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Road to the IGF: Ty Taylor and Mario Castaneda's The Bridge
Continuing our Road to the IGF interviews, Gamasutra chats with Ty Taylor about his Student Showcase finalist, The Bridge, a 2D puzzle platformer set in an Escherian world.
Tell me about your design for the the game's title. The entire game, in terms of the environment, atmosphere, and graphics, is intended to actually be an in-progress drawing, in everything from the scenery to the player himself. This is what the lines on the title image represent -- the subtle un-erased constructs an artist might use to draw something, such as aligning the letters of "The Bridge" in the drawing. The character also has this same effect animated throughout the game. As for the white "i", this is a play on a core concept of the game, which is gravity inversion. Every time the player walks between an impossible structure, he or she can "invert", to make the character a white, un-shaded, version of the original. The "i" in the title is drawn like this, with the dot on the "i" being a Penrose Triangle seen throughout the game to indicate that gravity inversion is possible. And what's the significance in the title itself? With the name "The Bridge," the player expects to find a bridge, but they don't expect how or why. The Bridge can obviously refer to the structure the player must reach in the game, but the meaning behind that structure and its purpose in the game is yet another puzzle for players to solve. Why do you think The Bridge deserves to win the Student Showcase? Like all of the other finalists, we've poured a lot of love in this game. The Bridge is a culmination of our love for Escher's work and indie games and the people behind them. As a student showcase finalist, it certainly serves to show that professional quality developments can surface from non-professionals. Why should the average gamer play your game? The Bridge is a celebration of the work of just two enthusiasts, something I think the average gamer can appreciate. And should they love it, here's hoping The Bridge is just the first of many indie gems they reach out and try. What are some interesting things about your game that you haven't talked about before? Although The Bridge was always about being a puzzle-platformer, this game started out as more of an action game with an emphasis on jumping and gravity-assisted platforming rather than puzzle solving. We wanted players of any skill level to find this game appealing, so we focused on making it a casual puzzle game. This resulted in cutting the stereotypical platformer mechanic, jumping, which emphasized the contemplative puzzle genre over the action genre, something that we both feel does the elaborate level concepts justice. How do you feel the game brings into question the boundaries of reality? How have players' reactions been? We feel we've created a living homage to Escher's work, which as still images, can only serve to tantalize. With the impossible architecture integrated into the puzzles, walking on walls isn't just a gimmick; it's a means to traverse structures that couldn't possibly exist but do through the medium of game. Watching players is fun -- as there's always an "aha" moment when they've figured it out and smile as they feel like they've conquered the impossible. Of course, sometimes, that smile switches to an embarrassed laugh when the puzzle outsmarts their solution. It's funny to watch them roll up their metaphorical brain-sleeves and jump right back in!