Today, Autodesk did two things. They released a new iPad app called Tinkerbox and increased the smile coefficient you have with your child as you heap the joys of physical simulation upon them level by platform-stacking level. That is if you have an iPad. If you have an Android tablet, send Autodesk a napkin soaked with the tears of your child. Flip it!

What goes into creating the app?

Well… deep breath… The app was developed by Autodesk using the Fieldrunners game engine from Subatomic studios and a lil’ help from Twitchy Thumbs Entertainment. The smooth musical score is created by Somatone Interactive Audio while all the simulated magic happens with the Chipmunk Physics enginewhich leaves the fresh graphics being delivered with the open-source Ogre3D graphics engine.


The gameplay… magnificent. You have a set of elements – a crate, a ball, a domino, etc. You use those to achieve the goal of the level – balls in a tube, all the buttons pressed, etc. It starts off basic enough. You get the idea of where to locate elements by watching what happens when you let the simulation play. The you locate the elements, adjust with a handy circular menu that appears around the element and let it play again to see if you’ve succeeded.


The app also comes with an Invent area where you can use any of the available elements to create and run your own simulations. It’s a bit addictive. It’s also easy to see how your children could use this as a test bed for stringing rope between walls, then pushing crates, launching balls and throwing scissors in various directions to see if it works out in reality. Game on?


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.