The Premise

Probably the most common question I get when I show off Circuit Scramble to friends, family and people I’ve corralled into testing it is “How did you come up with this?” I’ve always found that question interesting. Not that Circuit Scramble is some perfect unique snowflake in the mobile or indie gaming scene, but because I can track down very clearly where the idea came from.

For a bit of a history, I come from a formal Computer Science background(for all that formality exists in this industry), going through my Undergrad at Queen’s University. It was in my second year that I took a Computer Architecture course, in which we covered the basics of logic gates, and the internals of computer processors and memory and concepts like that. It was a different side of programming that I hadn’t really experienced up until that point. Truth be told, that kind of low-level computing was never my cup of tea, I knew it was a section of the industry I would never get in to. But apparently that course had more to contribute than I knew.

We were doing a unit on logic gates, the basic XOR, AND, OR gates(amongst others) that make up the internals of computer processing and decision making. On one of our assignments, we were given an fields of logic gates, and asked to determine which inputs would yield specific results.

I remember this assignment clearly, as it struck me how much like puzzles these questions were. It required logical and methodical thinking. On top of that, it was open to multiple approaches to solving it. Did you start at the top and work your way down to the inputs? Or start with the inputs and find your way up to the result? Or maybe you moved left to right across the array of gates. Or maybe you just brute forced your way through inputs and tried to land ass-backwards into the solution. Whatever suited you.

Now, this was a couple years before I even realized I wanted to develop games, so the idea to make a mobile game from this premise didn’t even enter my mind. In fact, I don’t believe I even thought about that problem set for a couple years after I completed it.

But evidently, that thought stuck with me. When I first started inching my way towards the indie development scene, it was my very first concept for a mobile game. I thought there was an array of short, interesting puzzles to be had here. And hey, maybe people would learn a thing or two about how a computer actually ‘thinks’ along the way.

So with that, the idea for Circuit Scramble was born! And here we are now, ready for it to go live. I find it endlessly amusing that the course I wrote off as “not for me” ended up being the inspiration for my first game release.

Rob van Staalduinen