The argument for touchscreen interfaces on computers is that you can directly control what happens onscreen. With many of the Windows 8 apps we've tried so far, the number of features have been stripped back to allow for less precise input, but the interactivity has not been commensurately increased. Physamajig is the big exception. (See also: Windows 8: the complete guide.)
The idea is that you draw something and the action is then played out within the app. Four such examples are provided including ‘Man tries to balance', which sees a cartoon man wobble about atop a ball before collapsing into a stack of assorted shapes. You have to help him get up again but, of course, the objects bash into each other with comedic effect. As well as pushing and pulling the pre-built objects, you can create your own – draw a wedge to stop a ball rolling or a seesaw to bounce the man upright.
Other scenes involve a truck careering off a cliff and an overbalancing rabbit with rollers instead of front paws. Once you've got the idea of how drawing extra objects or moving existing ones can make you important to the action, you can create your own scenes and have madcap things happen in those, too.
You can adjust how items behave and, most importantly, save and share your handiwork. Upload your Physamajig scene to the app's portal and see what other people have been inspired to create.
The real success of Physamajig is that it's about imagination and getting involved, rather than being clever in a problem-solving sort of way or artistic enough to draw a convincing shape. We particularly like the fact that there's no undo option, but you can have another bash at a scene, save and replay it. For more on the changes in Windows 8 and how to use them visit Windows 8 Advisor. For detailed advice on installing Windows 8 Release Preview, read our article: How to install Windows 8.
- Windows 8 device
- Windows 8 device
If you dislike prissy drawing apps or want a fun way to show how physics works, then Physamajig is a brilliant starting point.