Support on the site could position the game for commercial success, said Matthew White, assistant professor of game development at Penn State Behrend. Good user reviews can push a new game into Steam’s commercial library, where, at any given time, the top titles are being played by more than 600,000 gamers.
“It’s the golden ticket,” White said. “It’s a massive, built-in audience that takes you, literally overnight, from hobbyist to professional game developer.”
Shane Shafferman, a software engineering major, led the development of the game, which is called “Colorful Life.” He and three other students created it in January, during the Global Game Jam, a 48-hour challenge in which developers build unique games linked by a common theme.
When the Game Jam ended, the other students moved on to different projects. Shafferman, a senior from Pittsburgh, kept working on “Colorful Life,” a cooperative maze game with simple block graphics. A classmate, Peter Kalmar – a sophomore from Cabot, Pa. – added the title art and music.
“Colorful Life” is designed for four players, each of whom has a unique power – extra speed, or the ability to heal teammates, or to cross pits, or to break through sections of the maze wall – that can help the others through each level. Cooperation is essential: No player can advance to the next maze until all four have completed the current level.
“I like the cooperative aspect of it,” Shafferman said. “You’re not just racing through a maze.
You have to have a strategy. You have to help each other along.”
Cooperative games are an addictive niche in the PC gaming world. “You don’t see a lot of them,” White said, “but they do have a lot of appeal. They’re easy to learn but difficult to master. That keeps you playing.”
Shafferman posted screen shots and a video trailer for “Colorful Life” at Steam Greenlight on March 30. Since then, more than 700 people have recommended the game. “That’s a lot better than I expected,” Shafferman said.
To learn more about the game, or to endorse it for a commercial launch, visit the Steam Greenlight profile at
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