Alt.CTRL.GDC showcase: Triband's Suck My Rainbow

"We found an old vacuum cleaner in a closet. It has a huge appetite, and it only eats rainbows! That was lucky, since we were on the lookout for some kind of alternative game controller to take to GDC."

The 2016 Game Developer's Conference will feature an exhibition called alt.ctrl.GDC dedicated to games that use alternative control schemes and interactions. Gamasutra will be talking to the developers of each of the games that have been selected for the showcase. You can find all of the interviews here.

Just what we need--yet another game about helping a unicorn disguised as a vacuum cleaner to suck up lots of rainbows.

Suck My Rainbow from the team at Triband employs an actual vintage vacuum cleaner as a controller. The vacuum is kitted out with with some sort of color-sensing technology that allows it to detect the hue of whatever's in its field of view.

At least, that's how we thought it worked before Rune K. Drewsen of Triband told us the real story behind this innovative game, which will be featured at this year's Alt.CTRL.GDC showcase.

What are your names, and what were your roles on this project?

Normally the Triband trio is Peter Bruun, Tim Garbos and Rune K. Drewsen. But this time we got quite a few helping hands from friends. Audio design by Morten Mygind, soldering help by Jannek Egeskov and hardware guidance from vacuuming expert Jesper Taxbøl.

How do you describe your innovative controller to someone who’s completely unfamiliar with it? 

It’s a vacuum cleaner that thinks it’s a unicorn and as we all know unicorns only eat rainbows. So it’s your job to find the colors it asks for and vacuum them. So satisfy the vacuum cleaner's--sorry, the unicorn's--hunger for rainbows.

What's your background in making games? 

We been making games for a long time now, but last year Tim, Rune and Peter teamed up to found the Copenhagen based game studio called Triband. This year Tim is also nominated for the IGF with his game Progress to 100.

How much time have you spent working on the game?

What game? We have spent a lot of time becoming friends with the vacuum cleaner, and feeding it colors, but we haven't spent any time on any game.

Well, we played some Twister and watched a few movies with it. Turns out it has a big crush on R2D2.

What development tools did you use to build Suck My Rainbow?

Personalities of unicorns are delicate and complex things, so we had to use some additional coding in OpenFrameworks to help tame the beast and an Arduino for keeping the unicorn connected to our physical world.

How did you come up with the concept?

To be honest, we didn't. We just kind of stumbled upon it.

See, we found this old vacuum cleaner hiding in a closet. It told us that it wasn't a vacuum cleaner at all, but it in fact was a beautiful unicorn. The reason why it was hiding in the closet was that society wouldn't accept this.

We told it that in Triband, there is space for everybody, even unicorns. We accept all kinds. It turned out that it had a huge appetite, and it only eats rainbows! Which is lucky, since we were on the lookout for some kind of alternative game controller. So we convinced it to be our traveling companion to GDC.

What’s the better vacuum brand: The workhorse Hoover, or the elegantly practical Dyson?

We only trust the good old Danish brand Nilfisk, which was founded in 1910. And we are not just saying this because Suck My Rainbow is made from an old retro Nilfisk. There is also a rumor going around that Nilfisk is the brand they use in American nuclear submarines, but that’s supposed to be very very classified.

Does Suck My Rainbow require a hypo-allergenic filter?

No filter is needed to enjoy Suck My Rainbow, actually the more open you are, the better.

How many playtesters made a “this game sucks” joke?

This isn’t a Steam review, so what’s up with all this hating and shaming? We think people should be more open-minded. More love, embracing and room for diversity, less shaming, swatting and all that hate talk.

To be honest: This game really sucks!

How do you think standard interfaces and controllers will change over the next five or ten years?

We fear that the keyboard will soon disappear, but we really love the keyboard. It’s a good old school game controller and a great place to spill your coffee.

Actually we love it sooo much that our next big project is a tribute to the keyboard: a game called Keyboard Sports - the Final Tribute but we can’t tell you more about it just yet, it’s still very hush hush.

Go here to read more interviews with developers who will be showcasing their unique controllers at Alt.CTRL.GDC.


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