Penumbear Meets Chroma

Today I checked in on the gamedev sub-reddit to see if any interesting articles bubbled up. I clicked through to read about a game called Chroma. I watched the YouTube video and thought, "Hey this is pretty cool, oh nice lighting engine", and then I saw the protagonist walk up a shadow. A wave of panic hit, the similarity in concept to Penumbear was undeniable.

After a few deep breaths, I realized that it isn't a big deal. While both games use shadows in a similar manner, the personality and nuances of the games are very different. It will actually be interesting to see someone take the same basic idea and interpret it in a different way. I look forward to playing Chroma when it comes out. I hope Clawhammer Games feels the same way about Penumbear.


We would love your feedback on the project. If you aren't already, follow us on Twitter for regular updates. If you want to be notified when the Penumbear beta is open or when Penumbear launches, you can sign up here.

Code Name: Penumbear

In the past we have developed in secret and then revealed the game to the world when everything is buttoned up and ready for release. We've decided that for this title, we are going to open up the development process and share the experience of building a game. We are happy to present… Penumbear.

Yep, we are really calling it Penumbear. At least for now as the project's code name. Originally we were using Penumbra, but that name was already taken by another game. The name of the game will likely change prior to release, but we need something to call it in the interim.

This project started off as a tech demo. Sal was building a dynamic lighting engine for another project we are working on.

Various game mechanics that utilize light kept popping into Sal's head as he developed the engine. One of these ideas grew into Penumbear.

In Penumbear, you are a koala that walks on the line between light and shadow. You turn lights on and off, hopping from shadow to shadow, as you find your way from room to room. In addition to an array of lighting sources, a variety of dangers stand in your way creating a puzzle out of every room.

Sal usually draws some placeholder art as he develops a prototype and then Steve starts to refine the style until we settle on an aesthetic that works for the game. Steve sketched a number of possible main characters:

We settled on the bear. Who doesn't love a bear who dwells between light and dark? And yes, we know koalas are not actually bears. Our koala is not actually a koala.

We plan on posting regular updates on the development process, screencasts of art being drawn, gameplay videos, and anything else that comes up while developing Penumbear. We would also love your feedback on the project. If you aren't already, follow us on Twitter for regular updates.