Recently, as requested by a few students and alums of the NYU Game Center, I created a sample project based off of a 2D platformer I made so that other students could work and learn from it. Beyond just creating and distributing the code, I wanted to make a brief Beginner’s Guide for anyone looking to start making games – specifically, 2D games using Flixel. This requires almost no programming knowledge really, rather just an interest to open up some code and poke around in it.
What is Flixel, you ask? Well the Flixel site answers it like this:
“Flixel is an open source game-making library that is completely free for personal or commercial use. Written entirely in Actionscript 3, and designed to be used with free development tools, Flixel is easy to learn, extend and customize.”
Basically, it’s a library of classes you include in your ActionScript3 project to make a lot of things easier for you. To get started, try to follow this guide to get setup with FlashDevelop or FlashBuilder (hint: you can get a free license of FlashBuilder from Adobe if you’re a student). Once installed, try to follow parts of this Hello, World guide here. However, with that one, about halfway down a ton of the images are currently missing due to some problems with FlashGameDojo. Continue reading
I’m at the process now in my Flixel game, Chip (demo, trailer), where most of the content I want for this release is there. So lately, I’ve been focusing on level design and plan to delve into fine tuning all of my levels shortly. First though, I thought I’d reflect on a few things I found interesting while really experimenting with level design for my frist time. As a quick preamble – I have close to zero idea what I’m talking about. While I write this in the style of advice, it’s purely meant to be reflective and based off my own individual experience.
1.) Don’t be swayed by aesthetics…yet
My very first levels revolved around making interesting patterns or an elegant overall structure. This was a disaster and I ended up reverting to a functional perspective as much as I could. I even switched out the tilesheet I was using in my Tilemap editor (DAME) so I wouldn’t be swayed by how it looked.
Using and old tile matrix to edit my levels in DAME
A brief note on DAME. If you’re editing levels using a simple tilesheet I highly recommend it. It’s free and while at first I couldn’t stand it, I’ve grown to love it. It’s like editing film on a Steinbeck: the fact that it’s not quite so flexible makes you think harder about what you want to do.
2.) Small Changes Make a Big Difference
I found that depending on your mechanics and the interactions you’re trying to invoke in a level, making smaller changes from level to level can often have a more profound effect on how people see your mechanics. If you look at these two levels… Continue reading