Haiku Tunes

Demo of Haiku Tunes


Art, music, and software development by Leah Tynan. Poetry by A. Rehn, Janet Li, and Leah Tynan.

Concept & Process

Haiku Tunes (launched May 2022) is a word game made immersive by poetry, visual art, and music.

The user solves a series of crossword puzzle-esque clues, revealing sample words from a haiku line-by-line. When correct answers for all three lines of the poem are given, the full haiku is revealed.

This game has two sources of inspiration:

Haiku Tunes features poetry (some donated from friends) on the themes of world peace and war as a reflection of the war in Ukraine that began around the same time I was brainstorming and planning out the game. In the game's art and music, I wanted to balance a portrayal of hopefulness and seriousness. Creating was a way to process the events going on in the world and it felt meaningful to — in however small a way — support peace and democracy. Content-wise, this is a new direction for me.

The structure of the art and music is based on the structure of haikus, which have three lines. Each line of the poem has a visual pattern (such as spirals or a set of ovals): the pattern is full-screen when solving the puzzle for a line, and when the full haiku is shown, the three patterns appear as panels in a triptych (going left to right). I came across a triptych project from my high school art portfolio class, which gave me the idea. Similarly, the music has three phrases which are first shown individually and then played together (plus some ad-libbing) when the full haiku is showing.

The game can be re-skinned with other themes and perhaps other forms of visual art. I'm imagining something like a nature photography edition with Robert Frost-esque poems as the next edition.


This work was created with the Unity game engine. Its C# code is open source on GitHub.

The music from the game is on YouTube in the Haiku Tunes playlist.

I worked on most of this game during my maternity leave. It was a great way to ease back into coding after the longest break I had taken from it — this in itself was inspiring and extremely encouraging. Check out my blog post Gaming and Coding with a New Baby at Home to learn more about this journey.

Coming soon! I will post a series of Tweets with some technical tips from the development of this work.

Puzzle Answers

Similar to the way crossword puzzles are presented, I have provided the answers to the clues below in case you get stuck.

Puzzle 1

A synonym for "harmony", may be preceded by "world": [click for answer]

The Beatles song, "All __________ Now": [click for answer]

Not complicated: [click for answer]

Puzzle 2

Theme of Valentine's Day: [click for answer]

House of _________atives: [click for answer]

All the people of the world: [click for answer]

Puzzle 3

Star in the sky that doesn’t move, aka "Polaris": [click for answer]

Units of a sentence: [click for answer]

_____ and sound: [click for answer]

Puzzle 4

Synonym for "courage": [click for answer]

Center of the circulatory system: [click for answer]

As Dorothy would say, "There's no place like _____": [click for answer]