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Thread: Brainpipe (windows, osx, psp, iphone)

  1. #1

    Brainpipe (windows, osx, psp, iphone)

    Brainpipe is the new madness from Digital Eel. It's just been released for Windows, and it has a demo (or here, if that didn't work for you).

    I'll let aardvark's blog do the describing:

    A Plunge to Unhumanity

    Yep. The rumors (ahem) are true. There's a new Digital Eel PC game coming out soon. This one's called Brainpipe (and I like it a lot).

    Brainpipe is in the arcade game zone, and kind of retro. You fly through a psychedelic wormhole-like twisty tube avoiding abstract obstacles and collecting "glyphs" as colors, patterns, music and speed shift in intensity. There's no shooting or powerups, things we deliberately wanted to avoid as a kind of challenge.

    I had a lot of fun contributing to Brainpipe's design with Bill and Iikka, and I'm proud to call it a true and equal collaboration. Everyone got neat ideas in that really helped to improve the basic game.

    I had even more fun making music and sfx for the game. Artist Bill (Phosphorous) contributed tracks too. Did you know he creates amazing soundscapes? True, and the stuff's great! Now, this "music"...A lot of it in the game is nontraditional, more ambient and uses techniques of musique concrete, a realm of music involving found sounds and manipulated sounds that Bill and I have been into for a long time. Myself, since getting into composers like Stockhausen and Varese when I was a kid. Bill, falling into it naturally and doing it for fun, like jamming with multiple self-made ambient tracks playing in his art studio. Outer space, man!

    You know, making this kind of music is fairly easy. The trick is putting it together in such a way that it doesn't make too many people want to throw up. Aha! It's dangerous. You're going on intuition and, to a great degree, giving it over to chance. You could end up with crap. But I don't think we did. The results in Brainpipe turned out really interesting. In fact, I think there are sonic surprises in store for folks who play the game all the way through to its conclusion.
    There's also a press release from Shrapnel.

    Last edited by Shadowcat; 6th Oct 2009 at 03:23. Reason: edited title to indicate new platforms

  2. #2
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Thanks Shadowcat. I'd noticed mention of Brainpipe on their website 1-2 months ago but hadn't been back since.

    I just downloaded the demo and had a quick play through. 4430 was my score with a status of 'confusion' -- I presume that's not a good result with a title like that? The journey towards that score was fairly breezy throughout until I accidentally brushed one of the frequently placed worm-hole rims that I had easily passed through minutes before, and soon the twisty tunnels started taking on a much more sinister appearance, with the ambient music lulling me towards my impending nemesis -- confusion...

    It was an enjoyable diversion but I can't see myself actually buying the full game. Here's hoping for a SAIS 3...

  3. #3
    'Confusion' is the major glyph at the end of that difficulty level, rather than a description of how well you did. If you hover over the accumulated glyphs at the end of your game, you'll see all the other mind states and events that you have collected along the way :)

    I decided to buy it, and the visual and aural effects are really pretty neat. The tunnels seem to be randomly generated each time you play, and the starting difficulty level determines how hectic it all is. I got quite far through on my first proper game, however "breezy" doesn't really describe the last few difficulty settings :)

    The audio is very cool. You're flying through your own brain, and all these little audio 'memories' pop out at you along the way. It's rather nicely done.

  4. #4
    This shit is crazy lol

    I think DE's finally made a game that I'd want to buy. Their previous offerings are fun, but not weird enough to make me want to invest my $10. This, however, is crazy lol. Try playing it before you go to bed. Insane I tell ya.

  5. #5
    Registered: May 2006
    Location: Idaho, U.S.A.
    Hm, any game made by a guy who could get into Stockhausen and Varese when they were a kid must be weird.

  6. #6
    So is it possible to finish Coma? What's the highest score you guys have achieved?

    Is Coma like the "end stage" to the demo? Or is it Skill Level 3? Because if it is, no way I'm buying the game lol. It's too insane.

  7. #7
    Don't worry; Coma is just a way of finishing the demo in a less abrupt manner ;) I don't think it ends, but I've never survived it for long!

    The skill level gradient is pretty smooth all the way up.

    My highest score thus far in the full game is 46,288. My guess is that scores of 100,000 or more are possible.

    FWIW, I thought the demo was neat, and I don't regret buying the full version in the slightest, so I'm inclined to say go for it if you enjoyed it thus far.

    Last edited by Shadowcat; 28th Dec 2008 at 16:43.

  8. #8
    is Best Pony
    Registered: Nov 2002
    Location: The magical land of Equestria
    I often felt sad thinking that when Jeff Minter retires the gaming world will be left with a distinct lack of zaniness. I am glad to see I need not have worried.

  9. #9

    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Platte City, MO
    In design terms, Coma is a means of ending the game without providing a hard end-point; it just gets harder and harder and harder. If you grabbed the Unhumanity glyph, then you get to choose your alien form; else you go into a coma.

    Scores of 100,000+ should be possible; I nailed a 99008 during testing and I'm not very good.

    The difficulty level/points curve is kind of weird, and as I understand it the best scores are likely to result from either starting at level 5-ish, or by starting at level 1 and grabbing *every single glyph*.

    The thing I understand best is that the difficulty level sets the starting point in the ten-level series. You can make a one-level grab for your alien form by starting at level 10 (but you have to get a high score to get an alien form... so you can trash all but your best score to clear the list and keep getting an alien form. )

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by James Sterrett View Post
    The difficulty level/points curve is kind of weird, and as I understand it the best scores are likely to result from either starting at level 5-ish, or by starting at level 1 and grabbing *every single glyph*.
    I was investigating this last night :)

    Starting at level 4 maximises the glyph values (70,000), but I suspect that the travel time value is affected in a similar manner, in which case level 5 is probably the optimal start level (69,000 for glyphs, but I'm guessing it makes up for the L4 travel points and the 1,000 glyph point deficit in additional travel points). Starting at L6 only gets you 65,000 for glyphs, so I'm less sure that it can make up the difference, but I haven't done any analysis on this side of it yet.

    Good to hear that a perfect game from level 1 is valuable (or might be?). I've come so close twice (97 and 98 respectively), and will keep trying until I succeed :)

  11. #11
    Success! :) :)

    But no big score bonus.

    74,697 for 100 glyphs.

  12. #12
    Starting at levels 4, 5, and 6, I did glyph-free runs through to the end of level 10. Each of the three runs garnered me a little over 30,000 points (between 30,100 and 30,600).

    There's definitely an error margin, as I've seen variation in my travel scores for a given level and difficulty, but I don't think it would be enough to change the outcome (I'd get about 3,000 extra points starting on level 4, going by my example runs), so I think that level 4 is probably optimal.

    So a perfect run from there would definitely top 100,000. Just not by much. Of course, the final plunge can net a good few thousand (I know I got around 6,000 one time), but I'd say anything more than 110,000 for a final total would be pretty outrageous :)

  13. #13

    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Platte City, MO
    Wow - nice run!

    Supposedly, points for travel time are affected by using slow-time (the left mouse button), but I'm not sure how other than it's a penalty.

  14. #14

    I needed the bonus to get there, though. Looks like I score less in the tubes when I'm getting glyphs than when I'm not. Maybe the slow-down carries a penalty? (edit: Confirmed before I even asked! That must be the whole "game beyond time" effect :)

  15. #15

    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Platte City, MO


  16. #16
    For anyone who tried the demo, and wondered what the later levels are like, Iikka has posted a gameplay video on YouTube:

    The brightness/contrast in the video seems really excessive for some reason. The demo is obviously a better indicator for that :)

  17. #17
    For the Steam fans:

    "Available for 20% off until July 13th."

  18. #18

    PSP and iPhone versions

    Sweet. Ever since I got interested again in buying a hand-held, I've been thinking that Brainpipe would be absolutely perfect for one. And now, hot off the presses...

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Eel
    Hands-On Mobile has just released the demo for the PSP version of Brainpipe! [...] PSP gamers, be sure to teleport here to read more about it.

    Also --and let's keep this one close to the vest for now-- there is an iPhone version of Brainpipe coming and it's coming soon
    It's not free, but at US$5 it's close.

    I actually can't find a damned thing about it at (not sure what's up with that) but you can read more about the PSP version and see a gameplay video at
    Last edited by Shadowcat; 6th Oct 2009 at 03:22.

  19. #19
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    That's perfect. I was playing through the demo again the other day thinking to myself that I would just just love to see this game on my iPhone. A definite purchase for me.

  20. #20
    It's weird, but I'm pretty sure Digital Eel never posted anything else on their site about mobile Brainpipe, so I assumed it had hit some unexpected snag, and never made it to retail. But no, it's available on PSP and iOS, and it's ludicrously cheap -- $3 and $1 respectively, according to this:

    (I tried to find some better links than the ones on that page, but I presume that those of you with these devices will have a more convenient way of finding the game...)

  21. #21
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcat View Post
    ... But no, it's available on PSP and iOS, and it's ludicrously cheap -- $3 and $1 respectively, according to this:...)
    I ended up buying this quite some time ago on my iPhone 3GS and was not overly impressed. In theory it sounded like it would work perfectly but the implementation was really clunky. The conversion was actually done by a different company.

    It received an update a few months ago and I've also upgraded to an iPhone 4, so it might be worth trying again in case they've optimised it for the new iPhone.

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