the original article from here.
The core idea is simple: slam your spacebar on the 7th beat. But every level has a twist on that concept. In the trailer above, a virus is messing up your connection, leading to glitchstep music, and you have to keep the count to 7 in your head. Further twists include having you master things like polyrhythms, offbeats, hemiolas, irregular time signatures.. and if those don't mean much to you, don't worry - its designed to make you learn music and rhythm theory without even realising it.
How many developers?
Three - One game designer / composer, one artist, and one programmer. Two of us were friends when we were studying at university in the UK (Cambridge University and London School of Economics). While we were there we released a small free version of the game, that got quite popular, with 300,000 players. So, when we went back to Malaysia, we decided to continue it after graduation. We met another programmer from Peru at GDC, and now we’re doing this full-time for a year and a half! We have Indienova helping us with publishing and promoting the game in China, because we found the game was quite popular there.
What’s your favourite music game?
Rhythm Heaven. It’s our biggest inspiration for our game, its very strict and also has very simple controls.
Why do you use Chinese audio?
Chinese is most suited for counting in rhythm. Every number is just one syllable (‘qi’ vs ‘seven’), and then numbers are quicker to say. Quicker numbers can be more rhythmically precise. Compare ‘si’ to ‘four’, the first takes about 1/4 seconds to say, the other takes 1/3 seconds to say. I found this out through Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” where he explores why Chinese people learn to count more quickly than the rest of the world.
Why did you add Glitch into it?
Cause it looks nice! And also it sounds nice too ^^ . And also it fits with our mechanic well - we want to train people to count in their head. Some games like Rhythm Heaven do this by just fading out the music volume (but that’s a bit more boring), or having visual distractions (but that doesn’t affect the audio). So we tried to do bring something new by making the music itself also have ‘distractions’ in it. And then we synchronise it to the visuals as well.
Favourite Glitch games Rhythm Doctor is not all about glitch!
That’s just one of the many things in it, haha. It’s only for the boss battles. In between there are all other kinds of patients, with different mechanics. But anyway, to answer the question: games that play with glitching well are Pony Island and Undertale. Pony Island has one point where it makes it pretends the game sent rude messages your friend on Steam. It was quite clever, it uses all the Steam graphics so you think it’s real.
Did you encounter any difficulty adding Glitch?
It was quite time-consuming. The way we did it was the simplest way possible: we just take many many screenshots of the game, every frame, and then we put those screenshots on top of the game. The effect is that it feels like some parts of the game are repeated quickly. And for the music, we used a software called FL Studio 12. Here’s a screenshot of the code and the corresponding pattern in FL Studio
Mechanics In terms of coding: first we made sure we had an accurate audio engine.
See this link at Indienova for a detailed explanation of how to do that: https://indienova.com/indie-game-development/devlog-0-how-to-dismantle-an-atomic-bomb/ If you want to know the reason why ‘7 beat’, it’s because it can be divided nicely into other patterns. You can play 7 beats, or “1,3,5,7” if you want to fit four beats, or “1,4,7” if you want to fit three beats.
What was the inspiration for the game characters?
Our artist says: “No real inspirations. Just go according to what I think would be cute or wacky. Sometimes theyre not even relevant~"
Would you add any other visual effects in the game?
Yes, there are many.
You will see!
What’s the inspiration for Rhythm Doctor?
The biggest one is Rhythm Heaven by Nintendo. A lot of it is also inspired from things we learn in music theory. Our game designer / composer Hafiz has played the piano for 20 years and has a diploma in performing, so that was a good advantage in finding ideas. Lastly, we get a lot of ideas from our fans too, they often have even better ideas than us. Particularly we got a lot of gameplay feedback from the streamer Fall Ark, who has also been streaming a lot of our beta levels for the Chinese audience.