Yesterday an interesting new iPad app was released called Pixel Press Floors [Free]. The result of a successful Kickstarter campaign last June, Pixel Press Floors aims to let you create side-scrolling platformers using an iPad and some basic school supplies. No coding required. All you need to do is print out some special graph paper from the Pixel Press website and draw various special symbols on the paper. Like different squares to make up the terrain, or little plus signs for coins. Once you've created your level you point your iPad camera at the graph paper and the level is magically imported into Pixel Press Floors in playable form. Here's a very adorable little trailer explaining the gist of things.
Unfortunately for me, the Pixel Press Floors experience is a non-starter right from the gate. I'm not able to print out the special graph paper needed to make the game work. (Update: As pointed out in a comment below, the graph paper isn't required, and you can also create levels directly in the app or simply play other peoples' levels that have been shared online. Huzzah!). Fortunately, the good folks at The Verge did stock up on printer ink, and have a really nice review of the whole game-making experience using Pixel Press. As cool as the idea of making your own games sounds, it also sounds like a finicky process. The Verge reviewer lost at least a couple hours of work due to some tiny details.
First, his printer was to blame for the first run of graph paper he printed as it slightly cut off the edges of the graph paper. Only later, after he'd spent significant time drawing out his dream platforming levels, did it become clear that the edge that was slightly cut off from the printer contained little boxes that were crucial in making the whole process work. Then, after that issue was sorted out, his second design was apparently not drawn dark enough on the paper for the game to recognize, so another hour or so of effort was wasted.
Those small issues aside, though, once the process is done correctly it sounds like it's a lot of fun to create your own platformer and then be able to play it right then and there on your iPad. The Verge article also suggests using a ruler to draw your level, so everything is nice and straight. And, obviously, make sure your graph paper prints out properly and you make your drawings dark enough. Pixel Press Floors is just the first of three planned Pixel Press apps, with Pixel Press Quest allowing you to create more elaborate adventure games and Pixel Press Tracks for making racing games.
Those latter two apps won't arrive until later this year or sometime next year, but Pixel Press Floors is available right now and is free, so if the whole idea interests you and you have an iPad 2 or newer download it and give it a try and let us know how it works out for you in the comments below or in our forums.
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