Polyphonic Paradise

Unity Game Design & Development: A Musical Game

Game Overview

Polyphonic Paradise is a game that was based on a Unity assignment for Stanford’s Introduction to Game Design and Development class, which I took in the autumn of 2018. I worked on a small team where each of us had different roles. I worked heavily on the development of the game, found the design assets on the asset store, and produced each soundtrack for the game levels using Pro Tools.

The game features a main character who moves around different levels to collect music boxes. Each level starts off with a simple melody and as the character collects a music box, another melody is added to the track. The player has to collect all the boxes within a certain amount of time without taking too much damage from enemy blobs that deplete her health when she touches them.

The Need

This assignment focuses on level design and using aural game elements to engage players. As such, it was crucial to have custom sounds that tie music into the game in a creative way. Thus for this assignment, we focused more on creating a game that had a clever use of audio rather than making it a challenging game. The ultimate game we created is more of a “feel good” game where the players build the soundtrack of each level as they make progress.

My Goals

To get experience with designing game levels and to practice my music production skills (still in its infancy but slowly evolving!).

Concept Sketch

I came up with the concept for this game. My sketch below shows the initial vision, which featured boxes that the player could slide across the board. To simplify our deliverable, though, we decided to have fixed obstacles.

Concept sketch

I found a 2D asset package that featured land and water. We chose this package to skin our game and used trees and tree stumps as obstacles. We also found a main character and blob assets that matched the style of our game well.

User Testing

We got game feedback from several people. Major changes included adding a tutorial for gameplay specifics and having a delay between levels so players could enjoy each level’s completed soundtrack a bit longer.

Level Design

Another team member and I created the level designs. Using tile maps in Unity is a bit tricky the first time around but we eventually got the hang of it. Here are a couple of the levels.

Game Demo

Here’s the video that I submitted to the course staff when I completed the assignment.

End Results

We got a perfect score on this assignment. I had fun creating the soundtrack, and the assignment graders loved my effort as well.