Dröm is a senior capstone project from an interdisciplinary team of new media designers and developers exhibited at Imagine RIT on April 27th, 2019.
We had all grown up with some kind of music in our lives and were disappointed to see a decline in music education in schools. We decided to make a rhythm game to engage kids in a new way of making music.
Dröm is Swedish for dream and we wanted to instill in the user a dream-like sense of wonder and joy in the process of engaging with music. Dröm also bears resemblance in spelling and pronunciation to the English word drum. Additionally, we knew from the beginning that we wanted to use drums as they are the most accessible instrument.
To evoke this dream-like quality and echo the form of the drum, we created a new interface to communicate the gameplay to the user. We examined other rhythm-based games and developed a concentric UI to direct users when to hit the drums.
In order to fit Drom’s dream-like aesthetic, we chose particles as the main design element in order to the ethereal sensibilities established through the title.
To comply with rhythm game conventions we wanted the gameplay screen to be engaging and kinetic with the particles synced to the music. The UI elements were designed to be representative of the actual drums with which the player interacts.
The final score screen celebrates the players and emphasizes the team effort while giving them closure in their experience.
We built our own drums using 30-gallon industrial drums fitted with a piece of leather for the head. To detect beats we placed contact mics under white targets that sent information to a trio of Arduinos that then communicated with the program.
The players sat under a metal arch with color-coordinated spotlights shining down on their drums. We set up the exhibit with a central stage area where the drums were situated. To either side were a set of couches where visitors could sit to watch. Closer to the entrance we had a scoreboard as well as the takeaways.
Over the course of the day, 489 people on 163 teams played our game during Imagine RIT and many more came through to check out the exhibit and watch people play.