Hi, I'm Robin Rath, co-founder of Pixel Press, a company that started with a Kickstarter project (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robinrath/pixel-press-draw-your-own-video-game) last year.

We recently released our first game on the iPad, Pixel Press Floors, that allows you draw your own "run and jump" or "Mario" style video game levels on paper or directly on the device screen, customize the design of the level, and then share your creation with the world.

Since we launched a few weeks ago we've had over 1000 levels published to the "Arcade". Many of the levels have been played over 1000 each - and we've seen nearly 50,000 level plays across all levels.

We're also hearing from teachers using the app in classrooms - http://projectpixelpress.com/our-favorite-tweets-from-launch-week/ - something we're really excited to see - and we're currently working on a curriculum to go with the game build around Stanford's Design Thinking Process.

You learn more about how Pixel Press works at http://www.projectpixelpress.com and watch our videos at http://projectpixelpress.com/gallery/floors-overview-videos/

Pixel Press is available for the iPad on the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pixel-press-floors/id847758409?ls=1&mt=8

In the short term we are working to come to Android and iPhone - and we're also working on future games that let you draw other genre's like adventure games and racing games - http://projectpixelpress.com/the-pixel-press-platform/

Comments: 237 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

DarmokDoge28 karma

If you had unlimited funding and resources, where would you take Pixel Press next?

rrath0331 karma

Obviously a difficult question to answer - but digging further into the educational market would be a big one, and also exploring other genres (i.e. expanding the ability to create more types of games) faster would be great. We also have enjoyed using the app digitally with the Paper Fifty-Three stylus (that has an eraser) so exploring more on the hardware side would be fun.

More practically in the short term, with a bigger team we'd spin up a group to focus on Android, so we could move faster.

Lastly (sorry this is not a straightforward answer) we'd like to explore the Pixel Press technology in non-gaming markets. From both an educational and an efficiency standpoint, there could be some really interesting applications of the core Pixel Press tech.

komiru19 karma

Do you have an estimated time of when the iphone version might be released?

rrath0316 karma

We'll be supporting the "Play" on the iPhone pretty soon (i.e. we're close to submitting the update, working out some last kinks) - create for the iPhone may come later, as we're currently eyeing improvements to the arcade browsing experience, adding a global point and leaderboard system, and of course Android. Lots of other stuff we are working on too but these are some of the bigger items on our radar.

jalalaba18 karma

I am a 4th grade teacher and a student came in Monday with this "awesome app" (in our school everyone has an iPad). Well his nickname is "class technician", so when he says awesome I listen (and when I have a computer problem he fixes it). He demoed the game he made and taught the class how to do it in no time.

Thanks from me and my students for such an awesome app.

rrath039 karma

Awesome, be sure to check out our classroom contest going on now, would love to see what you guys are creating.


jlorenzatti12 karma

Why no support for Windows (RT or 8)?

rrath0310 karma

Hope to be there in the future, however we decided to focus on iOS and Android first, and will keep those on the immediate radar and then consider our next devices. Windows is up there, but web may come first.

releasethedogs11 karma

I, like you drew out hundreds of "games" when I was a kid in the 80s. Thank you for making this a reality for the kids of today.

rrath033 karma

Thanks, if you have any old photos to share let us know, we'd love to do a blog post with some pictures.

sinebiryan5 karma

Please make it to the Google Play Store too and why not both at start?

rrath032 karma

It's a lot of work to release on 2 platforms at the same time, especially for a small team launching a new technology for the very first time. We're happy to be on iOS and working to make the overall system better, and then incorporate those improvements into the first Android release.

But yes, will be in the Google Play store eventually.

jerba1105 karma

But, what do?

rrath031 karma

wut wut!

dethanww4 karma

When will it be on android?

rrath037 karma

Sorry I know this is frustrating, but no date set yet. We've got so many things we want to do, and this is certainly one of them but giving an exact date is not realistic right now.

rrath034 karma

Just a heads up all - we launched a contest for educators to celebrate the end of the school year. If you like this and know any teachers (or have kids of your own that might be interested in trying out Pixel Press in the classroom) please pass along!


We're giving away 25 sketch kits and one of our 5x whiteboard sketch sheets.

Chounard4 karma

Any big arguments in the office over the best local (St. Louis) food?

Provel is sweet manna from heaven. True or false very true?

rrath031 karma

True. Blues City Deli, Adrianas.

-Kaedo-3 karma

What was the hardest obstacle you had to overcome during the development of the application?

rrath037 karma

Another hard part was having to adjust our roadmap based on user testing and development challenges, while also trying very hard to deliver everything we promised in the Kickstarter. It was a lot to manage.

We ended up releasing 4 months late, and still have some things to make good on on Kickstarter, but glad that Pixel Press Floors in now out so we can improve it and continue working on the things we still owe our backers.

johnhaney2 karma

My hardest obstacle was (and still is) getting the capture to recognize the glyphs while still being fast and fitting in the memory of a mobile device.

this is John from Pixel Press

rrath033 karma

Yes, we're always working to improve the capture from paper, it's far from perfect yet and not on the iPad Mini or iPad 2 (yet!) but we're getting closer and hope to have the next generation of capture out soon. Right now it works really well when the lines are drawn straight on the iPad Air, because it has a higher quality camera and faster processor. We want to make it work that well on more devices.

kevlar1133 karma

Can you describe your experience with Kickstarter and it's user base/following? Maybe outline what you liked most about that experience.

rrath032 karma

It's been great having a large Kickstarter community because you get constant support and input from a lot of different perspectives - whether it be what devices people own, how old they are, what type of games they play, or where they are located throughout the world. Creating that diverse community/following within Kickstarter and being able to communicate in a friendly and familiar environment for everyone has been really helpful. We tend to get a lot of great "constructive feedback" there.

romulusnr2 karma

I used to do this as a kid, we called it "drawing." :)

rrath033 karma

So did we :)

ElementalChaos2 karma

Any ETA on the android version? At least will it be out this year?

rrath031 karma

Will absolutely be out this year. We're still hoping for our original "mid-2014" date, but have to stay flexible on that since we don't have a hard date.

ellaeaea2 karma

I feel like Mel in the flight of the conchords. Can I have 1% of the company?

rrath032 karma

haha, Kickstarter would not like that very much.

ellaeaea2 karma

Your video looks pretty hipster, is there a company that produces most kickstarter videos, or did you guys do it all yourselves?

rrath034 karma

We do a lot of the videos internally (for example the "What is Pixel Press Floors?) video, and the original Kickstarter video on the KS page - however we did hire someone to help us with the latest animated video - but we did the art internally. We really liked how it came out.

antoniusmagnus2 karma

Any reason I can't just use a pencil and grid paper?

johnhaney3 karma

You can always use grid paper for a first draft, but to be able to scan into the app, we need the levels to be drawn on the sketch sheet. You can print out sketch sheets from the sketch guide on our website.

rrath031 karma

Yep - You can use any pencil, but you have to use our specially created grid paper that you can print off our website for free.


m1k3ra992 karma

Will you ever make a windows phone version?

EDIT: Spelling

rrath031 karma

Not out of the question, would go with Windows 8 first.

Moos_Mumsy2 karma

And here I thought it would be an app with instructions on how to play Battleship.

rrath033 karma

Just added this to our game genre idea board - https://www.dropbox.com/s/f6du9to4w4m8lda/photo1.jpg

SpectreVLV2 karma

I actually draw action games (for over 10 years). This is very interesting stuff.

rrath031 karma

On paper?

fly_like_a_tube_sock1 karma


rrath031 karma

IAMA co-founder of a startup making a platform that let's you create video games that start just from drawings.

joelschlosberg1 karma

What is the most underrated platformer?

rrath032 karma


rrath031 karma

This is a questions more for you guys - for those of you who have played Floors already, what are some of your favorite and least favorite things about it?

ChildishGambinoFan1 karma

How do I get it on android?

rrath031 karma

Not available yet, lots of discussion about this below.

Zircon881 karma

Is it coming to WP 8? If not, why?

rrath032 karma

We hope to be there eventually. Android will be first. Would be great to have on Windows, we could reach a lot more people, and certainly more students in classrooms.

speedofdark81 karma

Is there a plan to support regular graph paper in the future?

rrath031 karma

Possibly, since we have the current system headed it the right direction, we'll probably stick with the custom graph paper with the registration marks for now. They are important as they help us line up the grid before we analyze it.

joelschlosberg1 karma

Were you influenced by Logo?

rrath031 karma

This is the first I've heard of Logo - however familiar (and was influenced) by some of the tech they are using, Scratch, 3D Printing, Legos, etc. Are you involved with Logo, or can you tell us anything about it?

top-dog1 karma

Unfortunately I missed the kickstarter - will there be bundle packs available in the future? Can we sign up to get updates on the Android version?

rrath031 karma

There will be some bundle packs available as we add more feature to the store - but will not necessarily match the Kickstarter packages exactly.

Our main mailing list is the best place to sign up for updates on all things Pixel Press - you can sign up using the form on the right side of this page.


mentelligence1 karma

PixelPress is an awesome idea. But it must have been scary to start. What was it like when you took the plunge and started the company?

rrath031 karma

Certainly was scary, and a bit of whirlwind starting on with Kickstarter. The hardest part for me personally has been putting myself out there and the pressure to deliver, and at the same time accepting that it's really hard to make everyone happy. Luckily, my wife Ashley is still happy, which makes scary a lot easier to deal with.

On the more business side of things, I've had to learn and deal with a lot of things that you are protected from when you just work for a company. Being in a leadership position is fun, challenging, and scary in and of itself. At the same time, I've had some excellent entrepreneurial mentors in St. Louis to help me along the way.

Stoooooooo1 karma

What did you do to celebrate when it went 'live'?

rrath032 karma

We had a lot of fun celebrating when it was "submitted" to the app store, as that was around 10p on a Friday night and we had all basically just worked 3 days straight. The actually live moment was a bit less of a celebration because we were already diving head first into the first update. Seeing some great articles about Pixel Press on The Verge Re-code was pretty exciting as well. May have been a few high fives for those.



The1WithOutAName1 karma

A few Q's... Those of us whom backed, do we get the full collection upon release (floors, quest, ...) or will they be additional? Estimation on android and PC release?

rrath031 karma

We would not be here without our Kickstarter backers, so we want to make sure you continue to see special offers and early content beyond just Floors. I'd be hesitant to make any commitments here and so far out - however we've talked about bonus content or offers in future products already.

Android still does not have a date, and we have not officially decided to come to PC, but it's certainly not out of the question.

joelschlosberg1 karma

How has the response been from educators so far?

rrath031 karma

Response on the game and the creation experience itself has been very positive, as you will see in the link mentioned above and again here. Many teachers are finding some really creative ways to use Pixel Press.


The capture from paper technology not being on the iPad 2 was a big miss for us for educators since so many have this device. So while Draw-In-App does work on those devices, we really need and want to get it working on the iPad.

Also we were hoping to have some curriculum available by this point but we're working on that and should have some things coming out over the summer.

We've also been working with a school here in St. Louis, we did an interview with them on Public Radio - more on that at....


vonshavingcream1 karma

what has been your experience with kickstarter?

how has the support from strangers helped you where pounding the pavement for investors didn't / wouldn't?

rrath032 karma

It's been great, build our initial community on Kickstarter was a lot of fun and we've developed a great deal of online and in-person relationships as a result.

As far as investors go, referencing the excitement around a Kickstarter is a great way to show "traction" on a product idea, before it's launched. Still have to pound the pavement, but they are willing to listen to you a bit more when you show that people are excited about what you are doing.

joelschlosberg1 karma

What about using non-square tilings, like triangular or hexagonal?

rrath031 karma

Sticking with the simple shapes for now as they are easier to draw and easier to recognize. However with future genres (for example Adventure aka Quest) we'll be adding in more shapes as we'll have more features that need to be accomplished.

Chuness1 karma

can my cat use it ?

rrath032 karma

For sure, send video, or better yet gifs.

kangaroooooo1 karma

What's be next step? What game is next on tap using your same sort of revolutionary technology?

rrath031 karma

sticking with games for the foreseeable future, and we hope to tackle adventure platformers and racing. See link for some quick, fun videos on other genres.


Aura_XP_1 karma

Looks like a great app! Too bad I can't use my iphone ;)

Anyways, I like what you are doing, and hope to see more of it!

rrath032 karma

We'll be on iPhone soon for "Playing" levels and create will come in due time.

valcavia1 karma

I absolutely cannot believe this doesn't have more up votes yet. You guys are geniuses. This app is gonna take off if it's not too hard to acquire and it isn't ripped off. This isn't really a question, but congratulations.

rrath031 karma

Thanks Valcavia - appreciate the support.

ballzack7621 karma

Hi robin! Tell Josh I said hello!

rrath032 karma

What's up Zack!

ellaeaea-2 karma

I'm not big into creativity, let alone mobile gaming. Sell me.

rrath034 karma

I'd suggest trying out the creation experience in draw in app - it's a lot of fun to play with the tools and you may find yourself spending a few hours perfecting your level, and enjoying seeing how much people play it and how well they do. Our creation experience is pretty unique in that it's not like drawing a picture, but more like constructing lego's, so you may find that fun.