If you’re a fan of mind-bending puzzle games like Portal, you may want to keep your eye on Viewfinder, an in-development game that revolves around a Polaroid camera that shoots reality-altering photos.
The game is the brainchild of indie game developer Matt Stark and his game studio, Robot Turtle, which is “making a game about a camera.”
In Viewfinder, players find themselves in a 3D world with puzzles they need to solve using a Polaroid-style instant camera. After taking a photo of the world and printing it out, the snapshot — with all its depth and features — can be superimposed back into the world to alter reality.
It may sound confusing, but here’s a short 1-minute video with gameplay clips that’ll give you a much better idea of this fascinating mechanic:
In one of the examples in the video, the player is standing in front of a tall building.
The player raises the camera and takes a photo that includes the side of the building, the background, and the ground.
We see the camera print out the snapshot as an instant photo.
The player then chooses where to superimpose the photo back into the scene, rotating the snapshot as they see fit.
Once the photo is reinserted into the scene, the 3D scene that was capture is what’s actually superimposed. Walking to the side of the building reveals the depth of the photo and the fact that the ground in the photo has now become a possible ramp up the building.
PC Gamer reports that Stark first began showing off his game concept last year as a student developer.
Here are some previous demos of what the concept looked like in its early stages:
Brief summary of how it works: When the player takes a photo I duplicate the environment, make it greyscale and slice the meshes to remove anything outside the photo. When they place it into the world I slice the environment's meshes to make a hole for the photo.
— Matt Stark (@mattstark256) January 3, 2020
“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,” PC Gamer writes. “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.”
There’s no word on when Viewfinder may be launched to the public, but from what has been revealed thus far, the concept definitely looks promising.