A Game About Color 0 comments

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.


Why color?

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.

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