AbleGamers' Karin Spirig Interviews Colour Bind Developer Finn Morgan

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Having played and reviewed Colour Bind, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about what went into such a creative game.  I was really taken with the accessibility of this game, combined with the creative gameplay and the simple, yet complex control-scheme.  AbleGamers had the opportunity to ask the developer, Finn Morgan, questions that had been plaguing me.  I hope you enjoy the answers as much as I did and remember to check out the review at: http://www.ablegamers.com/PC/colour-bind-pc.html

Karin Spirig: How did you come up with the concept for the game?

Finn Morgan: It was the result of a traffic jam in Melbourne. I was trying to cross a road (on foot), and thought that the lines of cars occasionally moving, as viewed from above, would make an interesting set of shapes to use as the platforms in a platform game. But of course, this would only make sense if the gravity for the cars was in a different direction to the gravity of the player. That idea fell by the wayside, but when a competition came up shortly after with the theme of colour, I went back to the idea of having different objects with different gravity.

KS: Were the background and colour change options purposefully created for colour-blind gamers?  If so, why was that important to you?

FM: To the first question, yes. I don't really have a good answer to the second question though - it just seems like generally, if you can make a game accessible without completely blowing the budget/schedule or wrecking the game in the process, you should do it.

KS: I really enjoyed the simplicity of the controls, why do you feel it is important that game developers shift away from just intensive graffic and focus more on gameplay?

FM: When it comes to the controls, I'll borrow the words of someone smarter than me: A game's controls should be as simple as possible, and no simpler. It tends to make the game easier to program and constrain puzzle design in a way that helps creativity, so as far as I'm concerned it's all to the good. As for focusing on graphics, that's a bigger question than you have space for me to answer, I'd imagine. For Colour Bind, the graphics are simple partly by choice and partly because the game was made by just me, and I'm not an artist. In the broader sense though, I'll just say that in my opinion, by requiring that every part of a game be supported by modern graphics (and modern everything else), huge demands are placed on the game's team and budget that almost always result in removing what might otherwise have been good gameplay features. For some types of games, the choice between graphics and gameplay is actually pretty stark.

colour-bind-2KS: How difficult was it to create such an engaging game while staying true to the style and control scheme?

FM: Depending on which reviewer you ask, perhaps it was was too difficult! If someone doesn't like Colour Bind, in my experience, it's either because the graphics are too simple or the controls are too difficult - I'll address each separately.

For the graphics, ultimately, the simplicity of the graphics supported the game. While it's true that more visual details could have been added, it was important to me that the only coloured objects are ones for which gravity is relevant, and that the shapes of the geometry are clearly visible to the player, rather than having a collision shape that roughly matches the art. So, keeping the graphics simple helped the game's playability. As for whether it helped the game stay engaging, as I say, I'll leave that question to reviewers.

For the controls, this was a tricky one. Colour Bind is, in a sense, two games - it's a puzzle game about gravity, and a physics game about mastering your car thing. Arguably, mixing genres like this is a bad idea from the start, but ultimately it's the game I wanted to play so I made it. Some people have really taken to the twitchiness of the controls and, as I see it, taken up the challenge of figuring out how it all works. Others just find the controls random and unpredictable. I said before the game came out that my goal is for a few people to really love it, rather than for everyone to find it passable, so in that sense it worked out okay.

KS: How well has the community of gamers embraced the idea of creating their own levels?  Have any surprised you?

FM: I didn't really have my expectations calibrated anywhere on that front, but so far I think it's going pretty well. We're also about to release a big tutorial for the level editor, which should make things a bit more accessible. The most surprising thing for me is that playing someone else's levels is like playing my game for the first time, because the experience of trying to figure out a puzzle in Colour Bind is completely new to me. I'm trying to finish each level that gets uploaded - I'm a bit behind at the moment but I'm going to try to catch up soon. There are also a couple of players who are rapidly becoming better at the game than I am, so hopefully I can convince them to make some levels for me to really be challenged by.

KS: What else is in the works?  Can you give AbleGamers an inside exclusive?  ;)

FM: At the moment, unfortunately, it's really a matter of seeing how Colour Bind goes. If I am able to work on another project in the reasonably near future though, there are a couple of possibilities - none of them at all resembling Colour Bind, funnily enough. There is an RTS I'd really like to make, but I'm not sure it's possible for a relatively unknown indie to make an RTS and have it take off, given that that genre requires a fairly big time investment on the part of the player and a reasonably solid community has to exist somehow. One of the other possible projects involves, broadly speaking, playing around with the 'amnesiac hero' trope, but I can't really go into much detail on that one without ruining the surprise.

About the Author
Karin Spirig
Author: Karin Spirig
I work with children with disabilities and am very interested in accessible gaming.

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