Apples and Portals

We’re recently focusing on the game developement subject, partly due to a series of lessons we’ve been preparing, either because the subject is intriguing and captivating in itself. We are game players. We asked, can we become game creators?

apples and portals

On the academic point of view we’re dealing with audio in videogames, as you can read here. The subject is pretty huge, so this is not the place to treat it properly. Refer to the article linked to read something more about it.

Instead, what can we say about the game developement process in itself? What is a videogame, how does it work and how can anyone develop one from scratch? We’ve been roaming on the internet for a while, exploring what is available nowadays, what’s working and how.

apples and portals

Our approach to videogames relies on the assumption that the games are a form of creative self-expression, a form of narration and entairtainment. Thus, everyone should be able to develop a game on their own without bothering about sales, meeting requirements and people taste, conforming to genre styles, and stuff like that could prevent getting involved in the game developement. There are many reasons why someone should develop a game (fun, greetings, infotainment, to fight boredom, …), success, fame and stuff are just a grain in the sand. There are lots of tools out there that can help developing a game, even without deep programming knowledge. Just to cite a few: Adventure Game Studio, Godot, Pygame, Ren’Py, Phaser, Allegro, Twine, Atomic, Inform7, Game Maker, Unity, Unreal Engine, Cryengine, …

Here, we’re going to talk about PuzzleScript. Why? Because we used this tools to create a game for a jam on itch.io.

apples and portals

You can play it here!

PuzzleScript is an online tool to create simple videogames in HTML5 that can be played on a browser. The system is self-contained, that is, everything you need is provided and no other resources can be added. You create the sprites (images), the tiles (the building blocks to juxtapose to build scenes); you layer the elements in order to state collisions, you state the rules about movement and behaviour, and you design the levels.

Of course, you need to learn the jargon used to state rules (there’s a very good documentaion and a lot of examples to play with, anyway) and there are some limitations (the sprites can’t be bigger than 5x5 units, it’s difficult to formulate complex rules and you need to think creatively to create basic animations), anyway in a couple of hours you get used to the system and you can have a basic game. The more you work on the tool, the more you’re able to tweak the game to meet your needs.

Apart from technics, what is important to stress is that the system let you free your mind from the programming and aesthetic details and you can focus on the gameplay, the mechanics and the levels. You’re free to experiment, and you can have fun in doing it. In a short time you can have a fully functional browser game to share with your family/friends/followers/world. And that’s a thing!

So, thumbs up for PuzzleScript…

…and let’s see what comes next!


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