Project image
)}
SEK 35,936
pledged of SEK 500,000pledged of SEK 500,000 goal
120
backers
9days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, May 2 2019 2:06 PM UTC +00:00.

Emil RomanusBy Emil Romanus
First created
Emil RomanusBy Emil Romanus
First created
SEK 35,936
pledged of SEK 500,000pledged of SEK 500,000 goal
120
backers
9days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, May 2 2019 2:06 PM UTC +00:00.

About

We are rebooting the Apparatus series to create the most fun, brain-twiddling and community-centered physics puzzle game ever.

Hi, my name is Emil Romanus and I created the Apparatus game series.

Ten years ago when smartphones were just emerging, I asked the question: How can  touchscreens be made essential to gameplay?

I didn't know if touchscreens would stay at all nor if playing games on your phone would become a thing. So I took a risk. The idea of dragging, combining and interacting with objects on the screen to solve physics puzzles turned into the first Apparatus game.

The press reviewing the original Apparatus (2011).
The press reviewing the original Apparatus (2011).

As you can see, the concept turned out to be an instant success, with the game dominating top lists and bringing together millions of players. Big companies tried to copy us but failed! Bithack, my company, grew (well, we went from just me, to 3 guys using my basement as office) and we eventually released Apparatus 2: Principia. Technologically and feature-wise, both games were truly endless and amazing. But business and marketing wise, being a small independent game developer, we did quite a few mistakes and eventually had to shut down both Apparatus and Principia due to financial difficulties. One of my greatest regrets in life.

Since the shut down, I've been receiving daily emails from random players asking me where the games are. Some of them angry and frustrated, but most of them nostalgic and longing for bringing the community of players back.

More and more people suggested Kickstarter, and here we are. It is time to bring the Apparatus series back with a third installment. The game will be called Apparatus just like the first game, and not Apparatus 3, because this is a reboot. And I guarantee it will be the most versatile, brain-twiddling and fun physics puzzler ever.


What is Apparatus?

If you didn't have an Android phone back in 2011, or did not have the opportunity to play the original Apparatus game somewhy, you missed out on one of the greatest phenomenons in puzzle gaming history. Apparatus won the hearts of millions of players, was the #1 best selling game in its category, the #1 top rated game, handpicked as "Editor's Choice" by Google for six months straight, and critically-acclaimed worldwide by reviewers for its innovative game mechanics and intuitive use of the touch screen.

But Apparatus is not just a mobile game - its successor Principia, released in 2014, was available on Microsoft Windows as well as Android and iOS. And this time with the new Apparatus, we're aiming for console support and possibly even Virtual Reality, if we surpass our funding goals on this Kickstarter campaign.

But what exactly is Apparatus? Personally, I don't consider Apparatus a game in the typical sense. Many people who played the original Apparatus or Principia said they generally don't play games at all. So what made this series special enough for them to play? 

  •  It keeps your brain stimulated and your mind sharp. Other games often rely on compulsion loops and quick dopamine hits. Like drugs! But Apparatus is the opposite of that, don't be surprised if you spend 30 minutes figuring the solution to a puzzle. Or if you get stuck for 2 weeks unable to find a solution at all. >:)
  •  It's a hobby. I have seen players spend months just working, working, working on their creations. The result - thousands of objects interacting to create something truly amazing and impressive. And remember, you're not wasting time if it's a hobby! ;)
  •  The community spirit. It's hard to top the satisfaction of publishing your creation online after weeks of hard work and then getting feedback from your fellow players. Or just lurking, playing other players' creations, sharing ideas and engaging in competitions.



 Gameplay

Apparatus takes the traditional contraption game to the next step. Not only are you challenged with solving puzzles using the laws of physics, but you must also use your creativity and intelligence to stick together simple pieces into something that solves the puzzle for you. Be that a simple vehicle that delivers a ball to a cup, or perhaps a robot arm with proximity sensors that self-navigate around obstacles to carefully drop the ball at its target destination.

Basic objects such as wooden planks and plastic boxes can be combined with servo motors, battery packs and a multitude of sensors and electronics, to produce something that automates the solution to a puzzle.

Example solution to a puzzle. Please note that these screenshots do NOT represent the final game which of course will look much better.
Example solution to a puzzle. Please note that these screenshots do NOT represent the final game which of course will look much better.

The objective varies from level to level. Sometimes a ball needs to reach a goal. Sometimes a gang of toy robots walking brainlessly must avoid death (remember Lemmings?). The common denominator is that you are provided with a set of objects and left to figure it out. You're pretty much on your own.


Features

Connecting and attaching

Using nails and pivots, objects are joined to form shapes and contraptions. Everything follows the laws of physics, so you can easily use your intuition for where the center of mass is and how the objects will interact.

Electronics

Someone had too much time on their hands!
Someone had too much time on their hands!

In addition to simulating the laws of physics, Apparatus has its own electronics system. There are hundreds of devices ranging from simple binary operations such as XOR, AND, NOR, to trigonometric functions such as sin, cos and atan2. 

Of course, sending information from one device to another almost never involves any complexity. A button can be wired to turn on a rocket thruster using a single cable, just like a laser sensor can be wired to turn on a lamp using just a single cable.

A few examples:

  • Signal inverter
  • ceil and floor
  • Square root and square
  • Toggler
  • Moving average
  • Clamp
  • Value shift
  • FIFO queue
  • muladd
  • XOR, OR, AND and NAND (say that line five times)
  • IF, IF-else, compare equal, compare less than or equal, etc
  • Min and max
  • Sum, mul
  • Condenser
  • Memory module
  • sincos
  • atan2
  • Timer
  • Sequencer
  • Random
  • And more!

 Sensors and meters

Example sensors and meters
Example sensors and meters

 To make your contraptions autonomous, Apparatus provides a bunch of sensors. They are also extremely simple to use. For example, the proximity sensor measures the distance to the neareset object, and it outputs a value between 0 and 1. You can easily point the proximity sensor downwards and wire it to a rocket thruster, and you have yourself a hovercraft! If it gets unstable, use the tiltmeter and two side-thrusters to stabilize it (have a look at the "E" in the Features-image above for just that.

  • Proximity meter
  • Tiltmeter
  • Angular velocity meter
  • Pressure sensor
  • Impact sensor
  • Object finder (relative angle and distance)
  • Velocity meter
  • Object detector
  • Gyroscope
  • Laser sensor
  • And more!

Misc objects

We created so many quirky objects for Principia, and they will all be included in the new Apparatus as well.

A very simple manual picker arm. Took me 4 minutes to build!
A very simple manual picker arm. Took me 4 minutes to build!
  •  Remote control - send signals to your creation using on-screen buttons and sliders or your mouse and keyboard. Yes, you will be able to control that robot you fantasized about building. 
  • Lasers
  • Linear motor/servo
  • Object emitter and absorber
  • Time controller (for slow motion)
  • Game manager for deciding when the player wins or loses
  • Gravity manager
  • Effects emitter (explosions, smoke, etc)
  •  Sound synthesizer with sine, square, pulse, sawtooth and triangle waveforms), bitcrushing, volume vibrato, frequency vibrato. Easily create your own special effect sounds or even music.
  • And more!

The Sandbox

The sandbox is a free building zone with endless possibilities. Use all the components and objects available to construct contraptions, mini-games, adventures, your own puzzle levels and much more.

The flexibility of the sandbox allows you to set your own rules for how the game is won. You can even add your own highscore boards, so that other players who try your level can compete and challenge each others.

A game built in the sandbox with custom score system and objectives.
A game built in the sandbox with custom score system and objectives.
Easily turn the game into a platformer.
Easily turn the game into a platformer.

The Apparatus Community

Once you have built something in the sandbox, it can be uploaded at the click of a button to the community section. Here, players can play, comment and vote on each others' creations. 

User-uploaded levels in Principia.
User-uploaded levels in Principia.
  •  Top lists - The most amazing and top voted creations are promoted on the front page, there are also daily, weekly and monthly top lists.
  •  Competitions - one of the most highly appreciated features of Principia was the weekly competitions. To compete, simply upload your creation and submit it to the competition. Other players then vote to pick the winner. The winner and runner-up receive golden and silver badges to wear next to their usernames. There are also monthly competitions where you can with the Black Diamond Badge!
  •  Forums - of course, discussion and helping each other is essential and easily done in the forums

Example community levels from Principia

A dragon shooting lightning out of its mouth, of course.
A dragon shooting lightning out of its mouth, of course.
Winner of the "Climber" competition in Principia. It climbs.
Winner of the "Climber" competition in Principia. It climbs.
Some crazy guy managed to load sprites into the game and made himself a top-down platformer.
Some crazy guy managed to load sprites into the game and made himself a top-down platformer.
Adventure mode where you control the robot.
Adventure mode where you control the robot.
A machine. This guy (TechZ) won almost every Principia community competition!
A machine. This guy (TechZ) won almost every Principia community competition!
A smart robot capable of walking stairs and crouching under obstacles.
A smart robot capable of walking stairs and crouching under obstacles.

What's new since the original games?

  • Better graphics (the screenshots and videos you see on this page do not represent the final product at all, only the concept)
  • Faster and more accurate physics
  • Support for more platforms
  • Many more objects
  • Material system with tuneable properties such as friction, density, etc
  • It's open source!
  • Brand new community section
  • HUNDREDS of new and challenging puzzle levels

Platforms

  • PC (Windows, Linux)
  • iOS
  • Android
  • (stretch goals) PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Virtual Reality. Let's discuss these when we surpass our initial goal.

Budget and timeline

A game this complex for just ~$50,000? No, that would be impossible. We have already invested over $500,000 in Principia and we will base the new Apparatus on the Principia source code and files. We're not starting from scratch.

Furthermore, $50,000 is really the bare minimum. If we reach that goal, you will get the game and all the features described here (but with better graphics and other tweaks). The target includes office rent, assets and licenses, and salary for our small team. But what we truly hope for is to reach some of our stretch goals like adding support for fluid dynamics, multiplayer, consoles and more, and we will announce those goals when we get that far. 

So don't hold back on your pledge because of our low target, because we have SO much more coming!

Timeline

  • May 2019 - This Kickstarter turns out to be a major success, and we got to work already
  • June 2019 - Community website launched with forums
  • July 2019 - First very early version sent out to backers
  • September 2019 - Early access users can now upload and share their creations on the community website
  • October 2019 - Beta release
  • November 2019 - Official release 

Why Kickstarter?

The new Apparatus is an open source game financed by the community. We will sell packages of puzzle levels to cover running costs and continued development, but the primary goal now is to make some something amazing and available to everyone. The community is essential to the game, which is why we want make the game together with the community.

The original Apparatus was very, very successful, so we could have talked to a game publisher to find funding elsewhere. But they never would have funded an open source game, and we would have to do the game their way! We prefer doing it the way the community wants, and it was the community that convinced us to reboot the series. 

For this vision, Kickstarter is the best option.


About us

Bithack is an independent game developer based in Sweden. We make games that challenge your mind and creativity.

The company was founded by me (Emil) in 2010 and I am responsible for close to everything here, but primarily I do the programming. I started programming at 10 years old and have experience with everything from 3D games to bank systems, artificial intelligence (neural networks) and search engine technology. 

Mikael, who happens to be my brother, is the best low-poly 3D modeller you will find. He also does some programming and other stuff where needed.

Kajsa, who happens to be my wife, makes sure everything is structured and organized, including this campaign, and that we keep our promises. She has a financial background.

If you did your math right, you will know that this company consists of 3 people. Of course, we will expand if needed to and I know several great people who have worked with us before.

Follow us on:

Special thanks to Rasmus Karlsson (pajlada) who was very involved in the Principia development but is unable to join us again at this point.

In memory of Keith Tripp (zardOz), a legendary Apparatus players who spent the last months of his life educating others how to build things, who created hundreds of example levels and helped thousands of newcomers overcoming the steep learning curve. His legacy will live on in the new Apparatus. RIP.

Windows® and the Windows logo are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. "Apple", the Apple logo, "iPhone" and "iPad" are trademarks of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. The "Android" name and the "Google Play" brand are property of Google LLC. The Android robot is reproduced from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. Bithack is not affiliated with any of these companies.

Risks and challenges

All Kickstarter projects come with risks. We have seen projects that raised millions and then never delivered because of other circumstances!

If we don't reach our Kickstarter goal, Apparatus isn't happening. That's a risk. But remember, all backers get their money back if the project isn't funded fully.

Other than that, we would like to claim that Apparatus is a safe project to pledge on. It is based on the existing Principia source code where 90 % of the work is already done. We've taken wisdom from our business mistakes in the past. The main reasons why we had to shut down the original Apparatus and Principia were regulatory changes (GDPR) causing unexpected expenses and a lack of marketing budget and business relations. The community section is being designed from scratch to comply with GDPR and we expect the game, being open source, to market itself this time.

Furthermore, by making Apparatus together with the community and publishing it as an open source project, we can guarantee that even if Bithack fails financially, the community of players will be able to take over the project.

Durign development, we get a lot of ideas. Almost too many ideas. Should we surpass our Kickstarter goal, we will get to make many of them happen. But don't worry, they won't affect the timeline but will be released as updates.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Make a pledge without a reward

    SEK
    About $5
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 10 or more About US$ 1

    Thumbs up

    Thank you, your pledge inspires others to pledge as well!

    Includes:
    • Emil will look at your pledge and make a thumbs up gesture
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    6 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 1
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 50 or more About US$ 5

    Insider

    Get regular insider information during development.

    Includes:
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Emil will look at your pledge and make thumbs up with both hands!
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    6 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 5
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 100 or more About US$ 11

    Instant access on release

    Thank you!

    Includes:
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • 1 puzzle package
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    48 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 11
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 250 or more About US$ 27

    Early access

    Get early beta copies of the game before release!

    Includes:
    • 2 puzzle packages
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Early beta access before release
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    29 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 27
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 500 or more About US$ 54

    Life-time supply of brain-twiddlers

    Includes:
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Free access to ALL future puzzle level packages
    • Early beta access before release
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    20 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 54
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 1,000 or more About US$ 107

    Join the team as tester

    Get invited to our developer's chat room where we discuss features and test new ideas.

    Includes:
    • Join the developer chat
    • Super early life-time access to test updates and new features
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Free access to ALL future puzzle level packages
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    7 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 107
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 2,000 or more About US$ 215

    Name an official puzzle level

    Each puzzle is introduced with its name on the screen. Name a level - "Robot Arm of Doom", "Ball of Death", "My Little Pony", or anything of your choice!

    Includes:
    • Name an official puzzle level
    • Join the developer chat
    • Super early life-time access to test updates and new features
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Free access to ALL future puzzle level packages
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited (100 left of 100) 0 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 215
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 5,000 or more About US$ 537

    VIP

    Your contribution is very important to us, and you get a cool badge next to your name in return!

    Includes:
    • VIP badge next to your username
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Super early life-time access to test updates and new features
    • Free access to ALL future puzzle level packages
    • Join the developer chat
    • Name an official puzzle level
    • Special thank you in the credits
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 537
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 6,000 or more About US$ 645

    Get your own object in the game

    How would you like a picture of your cat shooting lasers out of its eyes available to millions of players?

    Includes:
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Super early life-time access to test updates and new features
    • Join the developer chat
    • We add an object of your choice to the game
    • VIP badge next to your username
    • Free access to ALL future puzzle level packages
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited (49 left of 50) 1 backer
    SEK
    About US$ 645
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 7,500 or more About US$ 806

    Super VIP (or something)

    Like VIP but you get to decide the color of your username as well! How about mustard yellow?

    Includes:
    • Pick a color for your username
    • VIP badge next to your username
    • Free access to ALL future puzzle level packages
    • Join the developer chat
    • Name an official puzzle level
    • We add an object of your choice to the game
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Super early life-time access to test updates and new features
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 806
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge SEK 10,000 or more About US$ 1,075

    You are immortalized

    Includes:
    • The Immortal Badge next to your username
    • Design or pick your own username badge
    • Access to "Top Secret" project updates
    • Super early life-time access to test updates and new features
    • Join the developer chat
    • We add an object of your choice to the game
    • Name an official puzzle level
    • Free access to ALL future puzzle level packages
    • Special thank you in the credits
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    SEK
    About US$ 1,075
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.