2 min read

How an indie game became the star of a Nine Inch Nails music video

Thanks to an unexpected Twitter direct message, Jeff Minter's game Polybius landed the starring role in the video for a Nine Inch Nails single.
"I just did stuff that I felt went well with the energy of the music, and I was really pleased when Trent liked what we'd done."

- Jeff Minter details how he created a custom build of Polybius in a matter of days for a NIN music video.

Speaking to Ars Technica, game developer Jeff Minter shared the strange set of circumstances that landed his indie game Polybius the starring role in a Nine Inch Nails music video.

So how does an indie game end up in a Nine Inch Nails music video? Minter says that the whole shebang came as the result of a completely unexpected Twitter direct message from Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor. After a brief exchange, Reznor pitched his idea for a music video that would feature Minter’s game Polybius set to the tune of Nine Inch Nails’ Less Than.

From there, Minter tells Ars Technica that the actual process of customizing the yet-unreleased PC build of the game to incorporate the song’s lyrics was a relatively straightforward affair that he quickly coded in only a few days. The modified build calls a script that ultimately displays text, in this case the lyrics to Less Than, at set timestamps and also includes options for additional shader changes and visual effects. 

The code snippet below was shared with Ars Technica and offers a small peek at the changes Minter made to adapt the lyrics of Less Than into his game. Meanwhile, the finished product can be found in the video above. 

# Track energy increases
>[1:07.5]FOV 4.0,2.0,0.5
>ROLL -0.5,0.3,12.0
>POSTPROC 3,3,0.1,0.05,ff7f00ff,ff00ffff
>TETHER 1.0,0.3,2.0
>THROTTLE 0.5,0.7,1.0


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