Obviously you want to make your own games. It’s not like you enjoy sitting in front of the idiot box watching brain-melting soap operas and waiting for decomposition to set it, but what can you do? No one’s put that brilliant game idea of yours to work yet.
“Ah, but there’s a snag,” you say, waving a knowing finger at me. You ain’t no programmer, you’re tone deaf and pencils turn into scribbling idiots when you touch them to paper.
Fear not, intrepid indie wannabe. Here are five excellent game making tools that vanquish your inadequacies in exchange for a little bit of patience, and a lot of time. Just promise you’ll come back and tell us about your new Angry Birds when it’s ready next week.
Free trial, with annual subscription.
Stencyl touts itself as being a “game studio in a box,” and that’s a pretty fair description. It’s a multi-platform development framework that doesn’t require any programming to put your games together.
Borrowing from MIT’s Scratch development process, which offers beginners a way to bolt pieces of programming logic together without the need for any syntactic knowledge, Stencyl takes the concept one step further. Using a drag-and-drop design interface, blocks of game mechanics are snapped together in surprisingly imaginative and creative ways. The platform is equipped with a host of pre-built blocks, and pro users — who’ve got some programming chops — can make their own and send them out to the Stencyl community.
Mobile-specific tools are available, including freemium advertising SDKs, social gaming networking, in-app purchasing models, simple access to hardware features such as accelerometer and more.
Restricted free, bolt-on packages.
Two-dimensional gaming is back with a vengeance, thanks mainly to the smartphone and tablet explosion. Construct 2 is a non-programming environment that harnesses this resurgence of 2D splendor beautifully through an HTML 5 design approach.
Powerhouse features are built into Construct 2 that deliver all the contemporary game mechanics you’d expect to see on a touchscreen device, such as a physics engine, triggered events, and a wealth of extra packages available to fill your mechanics, graphics and audio gaps. And best of all, because it’s an HTML 5 playground, you don’t need a lick of programming abilities to put your games together.
Why should you care that it’s HTML 5? Well, this is an environment that’s incredibly malleable, and can be exported to every platform you can think of from Android and iOS to Facebook and Chrome.