Monday, April 8, 2013

PAX East 2013: Dropchord


This year, both Double Fine and Capy shared a booth at PAX East, and Double Fine's contribution was Dropchord, a music game which requires two fingers and a pair of ears to let in the hardcore techno beats.  We got to play the game and talk with Programmer and Project Lead Patrick Hackett about the title and how music game development has differed from previous projects.

Dropchord is a music arcade title in which you use two outstretched fingers to control the ends of a line which cuts into a circle in the center of the screen.  Moving a finger shifts the line, and eventually, abilities are unlocked to manipulate the line in more unique ways such as a quick spin.  Using the line, you must make contact with nodes that are placed inside the circle, but over time you must also avoid certain nodes which can do harm to you and the score.  All the while, a heavy techno beat pounds in time with the multitude of graphical effects present in the game.

The game uses a specific controller called the Leap Motion controller.  This controller consists of cameras which capture anything that enters their view, including in this case, fingers.  It took a brief moment to get used to having absolutely no direct input, but once the game really started flowing, movement became much more easily understood.  The music was truly fitting to the style of the game, and playing with just my fingers felt pretty great.  Of course, being a demo, it was probably one of the easier songs in the final game, but I really enjoyed what I experienced from the game.

Perhaps my only major concern with the game's design is how they can keep it fresh, but I am pretty confident they will have some more surprises in mind when the game finally comes out.  Also, the actual name selection screen was a pain to control in contrast to the game itself.  Hopefully they get that fixed for the final game.

Dropchord releases in May alongside the launch of the Leap Motion controller.

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