Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Kids! Write your own arcade game with no experience or hope!

Stencyl is a system for games writing, particularly suited to 2d platform games. One of the great things about Stencyl is that it lets you publish on a number of platforms including tablets, PCs and phones. I used it myself to publish ‘Eek! It’s a Bomb!’ on both the app store and on Google Play, and I plan to use it extensively in the future for desktop projects too. It really is a joy to use, with built-in physics, a scene editor and a ridiculously simple programming ‘language’ based on Scratch from MIT. is the place to find out more.

Now Stencyl is so much fun that I realised that I wrote my first game on it (Eek! It’s a Bomb!) with only a vague understanding of how it works. (The game’s free if you’d like to take a look on your favourite app store, or even on Chromebook by the by).

So I jumped at the chance when offered a review copy of Learning Stencyl 3.x Game Development: Beginner's Guide by lnnes Borkwood. ( )

The book gives a clear, step-by-step introduction to Stencyl, building a game as it progresses. Reading through it I relived some of the joys (and pitfalls) of writing my first Stencyl game. Indeed, if I’d had this book before I started writing the game it would have saved me hours of head-scratching and forum surfing looking for answers and advice. It progresses nicely, introducing new concepts and parts of Stencyl at a manageable rate, and building a platform game along the way. I pretty much read it through from cover to cover in two sessions, which I’ve never done with a development book before. It compliments Stencyl’s own documentation, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in writing games with a minimum of frustration and a maximum amount of fun.

Colin Jones