Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

The Most Innovative Physics Game since Bridge Builder?

Friday, May 5th, 2006 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 116 votes, average: 3.09 out of 5)

Operation Cleaner 2 could very well be the best physics game I’ve played in months. Unfortunately, the operative word in that sentence is could. Its tremendous potential is hampered by clunky implementation. The premise of the game is brilliant: You operate a demolitions company. Naturally, the game is all about demolishing buildings. You choose the type and placement of explosives, configuration of your workforce, and select the type of jobs you’re most suited for. It sounds like a blast!

Make a Career of It

While Operation Cleaner 2 does have a quick play mode, which randomly generates maps, the meat of the game is in the career mode. Your business starts in a fictional city, where you begin by destroying relatively easy buildings. These buildings are fairly small, requiring a simple series of explosives, with ample spacing around them. Accidentally damaging other buildings will cost your bottom line dearly.

Each city has 14 buildings. Once you finish up one city, you must pay a hefty fee to move to another city with larger, more tightly-spaced buildings. The densely-packed cities are a lot more interesting, but also much more dangerous. A single botched job can bankrupt you in one fell swoop.

Simulation Management

In addition to the obvious physics simulation of buildings being torn apart by dynamite, TNT, and C4, there is a layer of business simulation in Operation Cleaner 2. You can select the number of workers, elevators, bulldozers, and guards for you team on the ground. More workers means faster setup times and faster cleanup times, but your daily burn rate goes up significantly. You can even adjust sliders for your collateral damage insurance, tax evasion, and the quality of your accountant, all of which affects your reputation rating. The level of detail is almost neurotic. The developer actually works as a government bureaucrat, which might explain a few things.

The explosion simulation is fairly robust. While it doesn’t do much structural simulation–you can have an entire building held up by one tile–it does a good job of simulation the fun stuff: The explosions. Pressure waves will channel through weak areas of the building, and you can stagger your explosions to maximize the effect. If you aren’t careful and put a little too much C4 in a small structure, though, you can very easily rake the side of a nearby building. Oops.

So What’s Not to Like?

Operational Cleaner 2 is about blowing stuff up. As a player, that sounds fantastic; I like destroying things. The problem with Operation Cleaner is that it makes the whole blowing-stuff-up process extremely frustrating. The user interface is anything but friendly. I couldn’t figure out how to play the game without first reading through the HTML manual.

Masochist Difficulty

The game is way too hard. It’s very difficult to make a profit on most of the jobs. And by the end of a city you’ll need at least $10,000 to move to another town. Perhaps I’m missing some vital detonation technique, here, but there’s no way I could earn that kind of money with the game’s current balancing.

The original Operation Cleaner game was released in 1998. I suspect the developer, Jan Nyman, and his beta testers are simply too damn good at the game by now. In fact, if you look at the revision history you’ll see stuff like this listed as “improvements”:

  • Placing dampers increases readying time
  • Directed explosions are even more expensive and take longer readying time
  • Payments are smaller, especially in larger buildings

These so-called improvements simply make the game harder. Perhaps it’s an improvement for their experience of the game, sure, but for a first-time player they’re cutthroat changes. In my opinion, the difficulty curve should be much gentler. The first city should almost be too easy. New players have more fun than frustration. It shouldn’t take dozens of tries to make a profit on the first three buildings.

Operation Cleaner 2Screenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Operation Cleaner 2 Game Screenshots)

Changing a Few Things

I want to enjoy Operation Cleaner 2. Really, I do. But the game just won’t stand for it. You really have to work to eek enjoyment out of the game, which is a damn shame. The concept is too awesome to suffer from implementation problems that could easily be remedied. Luckily, Jan has generously posted the source code for the game. I went ahead and rebalanced things to make the game easier. In my version, explosives are more powerful, dampers are much cheaper (although accidental damage to other buildings is more costly), and contracts are worth more. Now I can actually play career mode past the first city.

Download Information for Operation Cleaner 2

Operation Cleaner 2 is freeware. The original game is still available, too, although it’s an old DOS game. It may or may not run too well in Windows XP (I haven’t tried it, but DOSBox could be a solution if anyone is interested). The source code for the game is also available.

Download Operation Cleaner 2 game (3.49 MB).

My alternative easier version is here (copy this EXE to your game directory).

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23 Responses to 'The Most Innovative Physics Game since Bridge Builder?'

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  1. Dylan said,

    on May 5th, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    Dumbest game ever. Fun though. The money and financial stuff ruined it.

  2. Jack said,

    on May 6th, 2006 at 6:00 am

    Hurrah! A demolition game! I’ve always wanted one of these; there’s lots of building cities sims, but not enough destroy cities sims.

    I will download your easier version, as it sounds nicer.

    (Interesting thing: I always envisioned a game like this. However, my version was in 3D, and you could walk around the building in FPS mode to set the explosives yourself. Good idea, eh? And with the advent of these new PPUs (Physics Processing Units), this could become a reality. :D)

  3. Sporbie said,

    on May 6th, 2006 at 7:17 am

    a good game. The hardness really demolished it….. lol.

    Anyway could you tell me what line of code I have to modify to give myself a buch of cash?

    Oh and with what do i have to compile the game?
    And where to get the compiler…..

  4. Alex said,

    on May 6th, 2006 at 11:11 am

    heh, cool game that, the financial stuff really does take away from the enjoyment of it.
    funnily enough I was actually planning to do a building destruction game, but make the physics similar to bridgebuilder.
    might do that

  5. Dylan said,

    on May 6th, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    Can you guys send/post links of your fininshed demolishion games? Or demos? They sound fun.

  6. Bryan said,

    on May 7th, 2006 at 3:37 am

    Am I the only one who doesn’t think this game is that hard? The first 30 minutes or so were difficult, but once I got a feel for the power of the explosives vs the building materials the whole thing became a lot easier. Just a couple of minutes ago I flew through about 15 quick games, making a minimum of $1000 on each. Then, of course, I made a mistake and blew a giant chunk out of a neighboring building, but had it been a career game I would have either caught the mistake or had a recent save to fall back on.

  7. Matthew said,

    on May 7th, 2006 at 11:52 am


    Which version? The stock version of the modified version I made? If you’re profiting on the 1.03 release I would love to hear about your technique. The game completely kicked my ass.

  8. Sporbie said,

    on May 7th, 2006 at 11:58 am

    your version is realy easy, I can make alot of money….. but after a while I blow up a neighbouring building ^^….. THE END

  9. Jack (Wunderbear) said,

    on May 7th, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    Matthew’s version is much more fun. I go through random maps, and i’ve worked out the strategy for (Usually) getting a profit. Although, when a small wooden hut or brick mansion comes up, I have to fill it with as much RDX as I can afford. (I agree with Sporbie:I want more cash!) You know it’s fun when the game says:

    “This is way too much explosives for the tiny building you have. Are you sure you want to proceed?”

    *Demolishes three buildings in one go*


  10. DANIEL said,

    on May 7th, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    what the hell!??!?!

  11. Bryan said,

    on May 8th, 2006 at 1:23 am

    I was making a profit using the standard version of the game. My method for destroying the usual square shaped buildings is pretty simple. I set up explosives on each side of the first floor of the building, directed straight towards the center, and if the building is wide enough I’ll put some undirected explosives near the middle to make sure I cut completely through the floor. If you do this step correctly, the rest of the building should crumble down as debris. To take care of this remainder, I set weaker, undirected explosives with a 10 second delay (or long enough to let the debris settle) in a kind of pyramid pattern on the second floor. If you think there will be enough debris, you can continue this pattern up to the third floor.

    Usually, I use 10-15 units of explosives at each position, depending on the distance I need the explosives to travel. The type of explosives I use depends on the building materials.

    – Wooden structures are about as tough as wet paper bags, so Dynamite 40% can easily slice through the first floor and Dynamite 20% will vaporize the debris.

    – I destroy the light gray material with Dynamite 60%, and the debris can be removed with Dynamite 40%.

    – Bricks are a little bit tougher, so I usually take them out with TNT. Dynamite 60% works fine on the debris.

    Although I usually leave the basment mostly intact, sometimes buildings have a large underground area that is more cost effective to destroy rather than to ignore. Like bricks, I destroy this area with TNT. Since there isn’t much to accidentally damage underground, you dont need to bother with directed explosives. Just evenly distribute the explosives along the basement and the dirt will absorb any extra force, but keep in mind that that force is still wasted cash. If you correctly distribute the explosives, you shouldn’t have to bother cleaning up what little debris there is.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t done much experimenting with the more solid materials like concrete and steel, but I’d assume that it follows the pattern that you may have noticed above. Try using C-4 against concrete and TNT for the debris. Steel should probably be destroyed with RDX, but I’m not quite sure about the debris since it is usually spread thinly throughout the structure.

    I almost never use dampers, they’re way too expensive. If there is a building very close to the one you need to destroy, just direct the explosives towards the center as I said before. The undirected explosives to clean up the debris don’t need to reach all the way to the sides of the buildings.

    Hope this guide helps you guys at least a little. >_>

  12. Wunderbear said,

    on May 13th, 2006 at 10:03 am

    Damn it!

    One other problem with this game; the random map producer is TOO RANDOM. Before you ask, let me explain:

    I find a really cool map, a car park. I demolish it, and then I notice it has a map number in the message bar: 3097920404. I note it down, and quit. Then I enter the number into the map generator. It comes up with a tenement block. ARGH!

    Why don’t they come up with a map generator which actually works with the codes they provide?!

  13. Wunderbear said,

    on May 13th, 2006 at 10:06 am

    Hmph. I’ve just found out that the codes do work; but only with the default version. Great. So I can play with the carpark, but it’s much less easy. BAH.

  14. Wunderbear said,

    on May 13th, 2006 at 10:15 am

    Okay peoples, don’t know if anyone else is reading this anymore, but here’s something as a gift:

    In the Funmotion version of Operation Cleaner 2, in the nr generator thingy, type this phrase exactly (with speech marks, capitalisation and all):

    “London Bridge is falling down”

    You’ll start on the BIGGEST building i’ve seen. It’s described as a Robot Factory Skyscraper.

    Post your odd phrases and what interesting results they come up with!

  15. Robbis_1 said,

    on June 22nd, 2006 at 9:56 am

    I don’t see what’s the hard part…
    I make around 5 – 40k / building depending on size. I don’t play on your “easy” version.
    Just stuff up the building with 20% dynamite that has 25 unit size. Then press detonate and you made a fortune.

  16. Eric said,

    on June 28th, 2006 at 3:18 pm


  17. dc443 said,

    on July 12th, 2006 at 10:28 am

    It’s pretty fun… one thing that this game sorely lacks is the ability to retry the building. Perhaps a training mode where you can experiment so you will learn just how much explosives is the right amount.

  18. Kana said,

    on September 16th, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    Quick game is an easy train, but there are some pointers, the learning curve isn’t that hard, nor is the game.

    First of all, you don’t need to use directed charges in most cases, these cost up to 2k a shot more!
    Secondly, the bigger (although, safe) the charge, the better. More charges cost more money, you can demolish such as cottage(first level) with one single charge. (try putting a 22 vol. charge of 20% dynamite right in the middle of the brickwork ;) )
    Thirdly, dodge taxes! That, and insurance is for wussies ;P

  19. Kana said,

    on September 16th, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    (pressed submit by misclick)
    Also, master the timing, detonate after detonate costs money, i’ll give you an easy ASCII example.
    Legend : . air X windowed wall [] thicker wall o charge of 20-25 of 60% dyn) O 8 second charge of TNT
    ASCII of one of the glass scyscraper maps:


    Firstly the o (non timed dyns) will collapse the whole building which takes approx 7 seconds, when the building is nice pile of rubble (or nearly such) the O (timed TNTs) will make short work of the rubbles.

    That, and only use dampers if the buildings are really nearby.

  20. Jake Howard said,

    on November 29th, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    I found this game to be actually not that hard. What ruined it for me, is that when i decided to destroy an entire cityscape with the 60K i had built up, it created 4.5M dollars in damages, bankrupted me, all of which i expected, but then it ERASED MY SAVE O.O So basically im never going to paly this again because that just plain pissed me off, my save got erased for having a little fun -_-

  21. o14v said,

    on December 14th, 2006 at 8:46 am

    I dont think this game was hard at all…(i do not mean the easy version!)
    but one thing that really pisses me is that you cant play it if you cant play sounds… should be possible to turn off sound before starting game… there is something wrong with the sound on my pc now, so i cant play. thats really sad because its the funniest game i have ever played

  22. Cello9213 said,

    on June 7th, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    This game isn’t so difficult, for me.

    I always set 1-4 RDX at about 15-20 size toward the middle of basements, spread out to be sure to knock out the support beams – I’ve ended up with a skyscraper standing on only one of them before – and if it doesn’t all fall down I use size 5-10 Dynamite 20% and watch it fall over.

    However, if there’s a wooden or brick building, I use TNT and make sure it isn’t too powerful.

    I can usually get a profit.

    My odd phrases that get cool things:

    CURSE YOU, RED BARON — Huge glass skyscraper
    You know what to do. — Huge rectangular skyscraper
    bleepblurp — The odd horn-shaped water-tower. (can be destroyed with 1 size-15 RDX at the bottom)
    ding dong, the witch is dead — Very big oil rig
    my kingdom for a castle — a cool hotel with – believe it or not – a CASTLE to the left! I doubt that you’re going to these for a profit so why not have a go at it? =D
    this should be a castle — doesn’t turn up a castle but it this map includes a very strangely-shaped mansion (target), a very tall radio mast, a very skinny skyscraper, a massive oil rig and a crazily tall factory.
    how much does a castle cost — a large “robot factory skyscraper”
    dog — one big hotel
    Hagrid — one smokestack in the middle of nowhere, with one block building way off to the right. Rather odd indeed.

  23. Rakyth said,

    on August 7th, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Dude, no wonder the game kicked your ass.

    TNT is for large-scale demolitions, IE when you want the entire building to just disappear.

    IMO, 20% dynamite should be the most-used.

    I can take any building with less than 100 units of it, and not spend a ton of money on dampers.

    Which file do I look in to modify explosive; in the source code?

    I wanted to make RDX of nuke-like quality.[as if it’s not already!]

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