Hi everyone! Shawn here again, and I brought along Dyad‘s composer, David Kanaga. We’re going to talk a bit about Dyad’s interactive music system, how it works and what makes it unique. We’re also treating you to a free three-song EP consisting of linear mixes of Dyad’s interactive music and some new screenshots!
Below is a new gameplay video showcasing one of the later levels in Dyad. Don’t worry if it looks too complex! It’ll make perfect sense once you’ve completed the earlier levels.
When you hear the term “interactive music” you might think of “rhythm games” such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Frequency, or others of that nature. Dyad’s music system is very different from those games. There’s no beat matching or imposed rhythm in the game. The music doesn’t dictate play, nor does it judge you. Dyad’s music is reactive, meaning it’s mixed dynamically on the fly, based on the current game state and how you’re interacting with it. Each time you play a level, the music is different — playing Dyad can be viewed as a “performance” in a sense.
There is a tremendous amount of variety in Dyad’s rules and mechanics and the music is equally varied. Each level is treated as a unique piece of music and is composed to match the structure of the level. Certain levels challenge you to race as quickly as possible, and the music intensifies, matching your speed. In other levels you collect objects or perform certain actions quickly, and, likewise, the music becomes richer with the fulfillment of these goals. Levels have many sub-goals, sometimes only a second or two long, and even here the music shifts and reacts accordingly.
An individual level consists of up to 300 different loops and scale notes. Dozens of loops play simultaneously and are mixed dynamically based on your interactions; loops are also swapped in and out constantly to match the continually changing game state. Dyad’s music system is built on the foundations laid out by some of our favorite games such as Rez and Everyday Shooter but we’ve taken it to a whole new level. Interactions do more than simply play a musical event in the key or pulse of the background music. Different interactions change the mix of loops, play new loops, stop loops, change effects and filter parameters, change the tempo of the music and much more.
Download the three songs for free from David Kanaga’s Bandcamp page here.