BeatTap is a rhythm mobile game where you tap to the beat while trying to survive. With each successful tap, you move the ball to a new position on the screen. You must be careful where you move to avoid getting popped by falling obstacles. For an extra challenge, the time between beats gets faster upon the successful completion of a level. The overall goal is to get the highest score by getting as many successful taps as possible.
The Game Core
Natural Rhythm: Having the gameplay fall in line with how players might naturally tap along to the beat of a song.
Pillar 1: Intuitive controls
The controls are limited to only taps to mimic how people may unintentionally tap along to the beat of a song.
Pillar 2: Music-based obstacles
The environmental obstacles are generated by the notes of the song, ensuring that you are never caught off guard about what to expect.
Pillar 3: Forgiving gameplay
A small hitbox on the character and having the character’s location teleport rather than move help ensure that the player never feels like a loss was cheap or accidental.
I was the sole developer on this project, creating it in just a few weeks in order to familiarize myself more with mobile development. The project would end up being a lot of firsts for me, not only being my first time developing for mobile but also requiring me to even create simple music. The music would be an interesting challenge for this project as its approach was directly connected to the game's level design.
I knew I wanted a connection between the level design and the music from the get-go. While saying on the beat was how the player stays alive, figuring out the exact connection between the level obstacles and music was more challenging. At one point, I hand-created the level to generally match the music I made, but this never synced up quite right and would always get worse with bpm adjustments. In the end, I decided that the notes would be broken out into individual sounds, and the script that told a note to play would also spawn an obstacle in the correlating position. This created a dynamic and engaging level but was also readable by distinct audio cues. Audio cues persist as the level speed increases, making the sound sometimes more trustworthy than your eyes.
The character movement was an essential focus despite not being very complicated. The project's origin stemmed from tapping along to the beat of a song without thinking about it, so the tap-based gameplay had to feel as natural as possible. Maintaining a natural feeling, in the end, required a bias towards the player more than anything else. Things like a significant window of time to tap a beat in or a collision radius slightly under that of the circle exist to help the player never feel cheated by a loss. This emphasis on gameplay feeling fair is why the circle teleports to the payer’s touch position rather than travel to it. In testing, I found that players often felt frustrated that the loss wasn't their fault as they had chosen a good spot, but something out of their control made them lose.