Tuesday, April 24, 2012

PAX East 2012: Snapshot

In the Indie Megabooth, developer Retro Affect demonstrated the near-complete version of their big title, Snapshot.  Originally developed as a prototype for the Independent Game Festival in 2009, Snapshot has since been developed into a full, expansive game, and it is now finally nearing completion.  We got to try the game out and speak with the company's software neurosurgeon, Dave Carrigg, about the game and the story behind its creation.

Snapshot puts players in control of the camera robot Pic whose mission is to collect a mysterious energy around the world, regardless of what dangers get in his way.  From a distance, it might appear to be just your run-of-the-mill platforming game, but once you give it a second glance, you realize there is more than meets the eye.  Pic can not only run and jump but also take photos of the world; these photos can take objects such as a crate, an elephant, or even energy blasts outside of the physical realm, only to be reapplied once the image is placed back in the world.

In the timed demo, I got to explore a number of levels in the game's forest world, one of the five environments in the game.  With one control stick, I moved Pic while I controlled the camera's position with the other.  Upon flashing Pic's camera, a snapshot of the world would be taken around the camera-reticle, and if something significant was in the photo, it would be taken from the world, waiting to reappear when the image was placed back into the environment.  

The puzzles associated with this mechanic started as simple as taking a box in a photo and placing the photo just above a switch.  However, as the demo progressed, the mechanics became increasingly complicated.  For example, there are areas where you cannot take photos, and there are moments when you will need to rotate photos to make the reappeared item more effective in your journey.  There was one particular puzzle involving a bouncing plant and a crate which I struggled with, but the game's physics and mechanics are such a way that I was able to find a unique solution to complete the level.  Another notable puzzle from my memory involves layers; as Pic approached a particular spot, many broken pieces of wood in the background combined to look like a crate which was then capture-able by the camera.  If these puzzles continue to build up over the course of the final game, it will surely be top-notch!

As for when and where Snapshot is to release, Dave from Retro Affect did not provide a solid date, but the game is almost done and will start releasing in the next few months.  It will initially be released on PC, and there are intentions to release on multiple other platforms in the future.  Keep an eye out for when its release finally develops...okay, that was a bad attempt at a photography pun.  Just watch for the game! 

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