Design meeting summary 2 : The Creative Team Strikes Back

Another meeting, another flow of great ideas.  I’ll write them down so that everyone can see in which direction we’re heading and make propositions.

RIPPLES + BUBBLES = RIBBLES? (not an actual working title…yet :P)

We thought that ripples and bubbles were both such good ideas that we just couldn’t let one go.  As a result, we found a clever way to merge the two concepts together.


As intended, bubbles will be the actual result of the player’s voice inputs in the game.  These bubbles will have different sizes, shapes, thickness, lifespan and other attributes depending on the player’s intention.  This way, voice becomes the starting point of every single action in the game.

Once created, the bubbles will be modifiable with tactile input.  This way, the player may stretch the bubble, change some of its attributes, etc.  We still have to figure out how far can the player go with the manipulation of bubbles, because we don’t want to invalidate the voice input, which could lose part of its meaningfulness this way.

Ooo, stretch stretch stretch! Stretch stretch stretch! Stretch your buuuuubble! Or not.

We also have to see if it is possible for these bubbles to store the voice sample that led to their creation so that we could replicate the player’s voice by manipulating the bubble in some way. Tech guys, I’m talking to you 😉

We would also introduce and “economic” system, whereas bubbles would have endurance and lifespan depending on their attributes.  Per example, a larger bubble could burst more easily than a smaller one.  The player would also be limited in the amount of bubbles in can create at the same time.  We’ll probably justify that by some kind of oxygen-like supply that depletes when bubbles are created.

Finally, bubbles’ edges could maybe fluctuate to a rythm (kind of like a soundwave) to give a visual cue of the voice input the player just made.  This will prove useful for the next part…

A visual display of the voice input (I'll never be a drawing artist...)


Instead of coming from the player, ripples would be created by “emitters”, which would become the building blocks of the puzzles/levels.

These emitters could be activated by the bubbles once you drag one on them.  The actual nature of the ripples would be directly related to your bubbles.   We liked how this represented a message being heard, transformed and then thrown back into a “conversation”.

The bubble gets converted in a ripple

Emitters could also act as obstacles.  Let’s say you want to cross a part of a level, but there are ripples so strong that they actually stop you from going further.  What’s great about this idea is that we’d be able to sync these ripples with the music and sound effects, thus creating an audio environment that is fully intertwined with gameplay.

Example :

One situation, many solutions

This is a basic example.  The player must get to the right side of the screen, but ripples are blocking his way.  He can either :

1) Activate the bottom emitter so that its ripples negates the top one’s.  However, in order to do so, he’ll have to match the pattern (by making a specific kind of bubble)

2) Make a thick bubble that will block the ripples temporarily, thus letting the player get across.

So that is what our two main mechanics would look like!  We’ll dig deeper into those in the next few days, so if you have ideas, don’t hesitate to share them!


We thought that our game should be a joyful one, so we would like to know if you like the following themes : drowning, death, limbo…ok, so maybe not joyful, after all…

Actually, we thought that the game could happen in the in-between moment that exists while you’re dying.  This “hallucination” moment paves the way to abstract representations and lets us establish different moods, just as if life was flashing before the player’s eyes.

Each level would then become a way for the player/character to solve an issue of his past.  Of course, this would only be hinted at, as we don’t want any actual backstory.  But I think everybody can relate to the fact that before dying, we must come at peace with our past.   This could have an impact on gameplay, as the “goal” of each level would be to get rid of a dissonant element (visual or musical) to make everything harmonious before we leave this world.  And in the end, when everything is over…silence.


9 Responses to “Design meeting summary 2 : The Creative Team Strikes Back”

  1. FXDupas says:


    And the tech guys say,

    …Yes. It SHALL be possible to store the voice sample in a bubble/ribble/whatever and then manipulate it.

    Sooooo cool.

  2. FXDupas says:

    I actually have some ideas :

    We could say that bubbles/ripples with similar properties REINFORCE each other, while ripples/bubbles with OPPOSITE properties cancel each other.

    For example, if you have a high-pitched ripple, sending it a high-pitched ripple would give you a more powerful high-pitched ripple (that can finally destroys the obstacle that blocks our way ?), while sending it a low-pitched riplle would simply make it disappear.

  3. FXDupas says:

    Will the player be able to record his/her voice everywhere, or only on certain specific spots ?

  4. FXDupas says:

    Associating sounds with visuals :

    We could associate pitch with color, loudness with brightness, and time with… time.

    Ex : imagine a symbol glowing for a certain period of time. If it glows with a bright red for 2 seconds, it would mean a loud, high-pitched sound of two seconds. If it glows with a pale blue for 5 seconds, it would mean a soft low sound of that same length. The symbol could also glow rhythmically.

    This way we could give visual indications of what kind of sounds the player is expected to produce.

    This could also be used to represent bubbles/ripples.

  5. J-F_bourbeau says:

    (About visual) But is that intuitive enough? Will the player be able to infer how a bubble will affect the environment this way? But I agree it is probably simpler than a soundwave-like border. I think we’ll have to see what we can program and do some early playtesting to see how people react.

    (About bubbles reinforcement) That’s a great idea. Actually, I’m pretty sure this is how it works in real-life. Two ripples out-of-sync will create a flat-zone at their intersection point, but two ripples of the same kind will actually produce bigger waves. Or is it the other way around. Anyway, I absolutely think it should be this way in the game as well. I just found of website on wave physics and stuff. I’m no physicist, so I can’t tell if it is legitimate, but it seems pretty accurate and complete.

    As to when the player would be able to do bubbles, I think it would be all the time. This is only course of action, so preventing him from doing that would make him useless.

  6. Ian Arawjo says:

    “We could say that bubbles/ripples with similar properties REINFORCE each other, while ripples/bubbles with OPPOSITE properties cancel each other.”

    The ripples are water waves. Therefore it actually works the OTHER way around. In order to break a ripple you must match it. The velocities of individual waves are additive.

  7. Ian Arawjo says:

    Also, I was blowing bubbles into water before my midterm yesterday and found that smaller bubbles tend to clump together.

  8. s_dabbous says:

    This is a great discussion, I have 2 things I want to comment on:

    1. I think colour absolutely has to be a part of the gameplay in representing the sound wave bubble. The bubble would be generated by the pitch/amplitude of the recording and be assigned a specific colour. Any ripples then made by this bubble would be the same colour as the bubble generating them. This is is to help ground the player with a visual identifier of what kind of voice/ripple they need to create and to give visual feedback of what happens when multiple ripples interact. Also if you manipulate the shape of the bubble to change its properties, the colour changes as well to guide the player. When ripples are created you then hear the manipulated recording. So that’s what I’m thinking, I hope it makes sense! Let me know what you guys think of these ideas.

    2. About how ripples and waves and such work, we don’t actually have to model it after how they work underwater, as we can just use different properties of sound waves and water waves to help us design a coherent rule set for our specific world. I think we should design whatever is most intuitive with our sounds/visuals first and not worry about the science of how they work in real life (but obviously draw inspiration and design ideas from how they work).

Leave a Reply