In the seventh grade, my science teacher, who shall go nameless on the off chance that she employs Google Alerts, tasked the class with building bridges out of Popsicle sticks and glue. The bridges would be graded on their ability to support a series of small weights. A week and much procrastination later, my bridge was not really a bridge. It was, in the words of my teacher, “a Panamanian walkway,” a term I have not fact-checked but can safely say was meant to describe a series of planks with no real structure to carry added weight.
Since my “Panamanian walkway” was not a bridge, I was not allowed to test how it would hold up. Sources inform me that this bridge-building project, though not the outcome I experienced, is a common occurrence in science classrooms.
Poly Bridge lets you relive this science, albeit in low-poly form, and with a variety of interesting structural challenges. The game, which is being developed New Zealand’s Dry Cactus, is slated for a May 2015 release on PC, Mac, and Linux. Its developer, Patrick Corrieri, worked on the 2011 iOS game Paper Bridge, which asked players to draw bridges on a notepad and then evaluated their structural prospects. Poly Bridge takes many of these same concepts and builds upon them in 3D. Since the game is housed in your computer, you can relive the classic high school science project without the ambient fug produced by pubescent teenagers. That alone is reason to root for Poly Bridge.
But even if you leave nostalgia behind, Poly Bridge looks like a lot of fun. The low-poly water under your bridge doesn’t shimmer so much as it tessellates in search of new patterns. It’s an arresting site—at least, until a truck falls into the jagged currents below. Speaking of trucks falling, Poly Bridge will offer a variety of engineering challenges, many of them more complicated than high school projects: double-level bridges, bridges that lift up to let boats pass underneath them, bridges that serve as carefully-aligned ramps for cars to jump from. The game’s creators also say it will include a sandbox area, where you can create whatever bridge your fevered imagination can dream up.
I guess that means you can recreate the “Panamanian walkway” of my youth, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I would, however, recommend keeping an eye out for Poly Bridge. It looks like a lot of fun.