Getting Constructive with Construct 3
Last week we highlighted a great post from Sarah Jeanne Sexton, Getting in the Xbox One Game with GameMaker Studio, where she shared a great zero-to-hero getting started with GameMaker Studio post, Demystifying GameMaker Studio.
This week Sarah is back, this time with Construct 3...
Construct 3 allows you to easily make games for HTML websites, and export to all kinds of platforms. It's free, fully contained in-browser, and no installation required, so it works on Macs too! Construct 2, also made by Scirra, is a downloadable program (for Windows only) that works in much the same way as Construct 3.
Both Construct 2 and 3 come with incredibly useful tutorials that I highly suggest following, as well as a few example games that you can tweak to get the feel of it. Scirra also has additional tutorials that are incredibly helpful, and if you need help on a specific niche issue, the Scirra Forums provide a lot of assistance, guides, and plugins.
Let's get started making your first game. We'll be making a Snowball Fight demo game. You'll learn everything you need to know to make a simple game!
SEE THE FINISHED GAME
Then you can see what we're aiming for: a player who looks at the mouse, moves with the arrows keys, and shoots monsters with the mouse.
Let's add the objects our game will need. The first is the background.
ADD THE INPUT OBJECTS
Double-click in a space (this can be anywhere since the tiled background is locked) to add another new object. This time, select the Mouse object, since we'll need mouse input. Do the same again for the Keyboard object.
THE GAME OBJECTS
It's time to add our game objects! Here are your images - save them all to your computer as you did before with the background image.
Behaviors are quick ways to make an object act a certain way. You can usually do the same in events, but behaviors are much quicker! Construct has a wide range of behaviors, but here are a few that we'll use in this tutorial.
HOW TO ADD A BEHAVIOR
Let's add the 8 direction movement behavior to the player. Click the player object to select it. In the Properties Bar, notice the Behaviors category. Click the Behaviors link there. The Behaviors dialog for the player will open.
CREATE SOME MORE MONSTERS
Holding Control, click and drag the Monster object. You'll notice it creates another instance. This is simply another object of the Monster object type
First, click the Event sheet 1 tab at the top to switch to the Event Sheet View. A list of events is called an Event sheet, and you can have different event sheets for different parts of your game, or for organisation. Event sheets can also "include" other event sheets, allowing you to reuse events on multiple levels for example, but we won't need that right now.
DISPLAYING THE SCORE
To display the player's score, we'll use a Text object. However we want to display it on a fixed position on-screen. The view follows the player, and we don't want the score to disappear as the player walks away! To fix this, we'll need to add a new layer.
We're nearly done. Let's add some final touches.
Firstly, let's have some monsters regularly spawning, otherwise once you've shot all the monsters there's nothing left to do. We'll create a new monster every 3 seconds. Add a new event:
Congratulations, you've made your first game in Construct! If you want to show off your work, use Menu►Project►Export. You can publish to the Scirra Arcade, or upload to your own web server with the Web (HTML5) export. There are other platforms you can publish to, but you will need a subscription to access the full features of Construct 3.
You've learned some important basics about Construct: adding objects, using behaviors, events, layers and more. Hopefully this should leave you well prepared to learn more about Construct!
THE FINISHED THING
Click here to open a finished project for the Ghost Shooter tutorial in the Start Page. It's the same top-down shooter concept with some extra features added in, like "Game over" text, different art assets, and monsters which gradually speed up. There are also lots of comments (simply notes you can add above events) describing how it works.
The goal of this blog post is to pass on technical knowledge and to make games development easier for beginners new to the world of programming. I hope that I’ve done a good job of Demystifying Construct 3!
If you have any requests for other game engines, or wish to share tips and tricks of your own, hit me up on Twitter at @Saelia. Thanks for reading, and keep on building!!