An interesting new game creation app has just arrived on Kickstarter. The app aims to enable anyone interested in game design to start from a simple pencil and paper sketch and transform this into a fully working video game – no coding required. The Pixel Press app needs backer funding to optimise the OCR and object recognition engine it employs, as even with the supplied grid templates “kids don’t always draw straight lines”.
The process can be described quite simply; print out a levels template sheet and an instruction sheet, sketch out your level designs, then capture your drawing with an iOS device, the iDevice interprets your drawing and then you test it on screen to see if your game design works. The next step is designing graphics textures and backgrounds to make the game into your own unique design. When you are happy you can play and share your game with others.
The Pixel Press app is used to customise your uploaded game design with backgrounds, terrain, accents, hazards, characters, music and sound effects. So you can use graphics tools you are already familiar and proficient with, like Photoshop, there are “sprite sheet” templates to edit graphic elements to your own design and choosing. The end results should be a fully operational game with your own characters, environments and sounds.
Robin Rath, who presents the Kickstarter promotional video says he was inspired by 80s blockbuster platform games Mario Bros, Metroid and Zelda. Apparently he used to play these game classics and then go and sketch out what he thought would be a great next level in the game design. Though the Kickstarter video focuses on platform games the system seems to be adaptable and there is a top-down Pac-Man clone game featured in the details. Having such a template may enable new games similar to that, Pengo and Mr Do to be created.
Stretch goals for Pixel Press include a “big pixel” mode for younger children to more easily make use of the program and an Android version of the Pixel Press app. Currently the Kickstarter project is doing quite nicely at over $10k in one day with 36 days to go, so if the idea continues to be well received it should manage to make the Android stretch goal of $350k.