Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

A Classic: Bridge Builder by Chronic Logic

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 611 votes, average: 4.06 out of 5)

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.

Bridge Builder Screen 1 Bridge Builder Screen 2
(Bridge Builder Game Screenshots)

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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9 Responses to 'A Classic: Bridge Builder by Chronic Logic'

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  1. on July 5th, 2006 at 8:14 am

    […] As Matthew points out, its like a cross between The Incredible Machine and Bridge Builder. It has a really intuitive, easy to grasp user interface and encourages experimentation. […]

  2. Jeck Lamnent said,

    on October 20th, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    This game is fantastic! I’m on level 9 but haven’t started it yet. On level 7 I made my own support column to touch the bottom and on level 8 I went less sloppy, it took me a while to get something working.

  3. Joe Smoe said,

    on October 21st, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    The train won’t ascend or decend. I am on level 15, where you must make the train go up about three dots. How is this supposed to be possible? Add in the fun of only one anchor point!

    Great game nonetheless.

  4. Joe Smoe said,

    on October 21st, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    Nevermind. That’s sneaky.

  5. Björn said,

    on March 13th, 2007 at 5:13 pm


    I think you should update the post and point a link to Cryptic Sea, and Alex Austin’s updated Bridge Building Game, which has everything the old one has, plus some small improvements in editing and some extra levels!

  6. Benji said,

    on April 2nd, 2007 at 11:40 am

    I’m also stuck on lvl 15… I did the first 14 in about 30 mins or so while eating breakfast, but I can’t figure out how I’m either supposed to get the train up or blast a hole in the hill side with tnt… If you check this again Joe Smoe, please post back. Awesome game, was looking for a builder to get ideas for building a realistic lego bridge.

  7. Björn said,

    on April 7th, 2007 at 4:36 am

    The answer for the idea behind lvl 15, is that you got to build a big counterweight on the left side of the “hole” wich in turn raises the whole bridge to a level equal to the opposite side… so that the train can just drive over the bridge in a bit of an angel upwards… “if its fuzzy do it agian” :P

  8. Benji said,

    on April 17th, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Thanks Björn, I wasn’t thinking about building it flat and using a counterweight to raise it. I kept trying to keep it level or build at an angle, but the counterweight idea worked… not pretty, but it worked, lol. The way I did it looked like the Dukes of Hazard stole the train and jumped it over the water and the last car barely makes it over and rolls about 2mph down the other side of the hill, lol.

  9. Giruvegan said,

    on July 21st, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Or you could put a lever on the right side to lift it up if you know how ;D

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