Stencyl Game Development System

While not a "professional" game design system, Stencyl is a great system for the non-programmer or beginner to learn for three reasons:

  1. Both simple and complex games can be designed in the free Stencyl game design software.
  2. Games can be designed once and deployed as HTML5 or as native games for desktop or mobile smartphones and tablet computers (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android). (Commercial version needed for this step)
  3. Games can be designed with little programming, programming using simple "Scratch-like" tiles, or direct programming in Objective C to accommodate a broad range of skill levels.

Getting Started with Stencyl

  1. Play a few Stencyl games at the Stencyl Showcase
  2. Download Stencyl for your computer
  3. Open the Stencylpedia and choose how you want to learn Stencyl (reading, videos, or both)
  4. Complete the Crash Course Tutorial #1
  5. Complete Crash Course Tutorial #2 (nearly 100 carefully-guided steps)
  6. Explore Stencylpedia Chapters 2-4 to learn more about Actors, Animations, Scenes, Behaviors, and Events.

First Steps on Your Own

  1. Explore the games that came with the Stencyl client and that reside on your computer.
  2. Check out the Actors, Scenes, and Behaviors to find something you think you can modify.
  3. Save the game with a NEW TITLE so you don't mess up the originals.
  4. Modify a bit at a time and test after each mod to see if your change works. If not, go back to the last saved working version.

Building Your Game

  • Backgrounds for mobile iOS mobile devices are 640 x 384. Retina displays (double resolution) would be 1280 x 768. Scrolling backgrounds are correspondingly larger. Make sure your background is compact in terms of file size to accommodate the limited memory of portable devices.
  • Use "Tile Sets" when possible to minimize background file size, especially with reusable components across multiple levels.
  • Choose a graphic editor for backgrounds, tiles, and actors that matches your skill set and budget: Photoshop (expensive), GIMP (free), GraphicConverter (Mac only - $39), Picasa, Sumo Paint (free, web-based). Here's a review of 10 Web-based graphics editors: