Abstract first-person puzzler Fract has been going through some changes. Jim had words with creator Richard E Flanagan over a year ago and the future direction of the project wasn't entirely clear back then. A new developer diary tells us a little more about the spectacular route this interactive synthesiser of a world has chosen to follow.
Before you watch, a quick note on what you'll be seeing: "[the video] shows off two parts of the game, namely one of the newer puzzles and the studio, which is a hub where players begin and then come back to later in the game."
What you just heard, through the waves of warm synth and snapping beats, was men talking incredibly calmly about something stupendously awesome that they had created. It's a little like being given a tour through the Louvre by a subdued scribbler who, at a certain juncture, sighs: "I just wanted to capture her smile."
I'm allowed to contract a case of hyperbolia since at no point in the video does either of the developers do so, letting out the vocal equivalent of an air-punch, and what they've created looks and sounds superb. The aesthetic, which has often been described as Tron-like, seems much more a style of its own in this video, although it's surely the constant hum of music waiting to be born that contributes most massively to this sensory playground.
Here's a more detailed description of what you just watched:
"As the player progresses through the game, they are exposed to different elements of sound and music through puzzles and the world. As such, they are introduced progressively to the tools that they will eventually use in the studio. The studio acts as the culmination of their actions in rebuilding the world, where they eventually return and be able to make their own music.
Keep in mind that the game is still in development, so it’s still kind of rough (and basic), but it should give you an idea of where we’re headed with FRACT OSC. The studio and integration of sound/music in the game was what was always wanted for the old FRACT “beta”, but wasn’t technically achievable at the time. So this gives an idea of how the game has evolved over the past months (more on that to come in a future post)."