Transcend - retro-style, abstract, 2D shooter
Transcend can best be described as retro-style, abstract, 2D shooter.
The graphics are geometrical, and the pace is sometimes frenzied.
Two features set Transcend apart from other games. First, its dynamic
graphical engine, which can smoothly morph from one complex shape to
another, produces striking displays. Combining these dynamic shapes
with subtle randomizations makes each play through a Transcend level
visually different from the last. The second novel feature is
Transcend’s musical power-up system. As you play through a level, you
are simultaneously assembling an abstract visual collage and arranging
a unique piece of music. Transcend merges video games with pure
art---it can be viewed either as a game or as a multimedia sculpture.
How to play Transcend
Stereo headphones or speakers with good stereo separation are highly
recommended. The music generated by Transcend is in stereo, and how
you interact with Transcend affects stereo positioning in the music.
Transcend is playable on a monophonic sound system, but many subtle
sound features will be missed.
Basic Keyboard Controls:
Arrow keys: direct your glyph around the plane
Space bar: fire projectiles
D key: pick up or drop an Element
P key: pause the game
Q key: quit
Advanced Keyboard Controls:
S key: slide your glyph to the left
F key: slide your glyph to the right
To win a level, you must destroy the major anti-glyph. Your glyph
starts out very weak---its initial projectiles are powerless (they
cannot even destroy minor anti-glyphs). Build the strength of your
projectiles by gathering Elements from the plane and dropping them near
the center of the grid in a collage. Minor anti-glyphs will try to
break apart your collage---destroy them with projectiles (you need at
least one Element in your collage to have projectiles that are powerful
enough to destroy minor anti-glyphs). After you destroy the major
anti-glyph, a portal will appear. Pass through this portal to move on
to the next level.
A more detailed description is given below.
HOW TO PLAY
A level in Transcend contains the following components:
Your glyph - Always at the center of the screen. This is the component
that you control (i.e., "you" in traditional game-speak).
The plane - Marked by a grid. Your glyph can travel anywhere on this
Umbilical - A colored line that connects your glyph to the center of
the grid. This line’s color and width change according to your current
projectile strength and attributes.
Elements - Stationary objects that start out strewn along the borderof
the grid. Your glyph can pick these up and move themaround. Elements
can be dropped at the center of the grid to form a power-up and music
collage (see below).
Music cursor - A red, yellow, and green line that traverses your
Element collage. This line moves to show the current music position in
time. The vertical extent of the cursor represents the stereo space
(red is right, green is left, and yellow is center).
Minor anti-glyphs - The enemy. These mobile components pursue your
glyph and the Elements in your power-up collage.
Major anti-glyph - A large enemy that travels in a circular path
around the grid. This enemy is your primary target: when you destroy
the major anti-glyph, you can move on to the next level.
Portal - Appears after you destroy the major anti-glyph. While the
portal is visible, minor anti-glyphs will stop attacking. You can
explore the various Elements and musical possibilities without being
bothered by enemies. Pass through the portal to move on to the next
When you are hit with an enemy projectile, your glyph drops any Element
that it is carrying and is propelled back toward the center of the
grid. When an Element is hit by an enemy projectile, it is propelled
away from the center of the grid. Once you have started building a
collage of Elements, the minor anti-glyphs will try to knock Elements
out and disrupt your collage.
Power-up and music collage:
Elements that are dropped near the center of the grid (where your
umbilical ends) form a collage. Elements that are dropped near the
collage also become part of the collage (thus, a collage can extend far
away from the grid center as long as some Element in the collage is
near the center).
Each Element represents a projectile power-up. The Elements in your
collage are combined to determine the strength and form of your glyph’s
After your collage contains at least one Element, your projectiles will
be strong enough to destroy any minor anti-glyph in one shot. However,
the major anti-glyph is much more durable, and a relatively large
collage will be needed to make your projectiles strong enough to
destroy it easily.
If your collage grows to be asymmetrical and/or off-center, your
projectiles will become weaker (they will appear transparent and your
umbilical will become thinner).
In addition to a projectile power-up, each Element represents a section
of music. A cursor traverses your collage and plays the music
associated with the Elements that you have assembled. Thus, a chain of
elements that extends perpendicular to the cursor will be played
sequentially in time. A chain that extends parallel to the cursor will
be played simultaneously in time but spaced out in stereo.
Transcend was written by Jason Rohrer.
This manual page was written for Debian by Miriam Ruiz
<email@example.com>. Transcend Homepage