sketch nation copter screenAt GDC back in March, Touch Arcade had the opportunity to sit down with Engineous Games and spend some time playing with a pre-alpha version of their rather unique, upcoming title ,Sketch Nation Shooter, in which you're not only the game's player...but also its designer. An interesting proposition, eh?

Sketch Nation Shooter allows users to create their own games by drawing a player, enemies and a level on a piece of paper and taking a picture of the drawing with their iPhone camera. Users can then share their creations with their friends and other users. Our unique image recognition technology automatically detects the objects drawn and calculates collision boundaries. Sketch Nation Shooter is the only game to incorporate the iPhone camera in such a way. iPod Touch users can import their drawings through the Photo Library. After the drawings are imported into the game, users will be able to place enemies and powerups as well as set their properties in our easy to use in-game editor and then play with their unique creation.s

We were quite impressed with the image capture technology in the game that we saw and feel sure that iPhone gamers will have a good time experimenting with this one when it hits the App Store early next year.

The pre-release game has since won AppFire's AppStar contest. Watch the video to see how it works.

Engineous views their technology as a development platform more than just a single game, so while their first release will be a shooter, they intend to apply the tech to games of other genres such as tower defense, platforming, etc. Have a look at the developer's Sketch Nation blog to track development of the game and stay tuned for more details from Touch Arcade as we get them.

  • 1337brian

    Sounds awesome! I absolutely love any game that gives me some creative freedom to make what I want. This could work out nicely and I'm very interested to see when they apply this tech to the TD genre...

  • Kia

    Looks and sounds absolutely awesome, but I hate being left out of the fun what with only owning an iPod. ._.

    • LBG

      I'm pretty sure that you can use pictures already stored on your iPod Touch. So it is still possible, but a more length process (take photos, transfer to iPod, open in app).

    • Nitzan

      As LBG mentioned, iPod Touch users can import photos through the Photo Library. It is a more lengthy process, but hopefully Apple will release an iPod Touch with a camera soon.

  • Corey


    Finally an App where I can control the power of Chuck Norris and Shoot lasers from his head destoying Bears, Nijas, and Balloons.

    My Design! ROCKS

  • RiverOnFire

    Imagine the possibilities.... Doesn't have to be a space theme. Can be anything you want it to be. Cars, Trucks, Boats, Zombies... Anything. Turn it on it's side and it can be a side scroller. What a great idea for an app!

  • MrMuesli

    Imagination hath no all I need it the talent to draw the damn things; )

  • TonyRockyHorror

    love it! can't wait!

    it also reminds me a lot of Doodle Flight, where you can draw your own ships on screen, rather than on paper, the taking a photo. Sketch Nation Shooter, goes beyond that though, into enemies and levels and such too.

  • sk8erdude50

    this is a definite buy- hope it comes out soon!

  • Niels K.

    Nice concept and probably great technology. But my drawing-skills are just terrible and why should I want to play with my own sucky drawn sprites?

    • rich_952000


    • Thorero

      "Users can then share their creations with their friends and other users."

      Well there's the answer to that one Niels K.

      But I really am excited about this game, finally a chance to get some of my concepts into a game. Any idea if the user can add colours, or is it only black and white?

      • Nitzan

        The game will be black and white to minimize game size and to help make user creations work better with the in-game art.

  • Darwiniandude

    This will do very well. I can already see kids drawing body parts to incorporate into the game. 🙂

  • TomHandy

    OK, this is an awesome idea - when I first saw the headline, and before reading it, I was all ready to dismiss it with "Blegh, I bet you have to draw the stuff with your finger on the screen, and it's going to be a mess". It is, of course, pretty brilliant to let you draw on a real piece of paper and take a photo - I wouldn't have thought of that, which is of course why I'm not a clever game designer.

    Really curious to see how this does. I'd love to see them expand the concept to other genres (imagine an RPG builder that worked like this, for example).

  • chedita

    now thats an awesome app that will be a day one purchase for me

  • oliath

    Looks like i great idea but honestly... gameplay looks very very dull.
    Very dull.

    This will be one of those great tech demo games that you never really play beyond the first day.

    • Kevin

      To oliath:

      And the level shown was probably thrown together just for a quick demo. Remember, YOU are designing the game, so how fun it is to play will be up to how well you place the enemies, powerups, terrain and other elements. I just hope the game engine offers a lot of flexibility with what type of powerups you can make, what attack patterns you can set, and how big the enemies can be.

  • Jonathan Bloom

    Why paper? Can we import something drawn in the Brushes app?

    • Thorero

      I'd imagine so Jonathan, If it allows for us iPod touch users to use a saved photo, I'd imagine it would let you use an image saved from another app.

    • Nitzan

      You can import any image from your photo library, as long as the background is white or off-white and the drawing/image has a distinct border.

  • Scott

    Why do I have to take pictures of my drawings? Wouldn't it be easier/ more practical for most people to just draw it directly on the iphone/ipod touch?

    • Maeks

      I think both options would be good, but as for easier to draw on the iPhone/Touch, have you ever tried to draw on it? It's hard! At least getting fine details.

  • Druid

    This one looks great.

  • lebrusco

    How can so many people like this game?
    It's a huge load of work to create a level with obstacles, enemies and weapons that doesn't get dull after evading 2 asteroids and shooting down the first three ships.
    Throw in penis-cannons and vagina-holes if you like, still it won't last any longer than 5 minutes on your iPhone.

    • honoh

      I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and suggest that the game creators will have already included at least some enemy patterns.

      • Cookies

        Some people haven't got any common sense, but we shouldn't take it out of them for that.

      • moretocome

        Well, and what to think that THIS got AppFire's AppStar contest and got the first page here ? Wasn't nothing else worth talking about new game app ? Really AppStore = CrapStore for immature kiddies.

  • Cookies

    Looks really cool, shame my iTouch has no camera D;

  • Bob the builder

    I can't wait for this game!

  • japplayer

    great , finaly no more crap game will sell anymore, everybody will be able to do his own crap game 😀

  • Chris

    Is there anyone who ISN'T planning on creating a game with this were a penis-ship shoots attacking boobs out of the sky?

    • MrMuesli

      no; )

  • megamindstorm101

    I hope they make a way to draw your plane in the game. other then that its cool.