Sunday, January 20, 2008

crayon physics deluxe

I'm growing to love independent games more and more. Like some others, I suspect that they will save the PC gaming market through their sheer ingenuity. Pretty soon, I'll post on Armageddon Empires, my current favorite that was developed and marketed by one person. It's an astonishingly good game.

But for now, here's another example of indie-borne creativity. It's called Crayon Physics Deluxe, and while it's not quite finished and I'm not sure I would even buy it, it's just so clever that you have to be impressed. The basic idea is that you go through a series of puzzles, increasing in difficulty, in which you must make a marble touch a star. The only way to get the marble to move is by drawing objects and taking advantage of the physics of motion (using weights, levers, pulleys, etc.). To get a feel for this, you have to watch it in action:

Pretty damn cool. I love how there are going to be an infinite number of solutions for each puzzle, limited only by your own imagination and desire for complexity. You can go the simple route (like the guy in the video) or you can try out some crazy contraption just to see if it works (see image above, which a reviewer of the game posted and claimed actually worked). I can definitely see the potential for educational value here, and a children's game that adults will obsess over too. Someone suggested that Crayon Physics Deluxe would be perfect for the Nintendo DS, with its stylus and touchscreen. You couldn't be entirely displeased if your kids were playing this in the backseat on a long roadtrip, right?

As it stands now, it's being developed for PC by a single person, Petri Purho, a student at Helsinki Polytechnic in Finland (you can read his blog here). If you spend some time looking at what this guy does, it'll blow your mind. Most of his games are "done-in-under-a-week," which is a goal he often sets for himself, but they're consistently creative. For example, here are screenshots of two of his other games. The one on the left is a "tribute to the rolling boulder from Raiders of the Lost Ark." You play the boulder and have to squash archaeologists before they touch the gold statues. The game on the right is called "SM Word" and you score points for typing in the phrase "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over. Annoying Windoze error messages keep popping up to interrupt you, which you can close by shouting into a microphone and banging on your keyboard. I'm not joking.

People like this kid either get swallowed up by larger gaming companies, or try to create and develop on their own terms. You can imagine which pays more.

1 comment:

  1. wow, that game is crazy!!! looks super-addictive.