About this project
Thank you for supporting us!
To stay up to date with us after our campaign is over, visit us at pixelpressgame.com, you can also click here to pre-order Pixel Press using your credit card or PayPal account.
"Pixel Press appears to hit that sweet spot where technology, ambition and design come together to bring to life something you could once only dream about." Kotaku
"Pixel Press could be very useful in educational classes where students learn computational thinking through game-making."
VAST K-12 STEM Outreach Specialist, Viterbi School of Engineering
Research Computer Scientist, Co-PI Pedagogical Games Project, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California
With the upcoming release of Pixel Press on iOS & Android, you can create your own video game levels in just four easy steps - draw a level, take a picture, design it, play & share.
In the past, video games like Super Mario Brothers and Metroid were groundbreaking. Today, Pixel Press recreates the run and jump gaming experience, but in a completely new way. Don't just play a video game - create your own! Pixel Press is making video game creation accessible to everyone, with no coding required.
But it's not just about creating - it's also about experiencing what others have created. If you're not in the mood to create, or just don't have the time, you can play levels designed by your friends or other members of the Pixel Press community.
As new designs are continuously uploaded by users, there will always be a new level to play and a new way to compete. With Pixel Press, it's not just about creating levels, it's about great interactive experiences, created by a community of people of all ages.
Pixel Press can be used as a family project, in classrooms, by creative artists, or as a hobby for an avid gamer.
But, let’s get more specific. Were you a fan of Super Mario Brothers and Metroid in the '80’s? Have you ever imagined what it would be like to create your own video game? Maybe you even used to draw video games like us? Are you generally an awesome person? Then yeah, you’ll love Pixel Press.
How does it work? With the Pixel Press video game level creator you are designing five floors of a video game level (Think Mario level 1-1, level 1-2, etc). Your hero will start at the bottom floor and attempt to overcome the obstacles you create to reach the elevator at the end of each floor to advance up to the next floor. Your objective is to create a level that is progressively more challenging from bottom to top.
Creating a level is a simple four step process - draw, upload & test, design, play & share.
Pixel Press uses a specially designed graph paper that you can print at home by downloading our FREE Sketch Kit (Printable PDF) - any white paper works. Follow the instructions in the Sketch Kit to create the general terrain. Then, integrate hazard pits & monkey bars, moving platforms, spikes & barriers, as well as portals & powerups using the simple to use shorthand system. Here is a sample drawing. A level drawing can be done in less than an hour, and faster once you get the hang of it.
Finished drawing your level? Use Pixel Press on your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, or iPod Touch) to snap a photo of your drawing. Pixel Press digitizes your drawing into a (wait for it....) playable video game! It’s MAGIC!
Now its time to figure out if you can beat the level you just created, by testing it. See if you made a mistake by playing through your level - if there is a error you can fix it right in the app. Is your level ready? Move on to the design phase.
Now it's time to make your level real by adding a design skin and music from our library, you can pick from different textures, colors, characters, music, sound effects, and more.
Want to give your level a completely custom look and feel? Create your own skin and upload it to Pixel Press to make your video game truly unique. Watch the "drawing tutorial" video below to learn more.
This is where Pixel Press gets social. Share your level with friends, family, classmates and co-workers to compete for the best times. In the mood to play instead of create? Search Pixel Press for levels created by others in the community and compete for Pixel Press street cred, or follow your favorite designers to get notifications when new levels are available.
The gameplay and social community Pixel Press fosters is as important as its ability to create levels, because if it's not fun, who cares?
So, is creating your own level really as cool as we make it sound? You bet. Let us show you:
Pixel Press is the creation of Robin Rath, founder of Roundthird, a software creation company based in St. Louis. Robin grew up in the '80's and was an avid fan of platformer video games, and as a child he used to beat video games and then draw the ‘next’ level. This activity is what led to the idea of Pixel Press, and with inspiration from friends and family, started an effort to bring it to market beginning January 2013.
Robin released Radial 50 in 2009, a game for the iPhone and has led many other software & hardware development projects since. Over these last 3 months – while creating the Pixel Press brand strategy, creative materials and gathering feedback – Robin has assembled a team of trusted developers and designers (and kids of all ages to test it!) who are working on the early stage prototype and ready to bring the Pixel Press platform to life.
Why are we creating Pixel Press?
We have been dreaming of creating our own video games since we were kids - drawing levels, imaging our characters navigating the obstacles, and sharing our ideas with friends. When we realized modern (and accessible) technology could turn game creation into something that even kids could do, we knew we had to make it happen. Pixel Press is exciting because users do not have to know how to write code, meaning everyday gamers can now become game level designers - and may eventually be inspired to take their skills to the next level and create entire games on their own.
Checkout this video (also below) for more footage of my friend Josh, brother Christian, and I playing games growing up, and some bonus "Michael Jackson" footage!
We're a bit torn. Are we building this for kids or for ourselves (the adults)? There's no clear answer, and there doesn't need to be, everybody enjoys great video games, no matter how trivial - because we can play them and enjoy them together.
Why are we raising money on Kickstarter?
Over the last 3 months we've been focused heavily on testing Pixel Press conceptually with family, friends, kids and others in our industry. Based on that positive feedback, during this last month our development team has ramped up work on a prototype to lay the groundwork for the technology behind Pixel Press.
We've begun by building a PAX-MAN (like PAC-MAN, no enemies, maybe cherries) game to keep things simple to start. Quickly we've learned that while it's absolutely possible to pull off the Pixel Press vision, we'll need to invest in creating our own optical character recognition (OCR) software to make the level upload feature work well.
We're setting a goal of $100k to help keep part of our development team focused on this key feature and to free up some of our budget to focus the rest of our team on world-class platformer gameplay and top-notch pixel artwork.
Raising money here on Kickstarter, rather than taking on outside investors or partnering with a game shop, will give us the flexibility we need to build Pixel Press as we see fit - fan first.
So that's the story - and if we're so lucky to go beyond our $100k goal, we'll use those funds to build out more great features. See below for more information on our stretch goals.
Pixel Press is excited to offer the following rewards to our backers. For the full list and pricing see the column on the right. Also the chart below gives you a breakdown of all rewards per package.
Pixel Press Game Download
A digital download of the Pixel Press game for your iOS or Android device. See chart below for release timing.
Be sure to check out our TEACHERS reward packages on the right that are the perfect for the classroom, including the 10 game download package, the 25 game download package, and the 30 game download package that comes with exclusive bonuses.
Game Download included with all rewards $10 and up, and all packages include an extra copy if you share Pixel Press on Twitter or Facebook (see package details).
See our FAQ for more info on how to get your game download once Pixel Press is released, and for information on supported devices.
Pixel Press Sketch Pad
The Pixel Press sketch sheets are always FREE to download and print (PDF), but this upgrade gets you a nicely packaged pre-printed Pixel Press Sketch Pad that includes level grids already printed on nice-heavy card stock to make it easier to draw.
Included with all rewards $25 and over, and a special Android version for our Android backers!
Pixel Press Stickers
Everyone likes stickers, so get your official Pixel Press sticker pack with select rewards. Size and shapes may vary from what you see above.
Included with all rewards $35 and over.
In-Game Bonus Credits
Credits can be earned by playing Pixel Press to unlock features like levels and enhancements, new level artwork and advanced game features. Select packages include Bonus Credits that will be assigned to your Pixel Press user account.
Included in all rewards $75 and over.
ABOUT CREDITS: A lot of users are wondering if Pixel Press will be like many of the other games out there, where in-app purchasing dominates the experience.
Pixel Press will work something like this: Items like new level skin packs will be available periodically, you can buy these to use for your levels OR you can download them for free using the credits/points you earn for playing other peoples levels, submitting levels, etc.
For our Kickstarter backers only; select packages will include badges that will be displayed on your user account, including the Kickstarter Backer Badge for all backers showing you are part of the team that helped build Pixel Press, the Beta Tester Badge, The "First 100" Badge, The "First 10" Badge (more on these below) and the King Hippo Mode Badge, which gives you access to lifetime in-app upgrades for free, and other cool features we'll share with you only later. We've also recently added the Android Badge for users who will be downloading Pixel Press for Android.
Also, all backers will also be recognized nicely in the credits of the game and on our website (with your Twitter link if you want).
Available with various rewards.
Posters, Art Book, "Ninja Fury" Game Box, and Custom Game Boxes
We've recently added new packages that include custom artwork created from the upcoming levels of Pixel Press. To celebrate our first level, "Ninja Fury" we've created this custom design poster and included it in most of our packages $40 and above.
A number of our packages will also include rewards like a printed & constructed version of the Nintendo-style game-box you see above, and digital & printed art books that include artwork and photography from the Pixel Press creation process. A few of our packages even include the opportunity for you to help us design a custom game-box art just for you!
Note: Frame not included with poster.
Pixel Press T-Shirt & Hoodie
Every Kickstarter needs swag right? We’ve got the Official Pixel Press Hoodie & T-Shirt right here. We’re not cheapin' out either, this shirt will be of American Apparel brand (or similar, good quality) and in your choice of size (including women's) - the Hoodie will be embroidered. Colors and styles may vary, but will try to give everyone as many choices as possible.
Included in various rewards $50 and over.
Pixel Press Kaweco-Brand Mechanical Pencil
For those looking for the ultimate Pixel Press experience, we're offering this amazingly crafted metal Customized 0.5mm Kaweco Mechanical Pencil (see it here) - shipped from Germany, featuring a hand-applied Pixel Press logo. We're honored to be working directly with the Kaweco family on this reward. They've been making writing instruments since 1883 and are the perfect companion to a dedicated Pixel Press level creator.
Available with most rewards $125 and over.
Digital Assets Pack
When we create the first group of levels that come with Pixel Press, we’ll have lots of 'left over' assets, including artwork, music and sound effects. You’ll get the entire Collection of Digital Assets wrapped up in neat package to use to build your level designs.
Available with all rewards $200 and over.
Signed Sketch SheetFor those that love to collect niche and limited items, a Hand-Signed Sketch Sheet, signed by the entire Pixel Press team will be delivered to you - with a custom message if you like. We're honored to be a part of your 'stuff'.
Available with all $300 rewards and up.
"First 100" Exclusive Level Token & Badge
A First 100 Level Token, giving you the privilege of being one of the first 100 users to upload a user submitted level (includes a "First 100" Badge on your level and your profile). Everyone will know you were one of the first people to upload a level to the Pixel Press community.
Available with the $300 reward package.
You give us an idea of something you want in a game level (such as your dog, but must be kid friendly!) and we'll add it to one of the featured levels that comes with Pixel Press. This a great way to work with the Pixel Press design team directly. You'll also receive some of the original concept art from the level design process.
Available with the $1,000 reward package.
Help us Create a "First 10" Release Level Design
Want to have a hand in the design of the first 10 featured levels? You are involved in level design, creative, and audio direction of your own featured Pixel Press level, and choose character design and the story for that level. This is the ultimate way to get involved early in the creation of Pixel Press!
Backers will also have their profile associated with that level, and the "First 10" Badge on their profile - plus get co-credits for creative direction of your level. You'll also receive some of the original concept art from the level design process.
Includes an invite to our launch party PLUS We'll create a 3D print of your level and a custom Nintendo-style game box of your level design, all put in a shadowbox frame to show off your hard work.
This package also includes our launch party invite, see below.
Available with the $2,000 reward package.
Launch Party & our Big Giveaways ($5,000 and $10,000 levels)
With these packages (and the $2,000 package) we’ll roll out the proverbial red carpet for you to join us at our launch party in St. Louis. You're a huge reason we've reached our Kickstarter goal and been able to build Pixel Press, and we want you to celebrate with you. You will also be recognized as a key contributor in the game credits.
Our launch party will be at The Silver Ballroom, St. Louis' own pinball bar, where you'll enjoy a night of free music, food, drinks, and unlimited pinball action. Space is limited (88 people), so if you want in, this is your ticket! 21 and up only.
Transportation not included. Package includes ticket for you and a guest. Location subject to change.
For our $5,000 backers, we want you to be a part of helping us drive the future development of the Pixel Press platform by becoming an Ambassador. We'll look forward to consulting with you on how to continue to drive both the education and "fun-factor" elements of Pixel Press into the future.
Also see the $10,000 limit 1 Konami Code package. Don't know what the Konami code is? See here.
If we’re able to exceed our $100k funding goal, here are the milestones related to the awesome additional things we’ll build to make Pixel Press even better.
Want to help us reach these goals? Please share and encourage your friends to contribute!
Our first goal, if we hit $100k we’ll make Pixel Press available on iOS devices (phones and tablets) by December 2013 and on Android Devices (phones and tablets) by June of 2014. See the FAQ for details on supported devices.
If we’re able to reach the $125k point we’ll also make Pixel Press available on Android in December 2013, instead of June 2014. See the FAQ for details on supported devices.
At the $150k point we’ll add in Support for Ouya, include the ability for you to upload your own graphics, music and sound effects so you can make your own 100% unique levels, and we’ll also add in the ability for you to alter the physics of your character. With this feature you’ll be able to control things like how fast the player moves, how far they jump, and more – with a slider! Also we’ll add in a wall-cling physic (think Ninja Gaiden) which means you will need to design your levels differently. Sweet.
We’re considering other controller options like iCade - if we do this leaderboards will likely be separated by input style (screen vs. controller) to keep things fair.
At the $175k point we’ll add “Big Squares” Mode, an alternate mode that will utilize a specially designed sketch sheet for younger kids - with 9 times bigger squares! This means the sketch sheet will be have less squares, giving designers more room to work within the space and ultimately making it easier to create levels. These levels will be more simple than their big brother levels, but will help kids get familiar with building levels in Pixel Press.
We want to release Big-Square Mode as soon as possible because we know how important it is for our younger gamers. This will be a part of Pixel Press’ future, but because of the additional development, we’re not sure when. Contributing now and helping us reach this stretch goal will guarantee that Big-Square Mode will happen by the end of 2013!
If we’re fortunate enough to start approaching this fund raising level, will start to talk with our backers about what things they would like to see us add . One our top supports, Griffin is already working on a shared Google Doc right now that will capture all of the ideas from comments, emails, and messages from the web. We’ll be sharing that with you as we approach this goal, and then work on prioritizing these additions and adding them to new milestones if we hit this point.
On behalf of the entire Pixel Press team, thank you for taking the time to check us out. Your well wishes, contributions, and posts to Facebook and Twitter are what make us love what we do and will help us make Pixel Press a reality. Thank you!
Risks and challenges
Our most unique challenges deal with building the optical character recognition (OCR) system described above. There is a potential for lengthy quality assurance testing and related adjustments that must be made that could cause timeline delays, however our efforts to this point have left us feeling positive about the road ahead.
We’re estimating release of Pixel Press in approximately 6 months from the end of our Kickstarter (December 2013). At this point in our progress, we are confident in the estimated delivery timeline.
If you have any questions - please feel free to email me at email@example.com - will get back to you as soon as I can.
Our website is pixelpressgame.comLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
If we are successful in our $100k fundraising goal, Pixel Press will be available for iOS no later than December 2013 and for Android in June 2014. If we reach the $125k stretch goal, Pixel Press will be available on both platforms by December 2013.
Pricing for Pixel Press will be established at a later date, however it will likely consist of a combination of $0.00-$1.99 for a lite version focused on playing limited levels, the full app which will be no more than $9.99, and in-app purchases for upgrades.
Not all upgrades will be built around a paid model, users will also be able to earn participation points to unlock features, and some new features will be rolled out as part of regular releases.
The base Kickstarter package that includes the game is $10. This also includes our special "Backer" badge that displays on your account and the opportunity to get an extra download by simply sharing it with friends. See package for more details.
Are you one of the few that are not particularly interested in drawing? That's ok, we think you'll change you mind but we get the hesitation.
Drawing will not be an "in-app" capability, however, one of our backers has suggested that drawing could be done on a computer, by opening the spreadsheet in Illustrator or Photoshop, drawing the design, and then uploading that file to the app. This is something we could probably easily support, or worst case you print it, and then take the picture of that.
Yes, we can give you any combination of Android & iOS you prefer. These details will be sorted out after the campaign is complete.
If you are a backer and share Pixel Press on Facebook or Twitter, you'll get an extra copy when the game is released, all you need to do is post a message to our Facebook wall (http://fb.com/pixelpressgame) or tweet with #pixelpress.
A few people have asked how we are going to validate this. Once the campaign is over, when you are providing us with your contact information, we'll also collect your social account handles and just check to see if you posted during the campaign.
We're actively working to best answer this question, here are the details we have to date.
iOS: iPhone 4+, iPod Touch 4th Gen.+, iPad 2+, iPad Mini. The primary reason for limiting to newer devices is the camera capture quality, which is important for making Pixel Press work.
Android: This is a more complex question. We don't want to rush to answering this question until we've worked with Pixel Press on more devices.
With that said, here is the current status update from our development team:
Android device support will be broken into 2 categories:
1) Playing Levels. Our aim will be to support every screen resolution and Android 1.6+.
2) Level Creation. Given the need for a decent camera and also decent processing power on the device, we cannot yet say what devices we can support until we are further into development. Again though, we will aim to provide the broadest support possible including older OS versions and lower screen resolutions whenever possible. In building Pixel Press for Android, we want the barrier to entry to be minimal so that hopefully everyone can start using Pixel Press.
We have a full range of devices for testing - over 15 different android devices which gives us a very nice cross spectrum for testing and that's what allowed our other apps to work on literally everything. We'll take a lot of time to streamline, optimize, and adapt.
More details will be listed here as we work with more devices.
Download the game to your device will be no different than downloading any app from your app store, and there will be no additional fees beyond your contribution on Kickstarter.
To make this happen, We'll work directly with Apple and Google (Android) to identify the best way to get you your game - many successful Kickstarter projects before us have paved the way on how to distribute apps to their backers and we'll be following in their footsteps.
Yes! Pixel Press is so much more than just creating video game levels. Whether you are creating levels or not, every level that is created by users can be uploaded to the community for you to play, rate, share and compete. You’ll be able to follow other level designers and browse top rated levels.
Pixel Press will always focus on great gameplay - we want to build the best possible platformer for mobile devices, and continually improve it based on your feedback. As we build Pixel Press, we’ll be getting input from our backers to make the Pixel Press platformer experience world-class.
Challenges we've run into include handling light-colored pencil marks and how those marks are photographed across a wide range of mobile devices. However, the most difficult challenge is accounting for a wide range of ages (kids to adults) who may have trouble staying in the lines. It's no simple task - but it's something we need to get right.
We hope so, if you are interested in seeing Pixel Press on these platforms please support us on Steam Greenlight at http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/…
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