Last year, student developer Matt Stark dazzled us with the first glimpse at an unusual new game that would allow you to take images of the environment, print off a polaroid, and then superimpose the picture back into it.
One year later, we have a new name for the game (Viewfinder) and a clearer idea of how this wacky technology may play out in a full-fledged game. It will make more sense after you see it in action.
Since we last spoke with Viewfinder, Stark has been hard assembling a team of partners under the Robot Turtle banner. This features some legitimately sleek, The Witness-inspired environmental graphics, which lends weight to the polaroid effect. He’s not just rearranging cubes and boxes anymore; he’s rearranging entire buildings and streets.
Whereas it was previously just a clever gimmick, we now have a good idea of how Viewfinder may play out as a true puzzle game. The camera is seen duplicating things to solve puzzles, building new maps to explore within levels, and traversing locations to match up fragments of a new frame.
Viewfinder has several parallels with Valve’s long-rumored “F-Stop,” a mechanism the firm considered for a Portal prequel before scrapping it. F-Stop was a well-held secret until last January when indie firm LunchHouse Software exposed the hows and whys of F-Stop in a YouTube series called Exposure.
Since then, we’ve seen a couple additional variations on perspective-based puzzles, like Superliminal and Maquette. Viewfinder is still a ways off, with no specific release date set, but I’m thrilled to delve inside its picture-perfect puzzles one day.