Substream

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Rhythm
Developer: Ben Bradley
Release Date: 2011

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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Substream' Announced - Screens

by Rainier on Aug. 24, 2010 @ 9:24 a.m. PDT

Substream is a single-player musical shooter game that involves flying a futuristic fighter ship over a dynamic landscape, whilst attacking and defending against various and numerous enemy ships and other entities.

"Musical synaesthesia has been used in several games now to great effect and I'm a big fan of it, but I wanted to take it further than automatic beat detection would allow. The best way to describe designing levels for Substream is 'choreography'. I'm creating a sequence of movements and physical changes that reinforce the themes, rhythms and moods of the music. Essentially the game is dancing." - Ben Bradley


The game is built from the ground up in order to incorporate multiple innovative new technologies:

  • Substream uses a complex new approach to music synchronization, which allows in-game events to be associated with the notes and intensity of individual instruments, melodies, drums or sounds within a song mix. The approach here is one of careful and considered human design, which allows for a much broader and stronger set of associations than are normally seen within synaesthesia games.
  • The game features a fully dynamic environment. In Substream, the entire ground below the player is able to morph simultaneously. Color schemes, shapes and lighting methods are all designed to be dynamic. When combined with its music synchronization technology this leads to a game which is able to constantly reflect the themes, patterns and emotions in its music.
  • Substream exists in a universe with a spatial distortion causing objects to appear at multiple positions simultaneously. Within the game the player is effectively controlling an infinite chain of ships that are fighting infinite chains of enemies. This requires no additional controls or understanding from the player but leads to several interesting new gameplay possibilities.

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