Developer Blog


Buckling Down, Modding

Working on Signal to Noise from the very beginning has included a lot of changing things dramatically while still striving for a certain feeling. We began development of the game as a 2D shmup that had enemy spawning based off the music. Then it became 3D like Starfox. Then there was influence from Tempest, on and on and on.

From the beginning on though, the game was meant to focus around the word “Intense” and to give “moments” of some kind of overwhelming rush that few games do these days but classic games did a lot.

All along the way we’ve gotten mixed opinions. Some people thought it was incredible, some thought it was totally going the wrong direction, and some just didn’t care one way or the other. One thing we decided on upon realizing how polar the opinions were: don’t water it down just to accommodate more people. The game is meant to be a certain way, and some people love it. The reasoning behind the concept of not watering it down is that we feel if it’s watered down that we might have a bigger audience, but they won’t LOVE the game, they’ll probably just like it a little bit because they know it was made to accommodate everyone, even those that don’t match their tastes.

This game is for people that like what it is already. However, just for those that want to “fix what we’ve done wrong,” I’m going to outline some more about the modding of Signal to Noise… Remember, all of the following is in the works right now and may not be the same upon release of this content.

If you’re not happy with the graphics, you’ll be able to modify/skin almost all the artwork in the game with what you want. If just the colors aren’t what you want, you can easily change the colors of many things as well.

If you want to make your own music-driven and/or procedural game, we hope you’ll give Signal to Noise full modding a try. I’ve been personally working on the side on a system for Signal to Noise modders to be able to change practically everything about the game to their liking, even down to objectives, how things react to music, how everything moves, the scoring, etc., so that they can make and play the game they imagine without starting from scratch.

One way in which you can mod Signal to Noise is by using the virtual machine scripting with any combination of certain programming languages… in real time. Signal to Noise has always been emphasized as a “real time game” so not only does the music get analyzed in real time, but also the player’s interpreted code (if your code is full of a million bugs don’t expect the game to magically run though). Right now I’m hoping that the following languages will be supported: C#, JavaScript, Lua, and Python.

Another way players can mod Signal to Noise is with an XML document in which they can change a huge variety of attributes of the game. This can also optionally be done in combination with the VM scripting and even with the skinning of graphics.

I’m not sure if the API will be completely open so that other people can make SDKs, but I do know that we’re hoping to be able to support playing mods cross-platform as long as you have the planned modding DLC. If we can get the modding process itself to work on console (not tested yet), you will even be able to make the mods directly on your console version of the game without using a PC.

The full modding system is not even close to being done, and I unfortunately don’t think it will be available upon initial launch of the game, but I personally feel that it could be one of the best things about Signal to Noise. Keep on the lookout for more updates on that.

We’re trying to buckle down now with the game to get it out the door before the century ends and then heavily push the moddability when that’s ready later. We’ve decided that any new ideas without hardly any exceptions will be brought later to the game as mods, moddable options, or new modes. Don’t worry, the game we release will stand on its own without the later additions.