I have been experimenting with augmented reality music on iOS and I think my game Broken Place would be perfect on mobile! I’m working on building a miniature version of my vision of Broken Place that will focus purely on the music and performance aspects. I think there will be tons of learnings in this pursuit!
I'll be opening beta very soon on iOS for a port of Broken Place in it's most basic form. I plan to continue to maintain the app for at minimum two years after luanch. I will be adding more songs and content in that time. I've spent the last month building what I think is a fun way to interact with music in AR and I think I'm ready to give you all a few songs to play with. Below is a very early video I shot last week in the park.
Keeping Accessibility top of mind
I've been diligent in researching accessibility standards in spacial computing. While my early prototypes may seem to lack accessibility options, I have been documenting the things I plan to incorporate before launch as well as already implementing some of the more immediately actionable items that are within my current technical abilities.
AR in itself is pretty inaccessible partly due to hardware limitations. My goal is, at the very least, to have the music playable with only one hand. I think once we have HMD's integrated in our everyday lives, this will help many of the accessibility concerns I have but, until then, I'll cover what I can.
Pending settings that I am building out currently are high contrast, text size, and height adjustment settings. If you have any other suggestions, please submit them through this contact form.
I’m also still thinking through the content editor side of things. I’m hoping to build a way for users to submit their own patches as a later update. Unfortunately, this requires a bit of Pure Data knowledge on the player’s end. Content submission will likely run on a WordPress app with access handled on a case by case basis. Users would be able to upload their vanilla Pure Data patch in a new WordPress post and load the post from their iOS device running Broken Place. I will initially make the song data public only with very clear indicators of this being the case. I want to be respectful of original content but in full transparency, it’s a technical limitation currently to have patches run remotely without latency. An option will be added that allows players to log in to their own private songs. Subscribing for updates is a good way to get access first!
Will it be free?
🙁 I can't. Moving to the iOS platform was a task that required unexpected expenses. I'd like to be as transparent as I can about this project. Publishing an app on the App Store is difficult for an independent developer like myself. For this game, I had to buy a Mac computer to even allow me to test things via xcode. I bought a modestly configured Mac Mini for $600 and was in business. I also have to pay my Apple Developer License ($99) to get it published, not to mention the need for a legitimate Pro Unity license (an expense of a few hundred dollars.) Simply put, I need to recoup some of this cost and that's partially why I'm racing to a release. I've seen many simple AR apps going for around $1.99 and will likely follow suit. Apple will already take 30% off of that so I hope you understand why it is a paid app. 🙂
What other cool features are you exploring?
Here's a list from my whiteboard:
- BoseAR integration
- Bluetooth/Wireless MIDI connectivity
- "Bop-It" mode where you are against the clock to perform actions in the patch
- Gaze Input for interacting with music UI elements
- Epic visuals
- wireless display mirroring so folks can see what you're doing in AR easier
- More visual indication of where a sequencer is on the UI
- A dog to pet