Need to Know – StencyIWorks

Snoozed through coding class? Try this drag and drop game-building app for Mac and PC

What is it?

Just because you think Java’s a type of coffee and C++ was the grade you got in GCSE maths doesn’t mean you can’t make your own computer game. StencylWorks is a free-to-download Mac and PC application that lets even complete n00bs create their own 2D Flash time-wasters without any coding skills whatsoever.

How does it work?

It takes basic chunks of existing game code and turns them into building blocks that can be slotted together with the drag and drop interface: various shapes, balls, backgrounds and sound effects are all pre-loaded and a selection of templates allows you to create a simple platformer, top-down shooter or block-based puzzler.

Who wants a million Tetris clones?

Nobody – which is why you can also start from scratch. Add graphics from your own computer or use StencylForge to download other people’s creations to use in your game. They can be anything from enemies and sound effects to building blocks you can use to create an entire game world of your own.

Then what?

You can test your game at any time and tweak it endlessly until you’re entirely happy. After that it’s up to you what you do with it: upload it to for others to enjoy, put it on your own website, or pimp it out to publishers for huge wads of cash. There’s even a marketplace in the pipeline that’ll allow you to make money from your in-game creations too.

But I want to make the next Angry Birds for my phone…

And so you shall, but not just yet. iStencyl is due out before the end of the year and will let you export your games for iOS devices, with support for Game Center and Retina Display-friendly graphics. There’ll be a yearly charge but any cash you make from selling your game on the App Store will be all yours. This time next year…

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