May 22, 2013
I think everyone at some point in their lives has doodled during a long class or a boring meeting. Sometimes we doodle words and sometimes we’ll draw random cartoons in some scenario. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see one of those hand drawn doodles come to life and conquer their challenges. After all something drawn on two dimensional paper has no chance of moving and leaping across that page, but with a little digital magic all this might actually be possible. This week’s KickStarter Spotlight shines solely on an incredibly inventive game called Pixel Press. While the game cannot technically make any doodle into a full fledged game, it does a very good job at giving the user full control with absolutely no coding.
Pixel Press is basically just a platformer who’s levels come from user’s hand-drawn creations. It does this by having the user print out a gridded piece of paper that ultimately becomes the blank canvas for their future game. On this piece of paper imagination can run wild and any level can be created. Well, almost any level. There are rules; a jump, for example, is 4 blocks high so anything that needs traversed must work with that constraint in mind. Other than the basic mechanics the level design is completely up to the artist. Hazards follow the classic platformer ilk, with spikes, lava, moving platforms, and pistons. These are simple to place into the level as they can be added simply by outlining the shape and adding some triangles for spikes or filling in squares with x’s for lava. Fill in a square and it becomes a customizable power-up, and fill in another square on top of that and it is now a portal. Everything is done by hand on the free, printable graph paper which is scanned into the game by merely being photographed.
After taking a photo of the paper it is converted into a basic, wireframe of a level with any errors or confusing marks hilighted in red. Then it is up to the creator to prove to the game that their level is passable and once that happens the fun part comes. Included in the game are a handful of different design choices for the background, hazards, structures, character, and more. For the more technologically inclined the option to upload a custom skin and sound effects is a stretch goal for the project. Like many similar games with user created content there will be an common marketplace where levels are rated and judged for endless variation and hours of enjoyment.
The goal is lofty, sitting at a cool $100,000, but seeing as it is already a third of the way there with still 23 days remaining, I have no problem seeing this project becoming a wild success in the future. Stretch goals include a mode that is more friendly to children, more custom options, and a sooner release date. I have no doubt that Pixel Press will reach at least one of those goals, and incentive filled pledge packages are going fast so be sure to get in on the ground floor of this amazing and ambitious KickStarter project.