A Kickstarter-funded app-based game creation system has launched, allowing users to draw their own game levels, scan them in and play.
What if you could just doodle a game map, complete with hazards and enemies, and bring it to life? That's what was proposed by last year's Kickstarter campaign for an app for iOS and Android called Pixel Press.
This idea was explored on a basic level by, which allowed you to create your own artwork and modify presets for a few basic games — but Pixel Press is much more ambitious. The system — which generated US$108,950 of its US$100,000 goal — has you draw your game on special sheets of grid paper, allowing for a much more customisable and sophisticated game.
The newly launched, free for a limited time iPad app (more devices are on the way) is called Pixel Press Floors, and it allows you to create a specific type of game: the side-scrolling platformer. The special symbols you draw on the grid paper (printable files provided for free, although you can also order pre-printed sheets) let you place terrain, ladders, monkey bars, moving platforms, portals and power-ups; and hazards such as falling blocks, exploding blocks, pits, fireballs and spikes. For in-app purchases, you can add support for enemies and more power-ups.
You then scan your sheet and the app converts the symbols to elements, allowing you to dress it up in themes. At this point in time, the app has two themes, but more, Pixel Press says, are on the way.
For those who can't use the grid for whatever reason — the app on the iPad 2, for example, doesn't support scanning — Pixel Press Floors also has a "Draw in app" feature that allows you to create levels from within the app.
The games you make won't, of course, be winning any awards, but if you spent your idle time as a kid doodling the video-game level of your dreams, this is your chance to make it a reality — and for kids, seeing something they've drawn come to life would be pretty amazing. You can also play games other creators have made, and see how many others play your own.
It all seems really cool — but there's a lot more to come. On its website, Pixel Press notes that it also has two other apps in development — Pixel Press Quest, slated for late this year or early next year, that will allow you to create adventure games; and Pixel Press Tracks, for sometime next year, which will allow you to create racing games.