Saturday, November 29, 2008

Browser Games 12

Two more browser based games this week. Both are physics based. Both are fun if a little short.


Assembler is a simple 2-D platform game. The object is to build a structure in which the green box (or boxes) is (are) placed in the desired position (or positions). You have to move the various crates and beams and whatnot into position. What makes Assembler special is the accuracy of the physics model. It feels right. It matters how you pick up the boxes with your mouse as they pivot on that point. It also matters how quickly you move them around. The momentum, friction, and water are modeled perfectly. At times this is a frustration as you have to move items around and end up knocking over already correctly placed items. Also, you might know what you want to do, but have to move things out of the way to get there. The levels are well constructed and well paced. This is a great game. The only negative I found is that you have to complete the levels in order. But there are only 18 levels. Once you finish those off, there is Assembler2 which some of the original levels, some reworked levels, and some new levels.

The underlying physics engine used in Assembler is the Box2D engine. It is open source, and I took a peek at the API. It appears reasonably easy to use. Maybe more games will come out using it. A commercial game based on the Box2D engine is Fantastic Contraption. It is more of a The Incredible Machine game.


The goal in Auditorium is to redirect the flow of gas particles so a sufficient number pass through each square. Later, as in the screen shot, the color of the gas matters. As the gas particles pass through a target square, a different sound is produced. As more particles pass through, the bars in that square rise and the sound increases. You need to raise each square to its maximum to complete the level. The resulting final solution is usually audible pleasing.

Each level comes with a few items which you must place. A big part of Auditorium is learning how these items effect the flow of the gas. The simplest are the arrows which redirect the gas. You can place them where ever you want. You can also change the strength of an arrow by increasing or decreasing it radius of effect. You do not get to change the direction though. One trick is that you can peal off part of the gas stream by having an arrow's effect radius intersect only part of the stream.

As you progress, new items appear. It is your job to figure out how they work. Two flaws in Auditorium: levels must be completed in order and some levels require very careful placement. Still, this is great little diversion. The site claims that this is a demo, but it is a very polished game, and well worth playing.


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