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Tearaway's papercraft engine demoed, includes tools for real-world printing

Tearaway's papercraft engine was demonstrated during a South by Southwest panel led by lead game designer Rex Crowle today, showcasing how each origami shape could be designed by hand, and even printed out into the real world.

The PS Vita game's proprietary engine, pictured above, lets Media Molecule create simple shapes out of flat pieces of paper, determine its color, then cut and fold elements into their sheet. Paper shapes can be given height, automatically building a taped-together 3D shape composed of different sheets of paper, and interactive parts of the shape, or decorative elements like stickers and illustrations, can be stuck onto the paper at will.

The most interesting part of the engine — and something Media Molecule discussed when Tearaway was revealed at Gamescom 2012 — is that everything created in the engine can be created in real life. The game's level designers can toggle an option to show a mask behind their complex paper shapes that, if printed, would allow them to fold and tape that shape back together in the real world — in the image above, that mask is seen as a black outline below the paper creation.

We'll have more on Tearaway in the coming days as SXSW Interactive continues. Stay tuned!