A Musical World Of Player Creations Has Popped Up Around Indie Hit Mixolumia
The indie puzzler lets players implement their own music.
Small pixelated blocks fall in groups of four as music and visual effects pulsate in the background, creating a mesmerizing effect. Mixolumia takes the serene visual impact of Tetris Effect, with its glowing dolphins and electronic beats, and simplifies it into its purest form. Every puzzle match results in a piano note, a word sung in a capella, or any other musical note that comes to mind.
Mixolumia is a puzzle experience similar Tetsuya Mizuguchi's creation. Diamond-shaped groups of four pieces slowly move towards the bottom of the screen as you match colors. Every match, and every combo that come from those matches, are followed by musical cues and sound effects. Mixolumia only launched recently, but players are already using the system to create their own tracks.
"The game's music system is exposed to the player, so anybody can add their own music," developer Dave Hoffman tells GameSpot. "It's a bit involved, but it's basically making game music and sound effects." A small community of music makers has formed around the game since it launched on PC and Mac through itch.io on August 8.
all i have ever really wanted to do is make chill music for cool puzzle games so when i learned that mixolumia supported player-created soundpacks i had to start on something immediately.— xbox series lasagne (@_JoeCS) August 15, 2020
very early results as i learn how everything works: pic.twitter.com/U4kcdTrpcC
"When I went to buy the game I saw on the itch.io page that it supported player-created sound and music packs, so after getting a sense of how the game played I just dove in," JoeCS, who designed a track for the game, tells GameSpot. "I have some minor web development experience, which I'm sure also helps a bit, though I have not mastered the system by any means, having only been working with it for a few days."
Mixolumia's system isn't as simple to use as other games like it, but some technical know-how will take you a long way. One player used some sounds from Disturbed's Down with the Sickness to build a hilarious custom track.
sorry not sorry #mixolumia pic.twitter.com/8qW8Qwv8Oc— mothbeanie (@mothbeanie) August 18, 2020
Another user says that while their game development history has helped them toy around with Mixolumia's system, it's "not very difficult at all."
"All in all, making a basic sound pack took a few hours," said game developer Heather Flowers. "It was really gratifying to be able to open the game and see what I'd added right away."
Hoffman's creation has been interesting as they documented their entire process, from when they stumbled onto the idea until launch, on Twitter. They're also trying to turn Mixolumia into a platform where other music makers can add to the game and sell their tracks alongside the game on itch.io.
"I'm trying to get people to make their tracks, sell them on itch, and do a co-op bundle so they can all split their profits automatically," they said. Others have expressed interest in using Mixolumia as a teaching tool in game audio classes. "I've seen maybe 4 or 5 works in progress so far and heard interest from a handful more. Someone is talking about using it with students in a game audio class, another is talking about doing a tutorial series."
Been working on an a capella Mixolumia music pack!! I'm very much not an audio designer or musician but I'm having a lot of fun regardless :) pic.twitter.com/iI9HC3eiAt— Heather ⬢ Flowers (@HTHRFLWRS) August 16, 2020
Hoffman has started a Discord server to help players coordinate and share tracks. The game has only been out a little while and players are already experimenting with all sorts of music.
"I had the idea yesterday to have block clears trigger various piano samples that would hopefully sound like one aspect of the music was being composed in real-time by the player," JoeCS said. "I'm having a lot of fun with it, and pretty much every time I go in-game to test it, I end up just playing a full session because the game itself is so satisfying and fun."
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