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Today we’ve got an interview with Julian Kantor the create of the XNA Communtiy Game Groov. Mr. Kantor thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us.
Question: How did the idea for Groov come about?
Julian Kantor: I’ve always loved dual-stick shooters (Geometry Wars in particular….you might be able to tell) and have been a composer for a long time. I got the idea for this game after playing Lumines, where all your moves produce musical sound effects. The issue I had with Lumines was that nothing was synced up to a beat, so it sounded pretty messy, and not really like a song at all. At this point, I hadn’t played Rez, which, as I’m sure you know, was made by Tetsuya Mizuguchi before he made Lumines. Rez actually pulled off the idea I had — everything was synced up to a beat, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea although I enjoyed it a lot. My main problems had to do with the gameplay, which I thought was pretty passive, and with the fact that your interactions only produced ornamentation to a song that was mostly just a backing track.
With Groov, I attempted to make the player in total control with what was going on with the song, strictly force everything to the backing beat, and do these things in a dual-stick shooter.
Question: Could you describe Groov for anyone who hasn’t seen or played it?
Julian Kantor: Groov is a dual-stick shooter where your actions entirely controls the music, which in turn affects the gameplay. As I say in the official game description (not to get too PR on you…), you are the conductor of a jazz fusion orchestra. You conduct by shooting, and your shots are synced up to a beat and produce synthesizer hits that shift along with the background chords. Your enemies are your players: each type of enemy is a different instrument that plays a note when it explodes. When you pass certain score thresholds, the game and song will move into a new wave. The backing drum track or chords may change, your rate of fire may change, and the mixture of enemies will certainly change.
I really want people to see Groov as a song. The gameplay mirrors the structure of the song exactly, so if there’s a quiet moment in the backing parts and a low enemy density, you will be relatively weak and you will produce a sparse arrangement to go along with the backing track. When the song reaches a climax with a fast beat in the background, you are extremely powerful, and your shots not only produce more complex music on their own but will also blow up more enemies, which have increased in number and variety. A low point in the music is a low point in gameplay, which makes the respective highs that much sweeter. And the whole time, if you stop playing, so does the song; synthesizer, drums, trumpet, bass, guitar and all.
Read the full interview here;
Download a demo of the game straight to your 360 here;