posted an update

Here's some thoughts about the future of Polytunes. Comments are welcome and very much appreciated!

As of today (as we made it during the Meteor hackathon), Polytunes is half a (not so funny) game and half a (very simple) music instrument. I think that in the future, Polytunes could evolve in two different directions, that are not necessarly compatible: be a better music instrument or be a better game.

Polytunes could be a better music instrument. It could feature a lot of customization settings like pitch, musical scale, tempo, note ADSR enveloppe, in other words, all settings you can find on a real life synthetiser. But we already have real life synthisers, along with HTML5-made music tools (check the amazing Star Song that was also made during the hackathon) so that I feed that would be pointless. I also think one of Polytunes' strength right now is that it's dead simple and can be played by anyone without any musical knowledge — that's something I'd like to keep.

Polytunes could also be a better game. What makes games fun, especially creative/artistic games is that they have constraints (think of creative writing games). That actually means less liberty, less customization options and adding rules to limit player abilities. Those rules could also be a solution to the problem that when a lot of users are online at the same time, it quickly ends in a frustrating and cacophonic disaster. Having said this, I'm much more willing to take Polytunes in the "game" direction.

Here are some rules we could add :

  • Limit number of players per board (4/5 ?). Of course there would be several public rooms and the possibility to create private rooms.
  • Limit number of notes on the board. If maximum is reached, either ask users to delete one before being able to add another, or delete the oldest note on the board.
  • Limit the ability to add notes by forcing the user to wait until other players have added a note. That would basically make Polytunes a turn-based game and would encourage each player to pay attention and cooperate with other players.

Of course there still wouldn't be high scores, challenges or a clear objective (other than cooperate and create the most beautiful melody possible), but I think that would help to organize all the raw creative energy we've witnessed on Polytunes so far, and make it a funnier game.

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