Last week I saw a great presentation on a tool called Construct 2 that let’s you make mobile apps (mostly games) without any programming know-how. Will programming know-how help? Absolutely. Can you make a pretty outstanding game without any programming know-how? Yes! It’s actually kind of amazing. In under two hours, I watched this guy build a mobile game from scratch without writing a single line of code. Granted, he’d prepared a practiced presentation and already had all the tools downloaded and ready to go. But you could build a game from scratch in a week easy if you knew what you wanted to do.
I’ve been kicking around an idea for a mobile game for a couple of years now, but I haven’t ever had the patience to get into building it. Mobile is a different environment. Games are a different kind of work than the business application programming I usually do. It takes some getting used to. I’ve tried starting a couple of times, but I always run out of time or patience before I get into anything interesting. Construct 2 made it a piece of cake. I came home from the tutorial and within a couple hours I had a working prototype of the game I want to build… without writing a single line of code!
Now, of course, I like to code. I’d really like to understand the code that Construct 2 built for me. But I’m not a game programmer by trade. I don’t have 10 more game ideas ready to go. I only have the one idea, and that’s part of the trouble. It’s hard to motivate myself to learn how to program games to build one idea. I’ve got other stuff going on, after all. Justified isn’t going to just watch itself every week. Now I can build my game without the slow drudge of learning a whole new skill set. I just tell Construct 2 what platform I want to build for, and it gives me drag and drop tools. Call it lazy if you want, but when my game hits the app stores, you’ll be glad there’s a lazy entrance to game programming! (No. I can’t reveal the game idea yet. Now that you know about Construct 2, you could beat me to the punch.)
Construct 2 has really good documentation, tutorials, and an active user-base. Plus, it’s free. Well, the free version is free. There’s a paid version with some extra features. I’d start with the free one and see if you need the extra features first, though.
If you want to program games and you want to build something you can put in the Windows Store or Play market today without learning how to call the APIs in a physics engine, give Construct 2 a try. (Especially if the phrase “call the APIs in a physics engine” sounds like total gobbledygook to you.) And let me know when your game is ready to download. I want to see if you put my name in the credits!