Unfinished Pixel takes us behind the scenes on the development of Spy Chameleon!
Some years ago Raúl and I met at Ubisoft Barcelona. Both of us wanted to try new game ideas, so we made some little unfinished projects in our spare time. At one point, we decided to create a bigger project so after thinking about it a bit, we quit our main job to fulfill our dream of creating a commercial game on our own. We knew we had savings to live and eat for one year, so that was the time we had to start and complete our first indie commercial project. We decided to pick a familiar game for us as a starting point, to save as much time as possible, so we chose Spy Chameleon.
Spy Chameleon was a prototype idea I developed while I was finishing my college career. The idea was to control a character with the ability to change its own color using the Xbox Controller button colors, blending with the environment and hiding from enemies. Some friends I used as testers liked the prototype and I decided to evolve it into a complete game (with some nasty programmer art :P) that ended in the 360’s Xbox Live Indie Games (back then the less known Xbox Live Community Games). We decided to pick that game as a start because we had the main idea and the game concept covered.
This new evolved version of Spy Chameleon has been created from the scratch, only keeping the core gameplay mechanic. All art, animations, levels, gameplay mechanics, enemies are completely new. In addition we wanted to create a game with a lot of replayability so we added three challenges in every level. As we also designed every level with a speed-runner player in mind, we thought the leaderboards would add a nice challenge for hardcore players who enjoy mastering a game. Some levels require reflexes, fast changing color skills and others require a more strategic and planned approach. It’s a game that, despite its cartoonish look, requires the player to think about how to complete the levels and progress.
Hello! I’m Raúl, artist/animator at Unfinished Pixel and I’d like to tell you about the art side of the game and how made it with a pretty reduced team.
For the art and animation, we went for a cartoonish and friendly look that we thought it would fit better with the tone of our game. People can think that it is an easy and casual game, but nothing could be further from the truth! Being a RGB agent requires some good skills. At the same time we wanted the world to be believable and immersive, that’s why we chose a more realistic lighting approach. The level design demanded a modular art to be able to iterate fast but, in spite of that, we didn’t want to miss the variety of environments so, even if the walls are modular, we added specific assets for each mission. On top of that, we changed textures of all the modules every five levels to increase the feeling of variation.
For the menus and most of the mini-cinematics we went for 2D art, because we think it helps to “easily” add relevant information about the mood of the character, situation and atmosphere of the game. There are 75 levels with more than 10 gameplay elements, so all the elements are reused in different levels. We tried to make each level feel different from the others using those elements in multiple contexts and combinations.
Regarding the music, Marcos plays the bass, he loves the funky music and we thought it would be nice to add that kind of funny and catchy tunes to the silly missions of our spy. Our friends at www.oudu.es made the tunes for the game. Marcos wanted to play the bass in a tune of the game so he went to their studio to record the main theme! 🙂
Hope you enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed developing it!