"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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