Everyone likes a little music whether that’s simply listening to it or being able to create it for yourself. Virtual reality (VR) developers have built all sorts of ingenious ways for VR fans to get their music kicks, from enjoying live acts through apps such as TheWaveVR, to more direct creative methods like Survios’ Electronauts. Indie developer Brian Fitzgerald has come up with his own version, a simple design involving pads and balls called Symphonics.
Unlike Survios’ title which pretty much allows anyone to sound good using predefined sounds, Symphonics leans more towards the classic music maker genre where you have to build the bass and rhythm using the instruments and mechanics to hand. That doesn’t mean if you’re tone deaf you’ll struggle but it certainly helps if you know a high-hat from a clap.
As mentioned Symphonics uses a straight forward pad and ball mechanic whereby the pad represents a note, activated when a ball fired from a launcher hits it. Set in an almost blank virtual world you’ve got complete free reign to place the pads and launchers anywhere you like, ricocheting balls in whatever direction you please to make a tune.
While the actual visual design is very barebones Fitzgerald has clearly concentrated a lot of his time to the instruments and the various options they can provide. Bringing up the menu lists a whole host instruments such as snares, woodblocks and even harps. These can then be selected with the other controller and put in place. It’s a shame there’s currently no way of listening to the instrument before placing the pad, only the ball seems to active it.
Once placed certain instruments then have further options to alter their sound, generally by changing the key, collectively making for a decent selection of sounds. In addition to the pads the developer has also included that he calls ‘logic system’ options. Currently all this refers to is a selectable ‘switch’, so when a ball hits it the ball will be teleported to one of two outlets.
All this eventually leads to the creation of all sorts of weird and wonderful combinations of pads with yellow balls flying everywhere. What’s more, the title also includes a full save project option so you can fully work on a tune and continue coming back to it and show others all your hard work.
Really this should be an Early Access title as it’s clearly still very much in development with issues like not being able to teleport with the pads being an annoying issue. Symphonics isn’t going to be for everyone, it’s way too stark at the moment. However, if you love VR and creating your own music then this is certainly worth a look for the cheap price as it is entertaining, and VRFocus will be interested in seeing it take shape.