Macworld Senior Editor Peter Cohen gave a presentation at MacWorld Expo today providing resources for Mac users to learn how to make their own games. The sites that he suggested were mostly for the creation of simple games but provided some options for more advanced users as well.
Here are the five sites that Cohen suggested would be good for guys (or gals) interested in making their own Mac games:
– Sploder. For someone who has never created their own game before, Sploder is a great site. It provides a really simple way to learn how to add different features to a game. It also offers a social platform for getting feedback from others about your game. And of course you can go on the site and play the flash games that others have created in order to learn from what people before you have done. The games are all variations on the same theme so this really is for the basic game-creator but it’s easy to see how addicting it could get to make different styles of the game. Oh, and it’s completely free to use.
– Scratch. This site is also free to use. And, like Sploder, it lets you interact with others on the site to get feedback and improve the games that you make. The difference between the two is that you can do a little bit more with scratch. It provides a tile-based approach to game creation which makes it easy for people who don’t have any programming skills. Although it’s simple, you can do some decently sophisticated things with it if you play with it for awhile. Set up by MIT as a way to get kids interested in the basics of making games, it can also be used to do animation and to create interactive stories.
– Power Game Factory. This one isn’t free but you can download a full trial version to test it out. If you like it, it’s less than fifty dollars to buy it. And this one will give you a bit more ability to do things that are different from what you can do on the free sites. It allows you to easily create 2D side-scrolling shooter games that look a lot like the original game-system games. You can add characters and sound to give it some personalized qualities. It’s a Leopard-friendly game-creation tool that is designed specifically for making Mac games.
– Torque 2D Game Engine. This is one that’s similar to Power Game Factory but offers some more sophistication for people who are starting to get used to making games. As you get more and more into the game-making, you can get additional tools from the makers of this one (Garage Games) to do more things. In fact, there’s a version of this tool that’s designed to let you make games for the XBox 360. This one costs $100 but has a free thirty day trial that lets you test it out.
– Unity. Once you’ve learned how to use these basic game-creating tools, you can move on to more advanced things like Unity. Actually, you could start with this one if you wanted to because it’s designed in such a manner that it works well for people who are beginners in game-creation as well as for people who have more skills and want to make more sophisticated games. This one is capable of creating games that look a lot like the newer games that you play today. Some of the games that have been made using Unity have gained online popularity, including several which have been released by Freeverse. You can also make dashboard games for Tiger and Leopard. This one is a bit pricier with an “indie” version that’s about $200 and a “professional” version that’s $1500. Again, you can get a free trial before you commit to buying it.
What I learned at Peter Cohen’s presentation is that almost anyone can learn to make simple games that are fun to play. They’re low-cost and don’t require a lot (or any) sophistication in programming. Anyone want to guess what I’ll be doing for the rest of the night?!