Last year, student developer Matt Stark blew us away with a peek at an experimental new game that’d let you turn take photos of the world, print out a polaroid, then superimpose the snapshot back into the world.
One year on, we’ve got a fresh look at the game with a new name (Viewfinder), and a better sense of how this wild technology might play out in a full-featured game. Once again, it’ll make more sense when you see it in action.
Hi #PitchYaGame! We’re Robot Turtle, a UK team with global collaborators! 🥰Viewfinder is a mind-bending 1st person adventure game in which you can bring pictures to life and step into other worlds.Use your instant camera to reshape the world and uncover its mysteries! pic.twitter.com/vW6k0Zm888June 1, 2021
Stark has been busy since we last caught up with Viewfinder, acquiring a team of collaborators under the Robot Turtle umbrella. That includes some properly slick, The Witness-adjacent environmental art, which gives the polaroid effect so much more weight. He’s not just moving cubes and crates around anymore—he’s shifting entire buildings and streets.
Where once it simply seemed like a neat trick, we now also have a firm sense of how Viewfinder may play out as a proper puzzle game. We see the camera duplicate objects to solve puzzles, creating new maps to explore inside levels, and exploring spaces to line up fragments of a new frame.
Viewfinder bears a lot of similarities with Valve’s long-rumoured “F-Stop”, a mechanic the studio was considering for a Portal prequel before ultimately canning it. F-Stop remained a tightly guarded secret until last January, when indie studio LunchHouse Software revealed the hows and whys of F-Stop with a YouTube series titled Exposure.
We’ve seen a few more takes on perspective-based puzzling since then with the likes of Superliminal and Maquette. Viewfinder might still be a ways out with no firm release planned, but I’m excited to one day step inside its picture-perfect puzzles.
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