Pixel Press Floors Frequently Asked Questions

Pixel Press is a technology company focused on integrating physical and digital collaborative learning experiences. Our products enhance the use of media & entertainment properties, toys & video games, computers & mobile devices, educational programs and traditional storybooks. 

What is Pixel Press?

Remember drawing video games as a kid, back when you could only dream of those games coming to life? We do too, which is why we’re building the first mobile platform that allows you (and your kids) to create your own games, just by drawing them.

Unlike other platforms that provide little framework and often require code or complex processes, Pixel Press focuses on letting the player design and customize the challenge of the game, around an established framework.

Can parents and kids of all ages enjoy Pixel Press together?

Absolutely. Parents (especially those of you who drew video games as kids!) of younger children (6-8) will enjoy helping them learn and play Pixel Press and will appreciate the logic and motor skills they will develop in the process. Older kids (9-12) will enjoy creating levels and sharing them with parents & friends, and finally big kids (this includes everyone) will enjoy the nostalgia of drawing game ideas around the the game genre’s of their childhood.

Can I draw on paper and on the device?

Yes, you can do both! As much as we love to draw on paper, we also love being able to draw on the go! Everyone works differently. With Pixel Press you can start from paper and then continue your drawing on the device, or you can start from a blank sketch sheet on the device – all using our special “Draw-in-App” tool that matches the process of drawing on paper, just digitally.

What kind of games can I create and where can others play them?

ThePixel Press Game Builder platform focuses on established games genres and enables user to create their own level designs – we are currently focused on “run-and-jump” platformer style games (i.e. Super Mario Brothers ). All games created on the platform can be played in the Pixel Press Arcade.

Is Pixel Press for creators only?

No, Pixel Press was created with gamers and players in mind too. Even if you don’t yet want to create, you can play the games that others created in the Arcade.

What is Pixel Press Floors and how do I get it?

Pixel Press Floors is our the first game developed by Pixel Press Technology, LLC, and is built around the “run-and-jump” platformer genre. Pixel Press Floors is available in the Apple App Store. 

Do I have to print the Sketch Guide in color or can I print in black and white?

Printing in either color or black and white will work on your home printer. or you can order a Sketch Pad from our website here which includes a notebook with 40 pre-printed sheets. You can also order our Sketch Kit, which includes the Sketch Pad, 2 pencils, and 3 rulers (1 for you, 2 to share).

Does lighting matter when capturing my level?

Yes, it helps to have even lighting on the sketch sheet without a lot of shadows. It also helps to stand above the sketch sheet when you are capturing. For more help on capturing see our Capture walkthrough, available in the help menu.

What is a glyph?

Glyphs are each of the individual elements that you draw on paper and will be used together to make your level. Terrain glyphs make up the main layout of your level and should stay on the blue lines – you may want to start with these first. Glyphs like coins and spikes should stay inside individual boxes. See the Sketch Guide for a list of all available glyphs.

The Sketch Guide is available in the help menu and on our website at projectpixelpress.com/print-free-sketch-guide.

Why would I draw on paper when I can just create my levels digitally using Draw-in-App?

It is up to you if you want to start on paper or in the app. Many creators start with a rough draft on paper to get the general idea and goals of their level started. For many people, the levels drawn on paper are regarded as works of art and are one of a kind of each level.

Do I have to draw all three floors?

No, you can draw just one floor, two, and up to three. When you play your level only the floors you have drawn will be part of your level. Just make sure to start drawing on the bottom floor and work your way up.

What kind of levels can I create?

Pixel Press Floors offers over 14 game creator tools that can be combined in different ways to create lots of different types of games within the run-and-jump game style, also often referred to as the “platformer” genre.  The best way to think about what you are creating is a puzzle that uses objects like keys and coins to make them more challenging. To get ideas, the best place to start is our Arcade, where you can find levels that other players have created.

Don’t be afraid to use their ideas for inspiration to create your own levels.

I’m having trouble drawing levels and capturing them, what is the deal?

The idea of drawing your own video game on paper is both new, exciting, and something we are constantly working to improve. There are multiple reasons you could be having problems, here are the most common:

Paper – as long as you are using white paper and printing in color or black and white with adequate contrast (i.e. the lines are not extremely light on the page) the quality of the paper itself should not matter, however if the paper has been wrinkled or bent, it could cause problems during capture. It’s best to keep the paper in good shape otherwise you may have unexpected results. Printing on a heavy card stock can help with this situation.

Quality of glyphs – the more accurately you draw the glyphs, and place them either on the grid lines or within the grid lines (depending on the glyph), the better the capture system will perform. We’ve seen players as young as 5 with patience and a ruler draw levels just fine, but we’ve also seen much older players not have the patience to draw accurately. If you are having trouble consider using a ruler and taking your time. If drawing is just not for you, we do offer the same creation experience using Draw-in-App.

Also if you have done a lot of erasing and re-drawing, the erased lines may cause issues depending on how well they have been erased.

Glyph relationships – if your level is capturing accurately but the gameplay is just not turning out like you expected, it may be because you are not using the glyphs together in a way they were intended to be used. You may discover something really cool that no one else has ever done, or you may find yourself frustrated because it’s not working like you though. If you need help, we suggest taking the time to watch our How-to Videos at projectpixelpress.com or connecting with other players on our support portal at support.projectpixelpress.com.

Camera capture problems – actually getting the drawing to capture on the device is a bit of an art that becomes much easier once you have some familiarity with the process. The first recommendation is to stand up while capturing your level. This will give you the best perspective to line up the camera with the drawing. From there, you’ll want to adjust the position of the device until the 6 black squares on the frame line up with the 6 black squares on the sketch sheet. The most common issue at this point is that the device is not parallel with the sketch sheet, so try tilting the device forward or backwards at this point. Once you have it right, the camera will snap on it’s own and proceed to the processing screen.

Also make sure the paper is completely flat against the surface it is resting on when capturing. Consider placing a few objects on the edges, outside of the blue border, if you are having trouble keeping the paper flat.

Shadows – the system can handle shadows relatively well, but if you have hard shadows across the sketch sheet, you’ll have better results if you move to more even lighting.

It’s too hard! – Pixel Press is a creator platform, and with anything that let’s you create things, you have to take the time to learn how to learn the power of the tools. Even if you are frustrated, if you are still having fun keep learning and before long you’ll be creating like a pro and probably teaching us a thing or two about what Pixel Press can do.

It’s running slow and/or crashing – We’re constantly working to improve all aspects of Pixel Press, especially the creation experience. If you are having issues with the app running slow or crashing please let us know in the support portal, support.projectpixelpress.com. For best results, newer devices (such as the iPad Air) that have a faster processor and new camera hardware provide the best experience when using Pixel Press.

Capture System Accuracy – Our capture system, which consists of taking a picture of the image, and then processing the image using optical character recognition or “OCR” is a complex process that we are constantly working to improve. One of the most critical components of making this system work correctly is continuing to add more data (“drawings”) to the system from lots of different creators (“you”) – since no one draws an X or a + exactly the same way.

If you are noticing mistakes in our system, it may be that we just have not adequately “learned” that symbol yet for your writing style or even for the pencil you are using. However the data you are uploading is constantly making Pixel Press better! If you are drawing your shapes accurately, and they are still not capturing correctly, please realize you are helping us improve, and that we appreciate your help and patience.

I see there are enemies, portals and more, how do define these in my drawing?

Some items in Pixel Press are drawn and then customized in the app, and some items are only added after drawing. You can learn more about these tools by exploring the app.

Can I leave the app and continue editing my level later?

Yes, when you resume the app it will take you back to where you left off, and if you need a break from creating to play levels, you can save your level and resume it later.

Can I work on levels and play my own levels without being connected to the internet?

Yes, you can capture and create levels without being connected to the internet. You can also play levels that you have created that have not yet been publishing to the arcade. Of course you can always draw levels on the Sketch Sheet anytime – without a device!

What features require an internet connection?

The following features require an internet connection: Playing levels on the Arcade (both your levels and others), submitting levels to the Arcade, creating an account and logging in, browsing the store and making purchases, accessing some help features (like the support portal and videos).

What is the store and what features require an in-app purchase?

Pixel Press is currently free and we have made all creator glyphs free for a limited time to celebrate the release of Pixel Press Floors. Currently there are number of features (such as adding enemies to your levels or adding new power-ups) that are available as an in-app purchase. 

What are the advantages of creating an account?

Creating a Pixel Press will give you access to the following features: publishing levels to the Arcade, like Levels, favorite levels, associate your leaderboard entries to your account, and more to come!

You must be 13 years or older to create an account.

How do I publish my level to the arcade and what are the advantages to having my level on the arcade?

By publishing a level the Arcade, you are unlocking the true value of Pixel Press because you’ll be making your level available to anyone in the world. You’ll also get direct feedback on your level by being able to see how many people have played your levels, how many times they like your levels, and also unlock the leaderboards to see the top 10 scores / times on your level.  Note that you must have an account to publish a level to the Arcade.

How does the leaderboard work?

Levels that are published on the Arcade display a leaderboard that shows the top 10 scores, first sorted by points, and then sub-sorted by time of completion. If a player has an account when they register their score on the leaderboard, their account name will be displayed next to their initials.

How does the level scoring system work?

We’re purposefully made the scoring systems for levels very simple. You can achieve a maximum of 25 points on a level, however the maximum for any given level is dependent on the features the creator used in the level when it was created. As an example, a level that is only 2 floors and does not use keys, may have a maximum point value of 17.

Here is how scoring currently breaks down:

Coins Collected 50% – 1 point
Coins Collected 75% – 2 point
Coins Collected 100% – 3 point
Super Coin Collected – 1 point each, max 3 points (NOTE: Each floor can only have 1 super coin)
Key Collected – 1 point each, max 3 points (NOTE: Each floor can only have 1 key)
Floors Completed – 1 point per floor, max 3 points
Finish Third Floor –  5 points (NOTE: only applies to levels with 3 floors)
Defeat all enemies in level – 1 point
No deaths – 1 point
No damage – 3 points

Note that that the scoring system is subject to change.

Why is my leaderboard entry not showing up?

If you use an offensive name in your initials or username, your headboard entry (and likely your account) will be removed immediately. We will make an effort to contact you in this scenario but that is not guaranteed. If your leaderboard entry is not showing up and it’s not because of offensive material, it’s likely a result of an issue we had with collecting your leaderboard score when you completed the level (likely due to internet connection issues). As of right now, we are not saving (caching) leaderboard entries when you are not connected. 

Can players comment on my level?

No, we’ve purposefully left out comments to keep the experience clean and friendly.

If I see an issue with my level (i.e. it's broken or offensive), what should I do?

If you see an issue with a level, please let us know using the report feature available on the level details page. We will get your message and follow up as necessary.

My level was on the arcade and now it's gone, what happened?

If we see an issue with a level that we determine is offense to the community, we will remove it. Also, if we determine your level cannot be finished, we will remove it as well. We may contact you to let you know why the level was removed, but cannot guarantee this in every case. 

What is Pixel Press doing to protect the community from offensive content?

We will be spot checking every level that is published to the community as they are added, and will remove a level that contains offensive content immediately and may ban users that continue to publish offensive content.

Are photos taken from the device ever visible to the public?

No, we are not displaying the actual image captured in the Arcade, instead we are displaying a digital representation of the level.

Can my levels be played outside of the arcade?

Currently, your created levels can only be played within the Pixel Press app. 

A level I created is no longer in My Levels, what happened?

When you submit a level to the Arcade, it moved out of My Levels and is displayed under the “My Arcade Levels” section in the Arcade. Because the Arcade requires an internet connection, you will not be able to see or play levels you created if you are not online – but don’t worry, they are still there!

Also note that levels in “My Levels” are local only. If you are using Pixel Press Floors on different devices, you will not see your “My Levels” across devices.  You will however see any of your levels that are submitted to the “Arcade” under “My Arcade Levels” on the Arcade homepage.

Can I remove a level from Arcade to edit it?

Yes, if you un-publish a level from the Arcade, it will move back to My Levels, however all data (plays, likes, leaderboards) will be reset, since the level could change significantly before it is published again.

A level I am playing on the Arcade is broken or un-beatable, what should I do?

The best thing to do is report the issue to us and we will look into it. Over time we may add the ability to let the creator know there is an issue directly, and we will also be working to improve the creation process to reduce these scenarios.

How "good" should my level be before I publish it to the Arcade, and how much should I test it before I publish?

How “good” your level is all depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your level. If you want to make it super easy that is fine, and if you want to make it frustratingly hard that is fine too – your goal should be to create an experience that a group of players, no matter how small, will enjoy. However, the more universally appealing you make the level, the higher likelihood you will get more plays and more likes. You’ll have to experiment to see what works best. The most important thing to remember is that you should test your level thoroughly before you publish it to the community to ensure that it can be finished – if we find that your level cannot be finished we will remove it.

How do I get to be on the featured levels in the arcade?

Featured levels are picked by the staff. Our criteria for selecting featured levels is pretty open, however primarily  we are looking for levels that use our creator tools in innovative ways, and are most importantly have the right mix of challenge and fun. We’ll also be on the lookout for levels that have lots of plays already, which you can accomplish by creating fun levels, and by promoting levels yourself to your friends and on social media.

How do I share my level with others?

Publishing your level to the Arcade shares your level with other players, however currently there is no specific mechanism for sharing your level on social media. For now, this will be  somewhat manual process of telling people your level name and encouraging them to download the Pixel Press Floors app. 

Can I access levels I create on different devices?

If you have published your level to the Arcade, it will be available in the “My Arcade Levels” list when you are logged in on that device. Levels that are not published to the Arcade are only available on that local device, even if you are logged in. 

I am a STEM educator or parents looking to leverage Pixel Press for education, where can I learn more?

If you are an educator or parent interested in leveraging Pixel Press as an education tool, you can learn more in our Educators section. 

What devices are supported?

Pixel Press is currently supported on the iPad 2 and up, the iPad Mini, and the iPad Mini with Retina. 

Can I buy sketch pads and other Pixel Press merchandise?

Yes, you can shop our store to buy Pixel Press Sketch Pads and more at the Store.