Seven Towns’ Elizabeth Moody on the magical mechanism behind Tippy the Dragon
Lizzy, thanks for making time to discuss the wonderful Tippy the Dragon! Where did the idea for the game first come? Did the balancing mechanism kick things off?
The mechanism did indeed kick things off. Michalis, an inventor here at Seven Towns, was intrigued by the effect and found it fascinating. It was only really found in abstract sculptures and physics books, so he brought it to one of our ideas days and said “This is so cool – we need to make a game using this”.
On that, how does it actually work? Or is it, as I suspect, magic?
Personally I think it’s just pure magic – however I am assured by Michalis and the team that is based on a physics principle called the tensegrity effect!
Tensegrity. I’m writing it down!
I know it sounds dead fancy and extremely complicated, but it basically means that the strings are in continuous tension. The pair of strings at the front and the single string at the back are all in tension, but in opposite directions – countering each other to make the dragon balance in the middle. It takes a little wrapping your head around, but it actually makes the dragon really stable. It gives a fantastic optical illusion that makes you wonder HOW?
It absolutely does. Thanks for shedding light on that. Theme-wise, was it always a dragon guarding a castle? I imagine that mechanism could be dressed in quite a few different ways.
Once we decided to make a game, the dragon really was the first theme. We wanted something that made sense flying and was dramatic. Also, the geometry was perfect for the needs of the mechanism. We played around with what he could be flying over: volcanos, mountains, the ocean… But the overall dragon theme never changed.
What made John Adams a good home for Tippy?
John Adams are a great partner for any game. They know the UK games market so well and really know how to make a game successful. We worked really closely with them to develop Tippy the Dragon and I think the game shows that real love was put into its development.
Before I let you go, one last question – and it may sound odd because you guys have invented such a wide range of different products over the decades… Do you think there’s anything about Tippy that defines it as a ‘Seven Towns’ invention?
Well, I think Seven Towns has always prided itself on being an invention house of mechanisms. We love a mechanism and finding cool fun ways to turn them into games is really what we pride ourselves on. That isn’t to say all are games are mech-based… Like you said, we have invented many different types of games and toys over the years! But I think Tippy the Dragon is what you could call a classic Seven Towns game.
Lizzy, huge thanks for this.
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