Stencyl

As soon as I finished my project for the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge, I intended to jump right in to June’s theme over at the Experimental Gameplay Project. The thing is, I’ve been using Game Maker, and while it can apparently be a powerful program, I’m just not happy with it for this project. Still, I started plugging away at my game. Then, I discovered Stencyl.

Stencyl is a program that lets you build games in Adobe Flash without actually having to know how to use Flash or write Actionscript. For my immediate needs, it’s perfect.
Oh, it definitely still has a learning curve. However, for now I’m using some of the built in resource packs to quickly build my game. There are several things I really like about the program, but two in particular may really help me down the line.

First, the ‘coding’ is all drag and drop, similar to Game Maker, but with a visual layout that is much better at explaining just how and why everything works. That actually leads directly into the second thing I like: Stencyl lets you view and edit the actual Actionscript. This could be huge for me as I develop a game, study the visual layout of what I just ‘coded’, and finally look at the actual programming to see how it all works. I’ve been wanting to learn Flash and Actionscript anyway, and I think this gives me a great opportunity to really dig into the meat of a program and see how it works.

Stencyl has a couple of other advantages. First, the included resources (along with many online) make game creation a littler quicker. As I said before, there is still a learning curve, and I’ve hit some roadblocks, but I”m confident I can resolve all of that with some dedication. The other thing is that Stencyl allows you to publish your games online. This means I can publish straight to a site like Kongregate where thousands of users will be able to see it. Game Maker’s sute has a similar functionality, but a much smaller user base.

I’m not totally giving up on Game Maker. There are several things I like about it. However, I will be shifting my focus to Stencyl from here on out. I think it’s going to provide me with some great experience and opportunities. EGP runs through the end of June, but I’m still going to be trying to stick to a seven day development window for the game. It shouldn’t be a problem, I already have some important elements finished for the game. Also, the design challenge over at Game Career Guide ended this week, so my next post will probably be all about my submission there.

I’ve got more projects on the horizon so stay tuned!

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