If you’re an active redditor you see your fair share of GIFs. And, recently, you may have seen a number of GIFs for this crazy cartoon bridge game that you’ve never heard of. That game is Poly Bridge and it’s creator Patrick Corrieri is just as surprised as you are.
“It’s been a huge, huge factor on the game,” he told iDigitalTimes at PAX Prime 2015. “It’s been so huge because we’ve done very, very little marketing around the game.”
A game about physics based bridge building isn’t exactly in a genre known for aggressive marketing, so the viral nature of the Polybridge GIFs has been a welcome surprise for Corrieri and the team at Dry Cactus . He credits Zachtronics Infinifactory as the inspiration for the popular GIF sharing feature and even received code from the studio head to help Poly Bridge implement the social-friendly feature.
“Obviously on Reddit it’s been huge, generally the ones that get upvoted are these crazy, crazy things,” he said. “Because the game served itself so well to player creativity we really wanted to find a way for players to share those moments and so GIFs are an awesome form for that. It was a very good way of allowing players to do their own thing and express their creativity in an engineering context.”
Corrieri is a long-time fan of bridge builders, citing Chronic Logic’s Pontifex as a major inspiration for Poly Bridge. Working with a genre he loves has given him the insight required to put together a game that is both accessible and challenging.
“I’ve always had a passion for physics and I’ve always loved bridge-building games. I know the genre quite well, I know what’s required to make it work,” he said.
His dedication is paying off. Behind the viral GIFs of Reddit lies an active and engaged community. A community that Corrieri believes will be instrumental to the long term sustainability of Poly Bridge and is already influencing the design.
“We’ve been very active in the community and it’s really starting to show,” he said. “We’ve got 36 levels at the moment and we’ve started to pull in some of the community players who’ve logged hundreds and hundreds of hours to talk to them about level design as well and get a feedback loop between the developers and players.”
Corrieri said Dry Cactus is also committed to the educational side of Poly Bridge. Currently, the studio will license the game for free to any educational institution and has no plans to change that policy. Even though Poly Bridge wasn’t necessarily designed with learning in mind.
“Theres a good educational value in the game itself which happened kind of by mistake but was a happy accident,” he said.
The future of Poly Bridge will be a community-driven one. Corrieri hopes that the increased popularity caused by GIF sharing will translate to a robust community of gamers sharing levels with each other.
“I would eventually like to have something that is quite moddable as a game and I would really love to see people take it directions that I never really thought of,” he said.