Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Have you ever wanted to make your own game? I know I sure have. But my problem is always the same, I have plenty of ideas and I'm not too shabby at writing out story / dialog, but I don't know how to program or have the art / rendering skill to make the graphics. I have the creative side covered, I have vision, but I have no technical or artistic talent. I know countless gamers in the same boat. We've all had an amazing idea for a game that we wished could get made but never will. What if that could change?
Imagine with me for a moment. Imagine that you had a tool that let you make games. A point and click, drag and drop editor that let you construct tile-based retro style games on the fly. An all encompassing tool that had features for tile / sprite editing, animation editing, 8 / 16 bit music composition, level editing, AI and physics editing. A tool that let you choose your game style and then held your hand through the rest. Now imagine if it was all free!
I know, its all starting to sound too good to be true. And thats because it is. No such free game creation utility exists to my knowledge.
I began to have this vision of glory long ago on one of my internet odysseys in search of a good free game engine. I have found countless open-source tools that give you one function or the other, but nothing really easy and useful. But on this particular day I found something special. Click HERE to see what I found. Essentially, its a tutorial on how to build a tile-based game using Flash. It gives you the basics and lets you run from there. Unfortunately, Flash is yet another one of those fields in which I have little experience. I used to be a rather good HTML coder back in my day, but that was the 90's when Windows 98 was the new killer OS everybody was talking about and Flash was a brand new thing called Shockwave. Yeah, I was a mean coder with my Microsoft Notepad and Internet Explorer 3, but Flash is just a little bit younger than I am.
But it got me thinking. What if you could build a Flash game that MADE other Flash games? What if you could build a suite of Flash based tools that worked together as a full 2D game building utility?
A pixel by pixel tile / sprite editor
A sprite animation assembler
A tile-based point and click level editor
A collection of game engines for different types of games (platformer, rpg, action, fighter, shooter...)
A Mario Paint-esque music editor
And any other tools that I might have forgotten. You could modify the engine physics with simple sliders for things like gravity and have a tool that lets you assign actions to different keys on the keyboard / mouse.
If Flash cannot output another Flash file, as I'm sure it cannot, I thought it would be cool if instead it simply created the jpeg and mp3 files and then generated a text page of code for an outside compiler to use. It could be in C or Java. Again, I have no experience with this sort of thing, but I think the concept is sound. You could simply copy and paste the text into a plain text file and compile it. I did something like this years ago when I took C at collage and didn't like the editor the professor provided. I would write the code in notepad and then compile it with the C compiler. Since I know Flash can display text on the screen, this sort of system should be possible.
So please, if you think you can help develop something like this or know someone who could, spread the word and drop me a comment. I envision an active community of new game developers who are armed with nothing more then an idea. They could come and use the tools we could develop together freely, and share their games with the world. If anyone is out there and wants to be part of this, leave a comment below. If I get any feedback and a plan comes together, I will set up a dedicated page for the project.
I seriously want this to happen. If you can help, please do. The project could set up a free license that would allow people to distribute freely but pay royalties if they make money with there games. If it got finished, we could set up a publishing company for indie developers to copyright their games through once they are done. Heck, we could even look into a way to port the games made this way to other systems like Wii Ware or Apple App Store.
Help grow the game market that the big boys are leaving behind. The industry really needs a source of creative content that is fresh and I can see no down side to a free way to create games combined with venues like Wii Ware and Apple App Store to sell them without having to manufacture inventory and get your games on a physical store shelf. The market is ready and the outlet is there. All we need is the tools to make them.