Highly respectable casual games site JayIsGames recently held their 8th open competition for indie game developers. This time it was to write a sandbox game, which for those that don't know is the descriptive word for games like Sim City and Theme Park type games where you're given a certain amount of freedom to do what you want.
The creator of the no.2 placed game: Tile Factory kindly wrote to me about his game (even though I kind of knew about it already) as I was doing a week of free games. So here we go!
TF puts you in charge of a tile creation and painting factory. Tile generators create blank tiles which must be painted different colours and patterns and then moved to their dispatch area. Your job is to arrange the conveyor belts and sprayers to produce the correct results. There's also the more complicated side of creating sensor pads and wiring to ensure things happen at the correct time.
There's a fair bit of tutorial to go through as it walks you through each component and the different labs that help determine what steps you need to take to create the correct tile patterns or the correct colours. Although I can't say I used the labs too much as most of the goals were quite obvious it was a nice addition, especially the colour lab.
For a free game there's quite a few levels to get your teeth into and although a level only takes a few minutes to complete they're a worthy challenge for your morning cup of coffee time!
It's not absolutely perfect, I have a few little niggles such as it not retaining rotational information (it doesn't remember what rotation you had last time and use it for the next new object) and the graphics left uneven with some nice sprites such as the paint pots and then some less pretty ones like the conveyor belts. I did like the music though!
As described the Tile Factory is completely free and you can play it from the CGDC8 page here.