Unser Interview mit dem Audiosurf-Schöpfer Dylan Fitterer
Starting today, Audiosurf is available on Valves Steam platform. PCGames.de had a chat with developer Dylan Fitterer about his independent music game.
PC Games.de: Tell us something about you! How did you come to be a programmer/designer? What do you do for a living? Have you worked on other projects before?
Dylan: I was an avid gamer growing up—I spent many sleepless nights X-COM, Civ, and Diablo. In college I discovered that programming was actually fun and worked for a while doing web code. I wanted it to be even more fun and started tinkering with game design and 3D graphics. Audiosurf was born from that period of experimentation.
PC Games.de: How did the concept of Audiosurf come around? Why/When/How did you begin to work on the game? How did it grow over time?
Dylan: One of the things I experimented with was my project bestgameever.com. A few years ago, I made a free 3D game every Friday on that website. It was really fun and it was great to get a small avid fan base going for my Friday experiments! Audiosurf actually grew out of one of those games—it was called Tune Racer and was the basic prototype sketch for Audiosurf—a musically-oriented highway. It took years of experimentation to bring Audiosurf to the finished product it is now.
PC Games.de: What is the most spectacular thing about Audiosurf? What is the most fun?
Dylan: Choosing your own music and seeing where the experience will lead you is the thing I really love about Audiosurf. It has limitless replayability without relying on random generation. It's especially thrilling to me to have a song with some dramatic highs and lows and really see the track correspond with that. I also love playing an obscure song, checking the high score board, and seeing that somebody else in the world rode it too. Especially if I beat their score.
PC Games.de: What difficulties did you experience when developing Audiosurf?
Dylan: A big challenge was making the game fun no matter what type of song you play—a person who plays classical music needs to have just as enjoyable an experience as somebody who's playing techno or industrial music! So it took a lot of trial and error experimentation to get the game to a adapt to the player's tastes.
PC Games.de: Audiosurf has gotten a lot of recognition lately. Gamasutra, FileFront and even the mysterious Surfer Girl talked about your project. How does that feel?
Dylan: Awesome. While building a game for yourself it's hard to tell if other people will enjoy it, so this level of response feels incredible. After seeing hundreds of Audiosurf videos on YouTube from the first beta weekend I've been completely fired up.
PC Games.de: Could you tell us something about the inside mechanics of Audiosurf? How does the program translate music into levels? How is the rhythm synched with the Tetris-like blocks?
Dylan: As you're loading each song, Audiosurf generates a custom highway track shape for that song. It interprets moments of intensity as downhill parts of the highway, and slower moments as uphill parts of the highway. It scans the waveform for outliers and represents those as blocks.
PC Games.de: What is the best/weirdest song you have ever played on Audiosurf?
Dylan: I come back again and again to a song by Lisa Gerrard called "Sacrifice”. It has really beautiful downhill areas with blazing red tunnels, and a lot of curves. The track also really fits the majestic, moody spirit of the song. Meltdown by Orbital is a fantastic 10 minute experience. Bob Dylan's harmonica makes wonderful tunnels. Just about anything by Daft Punk is perfect. Probably the weirdest is surfing a podcast.
PC Games.de: Any hints for Audiosurf-addicted players? What should we try?
Dylan: I'm looking forward to seeing more players work up to mastering the Pusher Elite character. For me that's when the Audiosurf experience is most engaging, but it does take practice.
PC Games.de: Do you plan to develop any other game after Audiosurf is published? Will there be more downloadable content for the game?
Dylan: I'll be improving Audiosurf after it goes on sale, and will listen to the fans to try to get features in there that they want. The free beta weekends have been great for getting feedback and hearing what the fans really want, and I've been working hard to get as many of those suggestions into the launch as possible. As far as other plans for the future, I definitely want to keep developing games and am open to wherever inspiration takes me next.