More Experimental Gameplay: Shadow Physics

Another fascinating video from the GDC 2009 Experimental Gameplay Workshop has turned up over the weekend. Programmer and designer Scott Anderson (who is developing the idea with Steve Swink) demoed Shadow Physics, in which a shadow character interacted with the shadows of objects within a puzzle, thus moving the “real” objects to complete his objectives. There’s a podcast with Anderson over at IndieGamePod, and the video of the demonstration is below. Anderson reports that the game at least a year from completion, but the idea he’s working with looks clever indeed.


  1. Trip SkyWay says:

    Wow, that looks great.

  2. tackle says:

    The winner is you!

  3. Mihai says:

    Great idea, shows a lot of promise. By chance, I stumbled upon a somehow similar Flash game earlier today: link to

    Also, that interviewer must not be allowed to ever speak again. “Sure” “Tight” wtf?

  4. Ben Abraham says:

    “That’s tight.” The interviewer rather liked saying that didn’t he. =P

    It does look very interesting though. SYSTEMS! ZOMG!

  5. Björn says:

    Yeah, tight!

    Looks like an interesting base for a platform puzzle game, and I really hope they come up with some nice control scheme for everything (character, lights, camera).

  6. Ian says:

    Well that looks neater than a very neat thing.

  7. Mort says:

    Cool and complex stuff!

  8. Sephrilum says:

    Wow, this game looks pretty cool. I mean, sure, it’s decently basic at current, but the ideas they are thinking about are innovative. I’m definately going to keep my eyes out for this game.

  9. Wedge says:

    Will indie developers ever run out of crazy new ways to make platformers? Signs pointing to… no. Fine by me though.

  10. Nero says:

    Wow, looks extremely interesting.

  11. Jake Roth says:

    Definitely filing this under things to abuse myself with when I start to feel my brain melting from age.

  12. Doctor Doc says:

    Sure. OK. Sure. Sure. Sure. OK. OK. That’s tight. Sure.

  13. Steve Swink says:

    Man, we need to get a better video up for this. I wonder if our presentation from the Experimental Gameplay Sessions is up somewhere public?

    We have four more levels to show that we made the morning before the presentation (the day after Scott did this demo.)

    Also: hey, I worked on this too! :)


  14. Bigfoot_King says:

    that is one amazing idea

  15. Aubrey says:

    Yeah! I thought it was Steve’s prototype, too! But I don’t know if you, alone, worked on it, steve? Just that you couldn’t do this one in unity?

  16. Steve Swink says:

    Yeah, this one was a collaboration between Scott and I because it’s hard to write a collision system in the shadow buffer using Unity. And also because I’m a pretty crap programmer and Scott is not :).

  17. Jim Rossignol says:

    Steve: I couldn’t find any other videos of it. (Also I added your name to text.)

  18. Steve Swink says:

    Yeah, that’s our fault. We intended to have an official video online after GDC, but we’re still tinkering with the visuals. I’ll send along an updated link when we have a better vid :).

  19. says:

    Looks kinda like Crayon Physics meets Echochrome with a twist. That is not a bad thing.

  20. Rei Onryou says:

    Monkey Dung = best level name ever. Seriously, that’s some tight shit right there, home boy.


    Awesome video. Such a simple idea, but leads to so many cool ways to change platforming. The only thing I found odd was that the character appeared to be able to interact with the actual objects as well as the shadows (see 1:12). Is that intended, or was there a shadow I didn’t notice?

  21. Dan K says:

    That looks awesome! It looks as though you may be able to move on the ceiling. Don’t know though, that could be difficult.

  22. Atalanta says:

    @Rei Onryou — it looks to me like there’s a thin shadow cast by the red box onto the ceiling — you can see it clearest right after the little guy jumps down.

    This looks pretty fantastic. I really like the idea of being able to white out shadows, too.

  23. Scott Anderson says:

    Rei: The character still projects on objects, but this has no effect on the actual physics, its purely visual. We might change that before the game ships but right now its a minor concern.

    Dan K: You can move on the ceiling and the floor. The game also supports angled walls and in theory other shapes. The EGS presentation is more comprehensive and shows some interactions and systems that I didn’t demonstrate in this interview.

    Like Steve said, we should have an official site and videos up soon.

  24. Stuart Bloor says:

    The game looks amazingly clever and awesome.

    The interviewer was very terrible. Where did he learn the interviewing technique of saying “Okay.” and “Sure.” after every one of the cool talented programmer guy’s sentences. Sprinkle in a few “That’s tight, dude”s. What in God’s name was he thinking..

  25. Poita says:


  26. Valentin Galea says:

    “That’s pretty much the game”

    How can anyone not be utterly amazed by this? The interviewer is dead inside:)

  27. Rei Onryou says:

    @Scott: Thanks for clarifying that.

    This looks like it has some serious potential, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. Roll on next year!

  28. Christine Bethea says:

    WOW!!! Keep going!!!

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