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Description

Kid Pix is a creativity computer game created by Craig Hickman. The game includes sound effects, drawing and painting tools, rubber stamps, and wacky effects with the mixer tool. It starts out with a blank canvas when the game starts, allowing children to draw pictures on the screen freely, and can save pictures to the hard drive and print them out as well.

There are many different tools included in Kid Pix which are:

- Pencil: Draws freely with no constraints.

- Line, Square and Circle: Draws a square, circle or straight line when the mouse button is clicked.

- Wacky Brush: Like the Pencil Tool, This can apply wacky painting effects with no constraints.

- Mixer: Apply effects to the picture with a click of the mouse.

- Fill Bucket: Fills an outline with a click of the mouse.

- Eraser: The opposite of the Pencil Tool, in which when the mouse button is held down leaves white markings on the picture. The other eraser tools can be done with just a click of the mouse.

- Alphabet and Rubber Stamps: Stamps can be placed with a click of the mouse using a library of art.

- Truck Mover: Move part of the picture when the mouse is held down.

- Undo Guy: Undoes the last thing the player did to the picture, and clicking on it again brings it back to where it was before the Undo.

- Colour Picker: Clicking on a colour swatch will select that colour for use with drawing.

The player can also record a voice for the picture if a microphone is plugged into the computer.

Screenshots

Kid Pix Windows 3.x Using the paintbrush!
Kid Pix Windows 3.x Using an effect
Kid Pix Macintosh Drawing a picture on the canvas.
Kid Pix Macintosh Moving a Palm Tree stamp using the moving truck.

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One of the earliest drawing games out there on the Macintosh! Macintosh Katie Cadet (6727)

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Trivia

Prototype Development

In 1988, Craig Hickman was trying out MacPaint, a program that was bundled on a few Macintosh computers at the time. His then-3-year-old son Ben Hickman asked him to try it out, but after a bit of struggling opening random pull-down menus and dialog boxes, Craig decided to make a creativity computer game that is easier for young children, and especially Ben. The first version of Kid Pix had to be limited to a simple mouse click on a tool instead of a pull-down menu, and fourteen tool options appeared on the bottom of the canvas, and is well suited for 9-inch black and white displays with a resolution of 512x342, which Craig decided to make it fit the entire screen as big as possible and removed the scroll bars.

Stamps

The rubber stamps were designed by Apple Computer and Susan Kare, and they were taken from the Cairo Macintosh font.

Special Eraser Tools

Craig’s son loves playing with building blocks, and knocking them down, so the idea of an exploding firecracker eraser was created. Craig also made hidden pictures which can be accessed using the eraser.

Accessibility to Young Children

Craig created an option to hide the menu bar and desktop so that younger children can use the game without any accidents. Craig also mentions that children and adults who are new to computing should enjoy using his game.

Name

As the game was near completion, Craig thought up a name called “Kid Pix”, which is made up of simple three letter words, in which “Pix” is referred to “Pictures” and “Pick”, and was based on his son and wife’s first names, and the word “Art”.

Colour Version

Before Craig finished Kid Pix, Apple released the Macintosh II, the first colour-capable Macintosh. Craig had waited so long for the computer to come out so that he could make a colour version of Kid Pix at the time the computers were released.

Kid Pix Professional

Craig’s friend Ken O’Connell supported his work and his friend insisted that the program should be sold. Kid Pix Professional was sold for US$25 in November 1989 to continue the first freeware version of Kid Pix, and the colour version of Kid Pix was delayed until June 1990. It features additional wacky brush options and rubber stamps, added sound effects, checks the Macintosh’s screen resolution and colour palette to display either the colour of black and white version and automatically fits the canvas depending on the selected resolution. A new option is the Mixer tool, which allows the player to warp the picture with a click of the mouse. This version of Kid Pix also comes with a printed manual.

Spanish Version

Since Craig’s wife speaks Spanish, starting with Kid Pix Professional, the option to translate the menus and alphabet stamps to Spanish can be switched under the Tools menu.

Reception

By June 1990, Craig received $25 checks in his mailbox for Kid Pix Professional, and he ended up selling 100 copies of the game. That results in Broderbund agreeing to publish Kid Pix, and the company asked Craig to make a few changes before the final product. In March 1991, Kid Pix v1.0 was released to the general retail market with impressive reviews.

Awards

- 1991 Software Publishers Association Award for Best User Interface in a New Program

- 1991 Software Publishers Association Award for Best Early Learning Program

- 1991 MacWorld World-Class Award for Best Education Program

International Versions

Kid Pix was translated in many different languages around the world such as Hebrew, Japanese and Finnish.
Contributed to by Katie Cadet (6727)