Inkblot (WIP)

Oof. Spent too much time on this one, missed the midnight deadline, and it still isn’t quite finished. Nevertheless…

Today’s NaCreSoMo Creation is something I started over a year ago: a browser game called Inkblot. I hadn’t worked on it for a long time because there were (and still are) a number of technical obstacles that I’m not quite sure how to overcome. However, one of NaCreSoMo’s purposes is to get us all to publish things that might normally languish unfinished in our drawers on our computers, so I crammed for three or four hours to bring all the major features up to scratch from the half-baked thing I had before.

The game itself was inspired by the music, which is a stolen recording of a “seedling” created by my favorite musical artist, Vienna Teng. (I…should probably check with her before making this any more public than it already is.) When I first heard the music, I commented that it reminded me of another beautiful, music-based shortgame, The End of Us.

(Okay, stop and go play through The End of Us. It takes less than five minutes to reach the end, and it’s beautiful.)

So, inspired by these two works, and as motivation to learn CoffeeScript, I started working on this game, Inkblot. (I discussed CoffeeScript in my post about the Simple Visual Futuristic Sports Scoring System) There were plenty of difficulties at the time, but the main one was that programmatic control of audio in a web browser wasn’t really there yet. I shelved the project and went on to other things instead.

Fast-forward to tonight, when I was complaining to Josephine (Intake) about running out of media and ideas to do quickly. (Ha!) As is often the case with us, conversation found its way to Vienna Teng and her “seedling” project, in which she took fan suggestions (“seeds”; usually simple words or phrases, but in this case a descriptive story) and turned them into small recordings (“seedlings”). And that reminded me of this game from so long ago. Could I accomplish what I needed to?

Turns out in the last year, browser audio’s come a long way (as evidenced by this awesome collaborative game). So, I present you with a rough working version of Inkblot. However, you will need Chrome (or a nightly build of Safari) in order to play it properly—when it comes to experimental browser features, Google’s on top these days. You’ll know if it’s working if there’s music when you start playing.

There’s still plenty more I want to do with this game, but what I did today to get this far wouldn’t have been possible without referring to the Web Audio API tutorial from HTML5 Rocks. If you’re an intermediate web programmer, HTML5 Rocks is a great site to discover the cutting-edge new things in the web world.