Prototyping Tools

Woah, it’s been a while since I’ve updated on here! Sorry about that guys! As many of you have heard, I’ve recently started up my own game project, and we’ve just begun pre-production. We seem to be off to a good start so far, and I’ll be posting more news about it and my experiences working with it later on.

 

In the mean time, I thought I’d talk a little bit about prototyping tools for game designers. As designers, it is our job to clearly describe the game’s vision, but sometimes, it’s just too difficult to do with words alone. Sure, you could use mock-ups or graphs to help get your point across, but every once in a while, it helps to just show everyone on the team exactly what you’re looking for. This is where prototyping comes in, and if you don’t happen to be very good at coding, digital prototyping can often be a difficult task. Fortunately for us, there are tools we have at our disposal! Many of you have heard of, if not used, Game Maker, which is a great tool that makes prototyping a breeze with its drag-and-drop coding. As much as I love using Game Maker, there is, however, a newer tool that takes what Game Maker does and builds on it. I’m talking about Stencyl, and while I haven’t used it much, it seems to be a fantastic prototyping tool. It retains the simplicity of usability that Game Maker has, while also allowing you to easily collaborate with a team. And don’t worry: you still don’t really have to code! Stencyl features an interesting little snapping code system, where you can snap blocks of code together to form strings… think Kismet meets Game Maker. There are a lot of cool features, so check out their web site for more information and to download the free tool!

 

http://www.stencyl.com/

 

This is the tool my team and I will be using for our prototyping needs, and I highly recommend it to any other game designers. You can even use it to create iOS and flash games, if you want it for more than just prototyping. That’s all I’ve got for today, but I’ll be posting more soon. Also, if you have any suggestions for my next UDK workshop video, let me know. Thanks for reading!

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    • hunter
    • September 14th, 2011

    Hey pralie i have a doubt, i haven´t tried that stencyl tool but i was wondering, is it possible to create a classic 2d platformer with it??? i always wanted to create a platform game very much in the tradition of sonic or mario bros. But i really suck at programming, and when i was more or less learning actionscript 2 adobe had the bright idea of changing it to 3 and my whole effort at AS went down the hole. so i was wondering if it´s possible to create something like that? specially if you want to add some stuff like end of level bosses.

    thanks!! see ya!!!

    • Yes, you can definitely use it to make a 2D platformer! If you look on their web site, you can see other games that have been created using Stencyl. I haven’t looked at their forums much, but it looks like they have some helpful resources there, as well as a nice help section. Hope it works well for you!

    • Jeff
    • September 18th, 2011

    I wonder if they will start charging for this software, it certainly looks professional. Why do they do it for free (he asked cynically)

    Idea for your next UDK tutorial: Introduction to UnrealScript.
    Whenever I have looked at it, it seems rather a fuss to just get something goinf, say rotating a cube or something like that.

    Thanks

    • I’m actually not sure why Stencyl is free, so perhaps they will start charging for it in the future? Or maybe they’ll be like Game Maker and offer a lite version that’s free, but you have to pay for the pro version?
      Also, thanks for the suggestion! I know that learning UnrealScript can be a nightmare, so that’s a good idea.

    • Galen Busby
    • September 22nd, 2011

    Pralie! Be proud! I was googling a terrain technique and your blog came up @ #2 just below the actual UDK site Tuts.

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