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De symfonie van Vincent

A clumsy opera singer helps you back on your feet

The assignment

The Sint Maartenskliniek, a clinic for people with a walking disability or trauma, organised a game jam to get more games for one of their machines, the GRAIL. This machine is an advanced treadmill with a very big screen around it, creating a virtual reality environment. Players can be tracked in space, and the treadmill can simulate things like slopes, obstacles and slippery surfaces. The only downside is, that there aren't too many games out there to play with this device.

The game

Our game, which won the third price in this game jam and has since been developed further for the GRAIL, was made to be a funny game. Most people using the GRAIL had suffered some kind of trauma, like a stroke or an amputation. We came up with a game where the player has to control the vocal cords of an opera singer. Notes fly in on the sides of the screen, and when they reach the card in the center, the player has to be on the corresponding position on the treadmill. If they aren't able to reach that position on time, the singer's voice breaks when singing this note, leaving a booing audience. But if they do reach it on time however, he'll sing a beautiful note. The slope of the device corresponds with the pitch of the note.

My work on the game

I spent the whole jam creating the rather ridiculous orchestral soundtrack for this game, and singing opera worthy notes for the game. I also recorded all audience responses, like clapping, cheering, and booing, together with my team members.
The soundtrack was created in surround sound, a feature of the GRAIL that up until then wasn't used by any of the applications made for the device. Different reverbs in the front and back of the room, and different positioning of the instruments within the orchestra, were used to create the feeling of being on stage in a really big concert hall. The audience's sounds all came from the front, and people further in the back of the room were, of course, harder to hear, and had more reverb than people in front. The biggest challenge here was to create all this surround sound on a laptop with stereo headphones, and only three moments in the entire weekend where we could work with the GRAIL.