Informal notes on creating applications
We continue to create two-dimensional games
What is Stencyl
Create a game using Stencyl
A bit about other game creation tools
What is Stencyl
Like the previously discussed GameSalad, Stencyl (http://www.stencyl.com) is a set of three components: the Stencyl development environment, the online game component store StencylForge, and the site Stencyl.com with forums, educational materials, and published games (Fig. one).
Fig. 1. Stencyl Service Components
The Stencyl audience, as in the case of the GameSalad Creator discussed in a previous article, are experienced Windows or Mac OS users who are not required to have programming experience. Using Stencyl, you can create games for the platforms iOS, Android, for desktop computers running Windows, as well as games in the Adobe Flash format.
Actually, the creation of games is carried out using the Stencyl desktop tool, which can be downloaded from the same site http://www.stencyl.com. This tool, like GameSalad Creator, allows you to create scenes, actors, select and edit options for their behavior. The end result of working with the Stencyl tool is a ready-made application for the selected platform.
Stencyl Tool and Services are available by subscription. There are four plans for using these services. One of them is free and allows you to get acquainted with the capabilities of the tool, create a game in the form of an Adobe Flash application, test it in an iOS simulator, and if you have an appropriate license from Apple, on a real mobile device with an iOS operating system, while the application will have a standard screen a splash screen, and labels will appear on the screens indicating the use of Stencyl technology.
The Pro plan, worth $ 79 per year, allows, along with the listed opportunities, to earn additional funds through advertising displayed before downloading the game, use your own downloaders created using Adobe Flash, take part in newsgroups intended for customers, and get preliminary access to new versions of Stencyl, as well as abandon the standard screen saver and tags required for the application created using a free set of services. In addition, this plan allows you to create a Windows-version of the game, and since the release of the expected version of Stencyl 3.0 in the near future – also the version of the game for Mac OS. Having a Mac OS computer is not necessary to implement this plan – instead, you can use the StencylBuilder service for the final build of applications, and similar services for downloading to the App Store.
An iOS plan worth $ 149 a year does not allow you to create versions for Windows and Mac OS, use your own downloaders for the Flash version of the game, and place ads displayed at boot time. Instead, it allows, in addition to free features, publishing the game on the AppStore (with the appropriate Apple license), integrating the game with the Apple Game Center, and earning extra money through ads displayed during the game.
And finally, the Studio plan, worth $ 199 per year, allows you to do everything that is available in iOS and Pro plans.
Stencyl developers promised that in the near future it will be possible to create games for the Android platform (the corresponding option will be available to subscribers of iOS and Studio plans at no extra charge) and for HTML 5 (the corresponding option will be available to subscribers of Pro and Studio plans at no extra cost).
Create a game using Stencyl
Creating a game using Stencyl from a ready-made template (as well as without using it) is not much different from creating a game using GameSalad Creator. As in the case of GameSalad, when developing a game, you need to create the required number of screens with the desired background, create or add the required number of actors using graphic files for their animation, and also determine their behavior on the screen by choosing the appropriate settings.
Let's create another example of a game dedicated to repelling the attack of evil (or not so) aliens at the office of our editorial office. For simplicity, we will choose a ready-made template called Balloons, in which green balls act as objects for shooting.
The template has a finished screen, which we can modify. Screen modification consists in creating a screen background based on an already familiar and repeatedly used photo of our office, and adding it to the screen (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Creating a screen background
Actually, creating a screen from scratch is not much different from the procedure just done.
The template also has a ready-made set of actors, which, if desired, can be modified by replenishing it with new actors or changing the behavior of existing ones (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3. Actors of the game
For example, choosing an actor named Balloon (green ball), we can change his animation by adding additional frames, as well as his behavior, indicating whether the actor is subject to gravitational forces, whether he can rotate, how he behaves when he collides with another actor, in which direction it moves by default, is it sensitive to clicking in the iOS version of the application (Fig. 4).
Fig. 4. Determination of actor behavior
Next, add the actors, placing them on the screen in those places where they should be at the moment the user opens the screen (Fig. 5).
Fig. 5. The scene with the cast
Then you can add background music and sounds to the game, as well as determine when these sounds should occur (for example, in a collision of actors).
Having finished creating the game, you can test it in the Flash Player interpreter (Fig. 6), either directly in the web browser or in the iOS emulator.
Fig. 6. Testing the Flash version of the game
As you can see, this tool solves many problems of the development of two-dimensional games, leaving the author the main creative component of this process – developing a script, designing scenes, choosing the rules for processing game events, creating graphics, animation, music.
Special attention is paid to the StencylForge web resource, which contains various components for creating games created by Stencyl users, such as graphic files, files with music and sound effects, the implementation of various behavioral algorithms, examples of games, as well as sets of the components listed above. Access to this resource is carried out directly from the development environment (Fig. 7).
Fig. 7. Game components available on StencylForge
Components hosted on StencylForge are available for download directly to the games being developed. Examples of games and sets of their components can be downloaded to the development environment separately. Among the available behavioral algorithms, there are not only Stencyl users hosted by the developers, but also a collection from Stencyl authors.
The StencylForge component collection is supplemented by the users themselves. By creating a component, you can share it directly from the development environment. In this case, you can choose one of three licensing models: the Creative Commons model, which assumes a free download of a component with a subsequent link to its author in the created game, the Public Domain model that allows you to do anything with anyone and anyone, including regardless of use Stencyl services, as well as the All Rights Reserved licensing model, which requires the author to obtain permission to use the component.
A bit about other game creation tools
Having considered the means of creating two-dimensional games for GameSalad and Stencyl mobile devices, it is worth mentioning some other paid and free tools and services that pursue the same goal:
GameMaker – http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/windows
Unity – http://unity3d.com/
UDK – http://www.unrealengine.com/en/udk/
Construct 2 – https://www.scirra.com/
Torque 2d – http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque-2d
Multimedia Fusion 2 – http://www.clickteam.com/website/world/multimedia-fusion-2
Turbulenz – http://biz.turbulenz.com/developers
Note that this list is far from complete. In addition, due to the growing popularity of mobile devices among users and the equally rapidly spreading enthusiasm for creating games for these devices among application developers, the list of such tools is growing. Today, anyone who wants to create two-dimensional games can choose a tool that matches their own tastes, technical skills and financial capabilities. Therefore, I hope that we will return to the topic of creating games in our cycle of informal notes.