Explosions, destruction, and tearing things down are common themes in lots of games. But how about we explore the other end of the spectrum. Make some games about assembling, building, and constructing!
Here’s a fun trip down memory lane! Youtuber Nerd³ plays through experimental gameplay classics- Canabalt, Attack of the Killer Swarm and On a Rainy Day. Those last two are now 8 years old! Thanks Nerd³!
Results are in! Two months ago, we challenged you to design and build experimental new games for Sifteo Cubes. Of the original 41 games submitted, 6 finalists moved on to Round 2 to further develop each game on an actual set of physical cubes. The finalists were Squaresville, Cube Cafe, Love Conspiracy, Color Ball, Shifted, and Parapluie. One month later, with new game modes, art, and a final layer of polish added to each game, selecting a winner has been difficult. We couldn’t pick just one, so we selected TWO WINNERS that succeeded in two very different ways.
Each of the two winners will receive publishing deals, each with $25,000 funding to finish their games and release on the Sifteo platform. They will also receive direct support from the tech and marketing teams to help get to the finish line. Both winning games will also be featured later this month at the Sifteo booth at GDC, located near the IGF pavillion.
The two winners are -
WINNER (SINGLE PLAYER):
Squaresville, by Frank Force – Sifteo says, “Frank was one of the first entrants to the competition, and entered a total of three games. Squaresville was by far our favorite. With its elegant spatial puzzles built into a large open world, it takes great advantage of the tangible, distributed nature of the Sifteo Cubes. Players rotate cubes to shift the very earth, and realign rooms. This allows them to explore literally every side of the world. Floors become walls and ceilings, bottomless pits become long hallways, and impassible floor spikes become hanging doom. Frank has also displayed great technical prowess in his execution of Squaresville. He wrote a performant open world engine and toolchain to help him produce and display game content. He has also been kind enough to share some of his experience and tools with the community at large via his website, frankforce.com. We’re excited for the chance to work with Frank to flesh out and polish Squaresville. ” Frank has provided a way you can play the game (even without cubes!) in the Sifteo Simulator.
WINNER (MULTI PLAYER):
Parapluie, by One Life Remains – Sifteo says, “We were quite taken with Parapluie, a game that, though playable alone should truly be experienced with friends. Players race bicyclists though minimalist mazes in search of an umbrella (a.k.a parapluie) hidden somewhere in the maze. They then must remember their way back, returning the umbrella to the start / finish line. To move, players swap two cubes back and forth, a simple act made frantic and fun by having to race your opponents. This also means players can only see two small segments of the maze at any one time. The game controls are super satisfying and tap into the magic of tangible play. Deftness and Dexterity become important in a way impossible to achieve with a keyboard, touchscreen, or analog stick. In Round 2, the One Life Remains team added two new game modes to Parapluie, Manic and Sprint, which expand on the games cognitive and dexterous elements. We’re looking forward to what is next for Parapluie and can’t wait to have it on the platform.”
Cube Cafe, by C.C. Chamberlin – Sifteo says, “Ok we really couldn’t stop ourselves and had to call out C.C. Chamberlin and his work on Cube Cafe. C.C. created a polished plate spinning game in the tradition of Diner Dash that we all enjoyed. We’ve been playtesting the EGP games around the office and it has been a real crowd pleaser. The gameplay and art really come together in a solid, well executed package. In round 2 C.C. improved the tutorial system, refined the kitchen layout and mechanics, and covered a bunch of polish points. He’s also been really active in the community, giving others feedback and sharing his experience. It may not have been the most experimental of the finalist games, but we would have been remiss not to have made mention of it. C.C. we’ll be in touch.”
See you next month!
Congrats again to everyone who participated in this especially difficult two month challenge! While we couldn’t select everyone as a winner, the Sifteo folks have indicated they were “blown away by the breadth, and quality of all the finalist games” and hoping to eventually speak with ALL of the finalists about publishing, in some form, on the platform. Updated videos for each of the remaining finalists games below, in no particular order.
See you next month, with a nice classic EGP style competition coming up in the month of April!
For Round 2, sets of cubes have been mailed out to each of the finalists from Round 1. If you haven’t already received your set, you can expect it soon! Here is some info to keep in mind for Round 2:
The deadline for Round 2 submissions has been extended to Friday, March 8th.
Submit your final build and any videos etc by posting a link to your blog, youtube, etc in the comments of this post below. Since many EGP’ers might not have sets of cubes, video is likely the best way to showcase your game as widely as possible. Either simulator or real live footage is ok.
The Sifteo folks have offered to review one in-progress build for each game over the course of the month to provide feedback. “This can give competitors a glimpse of our publishing and review process if they end up working with us.” And as always, general design and tech questions are welcome either in the comments below or mailed directly to the Sifteo folks.
And because I’m a music nerd, here’s a fun post on writing tracker music for the cubes, but can be used generally as well. Good luck finalists!
Congratulations to everyone who submitted an entry for Round 1 of the Sifteo Cubes Competition! We’ve all enjoyed reading about and experimenting with each of the prototypes and designs this month. Teaming up with the Sifteo crew, we played and poked and twisted and discussed each of the 41 entries and have come up with a list of SIX FINALISTS. Each of the finalists will move on to Round 2, and will be sent physical cubes to further develop their game, as well as receive detailed design feedback, and have access to ongoing support to complete their game over the next month. The winner of Round 2 will receive the prizes listed here.
The SIX FINALISTS, in no particular order:
Squaresville, by Frank Force – Sifteo says, “Frank Force submitted three awesome prototypes for EGP, but Squaresville was certainly our favorite around the judging table. What at first appears to be a simple platformer belies some imaginative twisting of the player’s spatial expectations. Frank has also shown some great development skill on the Sifteo platform. He pulled a lot of graphical complexity out of the Sifteo Cubes and backing Squaresville with his own level editing system. Looking forward to seeing what kind of perception twisting level design Frank can build into Squaresville.”
Cube Cafe, by CC Chamberlin – Sifteo says, “Cube Cafe takes a well loved genre and brings it to the Sifteo platform in a way that takes good advantage of the physicality of the cubes. Bringing a “plate spinner” into the physical space enhances the natural frantic nature of the game. CC’s was able to pack a lot of content into his prototype, proving out the game’s capacity to expand into new mechanics. We really look forward to seeing more great content and art in Cube Cafe.”
Love Conspiracy, by Arnaud de Bock – Sifteo says, “Love Conspiracy is a unique generative storytelling game. Arnaud de Brock really embraced the experimental nature of the competition and it caught the eye of almost every judge. The art direction and particular symbols employed by Love Conspiracy come together to make a great experience for those who want to explore de Bock’s world of abstract characters and narrative. we believe opportunities for interesting emergent play abound as Love Conspiracy is polished in the next month.”
ColorBall, by Frédéric Vauchelles – Sifteo says, “Colorball is a puzzle game with spatial and timing elements that lend themselves well to Sifteo Cubes. Even in this prototype, the combination of twitch and puzzler is reminiscent of games like Portal and Hundreds. We’re really excited to see what additional puzzle mechanics and design Frederic can explore polishing ColorBall.”
SHIFTED, by Niek van Suchtelen – Sifteo says, “SHIFTED’s great abstract visuals and super challenging gameplay made it a standout among the puzzle entries. The game’s presentation fits the cubes so well and makes interactions quite natural. Niek also provided a great design document with proposals for how to take the game forward in interesting ways. Our own puzzle design gurus at Sifteo saw a lot of great opportunity here. We expect SHIFTED to do a great job of melting our brains even more with another month of polish.”
Parapluie, by One Life Remains – Sifteo says, “Parapluie pits players against each other in a frantic, fast paced search through a psychedelic maze. Players rush out into the maze with little direction, trying to be the first to reach their goal. The trick is, once they find it they must trace their steps back. This juxtaposition of frantic competitive play with skilled memorization really drew us to Parapluie. We look forward to seeing Simon and team polish and evolve these mechanics during the next month.”
There were so many promising entries, we’ve also selected six honorable mentions for games that didn’t quite make the cut, but that show great promise. Each honorable mention will receive a Sifteo t-shirt, detailed feedback from the Sifteo team, and a discount on hardware to continue to polish their prototypes. In no particular order, they are:
Little Conquerors, by Alejandro Iglesias
“We really loved the puzzle battle concept and art direction of Little Conquerors.”
Peong, by Frank Force
“We had some good fun playing Frank’s take on the classic Pong brought to Sifteo Cubes. I think I need to work on my serve.”
Dungeon Doors, by CC Chamberlin
“This math dungeon crawler is a learning game with added depth and fun narrative trappings.”
Kokoy, by Omar Duarte
“Kokoy’s beautiful visuals and level of finish really caught our eye.”
Virtual Chemistry Lab, by Thiago Garcia
“We love the concept of using the Sifteo Cubes as a working chem lab. Can’t wait to see where these talented folks take this.”
Love Tester, by Wes Ehrlichman
“Love Tester is packed full of great social and communication puzzles. There’s a nugget of fun here that bears some further exploration.”
If you were selected as a finalist or honorable mention, we need some additional information from you! Please send the following to contact at experimentalgameplay.com at your earliest convenience:
Finalists: Please contact us and provide the following.
1. An address where you would like the set of cubes mailed.
2. Are you eligible and interested in an internship at Sifteo in San Francisco?
Honorable Mentions: Please contact us and provide the following.
1. An address where you would like a t-shirt mailed.
Round 2 will begin soon!
Once we get the sets of cubes sent out to each finalist, we’ll post here again, and announce the deadline for all Round 2 submissions. Congratulations again to everyone who submitted an entry, and good luck to the finalists!
We're a group of indie game developers, running a friendly competition every month. The rules: Make a game based on the month's theme, and don't spend more than 7 days. New games posted at the end of every month.