How to Build Your Own Incredible Machines in Contraption Maker

May 21st, 2015 by Deborah Fike

It’s been a crazy 10 months since we took Contraption Maker out of early access on Steam and did our first full launch.  Contraption Maker has since become one of the top 6% of Steam games for 2014.  We’ve also launched the game independently on PC, Mac, and Linux.  What that means for us is that we’re interacting with a lot of new players all the time.

Did you know that we have an awesome playlist of tutorials on the Contraption Maker YouTube Channel that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to do a ton of stuff in the game?  If you didn’t, consider yourself informed!  So if you’re new to the game and want to move from solving puzzles to making your own awesome contraptions, we’ve got you covered with our Maker Lab Intro Tutorial (created by our own Jon Tunnell):

I’m the kind of person who not only likes to watch video tutorials, but also read along, so let me give you a written run-down of what the tutorial covers.  To get started, click the “Make” button on the Main Menu:

Make button

This will bring you into the Maker Lab, where you can build your own contraptions.

The Maker Lab is made up of the following screens:

Maker Lab Windows

  • Contraption Window: Where you will build your contraption.
  • Parts Window: Contains all the parts in the game you can use to build contraptions.  The default tab of this window is the “all parts” tab which contains all 100+ parts in the game.  You can click on different tabs to see smaller subsets of parts, such as the different ball types in the game.
  • Scenery Window: Contains all the background objects you can use in the game.
  • Layers Window: Allows you to control how both parts and scenery are layered within the contraptions

Different buttons in the Maker Lab will allow you to perform different functions to create and save your contraption.  First, the buttons in the top left corner:

Maker Lab Top Left Buttons

  • The orange home button sends you back to the main menu.
  • The green folder button brings up the load dialogue, if you want to work on a contraption you’ve already built.
  • The blue add button loads a new blank slate to build a new contraption.
  • The red x button quits the game immediately.

The buttons in the top right corner:

Maker Lab Top Right Buttons

  • The yellow hand button allows you to select between panning over your contraption to move the camera around vs. selecting objects within the contraption.
  • The blue parts button brings the Part Window forward.
  • The green scenery button brings the Scenery Window forward.
  • The orange layers button brings the Layers Window forward.
  • The yellow gear button allows you to access the Contraption Maker settings panel.

The buttons in the Contraption Window allow you to manipulate your current contraption:

Contraption Window buttons

  • The orange record button allows you save a video of your contraption in run mode.
  • The orange disk button brings up the save dialogue to let you save your contraption.
  • The yellow share button gives you options for publishing your contraption to our community-wide workshop.
  • The orange gears button allows you to set different properties for your contraption, such as selecting a background color, music, and more.
  • The two blue arrow buttons let you undo or redo an action respectively.
  • The two blue magnifying buttons let you zoom in or out on your contraption.
  • The yellow dash button minimizes the Contraption Window.
  • The red x button closes the contraption.

Once you have the Maker Lab set up the way you want it, drag parts from the Parts Window to the Contraption Window to start building your excellent contraptions!  And remember, if you want to access more tutorial and videos about how to use Contraption Maker, check out our Contraption Maker School tutorial playlist.

-Deborah Fike

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