What if you could turn a sketch into an actual playable level? Well, that’s the idea behind Pixel Press, an iPhone and iPad app that lets you draw your own video game without any coding and share it with others. You design five floors of a video game level and can even include powerups from level to level. Your hero starts at the bottom of the level and attempts to overcome the obstacles you create to reach the elevator at the end of each floor to advance up to the next floor. As the creator, your goal is to design a level that progresses in difficulty from top to bottom.
It all starts with paper. You download the free template, which is essentially graph paper, and sketch your world. You can add platforms and obstacles like lava pits all by drawing them on the paper. Once you’re done, you take a picture of your design using your iPhone or iPad and through optical recognition technology, your artwork is transferred to an app as “a sketch of a level.” Once it’s on your device you can then customize your level with the pre-created visual skins, character designs, sound effects, and music. Because sharing is such a huge part of Pixel Press, the hope is to allow users to upload their own sounds and sprite sheets as well.
Pixel Press could allow those interested to get their feet wet in level design, regardless of age
Although Pixel Press is still in the prototype phase, the potential for the technology is evident to supporters and developers alike. There is already a large push for the app’s integration into young classrooms. Sure, Pixel Press doesn’t involve coding, but it still involves quite a bit of trial and error. It is entirely possible to design an obstacle that is impossible to get passed, so the building blocks of level design are still present. If introduced to classrooms, Pixel Press could allow those interested to get their feet wet in level design, regardless of age.
While Pixel Press is currently only available for iPhone and iPad, their Kickstarter does contain a stretch goal to help work on an Android version of the app.
I think the main thing to understand is that the stretch goals are not really built into the Kickstarter system, and therefore are entirely flexible – so we’re going to build apps to serve our customers, regardless of whether we raise $100k or $500k – it’s just a matter of timing. So if you bid on this and the Android version isn’t live from day 1, we’ll figure it out with you, you just might have to wait longer.
The initial goal of their Kickstarter is to reach 100k to help in creating their own optical character recognition software. According to their Kickstarter page, if all goes according to plan, Pixel Press will be downloadable from the Apple Store near the end of Q4 in 2013.