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utkiupe
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« on: June 29, 2017, 06:38:30 am »

Hi guys

My name is Utku and I make games at Kiupe, a little studio in which we make game (mostly) for kids.
We are currently working on a new project: Eiwee, a game about playing and learning music.



In Eiwee you hang around a little village full of musical activities. You play music in fun mini games with the NPCs living there.
The main references we have in our mind are:
- Animal Crossing for the village that you like to live in.
- Rythm Paradise for their fun musical activities, although it's not a forgiving game
- Parappa the Rapper because everybody loves Parappa

The game will be a premium game available on mobile and tablet, hopefully this year (2018)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 08:34:59 am by utkiupe » Logged

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bynine
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 07:27:43 am »

this is a really nice idea! i think it'll be a great way to get people into music, and i love the visual style, even though it's not finalized.
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 09:21:27 am »

Wow, this is going to be great for my son!
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justincavenagh
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2017, 02:42:09 am »

Very cool idea! Always great to see new ways to get people into and learning music Smiley
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utkiupe
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 07:38:20 am »

Hi everyone,

We are going on with our prototype to have a more complete experience:
- hanging around in the village
- meeting a few NPCs
- making a musical challenge with them (keeping the beat, play the note with higher pitch, etc.)
- learning musical tracks
- playing them on stage in a concert

I am not sure how much content we can put in our prototype, but we have planned 3 more weeks, before starting over with a clean code, and doing everything for real.

In the meantime we are working a lot on the art.
I'll share some work on the backgrounds later.

Here are some work on the NPCs. I hope you like them









 
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 01:06:53 pm »

This is a brilliant idea. Animal Crossing & Rhythm Heaven are two of my favorite games, so to say I'm exited is putting it mildly.
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utkiupe
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 12:05:28 am »

thanks Smiley

there is something we are not really sure about the NPCs is having them all as animals
I think maybe they can be anything, like a tomato, a kettle, or whatever

there is another thing I am not sure : we have "masters" in the game which are the NPCs that teach you music tracks. So if you want to learn to play a particular music you have to go to their special place and learn patterns.
the other NPCs are just living there, in the village, and with them you can do all the other musical activities (so challenges, jams, etc.)

in the character designs above I am not sure which one are charismatic enough to be "masters" and which one could be regular NPCs
and I guess we probably need something special for these masters.
I thought also the regular NPCs could be human, but then it can become confusing if the player avatars are human as well (maybe in the future I would like 2 player playing music together, either in real time or asynchronous way)
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 10:12:00 am »

This looks so dang cool. I am so into it.

Which ones look like masters to me:
King Zion, Barry, Young Pug, Moon, Old Sam & Cake.

I've noticed that that is mainly just the bigger characters, but those are the ones that I looked at and thought "those look like masters".
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 10:16:47 am »

I like the non-animal designs. They feel more original.
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 10:18:52 am »

I'm going to weigh in on this too - I think both are good. No reason to not have Animals & non-animals.
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utkiupe
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2017, 01:38:47 am »

yep. you are right, maybe a mix is ok
The thing is you always need to find explanations for everything in your games.

So Charlie (this is the lead artist at kiupe) is going on with the character design
he made a couple of them and is also working on some animations.

first, here is some research we make before working on the details of a character.

It's important since music is often associated with style and you need to have characters and settings that will evoke this style.



So maybe for this guy being a master, we need more stuff around him, that will give you you the feeling you have entered his "temple"

I'll come back with more animated stuff around these guys soon.
And I will definitely talk to you about the tech a bit because it was more difficult than we thought!
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utkiupe
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2017, 01:43:54 pm »

Hi everyone. I’d like to talk more about music now.

It’s a music game so you want to play with some kind of virtual instrument.
The tricky part here  is the UI, since we want the game to be playable on mobile, there is not much space for your fingers.
We also want to leave some room for the stuff such as characters playing, the stage, etc. and having big fingers on the screen doesn’t help.



We have made a try with landscape mode but it was definitely not adapted. We’ve decided to go on portrait mode, and leave something like 1/3 of the screen for the instrument UI.
Since we want to have many kind of instruments we will have different UIs : keyboards, string to pinch (like a guitar), something that mimics a trombone, etc.



As you can imagine, the limited space on screen forces us to have a limited number of notes. I think 8 notes is acceptable. Of course it will impact the music creation but it’s enough to produce some cool music.
An important thing to know is that the actual notes you will play will depend on the music you have chosen. you can have a regular C major notes on a music, and in another one, notes from A minor with a couple of notes on the upper octave because the music need them.
At least this is how we imagine it for now.

When a note is played (e.g. the player presses a key on the keyboard) we play the associated sound file. We can have different sound files for different velocity (like in the midi standard). I also imagined that we could split the sound, on some instruments. We can have an attack sound, a looping sound (while you hold the note) and a release sound.

Right now we have this working quite well with a simple keyboard.

Playback
We really wanted to use midi, but it seems you don’t have midi on every devices. We use midi format though as a technical description of the music to play : tempo information, playing a note, stoping a note, defining the beginning of a pattern and a fragment with meta data, etc.
We can play music from the informations stored in midi file with this system.

However, but the sound it produces can be a bit cheap. So we kept playing the musical background (what the other NPCs are playing) as an audio file, thus having a good quality feeling.

We actually use these data to detect if the player is playing a pattern from the current music. For example, you want to make a concert, you choose a music and and your band starts playing. You play with your instrument, and there are many patterns you can play. When you play them we can measure if you play them right (and compute how good you have played it) if it was the best moment to play them, etc. and set some reaction of the environment : public applauding, the other musicians cheering, playing some fireworks effects on the stage, etc.

This is also working not bad at the moment, but probably will need some optimisation later on.
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M4uesviecr
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2017, 03:40:14 am »

Man, the idea of playing and having to change pitch as well? Dude, such an awesome concept. I also understand the cheapness of using midi, although you can somewhat placate that based on the midi soundfiles you choose to use (there are different soundbanks). Have you guys thought about taking the soundfont approach? It would probably be a ton more work (and I'm not even sure if it would work with the program/system you have installed), but the gist of it is, you record an instrument sounding different pitches, program it as a soundfont, and the playback sounds realistic. Well, more realistic than a midi bank.

It is a similar approach taken to produce virtual instruments like East West Quantum Leap or Vienna Symphonic, but on a low budget. Here is a program that is used for attempting this kind of thing: http://www.synthfont.com/

It may even be possible to create your own GM (midi) bank, that uses higher quality sound samples, rather than relying on the default. Of course, I am talking with limited knowledge, but I am sure it is plausible!

Anyway, this looks awesome! If you guys ever need play testers...  Well, hello there!

... Beg
« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 04:01:44 am by M4uesviecr » Logged

utkiupe
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2017, 07:48:16 am »

thanks.

The midi file format is just used to describe the music score. We use the data to play the correct sound file then.
For the sound themselves we mix different instruments and effect to create something specific. Well, this part is still in progress, we have tried things that work well, and others not so good so we'll see.

We have discussed recently with a lab (called Grame) that make research on computer music
they have talked about soundfont and a few other stuff.
since we want to go on mobile, I think it's not really possible, huh ? Or maybe requires some work. I know we have looked at sound fonts after we met the guys at Grame but there was a bit of work we don't want to do right now.

the guys at Grame also created Faust, which is an incredible coding language to generate sound and instruments.
the cool thing with faust is that it's quite easy to make a plugin in Unity after you have made something working in C++
I'd like to test it some day, maybe create an instrument with it later for our game.
There is an app from Smule (https://www.smule.com) that uses faust : the one with the guitar
When you know it's totally computer generated (not based on samples from real instrument) it's not bad, right?

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utkiupe
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2018, 07:54:51 am »

Hi everyone
We have been quite busy on finishing another game so not much progress on this game lately… but we are back on tracks!

So, to summarize we have built a prototype to test a few ideas that are driving the project.
The most important thing we wanted to test is learning musical patterns that the player can then play in concert mode. Well, this is not as good and fun as expected. Learning patterns are quite challenging and remembering them to play them during concert is hard as well.





As we see it, in this game, playing music should be rewarding and give you this instant feeling of making something cool to hear. It's not exactly the case right now. I don't say it's not worth going further in this direction, but I am afraid that this leads to nothing good enough in a short term.

So we are changing this a little bit, making the concerts more fun, and moving the challenge on mini games.

We are also defining a bit more the overall experience: we are a musician making a music tour across little villages that are randomly generated with their props and characters, musical workshop and activities. The activities will be chosen and setup depending on your progression on the different musicals skills : rhythm, harmony and melody. A village will not be very big, let’s say enough for a 10-15 minutes session.



I’ll have more stuff to show in a couple of weeks.
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M4uesviecr
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2018, 11:58:51 am »

Oh, no! I'd love to see the complications of the current system. D0 you think you guys could keep the level of difficulty you have now and use it later? Perhaps have an Easy, Medium, and Difficult version of the game?

Aside from that, the game is shaping up to look fun! I hope we (dev readers) get a chance to hear it, too.

Congratulatons on the team's current release!
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utkiupe
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2018, 01:23:27 pm »

thanks
actually it's not about the difficulty itself but more about the design
We can probably keep the idea of making difficult challenges and have some leveling on it
for example a NPC plays something and you have to repeat, then he plays again, and you repeat, etc.
or you have to find the beat of more complex musics, or with no instrument clearly helping you to define it

This first prototype had some issue on giving you a fun experience of music so we are tweaking it a bit.
I will give you more detail soon on how this is evolving.
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utkiupe
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« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2018, 08:20:50 am »

Hi everyone,

I am going to write quickly about the latest progress.

First, we now have a clear gameplay loop now.
After many attempts We finally have something simple and straightforward that fits fine with our original intentions
Here is how it can look like on a simple diagram



So we have left the idea of generated villages with their NPCs and activity, to get back to a single village, with all our characters and activities
You will hang around there and trying to find the spot where you can play the musical mini games
When playing those mini games  you win some coins, that you can use to unlock items in the village, either purely decorative or interactive

Virtual money does not mean it's an f2p. It's just a currency that help us handling the game progression.

We also have what we call workshops, that are activities with no evaluation: no score, just playing with a musical instrument and have fun with it. It can be a bunch of rocks that plays the pentatonic scale when you walk on them, a fountain that is synced with a keyboard, or a little jam session with a bunch of NPCs.

And we have this challenges that are based on current state of your musical skills. It tries to find the best musical activity depending on the skills you currently master, and at least one skill you are still learning. So it's not a mandatory thing, but it allow you to earn more coins. It's more an incentive to follow what the system think is best for you to progress in your musical skills

I have some nice pictures though. The visual production is going really well and we are very happy about how it looks like.
We have some buildings, some characters and of course a basic avatar character.
I hope I can make you some gif next week to show you how it looks like on the game with the animations and all.



For the buildings we are working on this system where we can easily mix the blocks to make a new building, with one or 2 floors, with a minimum impact on the sprite sheets.





And lastly a few props of the camping area



Come back soon with more stuff




« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 08:43:58 am by utkiupe » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2018, 09:52:11 am »

Oh!! This game looks so unique and very destined to be a great on the app store.
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utkiupe
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2018, 10:07:50 am »

Hey everyone

We are still working on the first 2 mini games : Rhythm Fitness and Pizza Pizza Music.
The first one is mostly about reproducing rhythmic cells and the second one musical cells (rhythm is also important there but probably less complex than in the first mini game).

We are also working on the musical art direction as well, since it is a bit important on a musical game Smiley
We are exploring different hip hop flavored music and I hope I can soon share some stuff to listen to…

In the meantime we are making good progress with Charlie on the art. We have nice parts of the village already integrated and working (you can notice that when going through some elements they play a little animation).
So there is a fam area, a camping area, a forest area, the beach and Mike's place

Oh and don't mind the HUD, it's a placeholder

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