Easy game creation? Yes, that is possible and there is a very comprehensive range of programs for game creation. The offers range from 2D to 3D game development. In this entry I will concentrate on the 2D variants.
Why create a game?
First and foremost the development of your own “masterpiece” should be fun, of course. You can implement your own ideas, which may not exist in this form yet or you just want to make it “better”.
Many platforms, such as Android or iOS, offer a wide audience to the developer. The chance that a qualitatively very good game will make it to the top is very high. But the competition never sleeps and meanwhile there is an immensely large offer.
Even if the turnover of mobile games has risen yearly, this is certainly due to the wide range of games and the increased number of smartphone users.
So the more unique the game, the higher the chances of success. But what is behind the fireworks of entertainment and is the development also fun?
Turnover in the mobile gaming industry, for example
Most construction kits offer extensive drag & drop menus and simplify the creation of video games immensely. However, a newcomer should not underestimate this.
The first thing to do is to get an idea on the table and design it. So every graphic has to be created with graphic programs like Gimp or Photoshop. Of course, the graphics jobs can be outsourced, but that is much more expensive. Music and sound files must also be procured. Then, depending on the complexity of the game, a more or less complex pseudo code must be created. Again, behind the pseudo code of the construction kits is the logic of programming languages and requires training time. Depending on the game creation program, additional help can be provided with native programming. This means that much more precise adjustments are possible. Gamemaker offers this possibility, for example. Finally, the developed game has to be tested a lot in order to meet the high demands of the market.
Is it not better to program?
In short, yes. If you are good at programming, you should proceed like this for simple reasons: The self-programmed code offers better game performance when programmed well, whereas “game construction kits” can only be optimized to a limited extent and are therefore somewhat “slower”. With the construction kits you will, so to speak, reach your limits at some point, especially with more complex games. Whereby construction kits are a negative word nowadays, which is not true for most game creation programs in my opinion. Some construction kits are very powerful and contain a lot of possibilities.
Examples of a 2D-Autorunner, from the template folder of “Construct 2” (Scirra) are also given.
My first program I had installed was Gamesalad. I liked it very much from the operation. Gamesalad is available in two versions, one for Windows and one for Macintosh. The Mac version is always the most current, while the Windows version lags behind a few versions. Unfortunately there were too many problems with the program on my Windows PC to be able to work comfortably. Therefore I had to get another program.
I looked at other programs like Construct 2, Gamemaker and Stencyl. Each program has of course its individual strengths and everyone has to find out for himself which development program fits best. Everyone can ask himself a simple question: What do I want to achieve with it?
In the end I found Construct 2 to be one of the best, even if the layout did not convince me very much at the beginning. However, after I spent a few days creating my own little test game, I can say: I am thrilled.
An example: Construct 2
The possibilities of Construct 2 are really very large. At first glance, the user interface may seem overloaded, but this is deceptive. If you take a closer look, you quickly realize that many things are very well thought out and logically structured. In addition, numerous symbols make it easier to use.
Many users are not very enthusiastic about the HTML5 engine in terms of performance. I haven’t released a game for Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS yet, but I can say this: In the lower part of the program, the approximate RAM consumption is shown. A game for the mobile platforms should not consume more than 60-80 MB RAM to run on as many devices as possible. Therefore there are some “tricks” to reach this value. For example, the inserted pictures must have a certain resolution, which is divisible by 4 (e.g. 32×32, 64×64, …). There are a lot of these performance tips and therefore it should be possible to make a game performant with HTML5. Because in the end it depends on the developer himself.
User interface of the 2D game editor “Construct 2
I can recommend this option to anyone who wants to create a game without programming. However, especially people without programming experience should be prepared for a lot of research. For example, the integration of a highscore is not that easy. In other words, the logic of programming must be roughly understood. So terms like arrays, integer, boolean, etc. inevitably appear and are essential to achieve certain goals. But the amount of tutorials from the community are immense.
This shouldn’t deter you, because development can be a lot of fun and fast results are mostly guaranteed – especially since you can see each of your results immediately in your internet browser.
If you want to start immediately, you can download the free version of most Gamemaker programs. Especially for Construct 2, even the free “Virtual Academy” from Microsoft offers an entry point at: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/developing-games-with-construct-2 (as of 22.01.2015).
List of programs:
Construct 2 Construct 3 (Webinterface) Gamemaker Gamesalad Stencyl FlowLab Sploder GameFroot ClickTeam Fusion LÖVE Godot Engine RPG Maker 001 Creator Blitz3D (Also 2D Games) GDevelop Wintermute Engine Development Kit
If you want to know about the latest apps and games or just want to know what’s going on in the Android and iOS market, just visit my Youtube Channel GappzPro.