PAX East '13: Have You Ever Dropped An Ugly Baby Before?

Courtesy: Dejobaan Games
These PAX East impressions as described by Rakush Sarkari are subjective. But it's a pretty good opinion anyways.

This game has been released, yet this game hasn’t been ‘fully’ released. This is the concept of Steam’s Early Access venture, and Dejobaan Games, in collaboration with Zapdot Incorporated, have embraced this opportunity to make their game better.

1...2...3...KICK IT! (DROP THAT BEAT LIKE AN UGLY BABY) has been available on Steam’s Early Access initiative, which allows consumers to purchase and play a game that is currently being developed. These consumers can then provide feedback to the developers in order to improve the game. 

“Early Access is a completely new paradigm shift for us with development,” stated Michael Carriere of Zapdot Inc.

“It’s made things a lot more positive and helped us get through the game, to make sure what we’re giving to people is a good experience.”

Drop That Beat... is the spiritual successor to Dejobaan Games’ previous title, AaAaAA!!! To score points, the player has to perform stunts by getting close enough to the blocks without touching them. Passing by a block quickly is called a, ‘buzz,’ while gliding by it for an extended period of time is called a, ‘groove.’

“We took that idea of base-jumping, flying near things, and getting points,” Carriere continued, “and decided that this would be really awesome if we brought music into the equation.”

The game is controlled with a mouse. You aim the reticule on screen towards a block, and try to perform stunts by manoeuvring with the mouse. Carriere says there may be controller support as the team are looking into Steam’s Big Picture mode. As of right now though, they are focusing on finishing this game for its complete release. 

Users will be able to use their own library of songs. The speed and volume of a song are defined in-game by, ‘stress.’ Carriere says, “We analyze the music, and depending on how stressful the song is, we procedurally generate a level that matches that stress.”

Custom soundtracks are not a new feature to music games, but Drop That Beat... will be combining the songs with the game-play of AaAaAA!!!

Dejobaan Games’ involvement in Early Access is already paying off, as some of the elements in the PAX East 2013 demo were influenced by user input. 

“[Players] weren’t getting proper feedback when they were doing poorly,” Carriere stated based off player experience. This made it difficult for players to make adjustments in a level accordingly.
Dejobaan Games didn’t want the player’s music to be interrupted at any point, so they decided to de-saturate the colours in the level to show that a player is struggling. Likewise, when a player is getting through a level with ease, the blocks begin to glow brighter. 

Carriere is hoping that Drop That Beat... is just as fun to watch, as it is to play. He calls it, “An interactive musical experience that acts as a visualizer but also a game.”

There are currently six levels available for Drop That Beat..., two of which allow the player to customize the parameters of a level. You can find this game on the Early Access page for $10. Carriere suggests this game could be out in 2013, but it is eventually up to the community reaction brought in by Early Access.