would make the thing absurdly difficult.

    I’d definitely be up for L4D’s director to choreograph his attacks to some dubstep though.

  5. Helm says:

    That zombiegrinder game, two points:

    That’s not thrash metal, it’s horrible grindcore of the relapse type. Sorry to be a pedant but these things matter to me.

    Second point is that something like this is difficult to procedurally make because whereas lack of drumming is easy to pick up from analyzing a waveform, properly synced tempo transitions are much much more difficult. The program behind the game would have to lock on to the kick and snare sounds and have some sort of database of drum-beats so it can learn how to interpret rhythms… although Audiosurf does a pretty ok job of that, the zombiegrinder game was hand-sequenced and is much better at it for it.

    What would be nice is an audiosurf type game where the program does an amount of analyzing and then the player can go in and customize the result further, making proper drumfill rolls match up to combos of pickupables and put in long streams of bits that move fluidly with the solos… that sort of thing. A cross between audiosurf and guitar hero, then. I bet if Audiosurf was moddable someone would have done that by now.

  6. Pags says:

    Ah yes, as Helm says, the music in Zombiegrinder is, as the title suggests, pretty horrible goregrind which isn’t even the good kind of grindcore.

  7. Surgeon says:

    I really like Audio Surf, and whilst it lets you ‘ride’ your music, I wanted it to be more interactive.
    So I tried a little experiment.
    I took a particularly slamming little acid techno number.
    Chopped out and sampled little pieces from it.
    Then replaced all of the default sounds for one of the settings with samples from that track.
    In particular, the sounds that play when you ride over the different coloured blocks.
    But also the combo and award noises.
    I was hoping that when playing in Mono you could ‘play’ the track whilst also riding it, and basically mess about with it on the fly.
    It worked to a degree, but because the generated blocks aren’t always created on a beat the results were a bit patchy.
    So you could never get to ‘play’ all the sounds you wanted in time in the right place.
    Still, it was worth a try.

  8. Joe Russell says:

    Oh, that John Walker…

  9. Ben Abraham says:

    @Cooper42

    If you listen to the developer commentary in Left 4 Dead, on the last two levels of No Mercy, there are a lot of comments about the music system which they describe as being “similar to the director” in many ways. IIRC they said that quite a fair bit of the music is generated live and I think you might just not be aware that it’s happening.

    On a different note: Quick plug for the thesis I wrote last year – I talked about exactly this issue, music in games matching audio with visuals in a more complex and interesting way. If anyone’s interested in reading it, the full text is here:

    link to drgamelove.blogspot.com

  10. Gap Gen says:

    Auditorium is fantastic. It wouldn’t work with your own mp3s as it requires splitting the track into instruments, but the way the idea works is fantastic.

    (link to rockpapershotgun.com)

  11. alphaxion says:

    Seems I was ahead of the game on this one – I featured it in my most recent episode of Vertical Slice after my GF pointed it out to me from the polycount forums.

  12. TeeJay says:

    It would be an advance if more games simply let you play your mp3s or a radio stream in the background, regardless of being part of the gameplay or not.

    I’d like to listen to music while I play but typically it interferes with the game too much. If the game handled mp3s itself it could mix the audio levels to fit in with environment/effects/speech etc. and pause it at appropriat points.

  13. chipp says:

    @Cooper42

    Loved your idea. Must-be-done.

    Also, I think Raycatcher looks kinda cool.

  14. Tei says:

    India!.. great country!. Small, Smalllish, Really Small Litte Very Good Games!.. Go Go India!