Tag: Notespace

Notespace Beat

Notespace, the incredible journey!

As many of you know, I have been working with Alexis Brandow, who is owner of Amorse Inc. on a great product, called Notespace Beat. Notespace is an interactive musical activity book for kids. Its a very different vision for mobile and its jammed full of content. Its first a storybook, with each page being its own interactive puzzle packed with unique little experiences. Secondly, its a bunch of mini games, all of them different. The experience revolves around musical concepts, some of them classical like scale and intonation and some, not so classical like LFO waves. Thirdly, Notespace is virtual instruments. Currently it has a mix machine and a synth with 40+ different synth instruments. Like I said, jam packed full of content. The game also sports a musical album, by musical artist Bosko, that the players can win and download. The album is pretty dope just as a stand alone but he worked with us through out the project, adding touches here and tracks there.

The first thing we knew going in to this is that it would be a tough sell. Its a tablet only game on musical concepts with the main protagonists being non stereotypical female roles… not quite the game selling formula everyone is used to. We weren’t trying to make any kind of statement on gender but Alexis did want female role models that weren’t a-typical. She didn’t want super girly girls and she didn’t want its antithesis, super tom boy tomb raiders. She wanted roll models…




Kindle Fire HDX and Unity

Unity and the Kindle Fire HDX… a Christmas story!

As most of you know, I have been working on my wife’s game, Notespace, for the last year. It has been an epic adventure filled with joy and peril but treacherous waters of publishing on Android. You can avoid a lot of the problems by publishing multiple builds per texture compression but every now and then you get those sharp rocks that come out of no where. And that, for me, was the mysterious crashing on Kindle Fire HDX devices.

Now before I move on, for those that don’t already know, Android devices use an array of GPU’s where as iOS devices only use one (Power VR). This generally does not affect you in anyway except when it comes to texture compression that has alpha. Unity’s default Android compression setting is ETC 1/ RGBA16. What that means is that it will compress power of 2 textures with no alpha as ETC 1 (an older OpenGL format) and will set compressed textures with alpha to RGBA 16. On average, RGBA16 will be at least double the size as your compressed texture so it has the ability of sending your GPU memory usage over the edge. That being said, I have not actually seen that happen on a device but that kinda means nothing on Android with a gazillion devices on the market. Whats more important is that 16 bit textures can look really bad, especially if you have a lot of gradient work. So there is 2 ways around it. 1) Build a custom shader for your compressed images with alpha…