Archive for the ‘Physics based’ Category

The puzzling physics of reflection

27 February 2009

IMG_0001.PNGThere are various puzzles in the app store that provide a realistic replication of physical reality and use gravity, momentum or friction to make puzzles (as discussed in an earlier post). Another physical phenomenon that lends itself to design interesting puzzles is reflection. Three puzzle games in the app store (try to) realistically represent reflection, and make nice puzzles in that surrounding.


Bees, Bots and Rolandos: playful physics puzzles

10 February 2009

IMG_0001.PNGThe three games to be discussed in this post present in my opinion the most interesting game-developments on the iPhone. They are not puzzles in the strict sense as I tend to define it, because they all require a certain amount of dexterity. However, the balance between strategic planning and dexterous maneuvering is well thought through. You won’t solve these with only dexterity! Further, all these games are extremely well made, both visually and auditory. And they are all based on a very refined physical quasi-world, as I have discussed in my previous post. Interestingly, they all take a slightly different approach to which aspect of physics is highlighted: gravity, momentum, and friction.

Are you curious? The games I am referring to are the following (links redirect to iTunes):


Crayon Physics: A primer on physics-based puzzles

9 February 2009

crayon_small_02.jpgIn the development of computer games, one of the most important underlying developments is the refinement of the so-called physics engine. Originally, each developer would independently define all reactions of the program to each input of the user. Obviously, this is very labour-intensive, so already from the start of computer-games different solutions were developed. The basic idea is to frame the game into the surrounding of a quasi-reality, so that the game itself can figure out how to react. In this approach, the central problem was to build a suitable quasi-reality. However, the big profit was that the quasi-reality became to some extent independent of the game itself, so it could be reused. Eventually, the development of such quasi-realities (or physics engines as they are usually called) became an industry of its own (see the historical survey by Calen Henry and Jacob Karsemeyer for an in-depth analysis).

Most games using such engines are shoot and race games, but there are also various puzzles that use the power of a quasi-reality.