SCALE is a Game!

UPDATE! If you think this game looks cool and want to help it get made back the SCALE Kickstarter:



So I was at E3 this week, showing a prototype for a new game at this year’s IndieCade showcase at E3. The response kind of blew my mind. People seem to be EXTREMELY excited by the concept. Far more than I anticipated. My roommate totally called it. GOOD JOB KYLE PULVER.

Scale screenshot
Click here to EMBIGGEN

Also, note that the awesome TED MARTENS is helping out with art.

E3 Coverage Roundup:

The idea’s been a spare time project for quite a while. I’ll get a page up in the next couple days. For now, thanks for stopping by, thanks for being interested in the game, and here are answers to common questions I’m getting:

Q: When will the game come out and on what platforms?
A: When it’s a thorough, polished exploration of the ideas and mechanics of growing/shrinking objects at will. I firmly believe that games should only be shipped when they’re done, good, and worth a player’s time. That means…yeah, I dunno. Making games is hard, dude. Like a year or two? Something like that. As for platforms, the game is being made in Unity3d. So that means I get Mac/PC for easies. I have been approached by some of the major consolebros. I told them THANKS BRO + I’ll hit you up when the game is good and cool and ready to go. Let me know what platforms you’d like to see the game on!

Q: But the game looks done now. Why can’t I play it?!?!?
A: Woah man! Calm down. Don’t pee. The game is very VERY early. I’ve just got the core mechanics kinda working. Since Scale delves into some mechanics and ideas that haven’t been thoroughly explored in a game before, there are still a few crucial things to figure out. For example: how to gracefully exit scaling when something would be overlapping something else. For another example: how to launch the player in a sweet way when they scale something they’re standing on. I have a long list of ideas for creatures, structures, game objects, and mechanics I want to prototype. Making things bigger or smaller is on its surface simple concept, but a lot of interesting puzzles is emerging from that premise. With some game concepts I’ve explored, finding interesting puzzles/ideas is like pulling teeth. With this one, the list of puzzles to prototype keeps getting longer. I’ve shown a few examples publicly to help everyone understand the basic idea, but I’m keeping what I think are the most interesting uses of the mechanic secret for now. Plus, you don’t want all the puzzles spoiled…

Q: OOH OOH it looks just like MINECRAFT! You filthy INDIES need to stop abusing the pixel/voxel aesthetic…
A: This is placeholder art. The important thing right now is gameplay: getting the basics of the scaling working well and feeling good. The simple style really helps with quick prototying and experments. I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing for visual treatment for the final game, but doing low-res pixel textures on 3d objects is quick and easy for mocking things up. One interesting thing about this game is the degree to which the shape of objects changes their use in the world. So doing a bunch of high res realistic artwork isn’t really viable for the prototype phase.

Q: So it’s basically Minecraft meets Portal, right?
A: There are surface similarities. Portal is about portals, though. It’d be silly not to look at Portal and what it did well and think about how those lessons apply to what I’m doing. But scaling things up and down in an unconstrained way and exploring the consequences of that is pretty different. It’s an exploration of a mechanic and a concept. As I mention in some of those various videos, the concept of scale is inherently interesting to humans. Things have some ‘normal’ size and when they deviate from that size they become fascinating. Extremely large fish, bears, dogs, buildings, chairs, nickels – all suddenly interesting. That’s what the game’s about, and it explores it through a mechanic.

42 Responses to “SCALE is a Game!”

  1. June 11th, 2012 | 3:51 pm

    Hmm, interesting move. In my head this is a singling out of an aspect of Shadow physics i.e. shadows could vary in size a lot. Except by giving the player an embiggening gun I guess you’ve solved the problem of “shadows are not a verb”.

    Am I right? Are you making game about size because you’ve had fun making size-varying physics?

  2. June 11th, 2012 | 3:56 pm

    Hmm I didn’t really think about that! I didn’t associate the ideas in my mind. But yes, scaling is definitely a verb, and it seems to be a fruitful one so far :).

  3. Sara C.
    June 11th, 2012 | 5:09 pm

    I saw the video for Scale on Kotaku and I have to say that, for me, this is the coolest thing to come out of E3 this year. I love quirky puzzle games in general and you’ve got a really neat idea going on. I really liked the idea of the dollhouse inside the house (and the objects that could be in it) and using the butterfly as a platform. You pretty much sold me on the game with those things alone. I can’t wait to see how this turns out! You’re brilliant~

  4. June 11th, 2012 | 5:36 pm

    Thanks so much! :D

  5. Ian
    June 11th, 2012 | 7:47 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing and even at its early stage it still blew me away.

    As an aspiring game dev, I hate you for coming up with something so simplistically brilliant, but as a gamer: Please take all my money, now.

    Though, part of what sold me was actually the placeholder art. I don’t think it looks anything like Minecraft (reminds me more of Super Mario Galaxy) and am sort of hoping you go for a similar style for the final game.

  6. June 12th, 2012 | 2:16 am

    Very cool stuff! You should add a mailing list module on your blog, so people can add their email address and be notified when your game is out.

  7. June 12th, 2012 | 8:26 am

    […] for Scale yet, but there will be very soon, and you can catch a quick Q&A about the game on this page for […]

  8. June 12th, 2012 | 8:35 am

    Good idea!

  9. June 12th, 2012 | 12:51 pm

    […] for Scale yet, but there will be very soon, and you can catch a quick Q&A about the game on this page for […]

  10. Robert Newman
    June 13th, 2012 | 10:47 am

    Really cool game & love the way it looks so far.

  11. Les
    June 13th, 2012 | 12:05 pm

    Could you add Duncan from the Yogscast family to coverage list?

  12. Les
    June 13th, 2012 | 12:06 pm

    the coverage list*

  13. June 13th, 2012 | 2:51 pm

    @Les done and done! :)

  14. GM
    June 13th, 2012 | 6:40 pm

    This seems awesome.
    I bet every other game developer out their is kicking themselves for not thinking of this first!
    The idea of scaling things up and down is simple enough for everyone to understand, but the possibilities seem endless with this. As you say above, scaling things is a simple concept. I think portal became so big for having a simple concept and using it to create fun and challenging puzzles.
    Are you going to be posting updates during the development? If so I may need to bookmark this page.

  15. June 13th, 2012 | 10:42 pm

    I will indeed be posting regular updates! Just HOW regular is hard to say, but I’ll shoot for once a week now that the cat’s out of the bag.

    Thanks for your comments :D.

  16. June 15th, 2012 | 2:01 pm

    […] wordt momenteel ontwikkeld voor pc en Mac, maar Steve Swink schrijft op zijn website dat hij tijdens de E3 is benaderd door een paar van de grote consolebouwers die allemaal graag […]

  17. Nate Sirrah
    June 20th, 2012 | 6:05 pm

    Steve, shoot me an email when you can–I’ve got an offer for you and I couldn’t find a contact page on my brush-through of your website.

  18. Les
    August 13th, 2012 | 8:56 am

    Hey, Steve. Any updates on the status of your game?


  19. August 20th, 2012 | 1:38 pm

    […] Scale […]

  20. September 30th, 2012 | 3:47 am

    […] Steve Swink has divulged some new information regarding his upcoming first-person puzzler Scale, revealing preliminary […]

  21. December 17th, 2012 | 7:04 am

    […] Perhaps there’s better example than the two games that take those names: Perspective and Scale. With the weekend of Ludum Dare 25 now coming to a close, we find that there’s another rather […]

  22. January 1st, 2013 | 9:20 am

    […] Scale (Steve Swink) […]

  23. netcvb
    January 6th, 2013 | 7:29 am

    What price are you going to make the game when it comes out?

  24. Benjamin Langerak
    February 16th, 2013 | 12:59 am

    I’m prototyping out a small puzzle in UDK for a level design assignment right now that is playing with really similar mechanics as this! I’ve found it to be a really fun process. The puzzles like… you can’t plan them, they have to be happy accidents.
    It would be interesting to make a sequel to this all about orientation, and have your dude switch orientations and push that as far as you can

  25. zamzarvideo
    March 6th, 2013 | 3:11 pm

    I’d love to see the game on OUYA if it can be optimized enough! Unity having support for Android should help with that.

  26. Jorophose
    April 18th, 2013 | 12:49 pm

    Any chance of a linux port some day? are you using a cross-platform version of unity3d?

    I look forward to seeing this out in the wild. :)

  27. v
    April 18th, 2013 | 11:35 pm

    The game looks like fun. I’ll be waiting for this to come out.

    Just one Q: why not simply call ‘scale juice’ ‘mass’? To me that would make the concept more intuitive as we know what the definition of mass is.

  28. alixis
    June 15th, 2013 | 9:11 pm

    put it up for download

  29. June 18th, 2013 | 6:53 am

    […] instantly struck me about his size manipulation game (called Scale) was how it seized on such a pure, childlike focus on exploration. Scale’s main mechanic is […]

  30. Andrew
    June 19th, 2013 | 8:47 pm

    holy omg this looks rad. can’t wait to see what it becomes. Love the art design; it keeps the important parts in focus.

  31. person
    September 11th, 2013 | 5:02 pm

    found out about this game through Rev3Games’ PAX coverage, surprised to see how cool this game looks

  32. Thomas
    October 7th, 2013 | 5:04 pm

    i played this at indiecade, the polishing definitely needs to be done, there are very few collision errors and the shadows are kinda wonky, but the gameplay is phenominal and amazingly fun

    when this comes out i definitely suggest buying it

  33. November 11th, 2013 | 7:09 am

    […] / You Are Empty / Virtua Racing / Atari Tempest / The External World / The Stanley Parable / Scale / […]

  34. December 4th, 2013 | 9:30 am

    wher can i play the game??????????????????

  35. December 4th, 2013 | 9:35 am

    and seryusly grahics shmafics it’s the gameplay that matters (in a stupid/sarcastic voice)oh this game is pixiles so it sucks. reelly?

  36. December 4th, 2013 | 10:11 am

    so ther!

  37. OptimusZombie
    December 8th, 2013 | 7:53 am

    Guys PLZ PLZ PLZ PLZ PLZ check out markiplierGAME’s gameplay, also subscribe to him, hes halarious and supports this game!

  38. December 28th, 2013 | 10:45 pm

    […] By: Steve Swink […]

  39. December 30th, 2013 | 4:56 am

    […] I love, love, love low-poly. I also love the main game mechanic of shrinking and enlarging objects. [LINK] […]

  40. gamerguy23
    January 9th, 2014 | 10:19 am

    I’m so excited for this game!

  41. January 27th, 2014 | 2:58 pm

    […] By: Steve Swink […]

  42. Alex
    February 9th, 2014 | 11:09 am

    Any idea of when we’ll get a demo? Even if it’s just one level I wold have fun with the concept

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