Making video games is a bit of a hard job. I know that, I’ve spent the last three years making prototypes and half-finished game attempts at University, trying to get my head around whatever programming language the module requires.
It’s certainly a lot harder than writing about them for this very site or even meticulously designing every aspect of a game and chucking that in a design document.
Imagine if that making part wasn’t that hard though, at least for levels. Imagine if you could take a core section of design and just work from that – using the drawn concepts of levels to create your game.
That’s where Pixel Press comes in.
It’s aimed at kids (and kids at heart), and offers a way to create your own video game levels akin to LittleBigPlanet, without all of that digital nonsense or any knowledge of game code.
As the above video explains, all you’ll need is your laptop, a printer, some stationery, imagination and an iPad or iPhone. Obviously, a few of these things are expensive – not imagination, that’s free – and you’ll naturally have to shell out for the app itself. That’ll cost you $10 (under £7) to pre-order, with it releasing in December on iOS.
It’s really quite smart how it recognises simple (yet constrained by the grid on the paper) levels and then puts these into the game using the camera of your iDevice, allowing you to merrily draw your level and then design different colours and styles once you’ve loaded it into the app.
You’ll also be able to upload your levels and compete with friends; it seems like a really great system and I’m sure kids will adore something as functional and brilliant as this.
I remember drawing silly little video game levels when I was younger, usually inhabited by warring stickmen, and while you’ve been able to emulate that digitally, I don’t think there has been anything quite like this – allowing you to transport your paper worlds into video games – which is quite simply brilliant.
In fact, I think I’m going to pre-order this soon and download the sketch kit to get creating some levels before the app releases in December (on iOS, Android users won’t get the app until June of next year). It even seems as though it could be quite a bit of fun without the drawing aspect, although that might be missing the main point!
I wonder if I can submit a level made in Pixel Press as one of my University projects this year? Probably not…