“Ants. Cover them in ants.” The RPS treehouse is gathered around my screen, where several dozen stickmen are currently duking it out in a blank 2D void. This is not nearly violent enough for Sin, who has seen the Ant button. I obligingly sweep my mouse across the screen, summoning a haze of insects. Some of the stickmen jump into them, and get stuck there. “They’re suspended in the ants!”, I cry. “They’re suspended in the ants!”, cries Sin. Then she sees the button for Acid.
We’re poking at Powder Game, also known as Dust. It’s a ‘simple’ simulation where you conjure different elements and watch them interact, and I remember mucking about with it back in my school days. Little did I then know that such “falling sand” games would one day inspire Nolla Games to make Noita, their platforming roguelike where “every pixel is simulated” – but experiments have more serious consequences.