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Adam Nathan: and Suzanne Hansen: First Look at Popfly Game Creator Alpha

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Popfly Game Creator Alpha is available today, and it's a brand new tool for building 2D games in Silverlight that requires zero programming to build games.

How easy is it to build games? Well in this interview Adam Nathan builds three games from scratch including

- A Space invaders clone (3:15 - 23:55)
- A 2D car game that plays like "snake" (23:55 - 37:51)
- A 2D side scroller with a Ninja fighting rocket chickens (37:51- 55:04)


- Low res version
- MP4 version

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  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    This is fantastic. I just created a simple Arkanoid/Breakout clone from scratch in about half an hour, just after watching this video and doing the Space tutorial.

    I really love this. It's probably because it's much more specific to a certain type of project, but it 'feels' more complete than the Popfly Mashup creator, where you had to get into creating custom blocks with JavaScript fairly quickly if you weren't doing the most basic of mashups. For my Arkanoid thing, I wrote three lines of code that simply reversed the X and Y velocity of one of the actors. The rest was all done through the interface, which is a blast to use.

    The UI suffered a bit performance wise over here. Maybe that's because it's just an alpha, I don't know. But when clicking the 'play' button in the creator, the game's performance is terrible even though the tick counter is at 30ms or something. When I just play the game outside the editor (like when clicking the link above), performance is just fine, though. I assume this is due to all sorts of diagnostics stuff bringing performance down, but it could use some work.

    I can't wait to see what more will happen to this once it reaches the final. Awesome stuff, guys.
  • Tommy CarlierTommyCarlier Widen your gaze
    I haven't tried it yet, but I really liked the video. Looks like a very cool application. It seems very intuitive to "program" in without writing code.
  • Johannes Edstoft HansenJohannes Johannes Hansen, Denmark
    Bas wrote:
    The UI suffered a bit performance wise over here. Maybe that's because it's just an alpha, I don't know. But when clicking the 'play' button in the creator, the game's performance is terrible even though the tick counter is at 30ms or something. When I just play the game outside the editor (like when clicking the link above), performance is just fine, though. I assume this is due to all sorts of diagnostics stuff bringing performance down, but it could use some work.


    I think performance problems are mainly caused by silverlight 1.1. I expect this to get "a lot" better when silverlight 2.0 get released.
  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.
    So, I've played with it a bit more, and I'm impressed with how relatively versatile it all is. The two biggest drawbacks for me are the fact that you can't use stuff like environment.getXml() (at least, not in the Alpha). The Canada Quiz example, for instance, has a separate Scene for every question. It'd be convenient if you could just have a 'Question' scene and just grab the questions and answers from an XML file (That you uploaded through the Game->Files uploader, for instance.)

    A second thing is that it's pretty awkward to precisely place stuff in the editor. If you were creating a maze with lots of thin wall objects, for instance, it's a pain to drag and resize all those little walls to their correct location. Zooming helps, but not much. Maybe allowing a XAML view (or whatever markup the scene layout is built in) would be convenient for more precise tweaking.

    Also, you need to maximize your browser on a pretty high screen resolution in order to make this work. On my laptop's 1280x800 screen you have to scroll quite a bit. Then again, the large, spacious UI is part of the appeal.

    I'd post these in the Popfly forums, by the way, if I was able to, but whenever I try to post a new thread on any MSDN forum I just keep getting referred to the "You have been succesfully logged out of the forums" screen.

    All in all, though this looks very promising. I don't remember the Popfly Alpha being this polished.

    Johannes wrote:
    I think performance problems are mainly caused by silverlight 1.1.


    I doubt it. If you play the game outside the editor, performance is fine. It's probably the diagnostics stuff and the editor UI slowing things down.
  • Bas wrote:
    I doubt it. If you play the game outside the editor, performance is fine. It's probably the diagnostics stuff and the editor UI slowing things down.

    I have an older athlon XP3200 cpu. I played your breakout clone and every collision stops the game for like a quarter of a second and the game stutters throughout. For such a simple game that's a pretty horrible performance. So hopefully it's because of the java script performance of 1.1.
    I think the concept is great. But I would rather have a tool that targets XNA.
  • Impressive, now anybody can build their own game:D the downside is that these 'apps without coding' are always limited in what you can achieve!

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