Swedish mobile developer Mediocre isn’t interested in creating violent video games. In fact, the two-man team—known for immersive physics-based platformers like Sprinkle and Granny Smith—strongly believes that violence in general is not essential for delivering engrossing video game experiences.
Mediocre’s latest game, Smash Hit, continues this trend in building the gameplay experience around a particular type of physics. In the game, players are tasked with carefully throwing a finite number of metallic balls at glasslike objects and walls and watching as they shatter with striking realism.
Mediocre co-founder Dennis Gustafsson, whose worked on physics engines including NVIDIA’s own PhysX prior to starting Mediocre with co-founder Henrik Johansson, explains why physics are such an integral part of the studio’s design philosophy.
“Physics is generally fun to play with,” Gustafsson says, “and that is a quality we often look for in games—that the game is not just challenging and fun to play, but also fun to play with.”
As Gustafsson explains, the idea to create a first-person object-breaking game originated while developing the breakage physics in Mediocre’s previous game, Granny Smith.
“Smash Hit was pretty much a finished concept already at the idea stage,” he admits, “and the final game is surprisingly close to that original idea, with some tweaks here and there…it’s very exciting to finally see it hitting the shelves.”
One of the ways in which Smash Hit innovates on the physics-based genre is its audio engine that reacts dynamically to the player’s actions so that there’s a connection between the game’s sound and physics.
Gustafsson notes that the glass-breaking sound effects are combined in run-time—based on the physics to create realistic sounds—and real-time sound processing layers that emulate the acoustics of each room. So, for instance, when a player enters a large hallway they will hear echoes, while entering a narrow tunnel will trigger an entirely different aural characteristic.
Developing games that will inevitably be played on such a wide array of mobile devices can be tricky. But Gustafsson feels as though the best way to experience Smash Hit is on a device capable of displaying it in 60 frames-per-second with the game’s visual settings set on “high quality.”
“[We] offer three different graphics modes as a user setting,” he says. “The best one offers pretty advanced rendering with reflection, refraction and depth-of-field and it runs very smoothly on Tegra 4."
Gustafsson says that what he is most proud in Smash Hit is its minimalistic yet atmospheric visuals set in an abstract world—and how that all works together with the level-synchronized music and pace of the game.
“We wanted the setting in Smash Hit to be abstract, but highly realistic,” he says. "It worked out really well."
Smash Hit primed to launch into Google Play and TegraZone on March 6th.