Interactive music app creators RjDj have put together a “sonic adventure game” for iOS called Dimensions: Adventures in the Multiverse, which invites you to explore an audio landscape to collect artifacts.
Taking cues from the Inception app, which the company released almost exactly a year ago, the app pulls in data from your surroundings — including movement, time of day and microphone input — to create soundscapes that you need to traverse.
There are five “dimensions” that you can inhabit. Kinetic is activated when you’re walking, and gives you a beat that gets more complex the faster you’re walking. Flux comes up in loud environments, and Tranquil in quiet ones, and the Ghost dimension is only activated between midnight and 1 a.m.
Finally, the Collective dimension is activated by logging into the app at the same time as one or more of your Twitter or Facebook friends. You can record short audio clips, which are then pushed through multiple effects units and played back to your friends, while you get their recordings. Later in December, more dimensions will be unlocked, and yet more will materialize in January.
While in a dimension, you’ll be occasionally alerted to the presence of other objects in the landscape, both good and evil. Artifacts can be collected by pointing at them and sucking them in with a tractor beam, but Nephalims, which appear as shadows, have to be pushed away. Powering that tractor beam are “quantum cells,” which you can collect and also act as a currency of sorts. A microtransaction model lets you buy more — $1.08 for 1,600 of them, at the lowest level.
The concept behind it is one of passive gaming. You do things in real life, and you progress in the game. But it’s not an attempt at cynical “gamification” — it approaches things from the opposite angle. Michael Breidenbrucker, RjDj’s founder, told Wired.co.uk: “It’s a highly crafted, artistic piece.”
As such, RjDj has gone down the controversial route of asking people to pay for both the app itself ($4.70) and including microtransactions. “We’ve spent a lot of time on it, it’s great art,” said Breidenbrucker. “That’s why we wanted to put a price on it.”
If you’re worried that the company is leaving music behind for games, don’t be. Breidenbrucker told Wired.co.uk: “RjDj is more of a band than a software company. It’s just that the music market isn’t the best place to release our music.”
Adding that games and music “might become the same thing at one point,” he said: “A lot of music is done as software, so why not release it as software?” RjDj’s Dimensions is in the iOS app store now. There are no plans for an Android release. If you’re quick, the company is running a promotion to get a stack of free quantum cells if you do some stuff on Facebook. You can find more details on that here.