Broken Mountains

Broken Mountains is a sidescrolling zen action game set to the song Mountain Building by Ian Barber that I made in a day.
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W/S/Up/Down to move.
Blue orbs build up your charge.
Brace (left shift) to protect yourself and break through asteroids and cortexes which drop blue orbs, but be sparing, it uses up charge.
Once you’re fully charged up you can fire with spacebar.

Download Executable: Windows Mac Linux

I’ve been playing around with ideas of how game design and development can interact with other media in the same way that music, film, illustration and writing all interact. These other mediums are used as parts of games but games are rarely, if ever, created for or in response to these kinds of media in the way a film clip or album art might be made for a song or an illustration might be created for a story.

I’ve also been trying to learn to use Unity3d better by looking at example projects and code and seeing how certain kinds of problems are usually solved in that environment.

With all this in mind, when Ian put the preview of Mountain Building on his blog I wanted to make something with it. The problem, however is that there are so many other things I’m supposed to be working on at the moment. The compromise is that I allowed myself 24 hours to make the thing.

I used the 2D Space Shooter Starter Kit from Cinopt Studios as my base because it had the mechanic of things drifting into the space to be dealt with which I could easily adjust to be paced with the music.
I dropped in the music file, coded up the brace and break mechanic and replaced the player sprite.
After that I worked iteratively; playing through and seeing how the music for a section was making me feel and then going back and adjusting the sprites, mechanics and pacing to match that feeling.
I really wanted to focus on this mechanic of bracing yourself against impacts and then creating a feedback loop where you start to intentionally set yourself up for those impacts and then eventually unleashing that energy that you’ve built up from those repeated blows. I also wanted to make sure that the progression of the game really followed the waves of the music so that these repeated convocations eventually welled up into the epic chaotic storm that is the final double chorus.

What I’ve ended up with is not a polished product or even a particularly unique one and a lot of that is to do with my “down tools after 24 hours” rule, but I think the feeling created by matching the mechanics and pacing to the emotionally evocative music is really powerful and for that I’m both incredibly thankful to Ian for letting me use his song and a little bit proud of myself.

Make sure to also check out Ian’s other work on his Blog and Soundcloud and his latest album on Google Play


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