Zachtronics – a developer known for their ingenious puzzle games like SpaceChem and Infinifactory – has just released a massive design document called Zach-Like which you can pick up for free from Steam.
The 400 page document details the work of Zachtronics founder Zach Barth, expands on his popular released games and even looks at unreleased titles and prototypes.
Hell, there are even puzzles to solve inside of the document itself, which is very on brand for the person who created Shenzhen I/O, a game requiring the use of a massive PDF to complete electrical engineering problems.
From a quick look over it appears that the document is in chronological order starting with some fake Pokémon cards Barth made in middle school.
Before you can even see those cards you will need to navigate the main menu which only accepts key strokes. Use the up and down arrows to scroll through the table contents, hit enter to select a relevant option and hit it again to confirm. You can go backwards with escape.
Aside from reading the full document in two different PDF layouts (which will open in a browser or PDF reader of your choice) you can also skip to specific sections.
If you get fed up with all of this digital nonsense there is also a link to order a print-on-demand version from the site Lulu. The text here is surprisingly honest, stating that the physical version is being sold at cost for $13.99.
The description on Lulu also states that the quality of this version isn’t as good as the previous ones printed elsewhere.
Those previous versions were for the Zach-Like Kickstarter which took place back in February of this year. It raised almost $60K of its modest $5K goal with paperback copies of the book going for $20.
The campaign stated that this free digital version would become available once backers got their copies in the estimated delivery date of June. As the free version is now available, we assume that has come to pass.
For the price of free we highly recommend giving Zach-Like a look, especially if you’re into game design or particularly like this developer or Barth himself.