First Thoughts: Stencyl

Yesterday I discovered a piece of software called “Stencyl“, which the company claims lets the user create Flash and iOS games without having to write any code. This is achieved by using either pre-made templates or blank projects, importing artwork, and assigning commands via drop-down menus.

I was curious to how this would work, so I downloaded the trial, which is exactly like the paid version ($149 a year), except you cannot export your final projects for the App Store. You’re free to make as many games as you’d like to test on your own simulator, Flash player and devices, though.

Upon opening the software, you’re greeted with a welcome screen in which you can choose a template as a starting point or start a full tutorial. I decided to first take the Flash player tutorial where you make a game similar to the original Mario Brothers and then I completed the iOS tutorial where you create a block-smashing game.

You can import your own artwork or use the graphics provided by the software, and then through drop-down menus, you can assign physics, actions, and properties to each sprite. Many actions are already pre-built, so it already knows what a reset button would do, or what would happen if a player falls into a pit of doom, which saves time.

Stencyl
Stencyl

Going through the tutorial definitely helped and it was pretty easy to follow along. By the end I had a working knowledge of the software and knew how to convert Flash game actions to iOS actions just by dragging and dropping blocks of code they supply. I imagine if you spent a weekend playing around with Stencyl, you could have a pretty decent game ready for the App Store at the end.

Stencyl iOS game created with a video tutorial
Stencyl iOS game created with a video tutorial

From what I’ve seen so far, there is definitely a lot of potential for a user to create some amazing games using Stencyl. I am interested to see if it can be used to create apps that require different logic than the pre-built chunks of code provided. Perhaps a quiz application, or a game that requires a lot of complex rules like a card game. Overall, I would say Stencyl is definitely worth checking out, especially since it’s free to build apps until you want to publish them on the App Store.

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