The digital version of ZACH-LIKE contains two PDFs: a minimally processed version that puts each page of the book on its own page in the PDF (best for e-book readers and tablets) and a composited version that simulates a book, and puts each spread of pages on a single page of the PDF (best for high-resolution, wide-screen monitors). Both versions include the full contents of the physically printed book.
Project Lightning (2018)
Much like Project Typhoon, Opus Magnum (working title Project Lightning) is another game that we started thinking about in 2013 but didn’t end up working on until four years later. It was initially envisioned as a sort of super-SpaceChem with three competing programming models but ended up as a relatively straightforward Zachtronics-style puzzle game that borrowed the core mechanics and premise of The Codex of Alchemical Engineering, while adding everything we’d learned over the years from releasing numerous games in the genre.
Also included is an experimental tactics game that we developed for this game but cut for release, replacing it with Sigmar's Garden instead.
Project Typhoon (2017)
After we finished SHENZHEN I/O, we started building a game that I had come up with in 2013 after I literally had a dream about playing it. It involved submarines and kelp harvesting and, well, sandbox survival games are all the rage, so it seemed like a good idea. For whatever reason, the game didn’t click with me, and we stopped working on it after a few months. Excitement alone isn’t enough to get you through a year-long development cycle, unfortunately.
I created most of Infiniminer in a week; my wife went home to visit her family, and when she returned I had made a new game that would unknowingly change a lot of things about our lives.
Infiniminer was essentially the direct inspiration for the block world in Minecraft, which makes it a complicated game for me. I wrote some stuff about it in the book, and there's more information online in articles written in the early years of Minecraft. Maybe it's better just to try it out instead?
KOHCTPYKTOP was my last Flash game and is about integrated circuit design. It takes place in an alternate universe where the big reveal is that the USA and USSR are communist allies in the early 90s.
I made this when everything I learned about digital logic in college was still fresh in my mind. You may need a degree in computer engineering to beat it.
The Codex of Alchemical Engineering (2009)
The Codex of Alchemical Engineering was meant to be a more accessible version of Manufactoid, a game about building factories that I had made in college that, unfortunately, required players to write Lua to control their factories. It was about alchemy, and was the direct inspiration for our game Opus Magnum years later.
Similar to Ruckingenur II, I released a sequel with player-created puzzles shortly after called the Magnum Opus Challenge.
The Bureau of Steam Engineering (2009)
The Bureau of Steam Engineering was my first Flash game, which I started using because it seemed like it’d be easier to get someone to play a Flash game in their browser than to download and install something to their computer. Ironic how, in 2019, things seem to have reversed.
I originally imagined this game as being about the hybrid use of magic and steam, but after failing to come up with a functional “realistic magic” system, it ended up being just about steam engineering and taking place in an alternate universe version of the American Civil War.
Ruckingenur II (2009)
I designed and built Ruckingenur II during the summer after I graduated from college and released it online as I was driving cross-country to start my new job at Microsoft. Ruckingenur II is notable because it was the first Zachtronics game to get coverage from an online news site (Hackaday). I still hear from fans who first found out about us from that article.
The ending of Ruckingenur II revealed that it was merely “episode one” with a second episode coming in the future. Like a lot of media that ends by promising a sequel, it never materialized.