When I was growing up it never crossed my mind that a role in the construction business was a dream for the future. Well now there’s a video game that could inspire a whole generation of gamers, young and old, into becoming an architect of sorts. It’s called Bridge Constructor. The aim of developers Clockstone Studio is to provide a construction simulation that’s educational, puzzling and fun; maybe I could learn a thing or two.
I did learn things; mainly that I’d be a very angry architect and probably end up with numerous lawsuits coming my way.
The concept of Bridge Constructor, surprisingly, is to build bridges across various gaps between sections of land that are then usable by vehicles without either the bridge collapsing or the vehicles taking a plunge. It’s a rather basic idea that’s made all the more tricky with budgets and the occasional lack of materials at hand to use, making this a bit of a puzzle game too as you’ve got to figure out what combination and layout works.
There are only two main areas of land that need your expertise to fix the road crisis, Camatuga and Slope Mania. These are split up into smaller segments in which you must work your way through eight road problems within each one. No shortage in problems to be solved, that’s for sure. For each of the roads you must build a structure that will initially support cars and trucks enough to travel safely to the other side. Once they’ve got there it can all collapse in a heap; no one is too bothered about long term solutions.
Don’t expect any help from the game though, sure it will tell you how to pick a material and use it but beyond that you’re on your own when it comes down to structural ideas. I sure as hell felt stupid connecting pieces of wood in triangular shapes to support the road, only for it all to plummet once I ran a simulation for two cars to drive across it. And that was just the first level… but I battled on with makeshift ideas which are the exact reasons that health and safety laws exist.
Eventually making it to the second segment and beyond, more materials such as cables, steel and concrete pillars were introduced. This meant there were more variables, and do you know what that means? Plenty more ways for me to screw up a potential solution; as I did over and over again. The only saving grace were the materials being colour coded during simulation runs so you could figure out where the load was just too much for individual pieces. Not that I could then fix it, but at least I knew I did a half good job.
I hold my hands up in the air and admit I did have to get help from the internet gurus to overcome a whole lot of the sections. It’s just too random, too frustrating and too much hassle otherwise. At least this way I could learn a few tips before I headed on over to Slope Mania. I’ve got my own tip too… turn back now, it’s even more of a pain in the backside to figure out because now roads are going to get sloped, big time. And with the addition of having checkpoints to pass on occasion, it just places another problem in your midst.
If you’re glutton for punishment then once you’ve finished all of Camatuga with trucks being able to travel freely, you can then go back, trash all your bridges to start again and try to get the tank trucks across. Sure there’ll be more money in the budget for each one but with those beasts using the road, there’s certainly no room for error.
I’m not saying Bridge Constructor is a bad game; however I feel it teaches everyone bad habits like sloppy workmanship and inadvertently encourages cheating. To prove furthermore how difficult most of the solutions are, the people who are making guides and those subsequently using them (like me) are having to rely on bridges that often break down just as the vehicle touches the other side or only work two out of three times when trying to run a simulation.
Bridge Constructor isn’t particularly educational nor is it enjoyable; it’ll only appeal to people with a penchant for hardcore physics based puzzles or actually architects.
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