Look out, Miyamoto. A Scottish independent games developer has devised some Wii software that trumps upcoming rhythm game Wii Music – and isn’t letting a failed attempt to secure investment on BBC’s Dragon’s Den discourage him.
Yann Seznec appeared on the BBC business show last month, demonstrating his software Wii LoopMachine, but didn’t excite the VC ‘dragons’ enough because he’s an independent trying to crack the traditional publishing scene.
But Seznec has since told Develop that he is undeterred by comments from millionaires like Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis and will find a way to get his game to market, having already been courted by a number of publishers and developers.
“The week following the screening of my episode was rather hectic,” he told us.
“I would rather not mention anyone by name, but I was definitely surprised to learn that several large independent publishers and developers watched Dragons’ Den.”
Wii LoopMachine was developed entirely on the Mac by Seznec as part of his MSc in Sound Design at the University of Edinburgh. The app originally found an audience on the web early in 2007 virally, when the first version was released for free.
Since then, however, Seznec has been developing an updated V2 and a whole suite of music creation tools for the Wii. He already sells a MacOSX version (which
uses the Wiimote via a Bluetooth connection) through his site, and is also working on a Windows-compatible version.
“When the Wii came out, I was captivated by the idea of low-cost motion control,” he said. “As a performing electronic musician, I knew that movement is something that is really missing in electronic musician performance, so I designed a powerful and intuitive tool that could be used to quickly and easily create music through movement.
“The idea of moving to control a game, video, or audio, is obviously quite exciting, and it appeals to a wide range of people – in particular people who are not usually attracted to console gaming. Motion control is also a hugely romantic notion in the field of digital arts, which is often searching for more intuitive ways to control computers in an artistic fashion. In my case, the ability to have your movements translated into music really appealed to me.”
Seznec is looking to target a pro-audio audience with the software, which isn’t strictly a game but which he hopes will be sold to Wii-owning consumers.
He explained: “There is no gaming element to the LoopMachine, in that you do not ‘win’ anything and there are no levels. It is much closer to music software like Ableton Live or Reason. The vast majority of music-based titles for gaming consoles now are Guitar Hero-style karaoke games. That is fine, of course, and those will always be popular. But an enormous number of people want to make their own beats and music – just look at the number of YouTube ‘how to make a beat’ tutorial videos. The LoopMachine gives complete control to the player to make whatever music they like! However the huge advantage over traditional music creation software is that is uses a controller that is intimately familiar to millions of people around the world.”
Seznec is looking to partner with a development studio to take the game forward and most likely distributed digitally.
“I am not a licensed developer. Because I have not developed any games previously I am finding it rather hard to get Nintendo’s attention. At this point it seems more likely that the best route forward is to partner with an existing licensed developer,” he told us.
“I think WiiWare is the most promising platform to take the LoopMachine forward. It’s cheap and easy to develop for, and allows for rapid low-cost distribution. It definitely seems like the best way to introduce people to the LoopMachine on the Wii console.”