White Rose: Musical Beat-em’-up

Made with Unity3D for the Ludum Dare 34 weekend game jam

There has been some interest in the style of White Rose, so I wanted to share the creative design process behind the game.

Synesthesia, an Audiovisual Experience

Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which different senses are linked together. Our character is a blind boy who has audiovisual synesthesia and sees a plethora of colors with each bump to the beat. You’ll first notice this when you pick a song and press play. The layers of warm color fade in and suddenly give depth—via parallax scrolling—and life to an otherwise dark and empty world.

Originally, we wanted to implement a rhythm mechanic in which the player is rewarded with more spectacular visuals when matching combos to the beat of the song. Unfortunately, we couldn’t squeeze in the time to add it. We saw in the comments that this was exactly what was missing and what could’ve bumped the gameplay score up a digit, and I love that you guys totally get it!

Paint Splatter and Particles

If a blind person has audio visual synesthesia, what do you think he or she sees when music is playing? I don’t know myself since I don’t have the condition, but I imagine it being a vibrant, abstract painting on a black canvas that continuously bursts with more color to each beat. To signify that, we used paint splatter sprites and particle effects that exploded out in the direction of each punch.

You can never have too many particles—until the FPS drops and the game crashes. Then it’s too much. But until then, particles are just so amazing and easy to implement and add a lot of extra satisfaction to the gameplay experience.

Parallax Scrolling

3D Character vs. 2D World

If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the main character is a 3d model while the monsters and the rest of the world are 2D sprites. From a technical development perspective, animating the run cycle for a 3d model takes less time than drawing enough sprites to account for 8 directions of movement in a 2D isometric view. From a design perspective, we wanted a clear distinction between the “real” him and the abstract painted environment that only exists in a world created from music. What better way to distinguish that than with a 3D model and 2D sprites?

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed the game! Feedback is always greatly appreciated! Here were our results:

  • Graphics: 4.20 (Score), #129 (Rank)
  • Mood: 3.50 (Score), #286 (Rank)
  • Innovation: 2.97 (Score), #631 (Rank)
  • Overall: 3.16 (Score), #668 (Rank)
  • Fun: 2.92 (Score), #701 (Rank)
  • Theme: 2.42 (Score), #1058 (Rank)