Turn Your Sketches Into Instantly Playable Video Games


Turn Your Sketches Into Instantly Playable Video Games

The Future of Entertainment series by iQ by Intel and PSFK Labs is highlighting the latest in entertainment innovation. Over the course of 10 weeks at iq.intel.com, we are showcasing new products, services and technologies, exploring the changing face of how we consume, share and create content and getting reactions from Intel experts.

Today, we delve deeper into this week’s trend, Intuitive Content Creation, which looks at how technology is giving everyone –regardless of skills– the ability to create content almost as fast as they consume it. Companies are looking at ways to engage consumers who want more than just new content – they want interaction, participation, and a say in crafting that entertainment experience themselves.

In a conversation with Fast Company, Philip Patrick, director of business development and publisher of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, a site for publishing fan fiction, noted, “We, as a culture, seem more creative than ever before. We have all these tools that empower us to tell stories.” As these tools become easier to use, they effectively fade into the background, enabling our imaginations to take over and bring our ideas to life in new and exciting ways.

Pixel Press is one such tool, allowing anyone to experiment with digital design from the ground up, without the need for complex coding or expensive programs. Instead, all one needs is an idea, a pencil and an iPad to create a video game from scratch. The platform sprung from the nostalgia of its creator Robin Rath. As a child of the 80s, Rath was an avid platform video game player (think 2D Mario Brothers) and when he would run out of levels to beat, he’d draw his own. Back then, Rath’s drawings were exactly that, just drawings on a piece of paper. But now Pixel Press enables players to take their drawing and transfer it from paper to pixel that is instantly playable!

The app consists of a two-page PDF that users print off. One page is graph paper, where the blueprint of the game is drawn out, and the other is a set of instructions that shows how to draw detail into the game, for instance an x represents a spike. In the Pixel Press game, users can create a multilevel platform game that includes simple yet fun design elements such as hazards, monkey bars and the aforementioned spikes. Once the drawing is complete, they take a picture of it using an iPad, and voila, in a matter of time it is transformed into a playable, digital game. Within the app users can add colors and audio, personalizing their creation even further.

The resulting game looks a lot like the 8-bit games of yore. Okay, so you are not going to create Call of Duty with some graph paper and an iPad, but Pixel Press is not so much about the end result as the creative process itself. It allows anyone remotely interested in games, to explore their imaginations, and finds a way around the barrier of needing a mound of technical knowledge to do so.

“The whole reason that we’re creating this thing is to allow creatives to get closer to a storytelling process. It’s not necessarily about creating a game, it’s about telling a story,” said Rath in an interview with The St. Louis Curator. And like all things digital these days, Pixel Press is very shareable, meaning you not only get to create content, but you can share it with friends, and they can play something that was once only a figment of your imagination. 

Beyond having a predilection towards platform games, Pixel Press asks very little of the creator and provides, a natural, hands-on way of turning ideas into digital reality. It is Intuitive Content Creation at its finest – it simplifies the complexities associated with game programming, and presents a more intuitive model for users of any level to produce their very own shareable video game. Tune in tomorrow as we take a deeper look at what this trend means for the Future of Entertainment.

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