Did you design video game levels when you were a kid? Growing up in the era of the SNES and Genesis, I spent countless hours drawing pits of fire and dragon's lairs, dreaming of the day when I could lead a pixelated hero to victory over the villain who rules my levels. It was a nice dream, but it was out of reach when I was 10. While development has gotten easier in the time since, it still requires you too know something about coding. But Pixel Press is aiming to fix that.
Pixel Press is a mobile and web app that lets users design their own video game levels from their own drawings. The project recently finished its initial Kickstarter funding campaign, surpassing the original funding goal by US$8,950 dollars.
The app's level creator lets you design five floors of a video game level, much like the different stages found in Super Mario Bros., which saw you move across fields, then underground, then back through fields, until you finally ended up at the castle of the boss. Simply draw your level map on the free Sketch Kit paper provided by Pixel Press and draw your level. Using a simple system of shorthand, you can add platforms, spikes, traps and portals.
When you're done, snap a picture of your level with your iOS device and the app digitizes your drawing into a customizable world. With the aid of the app's design tools, you can color in your level as well as add textures, music, sound effects, different characters and fine details.
Once you finish, play your level and/or share it with others in the apps community as you try your hand at the work of other users.
Upgrades to the app, including new templates and level skins, will be available using in-game credits. When asked by Kickstarter supporters to explain if Pixel Press is going to be
ruined dominated with in-app purchases, the developers explained their system accordingly:
A lot of users are wondering if Pixel Press will be like many of the other games out there, where in-app purchasing dominates the experience. Pixel Press will work something like this: Items like new level skin packs will be available periodically, you can buy these to use for your levels OR you can download them for free using the credits/points you earn for playing other peoples levels, submitting levels, etc.
Given how much potential this app has to allow me to fulfill the childhood dream of building my own video game, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
You can watch a trailer for Pixel Press below. While it's still months from release, its successful Kickstarter campaign makes this as good a time as any to put it on your radar. Let us know what you think in the comments below.