Postmortem: ChromaGun

Posted by (twitter: @pixel_maniacs)
July 24th, 2015 7:48 am

ChromaGun preview

ChromaGun was our entry to Ludum Dare #32. The concept’s inception came late at night after a few (ahem) beers. The theme was “an unconventional weapon”, and we decided to go with color. The player’s objective is to paint walls and enemies with the “ChromaGun”. Enemies are attracted to walls of the same color and float towards them. This core mechanic, paired with elements such as button-triggered doors, deadly electrified tiles and particle grids which only allow bullets to pass through, created some seriously entertaining gameplay, even in the early stages of development.

Get it on the AppStore

During the production of ChromaGun, it became abundandly clear, that we were on track to creating a game we’d want to continue developing after Ludum Dare had ended. After finishing the prototype and submitting it as an entry, we basically trashed the entire project and started again from scratch (except for some basic logic and the models), since we were working with code, written primarily in a very sleep-deprived and partially drunken state, and in a project with a folder structure, that would make anyone with (or for that matter, even without) OCD go running out of the room, screaming bloody murder.

From the very start, we focused on making the game run as smoothly as possible on mobile processing architecture, creating entirely new art assets and playtesting over and over to make sure the code ran efficiently even on older devices. In the process, we also implemented new game mechanics, as well as 38 completely redesigned, mind-bending chambers.

ChromaGun Level Editor Preview

A preview of ChromaGun’s custom level editor

Since ChromaGun is completely tile-based, we’ve created a proprietary web-based level editor for the game. Loading the stages inside of Unity was surprisingly easy, especially considering that this was our first larger-scale project in Unity. Having an easy-to-use tile-based editor at our disposal made level design a dream come true and allowed us to create complex chambers within minutes. However, the tile-based approach did have its drawbacks: Drawing four sides of each wall-tile produced massive CPU overhead, not to mention the lightmapping taking forever. Fixing that took some time, but once we figured out how to delete unnecessary and invisible parts, the game ran smooth as silk.

ChromaGun Level Build preview

Preview of Unity building the ChromaGun level

Building a game for a high-end machine is not quite as challenging as getting the same mechanics to run (and look good) on an older device, but we’ve learned a lot about Unity and we absolutely fell in love with its possibilities.

We hope you enjoy playing ChromaGun as much as we enjoyed creating it. Any feedback would be helpful and highly appreciated, as we’re feverishly working on the next update already. We’d be super-thankful if you just dropped us a line via email, or right here.

Thanks a lot, folks!

 

Watch the trailer on YouTube

Get it on the AppStore

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