Continuing Gamasutra’s ‘Road to the IGF’ feature, which profiles and interviews Independent Games Festival 2008
entrants, we talk to Kloonigames' Petri Purho about Crayon Physics Deluxe
, a 2D physics-based game where crayon-sketched objects can solve puzzles.
Purho is a computer science student who, although he's worked at Finnish independent game studio Frozenbyte, mostly likes to think of game development as a hobby, albeit a time-consuming one. In the spirit of developing his hobby, he started the Kloonigames blog
, with the aim of creating and publishing a new game prototype every month.
What motivated you to make Crayon Physics and Crayon Physics Deluxe?
Crayon Physics was a prototype I created in May as a part of my monthly prototypes. It's hard to say what motivated me to do it. Probably the fear of public humiliation for not coming up with a game on time.
Crayon Physics Deluxe
, which is the proper game based on the prototype, was mostly motivated by the popularity of the prototype. And also by the fear of public humiliation.
Where did you draw inspiration from in its design and implementation?
When I was working with the prototype the biggest conscious inspiration was Crockett Johnson's children's book Harold and the Purple Crayon. Actually, when I worked on the game I hadn't read the book, but I knew the plot and the magic crayon.
The design of Crayon Physics
was also influenced by two games: Armadillo Run
. The whole physics puzzle thing came from Armadillo Run
. Players being allowed to create whatever they wanted and not being punished for failures came from Braid. Also the absence of Pavlovian reward system is something I picked up from Braid
What sort of development tools have you been using in the production of Crayon Physics Deluxe?
I've been coding the game in Microsoft Visual C++ 2005. The game uses Erin Catto's Box2D physics engine and for the rest of the stuff, I use a game engine that I've coded over the years. Graphics are mostly procedurally created; rest is Photoshopped.
What do you think the most interesting element of the game is?
While the game is a puzzle game, it's very different from other puzzle games in that sense that it's not about figuring out the right solution to the puzzle. It's more about coming up with a creative solution to the puzzle.
Because of this, every player comes up with their own way of playing the game. No two players play the game exactly alike. They always come up with the wildest solutions to the puzzles and that's really cool, because I don't know that many games that allow players to be that expressive in their play.
How long has Kloonigames been developing Crayon Physics, and what has the process been like?
The original prototype was done in five days. But the Deluxe version has been in the works since June, so that adds up to 5 to 6 months now. The game is still in development, so in the end it could easily be double of that.
If you had to rewind to the start of the project, is there anything that you'd do differently?
Not much. I'd skip the part where I tried to code my own concave polygon collision algorithm. After much struggling I got it running, but in the end I didn't even use it. That was two weeks wasted.
What are your thoughts on the state of independent game development, and are any other independent games out now that you admire?
I think that the state of indies is pretty good now. Or at least things are better now than they were a few years back, when soccer moms and casual game portals seemed to be the only way for small developers to make money off their games. Now we have XBLA, PSN, Steam...
I don't know if Braid
'is out now', but it's definitely a game I have a huge admiration for. Also I'm very eagerly waiting for the PC release of Everyday Shooter
You have 30 seconds left to live and you must tell the game business something very important. What is it?
He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail of game development in the Castle of Aaauuuggghhh...