“idk what this is yet but I had an idea.”
That’s how game developer @davemakes started a Twitter thread last January, sharing a GIF of colorful tiles floating through a diagonal game space. Follow Dave’s thread, though, and you’ll see how they develop this single idea over the months into a fully fledged rhythm and puzzle game called Mixolumia, available to buy on Itch.io as of last weekend.
The game itself looks extremely fun, pairing a simple and bold art style with immersive music and sound effects, and gameplay that looks to be a cross between Tetris and Puyo-Puyo. What’s really fascinating about the thread, though, is how it offers a look into the often opaque world of game development, tracking Dave’s work and experiments.
Follow the thread, and you can see how Dave adds new features over time, testing out certain mechanics. One early question is how should the tile-blocks move when they hit another point-on-point? Should they break in half? Should they slide down alternate directions? Or should they zig-zag down the screen to avoid this problem altogether?
A big question mark is: what should happen when you hit a corner? It probably shouldn’t pick a random direction to flow. Should it all go to one side? How should it break? Hmmmm… pic.twitter.com/BqflrpEOQw
— davemakes mixolumia ✨ (@davemakes) January 30, 2019
As you can see, Dave eventually solves the problem by having the blocks move in the direction they were last pushed. As they note, that makes it easier for players to direct the tiles, adding more depth and strategy to the gameplay in turn.
Blocks no longer break on corners. They fall in the last direction you pushed. Makes things way more predictable, should be better for strategy! pic.twitter.com/3GXfriocM1
— davemakes mixolumia ✨ (@davemakes) February 2, 2019
We won’t recap the whole thread here, but click on that first tweet, and you can watch as Dave adds particle effects, previews of where each block will land, a scoring and level system, different gameplay modes, and more. It’s fascinating to see the title take shape, and it feels like watching a time-lapse of a painter turning out a fresh landscape.
What starts as a game in simple primary shades gets colorful when new palettes are added:
Then, the musical elements of the game evolve. Dave starts with their own dynamic music effects but collaborates with musician Josie Brechner to build out a more complex soundscape. I particularly love the example track below, named “Summer Shower,” which features rain noises that build in intensity as you play through a level.
Throughout the game’s development, Dave takes the title to Tokyo Indies (a monthly gathering for game developers), starts a Patreon to support development, and is eventually able to launch the title as a full game, complete with customizable color palettes and music effects. You can buy Mixolumia right now for Mac and PC for $9 (10 percent off the regular price).
It’s amazing to see what happens when you have a single idea in your head and simply… follow through.