View on Vanishing PoYnT

June 27th, 2013 - No Comments

Smashing Robots was on the back burner for a few weeks, but it didn’t stop us building some fun things in Unity. While some of the team were preparing to work on Tower Zoo, and while Rakpoka was still undergoing a pitching process, an odd pitch came through from a local musician with some money for a publicity stunt – build a mobile phone game to promote his music project. Not enough to commission a triple A game, but enough to get a developer and an artist some time to have some fun with a rhythm style game. Given the experimental nature of the music we ruled out making a tapping DDR clone, and decided to look at games like Frequency and VibRibbon for inspiration.


At the time the studio was pretty enamoured with ForeverDrive – an exceptionally fun endurance driving game for the iPad. While we weren’t out to topple as lofty a title, we did let the Tron style visuals filter into our design for a Frequency style track filling game. Drive along a lane, and it increases the volume of one of the tracks of music. Vanishing PoYnT certainly had enough instrumentation to allow us some variation in the tracks that could be filled in this fashion.


I coded the game from the ground up, firstly deciding that we needed to simulate a rolling road by warping a model of a straight road with barricades, and moving it’s looping texture at the speed of the appearing models. Using the position of the vertices of the edges of the barricades, I could work out the path that scenery would follow at the edge of the road to make the ride a little more interesting.


The road and basics of collecting items and avoiding enemies placed into the game, I set about cutting up the music tracks – originally we only had the final cut to work with, but after some cajoling the band we were able to obtain the master tracks for each of the instruments. I cut the master tracks into a series of looping segments, attempting to cut a substantially sized master recording into a series of samples that would fit the (then) limit of 25mb we were aiming for to allow for 3G distribution from the iPhone store. All of us in the studio have some experience with music in some form or another, and between us all we were able to take these segments and build a looping track that showcased the highlights of the song, hopefully without ever sounding totally empty or out of place when only one track was active.

One of the studio’s modellers knocked up a very fancy bike model, our artists worked on some textures for the evil’uns, and we were away. After some time wrestling with bugs and the UI, and building some colour change into the streets, we had the game launched on time and without issues. Iain, the band’s frontman, has enjoyed the project enough to commission the agency for future work, and I wish him every success with his avant-garde music project, even if it’s not exactly to my tastes.

Vanishing PoYnT is available for download for free from the iTunes store over here. If you like it, go have a listen to the band’s music at their mySpace page.

  Vanishing PoYnT  

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