The Secret of Scribblenauts

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The Secret of Scribblenauts

Scribblenauts wowed E3-goers with its "if you can imagine it, it's in the game" approach to puzzle solving. But how exactly did 5th Cell get everything from Albert Einstein to a kraken into this game?

The central mechanic of 5th Cell's DS game Scribblenauts is extraordinarily simple, but completely unbelievable. The objective of the game is to solve a series of puzzle levels, and to do so, you pull up a keyboard and type in a word, and that object will appear and be usable in the game. Type in ladder and there's a ladder, type in spaceship and there's a spaceship. There are tens of thousands of words and objects, according to 5th Cell, barring vulgar things, copyrighted things and proper nouns.

This is how you end up with a game where you can summon God Himself to battle a giant squid, or conjure a time machine so you can travel back to the Jurassic and then ride a T-Rex back through the time machine into the future, where you use the T-Rex to stomp on a horde of robot zombies.

So how exactly did 5th Cell manage to squeeze seemingly every object imaginable into this game? There's no magic trick here, just a whole lot of work. "We actually had five people and all they did is they went through dictionaries and Wikipedia and encyclopedias, and anything you can think of, and that's all they did for six months, everyday, during the week," Jeremiah Slaczka, creative director, said.

The sheer amount of objects in the game is one thing, but the fact that each of them work - the bulldozer pushes things, the skateboard skates, Death destroys life - is even harder to fathom. How exactly 5th Cell pulled this off seems like a feat beyond my imagining, but it sounds like it had something to do with how the game was programmed at its core.

"With the technology we basically said we're going to take all the base things like fire and temperature and gravity and physics and we're just going to put it down there, and the game's going to take and all that know what to do with it," Slackza said. "We don't have to program anything, so if a bear's hungry and wants honey, we don't have to program that, it's going to know it already."

[Via G4]

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Wow. Even though it looks pretty cartoony and overly cutesy, that game still looks like a lot of fun.

Now only if I could make myself in it, then I would make myself on his copy of it, then I would make myself who would then again make me, then he would make himself which is me then they would team up and make a giant robot kangaroo to punch a hole in time and space to gather up all of me and ride off into the stars.

I will so make God ride a robot dinosaur if I could.

I believe I speak for all of us when I say:

Is Cthulhu in it?

I bet chuck norris will be in there.

Lonko:
I believe I speak for all of us when I say:

Is Cthulhu in it?

Yep. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3HXgvl8lp0

image

I can't believe that no ones thought of this before, there must be something similar for the PC surely?

Lonko:
I believe I speak for all of us when I say:

Is Cthulhu in it?

yes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3HXgvl8lp0 watch the whole thing.

I've heard Longcat is in it, and Tacnol too.

Jarico:

Lonko:
I believe I speak for all of us when I say:

Is Cthulhu in it?

Yep. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3HXgvl8lp0

My life is complete.

I really wish that it was for the computer rather than DS.

Ok, now I need a DS.

Thank you, 5th Cell, for realizing my dream of a game where anything I want can beat the shit out of anything else. It looks cartoony and cutesy but I'll buy it for sure, if only for the novelty of saying "I just made God so he could kill a kraken and protect Einstein from a Jackalope. This game rules."

Okay, now I need to bribe my sister to give me her DS, permanently.

This needs to be on PC.

This game wasn't even on my radar yesterday.

Then I stumbled across "post 217".

I hunger for this game now. Also, I hear Maxwell dons a hazmat suit if you have him wield a crowbar...

I've been waiting for the game that will cause people to concede a bit of respect to nintendo. It gives me a bit of pride in them at a time when I desperately need it.

Sporky111:
I've been waiting for the game that will cause people to concede a bit of respect to nintendo. It gives me a bit of pride in them at a time when I desperately need it.

I don't believe Nintendo has much to do with it, other than being on the DS. It's being made by 5th Cell and published by Warner Bros.

I'm definitely getting this game.

I now have a reason to buy a Nintendo DS.

quack35:
image

My thoughts exactly!

Dochand:

Sporky111:
I've been waiting for the game that will cause people to concede a bit of respect to nintendo. It gives me a bit of pride in them at a time when I desperately need it.

I don't believe Nintendo has much to do with it, other than being on the DS. It's being made by 5th Cell and published by Warner Bros.

The fact that it is on the DS is important for Nintendo, and like I said: I desperately need the boost in confidence in Nintendo. Don't step on it.

Bullshit. Not even God can defeat the mighty Kraken.

This might just be the first quirky game I buy for my DS.

I'm going to make my girlfriend lend me her DS all the time for this. I can't be the only one who's thought "What if I catapulted a shark toward a helicopter?" Soon I will know.

DAMNIT!

Now I need to go buy a DS.

I've never wanted a DS as much as I want one now.

Actually, I've never wanted a DS. But I kind of do now, if only for this game.

Hard work and elbow grease. Who'd have thunk it.

But this has to be the secret behind the complexity of the game's engine. Someone put in "sub", for example, and it asked for submarine, submachine gun, or sub sandwich as the possible alternatives. It was truly something neat to see in the various videos around the web.

A game that is both engaging, fun, and possibly also educational for younger players? Nice work, 5th Cell.

Rodger:
This game wasn't even on my radar yesterday.

Then I stumbled across "post 217".

I hunger for this game now. Also, I hear Maxwell dons a hazmat suit if you have him wield a crowbar...

Actually, yeah, In an E3 demo I saw they gave him a crowbar and he was wearing something orange...I didnt get a good look though. They probably wont have it for copyright reasons though :(

Im going to give einstein a shotgun, a time machine, a switchblade and a spaceship, then send him to go on an epic quest against werewolves and robots, dinosaurs and evil knights, there will also be killer bunnies.

This game is going to be fucking IMBA becuase I can DO that.

this looks amazing! I can't wait for it to come out.

*curled up in the corner repeating "It must be to good to be true, it must be to good to be true"*

It is the mod.

...wow. That looks so cool.

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