news\ Jan 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Upcoming puzzler Antichamber asks you to rethink your approach to games


Australian developer Alexander "Demruth" Bruce is finally ready to release his Indie Fund-ed first-person puzzler Antichamber, previously known as Hazard: The Journey of Life.

Antichamber has been a work-in-progress since 2006, and Bruce started developing it full-time in 2010. Now it's coming to Steam for PC and Mac on January 31, so that's a lot of pressure.

"I have been through an emotional rollercoaster in creating this game, and have had some very significant highs and lows, months at a time," Bruce told Gamasutra.

One of the reasons the game spent so much time in development was because playtesters often had a hard time distinguishing its features from bugs.

"I'm asking the player to throw away all knowledge of how games work and then create mental models for some pretty bizarre behaviors," said Bruce. "I once had a tester think that space wrapping around seamlessly was a bug, but had no problem accepting that a buggy physics door that flew off its hinges and disappeared into space was a feature."

You might even find yourself using the logic of well-known phrases and sayings to solve puzzles. Bruce said he disagrees with the way many games teach players to think — that is, they show you the mechanics and expect you to apply that knowledge, which is more akin to doing homework than being clever.

Antichamber lets you work out its puzzles by yourself and then use the answer as an affirmation that you're on the right track in understanding how it works.

"We love learning," he said. "Not learning in the textbook sense, but in finding patterns in the world and making connections between things.

Bruce has shown the game at more than 15 conventions and picked up 25 awards and honors.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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