Indian Gaming App B.O.H.R (Beats Octaves Harmonics & Rhythm) Exhibited at Apps World San Francisco 2014

Gaming lovers Pratik Sharma and Paras Chaudhry have jointly created musical action gaming app B.O.H.R and grabbed a chance to exhibit it at Apps World San Francisco 2014 that happened on 5-6 February.

B.O.H.R. was the winner of BYOG (Build Your Own Game) contest, a part of last year’s Nasscom Game Developers Conference.

This Musical Reaction Game that is targeted at Midcore-Hardcore Gamers and MusicLovers is yet to hit the market and thought to give you a preview of B.O.H.R by bringing you a conversation with Pratik Sharma.

Hi Pratik, tell us about yourself and Paras? We have known each other since high school and both of us have had a childhood dream to get into the video game industry and create games. Gaming is probably something that has been with us since our early childhood from playing games on the N.E.S. and in the arcades, that is an experience we still talk about and in fact we still like to play old N.E.S. games. And so, as soon as we graduated in engineering, we wanted to pursue that dream and joined DSK Supinfocom Pune, where we enrolled in the game programming course and have been learning to make games.

At present, we are in the final year and will graduate in June 2014.

How did B.O.H.R happen? This game was initially created for the Nasscom BYOG 2013(which we eventually won), and we had 60 hours at that time to finish the game. So our idea was to create something which was simple to understand yet complex in game play. We also wanted that people should be immediately immersed in B.O.H.R., (Beats Octaves Harmonics & Rhythm) which is why we chose music as a big part of the game, this way people can have a personal connection to the game and they will keep coming back to it. In fact that is the response we got at Nasscom G.D.C., when we exhibited the game, people would come again and again to try a different music track and see how it feels.

And how was the title B.O.H.R decided? Well,  the game’s name is tribute to scientist Niel’s Bohr as the game is kind of inspired by the structure of the atom, If you look at the game it looks like an electron rotating inside an atom and we being the science nerds that we are, we came up with this name.

Can you share the game play with us? In B.O.H.R. a player can take music track from his/her personal library and load that up in the game and then that particular track will completely decide the player’s whole game play experience.

For example if you chose a track that has a lot beats and a fast tempo, then the gameplay will be that much faster and difficult to play. Similarly if you chose a slower musical track then the game play will be that much simpler and easier. So the whole point is that the player has the power to choose his game play experience based on his mood and preference and at the same time experience your music in a completely different & challenging way. To summarize, our game’s tag line is: Visualize, Challenge your Music.

 The game will also feature real-time multiplayer and friends will be able to challenge each other on the songs they like

How did you grab a place at Apps-World? Apps-World is an annual event organized in U.K. & U.S.A. by Six Degrees Events, and this time it was being held on 5-6 Feb 2014, at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco. I came to know about this event through forums and discussions on LinkedIn groups. So I applied on their website and they asked me about the details of the game. They told us they needed only mobile games, so we ported our game for Android and sent them the new mobile build. Based on which they gave us a spot in their “Indie Game Zone” exhibit, where Indie game developers were given an opportunity to exhibit the game to the people attending Apps-World.

Did you strike any deals at Apps- World? We met people from Leap Motion which is a gesture recognition technology company; they want B.O.H.R. on their App Store and are even willing us to send us their SDK for integration. Everyone who played our game enjoyed our game and wanted to know when it is coming out. Another interesting experience we had over there was, they had a contest called the “Big Indie Pitch”, in this contest Indie game developers had a 3mins to pitch their game to journalists and  there were eight different journalists from different publication. Then in the end those journalists would decide a winner. Pitching the game to people in under 3mins was a great exercise, and even though we did not win (which is probably because our game wasn’t exactly finished) but a lot of the journalists liked our game and encouraged us to get it published as soon as we could..

What are the controls like? B.O.H.R.’s game play is essentially that you control a blue ball, and this blue ball rotates on rings that you see in the game. The rings rotate based on the music that you have chosen and there are opening in the rings through which you can go out and reach upper rings and that are how you navigate between the rings.

The controls of the game are pretty simple, they are just two buttons, with one button you make the ball jump and with the other you change the balls rotation from clockwise to anticlockwise and vice versa. B.O.H.R. is a scoring game and you don’t really “DIE” as such in the game. The aim to score as high as you can, challenge the leader boards, challenge your friends on the songs you like, beat their scores etc.

And are there varied gaming modes?  Yes! We have four game modes right now:

Practice: Where you can test the controls and get the hang of the game before beginning the other modes

Stay on Track: In this mode you need to stay on the unlit ring as long as you can, the longer you stay the higher the score.  The unlit ring changes accordingly and you have to keep moving to score.

Hit The Note: In this mode musical notes will come up from center of the screen based on music, collect the notes to get score. The farther you collect the note from the center, the higher the score.

Grove On: This is a no holds barred mode, in which you can just enjoy your favorite music track and have fun.

We plan to increase these game modes before the games release, to have a lot of variety in the game play.

At which stage has the game development reached? The game is right now in Alpha Stage, which essentially means that all the core mechanics are working fine. Now we need to work on the art, the multiplayer & social components and adding new game modes etc. We plan to finish the game as soon as possible and have a cross platform release on Smartphone’s & PC before the end of the year.

Will it be a free or paid app? We haven’t really finalized on the monetization strategy for B.O.H.R. but right now we are inclined towards it being a paid game, as in you pay once and the game is you’re to keep. Still we are keeping our options open and will choose the best model that perfectly suites the game. How is the look and feel and what is the kind of research happening? The look and feel of the game as of now is pretty simplistic with neon colors. This is the work of two programmers and we are not exactly artists, so one of the things we plan to do is get an artist and define a visual theme for the game. Still I think the game will have a simplistic art style with a lot of background effects that will add to the ambience of the music.

Music is one thing that definitely influenced the creation of this game, Paras & I, we both enjoy music games like Audio surf & Pulse, and we wanted our game to express a similar feeling but in a completely different game play & feeling.

And what kind of animation will B.O.H.R have? Right now there aren’t many animating aspects in the game. But we do intend to add animating backgrounds and effects before releasing the game. Since we want to keep the art simplistic and easy to understand, we think such animation will best suit the game.

What about the finances? B.O.H.R. is made using Unity 3D and we use C# as our programming language. The finances for our game would include buying the unity license before releasing the game, as right now we had been using the free & trial version of Unity3D. Also, since we want the game to have leader-boards, social & multiplayer features we would also have to buy in some cloud services.

Any Closing Comments? The Indian gaming industry is increasing at a tremendous rate, which is actually a great thing for developers like us who want to get into the industry.  But since the industry is still young not many people take the risks to come up with new and innovative games and rather go a more trial and tested route. Hence, we feel our game will be quite different compared to the games produced in the Indian gaming industry.