1. GameSalad

2. Stencyl

3. Game Maker Studio 2

4. Flowlab

5. Click Team Fusion 2.5

6. Construct 3

7. GameFroot

8. GDevelop

9. RPG Maker

 

9. RPG Maker

 

I won't loose too much time with RPG Maker since the title already applies it's a Role Playing Game maker. So not exactly what I'm looking for but still worth mentioning. It's a hentai story telling platform which you could say it takes it's base in The Legend Of Zelda games but it looks more like some of the first such rpg games on PC (Knights of Xentar comes to mind). At least from my memory but can't say for sure as there are other platforms where stuff like this could have been been before.

 

So the software includes more or less everything from characters to map backgrounds. You can define skills of your player and enemies and add chests of stash and rewards. This is what all will look like in the end:

 

Screenshot 5

 

You can create a complex world to play in and buy extra graphical add-ons. There are animations used for battles and pictures for detailing the story or as a reward for a task done.

 

Pricing

 

There are many versions of the software each more expensive and having more options as you can see bellow.

 

Screenshot 1 

       Screenshot 2

    Screenshot 3

    Screenshot 4

 

You can check out more on their website. If there are many tutorials available so you can go in deep very quickly. I only made a quick map which was pretty intuitive so not sure how demanding is to make character/script or an event. I think you'll see pretty quickly if this is for you or not.

Coming up to a point when I consider the benefits of having a detailed background and also more details in the characters. What is the compromise you can use here as we know that some people will only read the story while the others will concentrate on detail. I find it best to maybe spend a bit more time with detailing the background and a little less on the characters. Backgrounds can be prepared in advance and the time spent on them will distribute to all the comics it was used on. At the same time, spending less time on character detail will make you draw a new comic faster. Although over time also details could be prepared in advance and then reused afterwards.

 

The Docks

 

1. GameSalad

2. Stencyl

3. Game Maker Studio 2

4. Flowlab

5. Click Team Fusion 2.5

6. Construct 3

7. GameFroot

8. GDevelop

 

8. GDevelop

 

GDevelop is an open source game maker with possibility of deployment to most of the systems. It has some similarities to Construct 3 in the "coding" part otherwise it's again a combination of all the previous programs. So really nothing new other than the user interface.

 

Screenshot 3

 

Tutorial

 

In this tutorial I once again did a top down shooter with a canon shooting at oncoming tanks. You can test it out on the following link.

 

Link to the game

 

Interface

 

The interface is simple with the familiar setup. Scene in the middle, objects and properties on the right. Game properties are on the left and can be hidden.

 

Screenshot 1

 

Events

 

Events are what define objects in GDevelop and look similar to the ones in Construct 3. You have plenty of drop down options to choose from which should be enough for a game you're planning.

 

Screenshot 2

 

Pricing

 

Pricing seems reasonable as you can make games for free with limits of packaging. Packaging limit extends on subscription while you get all the other options for 2€ a month.

 

Screenshot 4

 

Showcase

 

Plenty of games can be found on their website and some of them look pretty decent. Take a look and see if any of them is up to your expectations.

 

Score

 

Probably the cons of each software only become obvious after a prolonged usage on specific examples. But at this stage I can say that GDevelop is up there with the rest but what sticks out is the price. Since you can make the most of the game for free and start a subscription only when you're ready and need more testing. 

 

Difficulty: 8
Literature: 9
Cost: 7
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Overall score: 8

I'm cheating a lot lately. I used the same comic again and just changed the text. Well at least it was done quickly :D

 

To The Docks 2

 

1. Game Salad

2. Stencyl

3. Game Maker Studio 2

4. Flowlab

5. Click Team Fusion 2.5

6. Construct
7. Game Froot

 

1. Game Salad

 

So first in line for a review is Game Salad.

Game Salad is just one of the drag&drop programs for game design. You can download the application for free and install it on your PC or MAC. Everything is then done there from importing your sounds and images to coding itself. Also you can make a game online with the web interface which si basically the same as on the offline program.

 

Tutorial

 

The initial tutorial is pretty basic but gives you enough information to start a game on your own. For more detailed info it makes sense to go through more tutorials and documentation. As usually web search will provide enough info for you to continue work and of course there are always forums. Below is the picture of the simple game from the tutorial.

 

Screenshot 1

 

Interface

 

If you're using a computer on a regular basis you should be fine with the interface, if not then guessing this isn't a way for you. Interface consists of a scene screen on the right side while the left is reserved for defining the actors, listing behavior options, importing your images and sound, etc. Below to the left is a properties screen for your actors, scenes and game properties definition. On the right of that is the backstage where you define all properties/attributes to specific actors. Here is a print screen of the program interface:

 

Screenshot 2

 

The properties definition was a bit confusing to me as the backstage interface is not the best in my opinion. Even just going through the tutorial I had a hard time understanding all the bits and the visual appearance does not really help. Question is how confusing it gets when you really have a lot of things to define.

 

Behaviors

 

Screenshot 3In order to define actions and properties of your actors there is a list of behaviors.
You can also word input the same actions directly in the backstage
which become useful when you know all the angles of the program.
They are sorted by color so you can determine which is which but the differentiation could be a bit better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pricing

 

Well now we come to the interesting part. Comparing to other alternatives I'd say that GameSalad is not really cheap. You get the program for free but if you want to do something with them you need to pay up in monthly or yearly installments. Looking at the prices it really is a lot for hobby game makers. If you want to publish to all the platforms it goes up to 500$ and more. So imagine you need to make a really good one or a few to get an annual income of this magnitude. If this was simple then everyone would be doing it. Unfortunately the product page does not give any detailed info on what you really get for that amount of money and what happens to your published game when you cancel the subscription.

 

Screenshot 4

Showcase

 

There is a featured games sub page that shows a few games that have been developed with GameSalad. Searching throughout the web you can find more and that should give you an idea of what the program is capable of. The initial tutorial does not show it all of course.

 

Score

 

Score is of course a reflection of my own opinion and goes from 1-10, 10 being the highest possible value. Since this is the first program I'm reviewing the score might not be reflecting the actual value since I have no baseline yet. I will most likely be correcting each of them when I go through all the programs I plan on testing. In terms of difficulty I can say that it's not that difficult to learn the program itself but a couple of things could be more intuitive or visualized in a better way. There is enough information available for you to learn using it in a good way and over time you should become very versed i in it. The cost is the main factor bringing the overall score down since it's really too much for a hobby game maker but if you're a pro then this should be a bargain. Additionally the program can be used for educational purposes by schools an colleges but we're not looking for that so it's not influencing the final decision.

Summary conclusion is that the program looks good to build complex games but is a bit expensive for use for non pro users.

 

Difficulty: 7
Literature: 7
Cost: 3
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Overall score: 6

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