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Making a Platformer in Construct 2

Kristen Mukai

Making a Platformer in Construct 2

This year, I was lucky enough to be selected as an Intel Scholar and attend the Two5Six conference in New York, where I took a game design workshop from Code Liberation. Part of this workshop used a free game-making program called Construct 2. For someone like myself who does not write code (not since QBasic, anyway), programs like Construct 2 are a great resource. I wanted to bring what I learned back home to Boston, so I set up a meeting with a group we are involved with, the Computer Clubhouse at the Museum of Science. I took what I learned from Code Liberation and taught it to the Computer Clubhouse’s teen leaders, who will now continue to teach this to kids and teens at the Clubhouse, as well as through programs at the Boston Public Library. Cool how that works, right??

Enough horn-tooting though—I’m here to share info on Construct 2, and how you can use it for yourself or others who are interested in learning about making games.

Computer Clubhouse teen leaders
Awesome teen leaders being awesome

We set out to make a simple platformer in one session, so I asked the teen leaders, “What are the basic elements of the first level of Super Mario?” Here’s what they came up with:

A player:

  • Can run in multiple directions and jump
  • The game view follows the player
  • Player faces the way it is moving

A level:

  • A background
  • Environmental items like platforms and blocks that are solid

Items:

  • Items disappear when you pick them up and have an effect on the player

Enemies:

  • Enemies can move, but you don’t control them
  • If the player runs into an enemy, you will be killed
  • If you jump on an enemy, it will be killed

Win/Lose:

  • Falling off of a level results in a game over
  • Getting killed by an enemy results in a game over
  • Reaching the end of the level results in a win scenario

We used logic statements, behaviors, events, and instance variables to fulfill everything in the list above. Construct 2 even has a built in sprite editor for quickly creating art assets. Here is one of the projects that was made in about an hour by someone who had never used Construct 2.

A video posted by spookai (@kmukai) on

In the process of making our platformers, we talked about testing early and often. We learned that as we added new features, we may need to go back to tweak things we built earlier. And of course, in watching other people play our games, we realized issues that we did not see on our own. (This all might sound familiar.)

Kristen and Jackie
Clubhouse leader Jackie, me, and my bad posture.

About a week after the lesson, I received an email from the Clubhouse that may be the best email ever: a “thank you” game from the students! (Hint: avoid enemies and get the Construct 2 logo to see the message.) I’m so glad they are continuing to make games using Construct 2.

For more resources, check out The Beginners Guide to Construct 2 or contact me on Twitter.

Here’s another great website for getting started making games: http://www.gamesareforeveryone.com/

Check out related posts about our local community involvement:

 

Thanks for reading!
Kristen

1 Comment
  1. Greetings Carter! Kudos on passing it forward with the youth in the community.
    I am based in Brooklyn, and it’s always inspiring to see folks taking it up a notch in engaging the young ones.

    I am not a huge gamer,and I don’t know if my question is relevant in this forum, but I thought I’d ask anyway; but relative to many on WZ, but I’m a casual fan at best. I was wondering if ideas were thrown around about mixing up the make-up of the characters among the survivors more? I mean, its off the chain how your team created such strong women characters. But, why couldn’t an Asian woman wield a bat? Or an African-American man carry a blowtorch, or a Latino man build dummies?

    Like I said, this may not be the place for this, but the whole ‘creating a game’ discussion got me thinking. I mean, after playing for almost a year now, I am still floored for all the AWEsomeness you guys created, but wondered if the boundaries couldn’t be pushed even more with what characters were capable of and WHO they were in this world.

    Thanks for your time. Again, y’all rockin’ it! And what with ‘Walking Dead’ racking up the ratings, this game couldn’t have come at a better time. Cheers!

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