Innovation and Development: Interview with Pixel Press Developer Robin Rath

Game development comes to the masses.

Game development comes to the masses.

If you haven’t already checked out Pixel Press, you’re missing out. Pixel Press is a new app currently being funded on Kickstarter. Once developed, the app seeks to allow everyone to create levels without coding. Currently, this Kickstarter has moved to its next phase–a level design competition. 

GameSkinny[GS]:You mention in your Kickstarter that you were inspired by Super Mario Brothers and Metroid. Do you expect any users to try and emulate those classic levels in the level drawing contest?

Robin Rath [RR] – Yes, we think people are going to think back on many of those classic games and try to replicate some of the level ideas, we wouldn’t be surprised of someone recreated a Mario level layout completely!

GS: How many winners do you plan on selecting for the level design contest?

RR – There will be one first place winner, and then a second and third prize. Winners will be selected on by votes on Facebook.  

GS: What  prizes will the winner of the Pixel Press level design competition expect to receive?

RR – The first prize is that their level will be included in the Pixel Press game as an included level, the 11th of 10 planned levels to be specific. We’ll also be giving away a few of our reward packages to our first through third prizes.

GS: What makes a good Pixel Press level?

RR – Creativity first and foremost – to challenge the player from floors 1-5, but keeping it fun too. Difficulty progression is important, it should be simple at first and get harder as you advance further. We’re also excited to see what ideas people come up with that we have not even thought of.

GS: You mention in the Pixel Press video that you used to create your own levels as a child. Will you be showing any of those levels?

RR – I’ve asked my parents to start digging through the attic – so far haven’t been able to find any, but I know they are there somewhere. 🙂 We did however share this video with the update.


GS : As someone who has made levels before for Pixel Press and for your own pursuits, what tips do you have to level designers?

RR – Lay the groundwork first and then go back through and fill in the details. There is a great deal of thought that goes into creating a level and making it fun, so having a process is helpful. With that said, just creating a level quickly can produce some exciting things too, so we don’t discourage that approach either.

GS: Is the level design competition something that a seasoned gamer can do, or should anyone be able to give it a try?

RR – Definitely anyone can try it and do well, seasoned players might even come up with something predictable, whereas someone with less gaming experience will have a completely new and fresh take on it. With that said, we’re confident that our seasoned gaming fans will come up with some pretty great things.

Pixel Press is designed to make video game development accessible to everyone, so people of all skill levels can successfully compete in the level design contest. The Pixel Press Drawing Kit details exactly how to design a level using the Pixel Press shorthand; following these guidelines ensures that a level will actually be usable with Pixel Press in the future. We are always open to questions about what users can and can’t do within the parameters of our shorthand, and we won’t hold it against them if they make mistakes.

GS: In the final version of Pixel Press, you hope to have a mode where the user can use their smart phone or device to upload their level design and test it out. How will level designers in your competition test out the features of their level?

RR – For now, they are going to have to continue doing what we’ve all had to do to this point – imagine how the player would navigate the terrain and obstacles. We’re looking forward to the day soon where that will change 😉

GS: You mention in the Kickstarter that there will be several skins/color schemes for the levels that will be created in app. Will the competitors have access to those skins or will this be related only to what they draw on pen and paper?

RR – The drawing contest is all about the first step of the level design process, so just sketching with pencil on paper. We’ll be sharing the tools you mentioned once we enter development (after the Kickstarter), but those tools aren’t ready to use publicly at this point.

GS:What about the Pixel Press experience excites you the most? Are you more interested in the creation of original content or the idea that people can share that content in a playable form with friends? Or something else entirely?

RR – Creating and sharing with friends is definitely the most exciting aspect for me, because when I was growing up we would do exactly this, draw and share ideas. Of course we’re taking this to another level by adding the ability to play and compete – that competition part is what makes video games the most fun – so combining creating it yourself with competition will be a new video game experience.

GS: When will you announce the winner of the level design contest?

RR:The winner will be announced the day after the competition is complete. Entries are due by Midnight (11:59p CST) on May 26th, and winners will be announced on May 27th.

Pixel Press is currently being funded on Kickstarter and still needs your support. If you’re interested in the level design competition, check out the official link here.

About the author

Amanda Wallace

Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.