15 Years!

Tools of the Trade: Stencyl

If you’re a Mac user, or prefer using a Linux OS, you’ve likely discovered that Game Maker Studio (GMS) – a long-time OGPC staple – doesn’t play so nicely with those platforms. The OSX version of GMS is out of date and the current version doesn’t work under WINE, the open source application that runs many Windows applications and games on Linux.

Enter, Stencyl.

Stencyl has a lot in common with GMS. It’s a 2D game creation studio with an art-focused approach to game design. You add actors (what GMS calls objects) to scenes (rooms in GMS), edit sprites and animations, add music and sound effect, use physics, and customize actor behavior.

And while Stencyl allows you to edit code for your game using ActionScript 3.0 (an ECMAScript language similar to JavaScript), it also allows you to design your code using drop-and-drop puzzle pieces. This allows you to quickly create complex behaviors while learning common programming logic. You can also easily view the actual code you created, so more advanced programmers can easily work alongside the game designers on the team.

One of the most compelling features of Stencyl is the platform’s focus on community. Members are able to upload and share snippets of code, original art, and music to the StencylForge. Browsing the StencylForge, you’ll find kits provided by both the Stencyl team and other members that include all of the functions you need for side scrollers, RPGs, racing games, and many more gameplay styles. Members have also uploaded pre-built behaviors that you can easily include in your game. 

Under the hood, Stencyl uses popular and powerful Flash-based libraries to build your games, notably Flixel and Box2D. The current free version of Stencyl exports your games to Flash and buying a subscription allows you to export your game to iOS, taking advantage of the tilt and multi-touch controls of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Version 3.0 – which is scheduled to be released in 2013 – will add HTML5 export to the free version and Android export for subscribers.

Learn more about and download Stencyl at www.Stencyl.com