I would seriously be surprised if Bridge Builder was new to anyone. It really made the Internet paste-around tour when it was first released in December of 2000. The original Bridge Builder game is no longer officially available, apparently due to legal collisions with the name. The series lives on, though, as Pontifex and Pontifex 2.
So what is Bridge Builder? The name says it all: you build bridges. The trick is that you need to build structurally sound bridges with limited resources. The goal of each level is to cross a span and then run a hefty train over your freshly-built trestle. Proper engineering is crucial: An understanding of triangles and support structures will go a long way.
The UI is a little clumsy, but the solid physics engine underpinning the simulation makes up for any shortcoming in presentation. Key to any game like this is a predictable, reliable physics engine. The same bridge needs to behave the same way every time in a very deterministic fashion. Chronic Logic did a great job with this. The game is even robust enough to allow for hardcore design competitions.
Bridge Builder also does a great job communicating the status of your structure during the simulation/test mode. Bridge segments are color-coded by the amount of stress they’re under. It’s an elegant way to show you which areas of your bridge are robust and which are likely to fail.
Chronic Logic no longer officially supports the original demo, but you can download it right here. If you’ve never seen the game before, or are simply looking to relive some old memories, download the game and give it a whirl!
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