Drums Challenge Gives us Rhythm on the Go
by Deborah M. Fike · 06/30/2009 (1:35 pm) · 7 comments
Have dreams of being a rocker, but spend the majority of your time sitting on a bus listening to your iPod Touch as you commute to work? If so, MusiGames Studios just released the App for you. Drums Challenge is a mash-up between a Simon and rhythm game: a sequence of beats are played, and then you repeat it. The game also encourages players to explore the drums and provides a wide variety of music styles (from Jazz to Metal and everything in between) to support your journey.
MusiGames is a division of D'Accord Music Software, a small Brazilian software developer. They've been creating music applications such as Guitar Chord Dictionary since 2001 with millions of copies used worldwide. In 2008 they decided to branch out into music games. Americo Amorim walked me through the creation of their first game release. Enjoy!
What was the inspiration behind Drums Challenge?We always wanted to create a "tap tap" game. However, there are many tap tap games already in the market. We needed to create something different. After some brainstorming, one of our developers came up with the idea of a challenge between musicians, in which one should repeat or do something better than the opponent, like the movie Crossroads. The movie shows a battle between two guitarists, but we chose a drums battle, since we believe it better fits with the iDevice touch experience.
The inspiration for Drums Challenge came from the 1986 movie Crossroads. MusiGames decided to use drums instead of guitars since that fit better with the iPhone experience.
What was your development process like?Our development process is based on Scrum. Our team had 3 programmers and 2 artists working closely in our small office in Recife. We spent 2 months in development and 2 more weeks in QA. Some friends tested the game during development. We also took the final builds to the Federal University of Pernambuco and some management students tested it. Thanks, guys!
What software did you use to create the game?We selected iTGB mainly because it gave us the option to develop on PC, since we had only one Mac in the office. As a small dev team, we couldn't afford to buy more Macs! iTGB is also good because of its portability to PC and Mac as well as the iPhone. For the artwork, we mainly used Flash and Photoshop.
What technical hurdles did you overcome?We had two big problems. The first one was to make the game run fast on the iPhone 3G and the old iPod Touch. We developed Drums Challenge testing in a brand new iPod Touch and it worked fine, but when we installed the game on the iPhone, it was too slow to be fun. We had to work out the code to get it more optimized in order to get higher FPS rates. Many things that were done in TorqueScript had to be moved to C++ in the engine level, and then we saw an improvement.
The other challenge was the audio side. Since we create music games, we need lots of audio tracks playing simultaneously and iTGB 1.1 only had support for WAV files. The game would be more than 500MB using WAV! But thanks to GarageGames, iTGB 1.2 had MP3 support and we could use it for the background songs, while the drum kit parts could be kept as WAV. Michael Perry (from GarageGames) was great helping us with this!
A team of five people made Drums Challenge in two months with an additional two weeks of QA testing.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?We would have focused more on having flawless gameplay for one level and then create the other ones. We tried to develop the levels in parallel and it wasn't the best way to finish the game. We would have also included other hardware (the iPhone and the older iPod Touch) for testing throughout the development process, rather than find these issues at the end.
What can we expect to see next from MusiGames and D'Accord?We will soon release a great puzzle game, called Leds, for iPhone and Android. We also have two other fun and innovative music games under development! ;)
Thanks, Americo, for the interview and good luck with future rhythm games!
For more stories like this, check out GarageGames' Developer Interview series.