23 Apr Cadence | A Musical Playground of Beautiful Puzzles
Peter Cardwell-Gardner, otherwise known as @TheFuntastic depending on how much time you spend online, is the creator of Cadence; a game he has developed together with Rodain Joubert that we really, really want to play. Currently in funding phase, the duo recently had the incredible opportunity of showcasing Cadence at SXSW.
Somewhat experimental and abstract in nature, Cadence is described as an audio-generative puzzle game about making music and breaking the laws of thermodynamics. But what does that mean exactly?
We went straight to the source and asked Peter to let us know. “Cadence is best described as a musical playground of beautiful puzzles. It’s quite an abstract concept, but essentially the game allows anyone with no musical talent to create music by playing a game – a game of logic that uses your problem solving skills to crack puzzles.
The puzzles are made of nodes that the player has to connect to each other. When the player finds the right combination, it creates a loop that pulses can flow through freely. But because each node creates a tone when it’s hit by a pulse, you end up playing music that’s unique to your own individual solution. The puzzles can get really tricky, but we’re also excited to add creative modes where player can make their own levels and really get into the musical possibilities of the game.”
For Peter, Cadence was less a strike of divine inspiration and rather the result of allowing himself time and space to explore ideas. He says, “I was actually trying to flesh out a far more ambitious game about love and human relationships, but realised it was far too big for me to ever have a hope of finishing it. So instead I started working on smaller sci-fi themed game that was supposed to be about a series of experiments. I then chose one of those “experiments” as the basis for a 48hr game jam (build a game in the space of weekend). That idea clicked really well and now 2 years later is called Cadence.”
Turning that idea into a playable finished product mustn’t have been an easy feat. A programmer first, it was important for Peter to create something within his set of skills which explains the game’s very simple shapes. However this hasn’t necessarily been the simple solution, “minimalism can be a very challenging aesthetic to get right – because there is nowhere to hide anything! The look and feel has been through countless revisions as a result. I spent a lot of time studying beautiful motion graphics work on Vimeo to try and figure out how they used colour and space.”
One of the biggest challenges Peter admits is keeping yourself happy when you’re working on a project for such a long time. “Despite collaborating with a game designer on the project (Rodain Joubert) there can be long stretches where you don’t get any kind of positive reinforcement and self doubt is always a struggle. Other than that the perennial challenge as an indie developer is always finances. We recently launched and a Kickstarter campaign which sadly didn’t reach its goal. While that was really tough it did teach us that we have a good game and that while we had no illusions getting the word out there would be tough, we were unprepared for just how tough that was. So we’ve gone back to the drawing board and launched our own Noodlestarter campaign as a humourous way to survive.”