Chris Johnson - Game Designer

ANAGLYPH – Puzzle/Platformer

Anaglyph Logo


An intuitive, exploratory puzzle and platforming experience

Developed By: Chris Johnson

Engine/Framework: Unity 4

Platform: PC, others to be determined

Type: 2.5D Single-player Puzzle/Platformer

Demo Build Available Here (V. 0.9.2)

Please note, this is an unfinished, in-development demonstrative version of the game, showcasing two early levels of the game. This version includes placeholder assets that will not appear in the final game. I have released this version to show the basic design and aesthetic concept for this game.

System/Mechanic Design

In ANAGLYPH, players control a simple player character, and must explore a non-linear level and pick up all collectible items in the level in order to win. The main challenge to the player’s progress is the environment: Each level is filled with narrow passages, moving platforms, and bottomless pits. The collectibles are often placed in hard to reach places around the level.

The level is also populated with special translucent walls and platforms, which are conspicuously colored¬† either red or blue. Throughout the level players will also find power-up “color stations,” also in either red or blue variety. Passing through these color stations will turn the player red or blue. When red, the player does not collide with red walls and barriers, allowing him/her to pass through them with ease. Conversely, when the player is blue, he/she can pass through blue-colored walls and barriers. But the player can only be one color at a time, and can only change colors by visiting the right color station. Collectibles are often trapped behind paths that require the player to pass through colored walls, and it is up to the cunning of the player to guide them through each level.


Level Design

Due to the relatively simplistic gameplay mechanics in ANAGLYPH, level design has proved challenging. But as they say, restriction breeds creativity. At his/her disposal, the player has a small but robust set of abilities that can be used to successfully traverse each level. The player can move left and right, jump, and change colors. A formal level list and difficulty curve has not yet been established, but these mechanics will be introduced one and a time in the early stages of the game. These skills can be practiced on the most simple maps, composed of static rooms and platforms. On later levels, the difficulty may be increased by introducing moving platforms and other moving elements to the level. An early implementation of this, a simple reciprocating piston, is already being tested.

Anaglyph Level 02 - "Reciprocal" - basic wireframe (before art pass)

¬†Anaglyph Level 02 – “Reciprocal” – basic wireframe (before art pass) red triangles indicate collectibles

In regards to the level layout, careful thought must also be given to create an environment that is mentally engaging and challenging, to serve as a puzzle to the player. The prevailing notion is that playing the levels in ANAGLYPH must feel less like running a gauntlet, and more like exploring a sprawling interior environment. Concepts have been borrowed from Rudolf Kremer’s notion of “dense level design,” as discussed in his book Level Design: Concept, Theory, and Practice. The idea is to create levels such that the player must go through the same area more than once, but from a different perspective or under different circumstances. This allows players to get more gameplay out of the same amount of level, while also allowing for a level that is less of a burden on performance and memory.


Anaglyph Level 02 – “Reciprocal” – untextured mesh (initial art pass)

UI Design

While the in-game UI for ANAGLYPH has not yet been created, an early iteration of the game’s main menu has been conceptualized and implemented. The objective with this menu is to provide an intuitive, easy method for navigating through the game’s features.

anaglyph_menubutton_smallVisual feedback on highlighted UI buttons

One method used for providing visual feedback to the player is the use of animated buttons that move when highlighted. Specifically, buttons take on an anaglyphic 3D/chromatic aberration effect when highlighted. This allows the user to know what option they are selecting, while seamlessly fitting in with the game’s concept and aesthetic style. In addition, specific sounds will play when the user moves their mouse over a button, and also when they click a button.

Game Design Portfolio of Chris Johnson