The niche market of niche markets

Some games have broad appeal, and some games, well, they don’t.

GarageGames Launches Bridge Construction Set
Building Bridges Between Real Physics and Real Fun

Eugene, Ore. – August 29, 2003 – GarageGames announced today it has launched the Bridge Construction Set for Windows and Linux, previously released as Pontifex II, from Chronic Logic.

The robust physics employed in the Bridge Construction Set (BCS) let you build a wide variety of bridges that can span the river. The 3D graphics allow you to view your bridge from any angle including a first person train view. The Set includes many types of bridge building levels, in varying degrees of difficulty from simple to complex, and with a tutorial section to get you started. A Level Editor is also included, so you can create your own levels and trade them with others.

“A truly innovative game idea, with testing in real-life scenarios,” comments Jay Moore, Evangelist for GarageGames. “BCS is one of those stealth games that sneaks up on you. Just when you think you have mastered the art of bridge building, you find yourself caught up in endless hours of fun as you keep running the train onto your perfect bridge creation just to watch it plunge into the river.”

“Its has been great to see what the players have done with BCS”, explains Josiah Pisciotta, Co-Founder of Chronic Logic LLC. “They have really taken this game and ran with it, creating contests, and record web pages. People are still coming up with solutions that amaze me. Its wonderful to see people creating bridges beyond the possibilities that we ever envisioned.”

Bridge Construction Set demo version with tutorial and five levels is available for Windows and Linux. The full version is now on sale for $19.95 at

Interview with Josiah Pisciotta (plug)

I played with this and it’s pretty fun stuff. It sounds like it’s come a long way from the 2d bridge building game I played.

It does sound like an interesting game. Kind of like a less psychotic ‘Dismount/Truck Dismount’ where you can fiddle with things before testing it.
And did I really say ‘It does sound like an interesting game’? I am a beardy man.

Bridge Building is a lot more fun than you would think. My sophomore year at USMA, I had two roommates who were both Mech E majors and therefore were in Statics and Dynamics class. The Mech E department had their own bridge building game, and there was a project for the class where the cheaper you made a bridge that could hold a truck, the better grade you got. Of course, thin girders were cheaper, but there was additional cost for each thickness of girder you used, i.e. a bridge with two types of girders was potentially cheaper than one that used three.

I put a copy on my computer and commenced to play that game way more than either of my roommates, and I wasn’t even in the class. But they played with it a bunch too. I never played Pontifex, to avoid getting sucked in again.

What on earth next? Games based on bulilding rolling coasters?

My Grandpa would love this.

You know those little projects in Elementary school, where you build bridges with popsickle sticks and toothpicks?

The bridge he “engineered” for me weighed less than 8 ounces…and supported about 50 pounds worth of sand, IIRC.

I assume your comment is satire?

There’s at least one other I know of.

This is one of the few games where a catostrophic failure can be much more fun than a perfect success.


I assume your comment is satire?


Of course, RCT was another one of those games I bought cheap to see what all the fuss was about, but still couldn’t see it.

The real fun with this is building a bridge that allows the train to pass one time. You watch the bridge shake and see some parts fall off, but the train makes it over.


Heh, Tim, the time Bridge Builder came out some friends and me competed in trying to come up with the weirdest constructions or something we called ‘action bridges’. Meaning a bridge on which the train makes it somehow to the other site, but that would also collapse in some spectacular way after or while the train was passing.

Also, to those who haven’t played it: don’t get a wrong impression, you don’t have interested in what architects or engineers do, this game is creative, intuitive and challenging entertainment.

If you do not think this game has the potential for broad appeal, you probably haven’t played it.

This is a game about creation, rather than destruction (no matter how fun that destruction might be to watch.) “Serious” gamers might laugh at the concept, but it is really neat to have a game where no two people are going to build the same thing. I don’t know of any other game that promotes this sort of creativity.

JD is right, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions about this game. There is a free demo, give it a shot.


A number of us hereabouts had an unofficial competition to see who could build the best train launcher in the first Bridge Builder :)

The funny thing is when I first saw Pontiflex, the original bridge builder, I was skeptical. After playing it, however, I was hooked. There’s something relaxing and addictive about building bridges.

The pontifex/bridge builder games are pretty fun, no doubt. But I keep wishing they would make it easier for people to make other types of structures. I love trying to create towers with swinging sections and stuff like that (english…good…yes). Bridge It!, the game they worked on with Auran was pretty fun when I played it at E3, but it seems to just be Pontifex 1 and 2 with prettier graphics. I guess that’s not an entirely bad thing though.

I hate you all. I’ve been playing Bridge Builder aka Pontifex 2, since 9.

Bridge Builder was the very first game, released about three years ago. Can be downloaded at Pontifex is its sequel. Pontifex II came out last year, but was recently renamed to Bridge Construction Set due to the Garage Games deal mentioned above. Bridge It is basically a technically upgraded version of Pontifex II/BCS.

Can you build a suspension bridge that gets that cool harmonic sine-wave rhythm going in the wind and tears itself apart, like that old black-and-white film clip we’ve all probably seen?