Another Chill Hell
Another Chill Hell is a physics-based match-3 platformer starring Unity-Chan. Blocks of various shapes keep falling from the sky, but they quickly form combos of 3 or more that allow you to clean them up. Make sure to keep on top of your piles before you find yourself in the danger zone!!
Three things I like:
- What I love most about this game is the original, very stupid, idea that I was able to actually execute very close to my original vision. I was able to add a lot more as well but the basics of the project came together quickly. I think there's real value in a comedy pitch (mostly for game jam or discount titles) and I think this is still a very easy title to sell as long as I deliver on the "physics based match 3 platformer" statement. I was able to add develop an aesthetic, completely animate my long-term favorite Unity asset "Unity-Chan" and tune the game more than a few times over the core 2 weeks of development.
- Using Unity-Chan allowed me to get a modeled, textured, rigged, and animated character into the game relatively quickly using the Mixamo tool. I leaned further on the resource as I learned more about how the community around Unity-Chan had developed over the years. I was able to include plenty of free art and audio packs as well to bolster the style of the game. I can definitely see people turned off by an anime aesthetic but I made a hard decision to lean into it early on and I'm glad I did. It's silly but I think I was able to do something interesting with it.
- As with a lot of my game jam games, I used this one to try a few different systems and assets. Originally I was going to try doing some cutscenes with Playmaker but misunderstood the tool and wound up just needing the free and very competent Fungus. I also fully implemented InControl for the first time, a solution that I now use in every project I work on. I didn't want to go too crazy with learning new tools but I did try some new things with the Unity UI system, most notably making a fully functional audio options menu that interacts with the new Unity audio mixing tools. Game jams are perhaps too often about learning new things rather than trying to make something special but I am always happy to add so many new items to my toolbelt.
Three things I don't like:
- I think one thing that's obvious if you play for a few minutes, and something I worked on and don't think is all that bad, is the potential for the player to get stuck between pieces while above the ground and still technically "falling." What I did arrive on is many hours of physics tuning and hacks to make the player push the bricks aside without completely losing the sense of being overwhelmed by the mounting challenges.
- One consistent note I got through testing feedback that I don't really think I overcame is introducing the overall goal of the game. The "danger zone" barrier in the game that stuff stacked up to seemed so obvious in my head but in the first 30 seconds of the game the player won't see that in action really. There are a million ways that have been tried to solve this issue of communication for arcade-like games over the years and I think it's safe to say there's no clear winner. Still, though, I could have spent time on more polished transitions and design around communicating the goal.
- While I was very happy to eventually ship a story mode after the jam had concluded, it's possible that I spent too much time during the jam preparing for that supposed eventuality. It was a good creative exercise but I'm not sure how much it added to the final work, especially coming weeks after the initial release. In the future I'd like to use any extra time or even the main chunk of time to really focus in on what is actually special about the work and develop that. What features does the game say it needs?