A downloadable playable

Download NowName your own price

a chipped nail polish archipelago world-builder playable

chip ocean was created for #playablesjam by @kucnjnj

~ what is this? ~

in chip ocean you draw archipelagos based off of patterns in chipped nail polish. you can use your own nails, or a friend's! the nail polish acts as the islands rising out of the ocean, slowly being overtaken by the sea with time and wear. 

you'll add as many extra features as you like based on other things you can find on your hands — your fingernails, moles and birth marks, wrinkles, cuts and scrapes, veins, and so on. you can draw islands with one hand, or two, or even with painted toenails! 

the important thing is that this world is unique to you, right at this moment in time. please have fun!


  • drawing tools: either a digital drawing tool, or pens (a black and blue at least!) and paper (anywhere from index-card sized to full printer paper)
  • fingers (or toes) with chipped nail polish


to start building a world, get your piece of paper and pen. focus on the outlines of your nail polish, starting with the left- or right-most nail, and sketch the outline of your nail polish. this forms the outline of the first island in your archipelago.

if you also have a blue pen, you can trace two layers lightly around the islands to give a rippled, wave detail to your map.

when you finish one island, move to the next finger and repeat. you can draw the map to the shape of your hand, or move around the islands as you see fit.

~ tips! ~

  • make sure to catch any stray chips of nail polish, and use these details to draw draw river valleys out of the cracks across the nail. 
  • capture the jagged edges as well as you can! you can also take a picture and use it as a reference, or trace, if you feel more comfortable doing that.
  • go slow, focus, and reflect on each detail of your nail to add depth to the world.


once your have your basic outlines, the other parts of your hands (or feet!) come to form other features of the terrain. this list is not exhaustive, and everyone's body is unique and has different meaning to them. draw slowly and thoughtfully.

  • worn patches of nail polish can be deserts, or marshland, or plateaus. striations and cracks can be valleys and hills.
  • fingernails and the wrinkles on your knuckles can form coral reefs or island chains.
  • moles, birth marks, or scratches can be volcanoes, shipwrecks, or outposts at sea.
  • veins can indicate sea routes and ocean currents.
  • finally, you can also turn your finger over, and draw topographic details from your fingerprints.


~ with time ~

from the point that you draw your island your nails will not be the same. they will continue to chip and fade even if the sea routes and reefs and tectonic plates change much more slowly. in a day, or three, or a week, draw your archipelago again. watch these islands sink into the sea. tell a story about this.

~ with life ~

your islands are not empty land. consider the flora and fauna of each finger. is it emblematic of that part of your body? if your nails are different colours, what does this mean for the environment of the islands? draw the inhabitants (plant and animals!) of your archipelago and consider how they relate to your body as their home.

~ with others ~

the sea is grand and each archipelago tells a story. the world you build is not a world alone. you are not an island, instead you are many and these islands will change. find friends and draw islands together, draw islands for each other, and stitch together your sea charts.


thanks for playing. <3 if you'd like to see some more sample islands, check out the pdf! if you draw some islands, i'd also love to see, and you can rate the game and leave a comment, or tag me on twitter! thanks again!


Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

kucnjnj-chipocean-pdfs-1.0.zip 574 kB

Leave a comment

Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.