Sandbox games, level editors, and user-generated content seem to be all the rage these days, and for good reason: people love to be expressive and creative, and the games that allow this creative side to emerge often generate a great deal of buzz. Reference: Line Rider, DofI's Sand games, Professor Fizzwizzle, and Rob Allen's Super Serif Bros., to name just a few. Even Will Wright's Spore has generated an amazing groundswell of buzz due in part to its creature editors and its leveraging of user-generated content; and the game isn't even out yet.
Enter Rubicon, the latest brain-child from Kevan Davis, the creator of the previously mentioned Urban Dead DHTML zombie game as well as many other works (talk about creative!). Unlike Urban Dead, however, Rubicon is a machine-building puzzle game, level editor, and sandbox toy written in Processing, and it therefore requires that Java be installed on your computer to play.
Basic gameplay consists of moving crates to one or more targets for each level. Each crate must come to rest on its corresponding target for a green light to appear. Use the component materials provided to construct any machine that will succeed at the task. The tiny icons in the lower left corner of the game window represent the various structures and mechanisms that you may use.
Once you have built your machine, press Play to see the results. If it doesn't work, press Stop to make changes before pressing Play again. Rinse. Repeat until success.
After completing the twelve pre-built puzzles, try your hand at creating your own levels. You can visit the Rubicon Forum for sharing your levels, or post them here in the comments to share them with other JIG visitors. To share your level with others, click Save to get your 7-letter filename, and then use the filename it gives you in a URL formatted like this:
Rubicon is a wonder toy filled with creative potential that is limited only by your imagination. And if you're curious about the sandbox creations that are possible with Rubicon, feast on this stunning machine: http://kevan.org/rubicon/game.php?level=sizahob, a "3-digit serial incrementer" designed by Alex Fink. Or try this one by SMK.
Cheers to Craig for the heads-up about this amazing new game, and to Asterick for finding the examples to show. =)