While I only worked on Color Switch for a short time, there are a few really cool things I did that I’m proud of that I’d like to elaborate on.
Recreating The Original
For reasons I won’t get into, when I joined the team we needed to rebuild Color Switch from scratch using Unity. Since Color Switch had accumulated tons of features and game modes in two years, the goal was to basically start over with the original Endless mode and some bespoke levels and then update the game every week with new content and every other week with new game modes.
Recreating the basics wasn’t difficult; It’s just a bouncing ball and some rotating shapes… but after the initial pass, the game didn’t feel right. The truth is that Color Switch’s creator, Dave Reichelt, did an incredible job calibrating the movement, bounce, and gravity of the ball to be a perfect challenge in the original version.
Ultimately, it took much longer than expected to correctly match all of these details in a way that retained the correctly balance of casual accessibility and unforgiving difficulty of the original game. This extended not only to the speed of the bouncing ball itself, but to the size and speed of the various obstacles as well. I’m really happy that we were able to do this, as the new version plays in a way that is basically indistinguishable from the original.
By the time the new version launched, we had level design tools and were committed to weekly updates with new content. For the “classic” game mode, we mostly copied the original version’s levels. For the new game modes that were similar to Classic mode, it was easy to just drop new levels into the game and try them out… but for the all-new Bricks mode, we needed to start thinking about levels before the editor was complete, so I did the fastest thing I could think of: “Prototyped” levels by drawing them in Google Slides!
This turned out to be a great way to think through level design quickly and get sign-off from the team. I started with a template that just filled the upper part of the screen with bricks, then duplicated it and deleted around the bricks I didn’t want. The mode could use other objects and shapes as well, plus various power-ups. Ultimately, it was meant to be “Color Switch’s twist on Breakout,” and I think we achieved that goal handily.