Using the color changing mechanics, Chroma Shift is already a unique title within the niche market of space shooters. But as the title of this post alludes to, Chroma Shift | Remnants isn’t a shooter. Well, some enemies will eventually shoot at you, but since the player will not be firing off any weapons, a “non-shooting shooter” is what it is. There’s no prolific reason why we chose to make the game this way. We just wanted to see if we can overcome the design challenges this creates while still making a crazy fun game. And the challenges are many.
So How Does the Player “Attack”?
You’re in a scout ship from a utopian world that never experienced violence, so granting the player a weapon just didn’t make much sense. With that said, the main ability of the player is to phase into another dimension. During this shift, a small vacuum is created that attracts and absorbs fusion cores around the player. A side effect of the shift is that it grants the player with an insurmountable destructive force to objects that match the dimensional frequency (color). The player can use this to destroy incoming enemies and obstacles and even diffuse laser based projectiles along their adventure.
TL;DR: If you activate your protections, you can ram your enemies into oblivion.
What other abilities will the player have?
The purpose of the player’s ship is to explore areas that are too hazardous for most others. To this end, the player’s ability was mostly designed with speed, avoidance, mobility, and survival in mind.
- Gear Shift – Allows the player ship to adjust the speed like they would in a manual transmission vehicle. Slow down to a near stop to let something fly by or kick it into high gear and outrun the threat, it’s your choice. (This is something that has not been done since most space shooters play in a static screen-space.)
- Decoy Drone – Provides a cloned signature for enemies and other threats to attract to. This will provide that much-needed protection from the overwhelming odds ahead of you.
- Last Stand – is a powerful ability that freezes time slightly before the time of death, then pulls in resources in hopes of gaining the required cores to survive the collision.
- Phase Shift – gives the player a short-range vertical teleport maneuver. Using it in rapid succession will be the key to getting past some of the craziest obstacles.
With all of the abilities and collecting fusion cores to change colors, context-sensitive actions (e.g. collecting data, or preventing yourself from being sucked to a BLACK HOLE, etc.,) among varied enemy types, you’ll have plenty of things to do in the moment to moment gameplay sequence. You may wish you had a gun, but it’ll be because of survival, not because of boredom.
Chroma Shift is all about color: Artistic/Scientific color theory, the psychology of color, and color as a game mechanic. In this article, we explore the latter.
Making an action game that uses color isn’t something new. But creating a game using color as more than just a simple label is. Take Ikaruga for example. One of my favorite games that utilizes color. At the time of release the game’s main mechanic was totally new. As you shoot your way through the levels, the you can switch your ship’s protection between black and white to absorb the same color while applying damage to the opposing color. Though when beyond the surface, those could have been any two labels. Red/Blue, pink/orange, polkadot versus stripes, it didn’t really matter. In Chroma Shift, the main color system uses the spectrum of light and their properties to create fun gameplay scenarios for our players.
Well, we chose color as a game mechanic for two reasons. Firstly, because not many games use it in gameplay, and those that do, use it sparingly. I felt there was some room in an industry that’s full of games that do the same thing. I guess that is my spirit of an indie developer coming out. Secondly, I like color. I wanted to create an explosion of color zooming around the screen. Almost like a epileptic masochist’s wet dream. I originally designed this game to be a hyper-casual game for mobile devices. You were a bunny running through colored logs and this trail of rainbow dust would follow you as you did better. More on that in the future. (Side Note: When I was younger, people would always ask me what my favorite color was. I never had one. I may be more attuned with one or another at times, but overall I love them all equally.)
How does color work in ChromaShift
The basics of the Chroma Shift’s color system are this: Match your ship’s color with that of the obstacle and activate a defensive ability so you can overcome that obstacle. The game system uses the three primary colors of light: red, green, and blue. Mixing two of those colors together could achieve the colors, yellow, cyan, and magenta. Finally, mixing all three of the colors will produce white. You gain color properties by collecting fusion cores scattered throughout the game’s levels. Running into an enemy unprotected will cause the enemy to remove that matching core from your inventory, if you do not have that core, your ship will be destroyed.
Overall, it’s pretty easy to achieve all three colors to produce white. That’s when the negative core (nega-core) comes in. Picking up a nega-core will remove one of your current cores from your inventory, or if in the case that your ship color is white the nega-core will remove ALL of your cores at once. This way you’re never truly invincible. Nega-cores aren’t all bad, there will be times were bypassing an obstacle will require your ship to be a specific color. If your ship current holds other color cores, you can grab a nega-core to remove the excess cores.
This is just the basics of our color system. As we delve deeper into Chroma Shift’s design, we’ll explore supplemental mechanics, how color used in obstacles and environments for narrative purposes and how they combine to provide a unique gameplay experience.
Thank you for stopping by our little dev home. We’re elated (and admittedly a little scared) to finally present ourselves to the world. Over the course of eternity, we would like share with you the thoughts, dreams, challenges, insights, and experiences that make up our journey into professional indie game development.
As with most new businesses, we to have a mission statement which acts as our guiding light:
7 Sentinels is committed to building innovative and exciting gaming experiences through the use of transparent, inclusive, and collaborative methods. We aspire to constantly be open minded and creative, to remember our roots and inspire others to pursue their passions wherever it takes them.
7 Sentinels has been a dream of ours for so long. But dreams don’t just come to life. You must act on them. The reverie of bringing our own creations to life, from the stories we tell and the mechanics we develop, gives us the strength to keep pushing every day. We are passionate about video games, how they shaped our lives, and how they continue to transform the generations after us. This is the fuel behind our drive to succeed. It wasn’t until 2015 that we really focused and committed ourselves to the design process. We decided the time was now and pushed forward.
All of us are long time gamers dating all the way back to the Atari and Intellivision game consoles. Having seen game genres literally form into existence, we decided that we wanted to challenge ourselves to innovate on these genres. It was at this time that 7 Sentinel’s direction would become clear. We use innovation to create unique perspectives and explore new game mechanics. This line of thinking and commitment led to the development of our first title: Chroma Shift.