LittleBear says: Even a stopped clock finds the occasional nut.


Crayon Physics: New Levels

Posted in conway's life, everything, games, news, rapid prototyping at 10:30 am by the2bears

Some new levels have been created (thanks Tim) for Crayon Physics, including the first few fan made levels by Otávio and logr. Some more details can be found at this Kloonigames post, but it seems that Otávio reverse engineered the XML of Crayon Physics.

Seeing this kind of interaction develop around an independent game really (at the risk of sounding old and sentimental) warms my heart. It’s part of the attraction I have for creating games for free. It’s knowing that people are getting enjoyment out of something you made. Someone found my site yesterday with the search criteria “ds4 experimental shooter problems”, and I kept thinking, “Why didn’t you email me?”

It really is about the content. Petri created something simple, yet compelling, with Crayon Physics. Fraxy has a community growing around it creating bosses. Cactus wants to make an editor for Fractal Fighter. It’s kind of like an emergent behaviour manifesting itself.

I think user created levels should be a part of Relentless Automata. It seems ripe for this, the starting arrangement of the Life grid is defined in a text file (the Life 1.05 format, which is horrible). Enemies and their behaviours are defined mostly in XML and this is preprocessed into Java objects. It wouldn’t be too hard to run an editor on top of this.

Which brings me to an important point, though. The goal of the game, or level, has to be well defined. Something that can easily be determined at runtime, such as the ball hitting the star, or the destruction of the boss. Relentless Automata is proving a little more difficult, as I have yet to figure out how a level ends.

Incidentally, these use cases for XML actually make sense to me. It’s an incredibly overused format, but the fact that it’s generally human readable allowed someone like Otávio to create a level much easier than without it. Must find (or define) a markup for Conway’s Life.


  1. Petri Purho said,

    June 24, 2007 at 5:16 am

    Thanks for blogging this.

    I just have to point out that I didn’t use XML just because of the modability. My main goal is to get the best possible game done in 7 days. Modablity doesn’t increases the quality of the original game. The real reason why I used XML is because I’ve created this very easy to use XML -class and storing the game’s data in XML just happens to be the easiest / fastest way to do it (code wise). But I’m happy that it also improves the modability of my games. And I’m as amazed as any, to find that there are people willing create content for my prototypes.

  2. the2bears said,

    June 24, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Petri, thanks for commenting. I see your point, and it’s similar to what’s driving my own development now (DS5 😉 ). I’ve got so many libraries that can be reused it makes a lot of sense for speed and ease to pop them in. It’s been great, it’s allowed me to get things up very quickly that are already in a packaged state and even somewhat playable.


Leave a Comment