LittleBigPractice

I think it’s pretty obvious no matter how you feel about Sony and the PlayStation 3 that Media Molecule’s LittleBigPlanet has just about everyone intrigued, if not downright excited. I’m sure there are some that scoff at its you make the game’ concept and write it off to lazy developers but most everyone I know can’t wait. It’s long development cycle, tantalizingly short videos, and insiders that dodge all the big questions (can you create weapons? pick-ups?) have really churned up the independent community over the last year or so.

While I’m excited for the game, I just know it’s gonna take some punk kid one weekend to create some astounding level that everyone is going to rip off for the next three months. That, or we’re all going to recreate World Something-Something from a Mario game. I really have this urge to start plotting things out now and since the alleged demo is still months away and details are slim I turn to these fine indie offerings for inspiration, practice, and of course, fun with physics (click the title of each for a download link).

Crayon PhysicsCrayon Physics
Like many I’m sure, this was my first experience with really drawing and physics-ing my way through a game. I like that it had a goal and there’s only one stage I didn’t manage to pass. I feel it’s kinda cheating but mostly I just kept drawing rectangles underneath circles to get them rolling or to keep them from falling. Also, some really big, cheap and thin rectangles saved my ass. Anyone else got a specific strategy?

Pocket PhysicsPocket Physics
A fan of Crayon Physics took the same idea and brought it over to the Nintendo DS. There aren’t any pre-made levels or goals, it’s just a huge empty screen that you can play around with almost endlessly. You can also link objects together to make, say, a ragdoll man to abuse on a flight of stairs. I’ve passed many a lunch break at work whittling my own rolling ball platform-jumping adventures and, uhh, abusing ragdolls on staircases.

PhunPhun
This is by far the most advanced physics sandbox I’ve seen yet. Not just boxes and line doodles, you can turn any object into water, adjust density and friction, recolor, and even link objects together with springs which creates real mechanical opportunities. Some of the sample files are just mind-blowing. I’ve already happened upon some LittleBigPlanet inspirations just by messing around with this one. It’s a great time-waster and I love the water!

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