ForumsProgramming ForumSo you wanna make a game, eh? Here's a guide!

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Salvidian
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Salvidian
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http://i.imm.io/FZRa.png
Special thanks to MrDayCee for the image. Text edited by Salvidian.



This site is full of people who want to fulfill their aspirations of making flash games. Unfortunately, the help here isn't great. To combat this severe epidemic of naivete and problems, I am here to help you. I promise to only be extremely serious within the topic. Any and all questions will be answered to the fullest extent of my knowledge. Reading this guide WILL NOT guarantee you all of the knowledge required to make flash games. They are very complicated. This is merely a rundown of the process.

So... What's in games that make them so fantastic?
Basic flash games are generally composed into 3 parts: sound, graphics, and, of course, the codes that make the game work.

a. Sound
Sound is one of two elements of flash games that is entirely cosmetic. It's only there to make the player have a more, real, and enjoyable experience. The sounds you hear in games were created through recording sounds onto a computer, and then editing them. This includes stuff like background music, laser gun blasts, and even dialogue. To record your desired sounds, it helps to know what you want your sound effects to sound like. It helps to brainstorm on paper before actually going through the process. After that, you'll need a microphone to physically record your sounds. Then try to replicate your desired sounds with household products that are at easy accessibility. Make sure you cut your sound files to a good length. We will explain how to incorporate your sound files into your game later.

b. Graphics
Graphics is the other half of the cosmetic portion of flash games. It's a simple enough topic to grasp. Everything you see in a game was comprised of graphics. The background, characters, and everything in between. Graphics aren't difficult to create, although they might appear hard. To create graphics, try making a storyboard of what you'd like your characters to look like, as well as a little a brainstorming for level designs, weapons, upgrade packs, and the like. Everything visible within your game should have good graphics to help capture your audience's attention. Designing a game with zombies? Well, zombies belong in the "horror" category, so creepy, dark-colored graphics generally work fine. Designing a happy game like one of John's? Bright, cartoony graphics are cool for that, aren't they? Now, let's talk about how you'd like your graphics to work for a minute. When you're making your little dude walk, he needs to appear like he's walking, right? Anyone making their characters' graphics move use GIF images. GIF is a file format like JPEG, PNG, or MOV. It just moves on it's own, just like your characters need to. GIF images work in such a way that they are similar to flipping through a stack of post-it notes. Y'know, each little page adds to the image, and it looks like it's moving. Each slide needs to be designed separately in order to be played in succession.
c. Programming
Programming is, in my opinion, the most difficult part of designing games because it requires a good deal of knowledge to know what youâre doing. You also canât play around with different software to get your games to wor. You need to know exactly how to do certain things at certain times. Fortunately, there are tons of different YouTube tutorials out there and if youâre in school there are usually lots of classes offered to help beginners learn the ropes and advanced programmers learn the best ways to do stuff. If youâre planning to make a game for AG, youâll need to use a program that produces games in the FLV format, or flash in layman's terms. Adobe Flash can do this, but itâs pretty pricey, so I recommend sticking with a program like Stencyl, which is completely free and is fairly simple to use. However, with simplicity, your games will be a bit more limited than you might want them to be. When attempting to program something, most languages will appear in formats similar to steps, much like this:

Movement script
>Player presses âleftâ arrow key
>Character moves in the left direction at a certain speed
>Player lets go of âleftâ arrow key
>Character moves in a stopped position at a speed of 0

Movement scripts are fairly easy to create. Theyâre written in a sense similar to that, but you need to rearrange some stuff and add the numbers. I highly recommend you find a friend to give you a hand with programing, if you know anyone who can do it.


What will I need to start?
Darn! These general questions always get me. If youâre an absolute novice, thereâs a neat program out there called Gamemaker Light that comes with a few tutorials that teach the user how games work. Itâs completely free and can be found by Google-ing Gamemaker Light. If you know a little bit of what youâre doing and know how to program flash, Stencyl probably would be a good place to go. Your first games made with Stencyl are even in the correct format for AG, so if you make an awesome game that youâre proud of and donât want to move onto Adobe, it'll still work. Adobe Flash is fantastic for intricate games and advanced developers, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. For graphics, GIMP isnât bad. Itâs free and it does most things Photoshop can do, but itâs a little more simpler. Itâs also a little bit better at GIF animations, so making your characters move is more achievable with GIMP. Itâs completely free. As far as sound goes, any program out there that can cut down files down and can record them via microphone would be fine. I know most computers come with Windows Movie Editor, so thatâd be a good place to look. Youâll also need a microphone of some sort, of course. Using these supplies itâs very easy to make your first game.

Well... I made a couple of games... Now what?
Then youâre probably raring to go for your first project, huh? Exciting! Well, if itâs going to be big, youâll need some help, huh? If you can do everything yourself and it looks good[/], then youâd probably be okay going solo, but itâd be lonely and the journey will be long. If you can do at least 1 out of the 3 parts necessary for making games, then you can call up a couple of friends to cover for the other two parts. Iâd begin by compromising on a storyline, which is something Iâm sure can be done with even 1 person. Of course, if your game doesnât utilize any story at all, this can be skipped, but even Balloon in a Wasteland had a storyline. Guy loses his balloon and fights monsters. Thatâs it. After writing a storyline, try drawing everything on paper before you do it on computer. Itâs faster, believe me. Draw the levels, choose where you want everything to be, draw the characters, vehicles, whatever. Everything the player will be able to see in the game. Make sure your graphics reflect the type of game you want. That should take a while. Finally, a much faster process would be deciding what you want your sounds to sound like. Zombie game? Write a dialogue/sound effect script for your zombie characters. Is the dialogue narrated? Write a script for every actor. Make sure you decide what emotion should be used when speaking instead of just reading a script. Then decide on background music. Mysterious? Epic? Have your music guy figure out how to write the song(s) and what instruments to use.


That was exhausting... Can I put my game together now?
Yeppers! This is the final stage in game building. Once itâs together, play it over and over and over and over and over and over again. Then 15 more times. Make sure you make your characters move into every little crevice, crack, and corner and make sure every enemy gets a chance at killing you. This ests for bugs and helps you do a mental check to make sure your game is exactly the way you wanted it. It never hurts to go back and change stuff. Believe me, if you leave a bad bug in your game, youâll definitely hear about it! You want to make this of high quality- youâre putting your name on it after all, arenât you? The final stage is sending it off to AG. Fill out the form, which will only take a few hours at the most. You should know how to make all of those little images needed. If it isnât accepted, try and try again. If it is, YEAHHH!!!!


[i]If anything in this guide is incorrect tell me ASAP

  • 21 Replies
Salvidian
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Salvidian
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Hm. That did not come out right. Failed formatting and 3 paragraphs disappeared. I'll get on it.

Blackbeltr0
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Blackbeltr0
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thanks it is cool

_Spaz_
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_Spaz_
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Thanks man! This is what I was looking for!

geedds
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geedds
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thereâs a neat program out there called Gamemaker Light


Must be a diffence google i copy/pasted Gamemaker Light, Gamemaker Light engine and Gamemaker Light download got a few tutirols on youtube but mainly got makeup and even car paint sites. Ahhh
Salvidian
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Salvidian
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Try this link, geedds.

It looks like it's called "Lite," not "Light." I apologize for the error.

geedds
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geedds
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Ahh thats why thanks i was looking at something called Gamemaker 8.3 when i refreshed this page.

geedds
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geedds
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Wow a 2 1/2 min download that was fast had smaller files download slower. Internet must be fast atm.

jasonjie88
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jasonjie88
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It's a good guide to get someone started. But even if you follow this guide, don't be surprised if your players are not satisfied...or otherwise impressed.

1) Basic flash games rely on sound, graphics and programming. But awesome games also try and make the game run smoothly, or not laggy (performance), have a concept that pretty much almost every game have never used before, AND have levels specifically designed that range from easy...to challenging... and sometimes to insane and beyond. If you're learning, start with the basics, but you may also want to look into ways of improving the performance.

2) Just to tell everyone... Armor Games will not accept games from Game Maker Lite, because those games are made in HTML, and Armor Games only accepts Flash. I did read somewhere that HTML5 may start to become a competing standard of the gaming industry, but for now... they're not. So if you want to build games for Armor Games, you'd have to do it in Flash.

Salvidian
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Salvidian
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It's a good guide to get someone started. But even if you follow this guide, don't be surprised if your players are not satisfied...or otherwise impressed.


I stated that it was a total beginner guide.

1) Basic flash games rely on sound, graphics and programming. But awesome games also try and make the game run smoothly, or not laggy (performance), have a concept that pretty much almost every game have never used before, AND have levels specifically designed that range from easy...to challenging... and sometimes to insane and beyond. If you're learning, start with the basics, but you may also want to look into ways of improving the performance.


Yes, that's true, but again, I'm sure beginners won't understand this. It's only an introductory guide.

2) Just to tell everyone... Armor Games will not accept games from Game Maker Lite, because those games are made in HTML, and Armor Games only accepts Flash. I did read somewhere that HTML5 may start to become a competing standard of the gaming industry, but for now... they're not. So if you want to build games for Armor Games, you'd have to do it in Flash.


Stated this as well. However, I doubt HTML5 will ever be as popular as flash. I've used it for games and it's so limited you can't hardly do anything. The only reason why anyone would use it is because it's compatible with almost any device.
KentyBK
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KentyBK
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Yes, that's true, but again, I'm sure beginners won't understand this. It's only an introductory guide.


Who *exactly* wouldn't be able to understand something as simple as "make sure your game runs fast enough to be playable"? It's all a matter of wording. You should explain most aspects of the process in as much detail as possible, especially in an introductory guide, because that's when people need the most information.

And that's not even beginning to go into all the planning in regards to game design and software architecture.

Now, a few more additions from yours truly:

a. Sound


While it's generally possible to make soundeffects by recording them yourself, I wouldn't necessarily recommend that approach to a novice for a few reasons:

1.) In order to actually get any *good* sound effects you'll probably need something better than a cheap microphone, which could potentially get expensive, especially if you have no budget.

2.) Sometimes it's not really feasible. After all, recreating realistic explosions isn't exactly easy.

3.) There's already a variety of free tools and resources to create both sound effects and music all over the internet.

Anyone making their characters' graphics move use GIF images.


http://sae.tweek.us/static/images/emoticons/emot-stare.gif

Yeah, don't do this. I didn't even know there's programs that *allow* such a thing, but just straight up using .gif files seems horribly inflexible to use, for a number of reasons. Using the standard approach of sprite sheets (and animating via code) is a way better idea.

2) Just to tell everyone... Armor Games will not accept games from Game Maker Lite, because those games are made in HTML, and Armor Games only accepts Flash. I did read somewhere that HTML5 may start to become a competing standard of the gaming industry, but for now... they're not. So if you want to build games for Armor Games, you'd have to do it in Flash.

Stated this as well. However, I doubt HTML5 will ever be as popular as flash. I've used it for games and it's so limited you can't hardly do anything. The only reason why anyone would use it is because it's compatible with almost any device.


And just to set the record straight: You cannot program games with HTML alone. In fact, you can't actually program anything at all, because HTML is not a programming language to begin with. It is simply a markup language that is used to describe the structure of websites.

As such, "HTML5 games" normally include some sort of javascript code. So I'm not exactly surprised someone would find HTML limited for normal programming. http://sae.tweek.us/static/images/emoticons/emot-v.gif

Also, Game Maker games are made in GML, not HTML.
jeol
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Yeah, don't do this. I didn't even know there's programs that *allow* such a thing, but just straight up using .gif files seems horribly inflexible to use, for a number of reasons. Using the standard approach of sprite sheets (and animating via code) is a way better idea.

I was wondering about that. Yeah, .gifs (which can be made in Photoshop, I think) never actually stop moving, which makes it hard if you want specific animation for different movements and things (you'd have to use a separate image for each). Sprites are definitely easier, especially since you can look at qll of them together and not have to choose a specific frame.
And just to set the record straight: You cannot program games with HTML alone. In fact, you can't actually program anything at all, because HTML is not a programming language to begin with. It is simply a markup language that is used to describe the structure of websites.

As such, "HTML5 games" normally include some sort of javascript code. So I'm not exactly surprised someone would find HTML limited for normal programming. http://sae.tweek.us/static/images/emoticons/emot-v.gif

^ Aye. HTML5, in that respect, can be even more powerful than Flash. I've seen 3D games with it, something that I've never seen in Flash (at least, that performs well). I worked with it a little bit, but it was about as limited as my understanding of code and functions and physics was.
If youâre planning to make a game for AG, youâll need to use a program that produces games in the FLV format, or flash in layman's terms. Adobe Flash can do this, but itâs pretty pricey, so I recommend sticking with a program like Stencyl, which is completely free and is fairly simple to use.

Unless I'm wrong, I'm fairly certain that .swf is the required format for AG. I'm not sure if something like Stencyl can produce something like that.
royalguy
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so what is the required format? I have heard 3 or 4 different things.

jeol
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so what is the required format? I have heard 3 or 4 different things.

For as long as I've remembered it, the format has to be .swf (flash). HTML5, Gamemaker, and any other types of games wouldn't be accepted.

For some reason, I can't seem to find the specified file extension anymore, but I'm fairly certain it would still have to be .swf.
KentyBK
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KentyBK
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I was wondering about that. Yeah, .gifs (which can be made in Photoshop, I think) never actually stop moving, which makes it hard if you want specific animation for different movements and things (you'd have to use a separate image for each). Sprites are definitely easier, especially since you can look at qll of them together and not have to choose a specific frame.


Not only that, but depending on whatever you're making, you can control how fast each animation plays and all that other good stuff. All around more control really. Although I suppose that basically applies to anything you code yourself.

Unless I'm wrong, I'm fairly certain that .swf is the required format for AG. I'm not sure if something like Stencyl can produce something like that.


You're right and it does actually. Heck, it even allows you to sitelock your stuff, which is fairly neat.

Once more in bold in case anyone just skims over these posts: Submitting your games to AG requires them to be in SWF format. Have some wiki article too, just so we have some sort of reference.
Salvidian
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Yeah, don't do this. I didn't even know there's programs that *allow* such a thing, but just straight up using .gif files seems horribly inflexible to use, for a number of reasons. Using the standard approach of sprite sheets (and animating via code) is a way better idea.


GIFs have incredible control if you use GIMP and download a few good plug-ins. It's compatible with sending out animations to other programs, like Adobe Flash and Stencyl. I haven't used a program that didn't allow for GIF image formats, so I don't know where you're getting your facts from. Stencyl and Adobe Flash both have the capability for GIF images, and it isn't hard to do an effect command so the animation doesn't go on forever. I thought that was self-explanatory, but maybe not.

And just to set the record straight: You cannot program games with HTML alone. In fact, you can't actually program anything at all, because HTML is not a programming language to begin with. It is simply a markup language that is used to describe the structure of websites.


Whoops, I didn't word that correctly. Good thing you knew that I messes up there, or a lot of people would have been confused.

I was wondering about that. Yeah, .gifs (which can be made in Photoshop, I think) never actually stop moving, which makes it hard if you want specific animation for different movements and things (you'd have to use a separate image for each). Sprites are definitely easier, especially since you can look at qll of them together and not have to choose a specific frame.


You can convert .GIFs to sprites pretty quickly. Even Gamemaker allows the user to do this.

I mentioned Stencyl could produce games in flash. I don't know why anyone wouldn't think I said that.

Anywho, among the 3 paragraphs hat I missed I need to add some disclaimers, I guess. It's evident there was some mis-communication, mainly on my part. Oops.
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