Prismatic

I’m working on a game! Here’s a link, (I’ll figure out embedding at some point): http://mshnik.github.io/Prismatic/

I began Prismatic while at Originate this past summer. Part of Originate’s internship program gives interns 20% of their time to design and actually make something really cool. As you know, I like games. I think games are really cool, so that’s what I set out to do.

The idea for Prismatic began with a revelation that many puzzle games today are hilariously simple. In “swap-the-thing-to-match-things” games like Bejeweled, Candy Crush, and others, the only difficulty is that the human mind is bad at picturing the board after more than a couple changes are made to it. Additionally there is an element of luck in these kinds of games – you never know exactly what piece will fill in when you remove pieces from the board. In “connect the dots” game such as flow, and also puzzles like sudoku, the only challenge is identifying the limiting conditions – which lines or numbers have only one possible location. Finally we have an endless stream of physics-based puzzles like angry birds and cut the rope, in which the solution to the puzzle is usually apparent to the player, the only difficulty is executing the action correctly.

Thus I began with these common pitfalls in mind, and set out to make a game that tried to avoid them. That means:

  1. Nothing random, at least in the basic game mode. The whole board is visible to you from the start, as is your end goal.
  2. Boundary conditions are difficult to identify or nonexistent. It should be hard to determine which goal should be solved for first. This also makes it difficult (though not impossible) for a computer to beat the game.
  3. No physics. Once the player understands the solution to the puzzle there should be nothing stopping him from simply winning.

Prismatic manifested itself as a mashup of sudoku and a rubix cube. Solving a single color is simple, but solving more colors without breaking the first becomes progressively more difficult. If this all is interesting to you, give the game a shot! I always appreciate feedback, either publicly or privately.

Prismatic is written in Coffeescript with ample assistance from the Pixi.js library. Because of “Pixi Magic” (as I’ve taken to calling it), there’s no html for the game – it’s all injected onto a canvas and rendered from there. The code is hosted on a github page using a private repo.

I have many plans going forward for Prismatic. First and foremost I want to get the game playable on mobile, likely starting with Android. Technically the game is runnable on mobile currently, and resizes to the screen correctly, but is runs much too slowly to actually play. This will probably require scaling down the graphics a tad and making sure all of the memory usage is as efficient as possible. After that I have further game modes I want to explore, including a time-based exploration mode where you race to light up as much of the map as possible, and a two player versus mode that would function like king of the hill. Once I have a full-fledged game I plan on trying to release it on mobile game markets.

Huge thanks to:

  • Originate for giving me the time and resources to start creating Prismatic
  • Dave Hora for his assistance with the design and UX of the game.
  • Everyone who has playtested the game in all of its forms.
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