Sawbuck Gamer

Color Sheep

Hue Ewe

Blending colored light is a superhuman feat in Color Sheep.

By Derrick Sanskrit • March 27, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

A great deal of science fiction has been written about how humans only use around 10 percent of their brains and the fabulous superhuman abilities we might develop if only we could tap into all of that unused gray matter. Science experiments, of course, are a matter of variables. What if we changed diets? What if we were exposed to dangerous chemicals? What if we just went outside and absorbed more natural sunlight?

Color Sheep is a game that explores the 100-percent concept…sort of. A lone ewe fends off an army of multi-colored wolves by belching bursts of light at them. Red wolves, of course, can only be dispatched by red streams, blue with blue, and so on. Thankfully, as a black sheep, our star collects a great deal of natural light and possesses the supernatural ability to sort out light spectrums, producing any color of light she wants. What follows is a rapid-fire assault of RGB color theory, as players have to blend and blast cyan, yellow, dark red, grey, and other colors to fend off the approaching onslaught of wolves.

It’s a clever and thoughtful concept, and the game ramps up the challenge quickly. Even audiovisual nerds who’ve spent more time with gelled spotlights than an average person spends with a fork and knife will get their thumbs tied trying to mix colors quickly enough to combat the deadly lupine rainbow. One thing’s for sure, Color Sheep will definitely give your 10 percent a workout.

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27 Responses to “Hue Ewe”

  1. SamPlays says:

    This looks awesome. I guess this is the end result of someone developing a game based on Photoshop color and swatch palettes. 

  2. His_Space_Holiness says:

    So, everyone knows that 10-percent thing is a myth, right? We only use so much of our brains for conscious thought, and if we used all of it for that we’d die from forgetting to continuously breathe, pump blood, and so forth. When I come across a fictional character who supposedly has the power to use the majority of his or her brain (like, say, DC’s Deathstroke), I like to think about that character being manifested in real life and instantly collapsing due to loss of involuntary nerve function.

    This is why suspension of disbelief is fun.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I only use four percent of my brain for conscious thought, so I’m a super-good breather!

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        I just realized where the term “mouth breather” comes from, or a darn good possibility for it anyway!

        • Brainstrain says:

          Does it come from somewhere other than people who breathe annoyingly loud because they breathe through their mouths?

      • George_Liquor says:

        I can conjure entire worlds into existence with a mere thought, but I can’t take a shower with my mouth open, or I’ll drown.

    • SamPlays says:

      That’s why the comic characters need some sort of tech suit to take care of those involuntary (and voluntary) functions. Not only is the 10 percent things a myth, so is the idea that we have unlimited capacity for the innumerable variety of skills known to humankind. I recall my neurologist professor (from many years ago now) using people with virtuoso skills as an example of this. Their brain is so completely dedicated to a particular set of skills that they have limited capacity for other types of skills (e.g., social skills). This kind of reminds me of the character development system in Fallout 3. You have a very limited set of points to assign to certain skills – you could be mediocre across some things or pump up your stats to be really good at one or two things.

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        Sherlock Holmes has a good quote on the subject in A Study in Scarlet. He compares the brain to an attic, and says that one must be careful to stock it with only the furniture one needs. At least, that’s his excuse when Watson makes fun of him for not knowing that the Earth orbits the Sun. It doesn’t have any bearing on his job, so why should it take up space in his head?

        • Chum Joely says:

          I just saw the episode of the BBC show where we learn that Sherlock doesn’t know that the Earth orbits the Sun. Now really, given all the other obscure facts that he accumulates and is able to deploy in ways relevant to the case, surely you’d think that the “which orbits which” question would be relevant to SOME possible aspect of a case (angle of the sunlight at a certain date and hour)… right?!

          I don’t know, I just found that particular gag to be a bit gratuitous…

        • His_Space_Holiness says:

          @ChumJoely:disqus Actually, the angle of the sun and whatnot is a major element in solving the mystery in the story “The Musgrave Ritual,” but you don’t need to know astronomy to know how the sun crosses the sky. Holmes collects bizarre information, but specifically the kind that he expects will be of use in detective work.

          Of course, Holmes’s ignorance of astronomy comes back to bite him in the episode where Moriarty’s scheme involves finding an astronomical error in a forged painting, so it turns out to be of practical use after all.

        • SamPlays says:

          I’m fairly certain that knowing the centre of our solar system is elementary, my dear @His_Space_Holiness:disqus .

      • exant says:

        I think the example of virtuoso skill is a result of time, not necessarily brain capacity. The human brain has no known limit to its capacity, or at least none approachable in a normal lifespan. Wolfram says there are 100 billion neurons in the brain, and if capacity for knowledge is measured by the connections between them, then 100 billion combinations of 100 billion is an astoundingly large number.

        An easier answer to the question of “why are virtuosos socially incompetent” is that many are not, and those that are might be that way because they spend 12 hours a day practicing.

        At least that’s what I tell myself as I devote countless brain cells to memorizing Dota2 hero builds.

        • SamPlays says:

          Spending 12 hours a day would no doubt limit your interaction with others. My professor’s analogy might have been limited but it did get her point across. I feel like at this point in my life (I’m 33) I’ve achieved a sweet spot of adequate technical expertise in my field, passable social skills and acceptable stupidity. 

    • Idran says:

      That’s mostly right, but it’s not that we only use 10% of our brains for conscious thought; the autonomic nervous system is just a fraction of the brain.  (Though if the entire brain was used consciously, then that’s what would happen, yeah.) The myth first came up because only a small percentage of our brain is active at any one moment.  It can happen that the entire brain is active at once, and then you get a seizure.

  3. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    If the CYMK Ewe gets damaged, do you see the bleed marks?

    • It’s an RGB Ewe. CMYK is printed ink, RGB is light spectrum. CMYK gets darker as you add more, RGB gets brighter. And not quite, but there is a very colorful explosion.

      • SamPlays says:

        Graphic designers will (hopefully) use RGB mode for online materials considering there is no conversion required (i.e., RGB is web-ready). However, some designers will use RGB color for printed materials – apparently there are various benefits, like accessing certain PS filters, that outweigh the issue of having to convert to CMYK for print. However, when it comes to physically printing something, I think it’s based on CMYK only. My wife is the subject matter expert on this topic so just consider me the middle man.

        • Even beyond commercial application for graphic designers, it’s just the way color works. Computer and smartphone screens are an absence of light by default, so they are black. The graphics are made by a series of RGB lights that combine to make everything we see, which is why a fully-illuminated white screen will drain your phone’s battery a lot faster than any other color or patterns. Projection screens in theaters are white as a sort of canvas for the light to fall on to in the darkness. With 100% of the light from the projector, it can only ever be perceived by the human eye as bright as the white screen, and it all goes to hell once the house lights come up and remove that darkness. (for Photoshop users, this is how the “Screen” blending mode works. Think of it like a movie screen, or the reflection in your car window. Darker things get lighter as you layer images)

          Print materials, on the other hand, are additive by nature. Keep piling them on top of each other and it just becomes a muddy mess. This is why, say, when screen printing a t-shirt, you need to make separations for where colors will overlap. Sometimes, based on the ink, a blue outline might appear just fine on top of a red base. Sometimes it won’t, sometimes it will blend and make violet. (for Photoshop users, this is akin to “Multiply” blending. Imagine painting multiple animation cels and layering them on top of each other. The colors blend through, and lighter areas get darker as you add more stuff)

        • George_Liquor says:

          I think it’s the other way around. Light sources like televisions and projectors are examples of additive color mixing: You add red, green, and blue colors of light to end up with white light. Projection screen are white (actually light gray) only because white has the highest albedo.

          By contrast, ink & paint are examples of subtractive color mixing. In the model at least, you begin with a white canvas of some type, and “subtract” from white by applying colored paint or ink to it.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I misread the portion where you described the Ewe blasting cyan and yellow, making me believe there was some upgrade from RGB to CYMK. Like a power-up or higher difficulty level. Because designing for print is significantly more a pain in the ass than designing for web.

        • I’ve done both a lot, and yes, you definitely need to switch up the way you think for each, which is probably why this game fascinated me so. In the game you only have buttons for Red, Blue, and Green on the left, the Light and Dark on the right. Swiping from Green to Blue while holding Light makes Cyan.

          Similarly, in Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, there is a round where everyone’s watches are Red, Green or Blue and another where their watches are Cyan, Magenta or Yellow. The first round they must team up to make CMY, the second they make RGB. The third round, R, G, B, C, M, and Y are all active and they must make teams that make white.

          And now all I can think of is this old Popsicle commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9nfhKhi9SI

      • George_Liquor says:

        So, it’s an additive ewe?

  4. Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

    This concept reminds me of Red Faction Armageddon, where when you beat the game for subsequent playthroughs you are rewarded with a special ‘gun’ which is actually just a small unicorn which fires farts of rainbow and sparkle that blow shit up. To take advantage of this you have to play through the game again and I don’t know why anyone would want to do this.

    Don’t play Red Faction Armageddon.

    • SamPlays says:

      Yeah, I was wondering why anyone would want to play through Red Faction Armageddon at all, let alone multiple times. I played the demo and it was a terrible experience. However, the thought of a Rainbow Sparkle Fart gun made me reconsider albeit momentarily.

    • Chalkdust says:

      Maaan, I liked Red Faction: Armageddon.  In light of the weekly Humble Bundle including it, I was feeling an itch to in fact replay it (again!)  I was already discussing it in yesterday’s Sawbuck comments actually.

      • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

        I looked up your comments and yeah it’s probably worth a buck. I saw it for 5 bucks a while back and gave it a go. I was just amazed that they made a game about shooting monsters on Mars into a blandfest. That magnet gun was alright though.