Pick-A-Mode – Bonus Features in Upbeat Bird

June 14th, 2014

I wanted to avoid redundancy in the music produced by Upbeat Bird. On the other hand, I also wanted the music to repeat itself to an extent. When first being introduced to new sounds, the listener needs some time to adjust the idea. But it has to do something eventually. The solution was to change the mode in which the music was being played. But not until the player starts to get the idea of how to play the game well. Since there are seven primary modes to work with, that also leaves plenty of opportunity to give the player goals to aim for as their timing becomes more accurate. Rewards and checkpoints are important parts of good games! Here’s the breakdown of the rewards in Upbeat Bird:


Yeah, I rock at this.

  • A high score from 0 to 199 = Ionian (major)
  • 200 to 599 = Mixolydian
  • 600 to 1199 = Lydian
  • 1200 to 1999 = Dorian
  • 2000 to 2999 = Aeolian
  • 3000 to 4199 = Phrygian
  • 4200 to 5599 = Locrian

So what happens when the player exceeds 5599? This opened up another opportunity. After the player has earned every mode, why not let them pick the mode their next game is in? So, at 5,600 points the player gets to have a say in what they’re hearing! Or if the player doesn’t care, the can just pick random.

Programming mode selection

Many people understand modes as scales and stop there. But it’s both simpler and much more complicated at the same time. In short, all I had to do was transpose the base line without changing the bird sounds. Change the lowest note in a song, and you change the mode. And just like that, we magically have seven times the music which develops slowly over time! In reality, it’s much more complicated than that, but you get the idea.

Just like a good piece of music, Upbeat Bird always has something new to offer the listener.

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