This Twitter thread charts the development of indie puzzle game Mixolumia. It’s a brilliant insight and you might just learn a thing or two.
“idk what this is yet but I had an idea,” wrote Dave Hoffman, AKA davemakes, on Twitter. As it turns out, “this” was a brilliant idea for a puzzle game.
The tweet was dated January 29, 2019, and marked the development of what would eventually become Mixolumia.
But back then, it was just a simple idea: What if a block-dropping puzzle game, like Tetris or Columns, took place on a grid that’s been rotated by 45 degrees?
idk what this is yet but I had an idea pic.twitter.com/w9JbNxZ0Zt
— d🔶 (@davemakes) January 29, 2019
It seems like such a simple idea, and it’s a wonder nobody has never thought of it before.
It’s not unusual for developers to tweet out early ideas to see if they attract any interest – just take a look at this Bugsnax tweet from 2014 – but what’s really interesting is that Hoffman continued working on this fragment of a game, from prototype to eventual release, all in this one Twitter thread.
That means every time they came up against a problem, or had a small breakthrough, or just made a tiny little tweak, it went in the thread. It also meant they got to ask questions of their followers and crowdsource design solutions for the game that would eventually become Mixolumia. Like what happens when you hit a corner, for instance, a problem that wouldn’t occur on a traditional vertical grid:
we have a winnerhttps://t.co/SEsWq4Y2Dx
— d🔶 (@davemakes) January 30, 2019
Which, a few days later, got refined further into this:
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
— d🔶 (@davemakes) February 2, 2019
It’s interesting to trace the very public development of an indie game. Twitter may be lots of terrible, awful, no good things, but that sort of instantaneous insight? You’d struggle to get it any other way. It’s not all fun gifs and flashy effects, though:
I'll get to this stuff, but I think it's important to recognize some of the most time consuming yet crucial aspects of developing a game make for totally unremarkable gifs
— d🔶 (@davemakes) February 13, 2019
From there, you can see the addition of a Patreon demo – which offered a boost to development – and the addition of a scoring system, pausing and an options menu, music from Hoffman and Josie Brechner, colour palette choices, particle effects, and plenty more. Even accessibility features and multiple game modes, including a chilled out relaxing mode, are covered.
And now, a year and a half later, Mixolumia is available to buy right now through indie storefront Itch.io. It features a 10% launch discount for a limited time and will set you back just $9. That’s a bargain, sure, but the insight into the process through the Twitter thread is priceless.