January 25, 2004

Unity Update and Musings

by Nick Montfort · , 8:13 pm

The Yak has fed us some additional screenshots of the in-development Unity, screenshots I mentioned in a comment ealier, but since I couldn’t include an image in the comment … here:

A nice, short, and to-the-point interview with the Yak (a.k.a. Jeff Minter) is on GameSpy. Elsewhere someone noted that “Jeff hates people saying its like REZ.” Just to clarify my earlier post: I didn’t say it was like Rez! I said it was (going to be) better!

But really, I hardly think that making this comparison is derisive … Tempest 2000, Rez, and Unity clearly have something in common: they push beyond representation into a new, extraordinarily imaginative space. “Being, in Rez means being (as) an instrument, being in time – engaged, entranced, and embodied in/by one’s environment.” The same statement holds for Tempest 2000; I suspect the same will be the case for Unity. I suspect this isn’t alien from the experience of early video game such as Asteroids. How many people who played Asteroids remember the music and sound design? I certainly do, and I suspect the sounds of that game are much more memorable than in more “advanced” game such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, and are a much more integral part of the experience. “In Asteroids … the pace is never yours. The rhythm of the game belongs to the machine, the program decides. When the play picks up, Asteroids pounds out a beat that stands between a pulse and a drum. … You play to the relentless pulse of a machine heart.” Sinister? Maybe, but dancing to any recording or instrument is also playing to a machine-produced beat.

Unfortunately, still no release date for Unity