From my game playing childhood, one game that I’ve remember playing way too many times was Math Blaster. It was a, well, math game filled with action, adventure, puzzles, and a fairly exciting ending. At least, my nostalgia lens isn’t letting me think otherwise. Since I started trying to make games, I’ve been wanting to make a math game. And now, and for the last few months, I’ve been working on a math game called Fugue.
Fugue is, again, a math game, but it didn’t start out that way, rather, it’s what the game became after working on the idea. The initial goal wasn’t to make a math game, but to make something based on birds sitting on telephone wires, with people saying that it resembles sheet music.
I’ve been seeing images similar to the one above for a while, and every time it came up, a voice in my mind said “Someone should make a game centered around this”. It’s likely something that has been done, and truthfully, I didn’t do much research into whether a game like this already exist. I didn’t think that should stop me, so I spent some time drawing some ideas and sketches on how the game might work.
During my sketching and drawing, my mind came around to making a puzzle game. While that was easy, it became a bit difficult to determine what type of puzzle would fit with birds on wires, and with music. A few hours after that, after stepping away for a bit and returning from other tasks (probably a game or something), I felt that making the puzzles math based would make the most sense. At least, it felt like the most natural fit. Math can be intimidating, but has a openness which would allow a lot of flexibility for both players, and for when it’s time to design puzzles.
In order to solve a puzzle in Fugue, you need to get the birds to their nest, with both having the same value. So, that box in the top left, currently a 3 needs to become a 12. On the staff, there are birds which correspond to a number. Each time the flying bird moves over a bird on the staff, it has the staff bird’s number added to it. When the flight bird with a value of 3 flies over a staff bird on B with a value of 4, the flight bird would become 7 (3 + 4 = 7, right?). In the sketch above, this puzzle would fail because the bird nest has a value of 12, and currently 7 does not equal 12. It would also fail in the gif below because 7 also isn’t equal to 5.
Additionally, when a flight bird flies over a bird on the staff, they play the corresponding note. So, in additional to doing some math, you’re making some music. Math problems can be solved different ways, meaning the same puzzle can have multiple solutions and multiple musical accompaniments.
At this point in development, there’s a lot of the main game that works. Birds fly, math happens, and music is made. There are also parts that make the game much more complex, some math related, some having to do with musical notation, things that I can discuss at a later point in time. We’ll see how things go from here!