On Tuesday, March 16, I was searching the internet for a game developer’s group and stumbled upon a few. Unfortunately the first two were inactive since 2006 but the third one was not only active but had lots of members! After joining the Bay Area Video Game Development Meetup Group I realized their monthly meeting was the same day. The meeting was awesome! It was held at a bar called, “Jillian’s.” and the meet up had a mingle-type atmosphere. Everyone was really friendly and supportive (ie no trolls).
Over the past few months I was hearing the development community making a shift towards social networking games (farmville, mafia wars, Sid Meiers is porting over Civilization). Even at the GDC there was some buzz about it, but after speaking with people at the meetup it really reinforced the sureness of this trend. The sheer numbers are staggering. As of Feb 2010 Farmville alone boasts over 80 million monthly active users (World of Warcraft has 11-13 million)!
One existing but very cool technology that was introduced to me by another member is an open source application to make 2D games:
Construct (I was told its pronounced, “CON-struct” CON as in con-man and not “CUN-Struct”) is a 2D “no programming is necessary” click-together application. The interface is clear and easy to navigate. It has a large community and easy to follow tutorials on how to get the idea from your head and onto the screen! I’m told that it does have a scripting interface (python) for the beginner that’s up for the extra challenge but completely unnecessary to make games. Very, very cool! (Thanks Dylan for sharing!)
Game Maker is another 2D “no programming” click-together application and is available in two versions, lite and pro. Although its not open source the lite version is free and pro is only $25. Game Maker also has a scripting language allowing you to harness its full potential.
Which one to choose? Searching on the internet you’ll find supportive communities for both technologies. Its easy to choose the one that’s free and open source but $25 is hardly a deal breaker if the application is a lot better. I’d easily pay the $25 and I have! I have some experience with an old version of Game Maker and it was awesome. I can only imagine that the new version is even better. If you’re looking for a specific feature that’s supported by one but not the other than your choice is clear. If not than I think its best to try both out and make an identical sample level in each one (the same graphics, sound, etc) and compare which process you had more fun with.