Construct 2 is a great freeware program that lets you create and distribute your very own casual games, based on a programming language called HTML5. Construct 2 makes it easy, however, so you don’t really need to know much of anything about programming or coding.
Once you create your games you can send them out to places like Facebook and watch them become viral, as all your friends marvel at what an awesome game creator you are.
Well, maybe not, but they might at least stop hitting you in the back of the head with corn chips while you’re trying to kill the Lich King.
A little while back I reviewed a program that allowed you to indulge your creative muse by creating your own point and click adventure games, called Adventure Game Studio. That was one of my favorite programs to review. So, I thought, what better way to cap off my week of game reviews than to talk about Construct 2 and what it has to offer those who might not have found exactly what they were looking for in AGS.
While AGS allows you to create retro style point and click adventure games (Think Space Quest or Bard’s Quest, or any Quest from Sierra Games), Construct 2 allows you to create far snazzier games. Construct 2 (C2) is designed to help you give birth to your very own original 2D scrolling shooter. For sure, there are other things you could do with it, once you become an expert but as George Clooney once said, “Gotta run before you can crawl”. Now, as with any robust or in depth creation program, C2 has a bit of a learning curve. Do not panic, however, because C2 also has a rather robust tutorial system as well as a very friendly and helpful community of dedicated users and fellow creators. The basic tutorial on the C2 website deals with creating an example game called “Ghost Shooter” so I will use that tutorial and example game for this review, mostly.
Right from the beginning, the tutorial treats you as if you’re a dummy, even going so far as to explain how to download and install the program in minute detail. This isn’t really a bad thing, as it ensures it will reach the widest possible audience that desires to learn how to use C2, but it is a bit tongue in cheek as tutorials go, too. During installation, you’ll be asked if you have a 32 bit or a 64 bit computer and assures you that if you don’t know, it can attempt to auto-detect the answer. This is another example of how careful they are to treat their users as if they are 9 years old. For that matter, many of them may be. Using C2 is really that easy.
The tutorial leads you through creating your first game, a basic 2D scroller in which you have a character that looks toward the mouse pointer, can move using the keyboard and shoots with the mouse buttons. There will be moments of frustration, but I assure you that once you have built this first basic game you’ll be flying through your own created worlds quickly. The editor uses a powerful programming language called HTML5 and a simple drag and drop system to make creating your own games a no brainer. In fact, as I was fiddling with the available tools and options, it occurred to me that this was actually more fun than the game I created was likely to be. Game creation as a game. Recursive gaming. There’s a manifesto to be had there somewhere but I’ll leave it to more brilliant minds than my own.
One of the really great things about the C2 game editor is that, even though it will only run on Windows, the games you create with it can actually be exported and played on Mac, Linux or iOS. Given that it is a small and portable program itself, this means you can carry your projects with you on a thumb drive and work on them when and where ever you happen to be.
C2 is one of those programs that has limited use for the free version and much higher use for the paid versions. Don’t let this turn you off or away, however, as the things you can do with C2 free are totally worth the zero price tag. Unlike other supposedly free creation programs, C2 doesn’t teach you to make something for free and then demand money to use the creation. With the freeware version of C2, you can do things like export your game to the Chrome Web Store or Facebook and you don’t need to worry. The only time you really need to buy anything is if you want to try selling your creations, and even then you’re just buying a license for the commercial use of C2, not actually paying for C2 itself. I am passionate about this, because it is a great way to stimulate the software industry as well as get great software into my readers’ hands for free. I think programs like this will become much more common in 2012 and we will begin to see a new explosion of creativity in cyberspace.
Until next time, my friends.
[Thanks to reader Panzer for the tip about this great program].
Get Construct 2 and learn all about it here