Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Beauty of Simplicity

I came across this article by Chris Baker at Slate.com about a videogame called Crayon Physics Deluxe. I was very taken with the video below for a variety of reasons. While the game is far from slick, it is ingenious. The player has enormous freedom to create and to plot strategies in attempting to win the game. The fact that it includes drawing doesn't hurt either.

Reading about Petri Purho, the inventor of Crayon Physics Deluxe, was even more inspiring. He works under some basic, simple rules for creating his games.
  • Each game must be made in less than seven days.
  • Each game must be made by exactly one person.
  • Each game must be based around a common theme, i.e., "gravity," "vegetation," "swarms," etc.
The beauty of this rapid prototyping is that not all ideas are good ones. Rather than commit large amounts of time, money and effort to an idea that turns out to be a failure, there is enormous appeal in working simply and quickly to discover the worth of an idea. As Crayon Physics Deluxe proves, an audience doesn't require visual sophistication if the idea is a good one.

There's an obvious analogy here to the animation field. Features and TV series have grown increasingly complex and expensive, and as a result the high risk of a failure distorts the creative process. Projects are forced to conform to what's already been successful and spontaneity is in short supply. If animation is to be revitalized and if independents and small companies have any hope of competing with multinational corporations, the kind of elegant simplicity found in Crayon Physics Deluxe points to an approach that should be taken seriously.

2 comments:

Kris said...

Okay THAT is awesome

I want it on my Nintendo DS.

mella said...

Neat!