Why can't music be something you see as well as hear?
Why can't music be something that you not only play, but play with?
Team Size: 4
Position: Lead Engineer
Beat Ball is a music-generation program that illustrates music in a more visual sense than most audio programs. In Beat Ball, users launch a series of bouncy balls into the game world and send them on collision courses with musical instruments. The concept is quite simple, and it's an event we experience in everyday life - hit an object with another object, and it makes a sound. Beat Ball allows the user to create entire songs using this concept. A single Master Ball bounces along to the beat. Using this ball as a trigger, players can launch other balls into a world populated with musical instruments. Users determine where to launch balls from, and when, as well as the position of each musical object. From there, it all comes down to physics. By positioning the instruments and ball launchers in specific patterns, players can create melodies, beats, and sound effect patterns using nothing more than the simple physics of bouncing balls.
Created between January and April of 2008, Beat Ball is not so much a game as it is a unique music editing program. Unlike many of my other projects, I did not take the role of a designer in Beat Ball's production. However, as the program's engineer, and through the nature of the team mechanics, I did play a heavy role in Beat Ball's final design. The original concept, pitched by team artist Clifford Leonardi, underwent several design changes over the course of the project. As my first true experience with scripting using the Virtools 4.0 game engine, our options were quite limited at first, but I learned a great deal along the way, eventually creating a prototype that did far more than any of us had anticipated. Once again, I wish to give credit to the design team - Artist Cliff Leonardi, Designer Nick Bernick, and Producer Trevor McEwen, who also generated the audio for the demo using the program FruityLoops 7.