In the lead up to the first ClickJam Brisbane, a 24 hour game design challenge, we had a quick chat to organiser Sam about the ideas behind the event and how to get involved.
Tell us a bit about the software options available to people wanting to make game.
There are a lot of grate engines and development tools out there. The more traditional game engines are ones like Unity3D, XNA, Unreal Development Kit. They usually come with things like mapping tools and use programing languages, or scripting languages that are usually based of of something like C or Orical or something like that. Then you have authorware, sometimes called game builders such as Game Maker, M.U.G.E.N or Adventure Game Studio. These are tools that designed for people who want to make a game but might not have all the technical skills required by other engines.
What are the advantages of using authorware?
I would say the two biggest advantages are streamlining and ease of use. Take Adventure Game Studio (AGS) as an example, if you want to make a Lucas Arts or Sierra style point-and-click adventure game AGS has practicaly everything you need out of the box. I remember a while ago I found a YouTube channel about the development of a JRPG that some uni students were making. I think they started working on the game over 2 years ago and as of their last video 3 months ago it dosen’t seem like they are much past having decent mapping tools, let along a game. All while I was watching there videos I was wondering why they wouldn’t just use RPG Maker! If they had the game might be finished by now.
Most authorware is also designed with the layman in mind. Multimedia Fusion for instance is very robust yet also easy to pick up and start making games with. Sure, if you wan to do more advanced stuff it will take you more time to learn the ins and outs of whatever program you are using but a good authoreware program you can pick them up and have something to show in just a few hours.
Can you give some examples of games created in this way?
I think a good example is Metal Dead. It was made in AGS by a local developer team, just two guys who wanted to make an adveture game with heavy metal and zombies. They didn’t have much programing experience or the time to learn a more involved engine, so they used AGS instead. OddPlanet is another one, there are also a bunch of games on the BigFish games website that are made with Authorware including Alpha Kimori.
What’s the best way to go about learning a new program?
Oh, that’s easy. The best way to learn these programs is through the community. I mean, they will have beginner tutorials but any good authorware program will have a thriving community to help you out. In fact that’s probably a big indicator of how good the program is, by how vibrent the community surrounding it is. One of the first things I do when looking at a new program is going onto the forums and just looking for tutorials, see what’s out there, and how recent it is. There are plenty of people will give you advice and help out the newbies.
Tell us little about ClickJam and why locals should get involved?
The hole point of ClickJam is to get people involved in game making in a fun and exiting way. No previous experience required! It is a competition where people will be given a theme and then have 24hrs to make a game from start to finnish. The competition will be sponsored by Click Team, who make Multimedia Fustion, and they are providing the prizes. Also, everyone gets a free copy of The Games Factory. Witch is the light version of Multimedia Fustion. Anyone who wants to can go to the Click Team website prior to the competition, and download the demo to get to know the program a little before the competition. I will also be doing a tutorial on the day and I will be available to help people with questions on how to use MMF. So game making and free stuff. What more could you want!
What are you hoping people will get out of the event?
Well I’m hoping people will get an introduction to a criminally under rated game making too. I hope they will have fun coming up with a game idea and then bringing it to life by there own hand. I hope that by coming to this, people will see that is heeps of fun, and that you don’t need to be some kind of wizard to do it.
ClickJam kicks off on 14 September. Don’t forget to register if you want to be involved.