Knotmania Diary: Learn to untie a  Gordian knot

This is the first in a series of articles that tell the story of making Knotmania - a physics puzzle indie game. In this series, I want to talk about the issues of the project and how we got over them.

So here we are then after months of development, Knotmania is open for beta.

But before I go into what is Knotmania, let me introduce who is working on this game.


2 Think is a small indie game development company based in Milan, Italy. 

It was born from the idea that two people could make a difference: they can design and produce an original game - exploring themes that are not present in mainstream products - and turn their energy and creativity into a time of joy for children of all ages.


Now what is Knotmania?


Knotmania is a knotty puzzle arcade game where your goal is to untie the knots: unrolling a single string knot or, if there are more than one, separate them.


The game features for now 55 rooms but new ones are on the work: each flavored by an unique abstract geometry concept, atmosphere and music.

The game will be a one-time purchase with no ads or in-app purchases and it will be available  in exclusive on the AppStore for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and compatible with iOS8 and iOS7.


We wanted to write a development diary but as we were short-handed (still are) and with the huge amount of tasks the project involved , we delayed it.

First I said game diary, actually it will be a mixture of the things that happen in the project.


Now that Knotmania opens for beta test we think it's time to share with you some of its story.

So I hope you enjoy the story and feel free to comment!


But First we want to ask you a simple question: 


  • How many times did you have to untie the earphones or untangle the shoe laces of your sneakers ?

But no matter how neatly you tied them up beforehand, the cords have become a Gordian knot.

I think that the answer  is obvious: these moments happen very often and you can agree that it wasn't easy to untangle these things.


Cords, ropes or strings are magic objects: left to themselfs they tends to wrap each other.

This magic thing happens so often that maybe there is something beneath it.


Physicists have investigated this phenomenon making a very simple experiment: when a string is tumbled inside a box, complex knots often form within seconds, the probability increases if the string is long and flexible enough. 

The experiment suggests the probability of a knot formation increases to nearly 100 percent for long agitation times.

If someone is curious about the these studies, there are more informations in this article: Spontaneous knotting of an agitated string


This is the inception of Knotmania: trying to render these magical strings and their movements.


From that moment on, we started to study the essential physics behind Knotmania. 

First of all, technically we needed to clarify the basic concepts of the game:


  1. What is a knot?
  2. How can we generate a knot?
  3. How can we simulate a string?
  4. How can we interact with a knot?
  5. How do we know that a node is untied?


In real life, even a child could answer at these questions. My children learned to tie a node, to untie it and they could answer that very easy. 

But defining a mathematical model for the very same process  it's not that easy.


In the next blog we will see why. 


In the meantime if someone wants to join us for beta test post a comment or send an email at : [email protected] and follow us on Twitter: @2thinkgames





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