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Can't code? Make games anyway, with the right tools
Can't code? Make games anyway, with the right tools
December 5, 2012 | By Staff

December 5, 2012 | By Staff
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Programming, Production

In today's Gamasutra feature, artist Jay Weston writes about how he was able to ship his first iOS game with almost no programming thanks to using a Unity plugin called Playmaker, and he details the process.

"My main passion is game design, but without code, you can't make a game, right? With tools like Unity and Playmaker (a visual scripting system for Unity) this isn't necessarily the case," Weston writes.

While he began the game by trying to program it himself, "being the most hopeless coder of all time, progress was slow and infuriating," he writes. "Not only was I trying to get my head around 3D physics and vectors, but also Unity itself, AND JavaScript!"

In the feature, Weston outlines how he used Playmaker to create Unknown Orbit, which launched this week on the iOS App Store.

He adds this important note: "strangely enough I've found that using Playmaker has actually solidified my understanding of things like object oriented design and other programming/design concepts. So I think it can be helpful in learning these concepts as well!"

Have you found any tools that help you make games but limit the need for programming? Read Weston's feature, and then add your comments!

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Benjamin Leggett
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As a programmer, what I need is a "Can't do art/3D modeling? Make games anyway!" article :)

Gustavo Samour
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Chris Hildenbrand posted a multi-part tutorial a while ago:

Lex Allen
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Yeah, I think most of us need that, but there were a few 2D programmer art tutorials posted a few months ago.

Jonathan Jennings
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agreed Benjamin I was curious which is the more frustrating position to be in, to be able to make visually pleasing assets but not have the ability to construct a game around them or the ability to develop a game that will be overlooked for not looking great / containing programmer art . as a programmer i only have experience with the latter

Jay Weston
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I think depending on the platform, having poor art may or may not be that big a deal. Two obvious examples are Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft, although Minecraft has a nice, simple, cohesive style. I think on iOS you can't really get away with poor art, but on PC you can to some extent.

It's really unfortunate though if you're a creative and you'd like to make a game, and all you can do is some concept art or mockups (without Playmaker type tools). There's no way to play your game. If you're a programmer, even if the art sucks, you're actually making/playing/testing the game/concept/prototype.

Emil Johansen
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Caleb Garner
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yea I've got a ton of milage out of GameSalad to make 2d games.. of all the "code free" game engines out there it is by far the easiest to use and make things happen. I've tried game maker, stencyl, media fusion and probably some others.. and they all felt weird and not as intuitive as GameSalad.

however i would love to explore games made with unity3d and try some 3d stuff. So this is really exciting. I bought the game and yea pretty slick. its like tiny wings taken to a whole new extreme

Ramon Carroll
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have you tried construct 2?

Breno Azevedo
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Not to mention that a prototype is the shortest path between your vision and an external coder, if you want to later optimize things or hire a coder from the east. Playmaker is amazing, I've even used it for a 48H Ludum Dare with our vector art system (RageTools), the iteration speed was simply incredible.