- No prior programming or Stencyl experience required.
- People completely new to Stencyl and programming in general, who wish to get started in the game development process.
In this course, participants will learn the basics of using Stencyl, a 2D game development software with support for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and HTML5. Stencyl features a drag-and-drop interface to create code, a homage to the successful MIT Scratch project, allowing people from any background and any age to start making their own games.
After a tour of Stencyl’s interface, participants will tackle a series of challenges as they learn about the elements that make up a game, such as actors, scenes, events, and variables, culminating in the creation of a game at the end of the course, with a focus on code reusability and versatility.
This curriculum will incrementally expose students to key concepts of game development and how they are used in Stencyl. Each lesson builds off of the previous, with students expanding game projects that are used throughout the course, from hard-coding values to reusable and customizable code, with a focus on best practices. It includes:
- Introduction to Stencyl
- Logical Thinking
- Design Mode Programming
- Variables and Coordinate System
- Behavior Customization
- Changing Scenes and Value Persistence
- Creating Resources
- Actor Instances
- Best Practices
Game development is both a logical and creative endeavor. One can imagine a plethora of game ideas, to then write all the required logic to make those ideas a reality. Students will be asked about their favorite games, and how each concept learned is applied to the games they play. Seeing how features of their favorite games work will then feed their creativity to try new things. The game development process then becomes a challenge: to give life to creative gameplay ideas through the logical programming process.
Each lesson starts with a discussion about a key aspect of programming and how it is used in Stencyl. After a demonstration of the concepts in action, students will receive an activity prompt, where they will apply the new material into an existing Stencyl game, to be done under supervision during the lesson.
Each activity contains detailed instructions on what to do, with visual aids and explanations when relevant. This lets students see the concepts in action, as well as gives them hands-on experience with implementation. Every activity builds off of the result of the previous lesson, allowing the students to see how their games grow along with them.
Once they’ve reached a certain level of understanding, students will be shown tutorial videos that further explain and demonstrate specific programming challenges.
Outside the lessons, students will be asked to complete the lesson activities by themselves and provided with the resources to do so, which includes the activity prompt itself, a Stencyl project file, and any audio or visual resource the activity may require. They will also have access to quizzes, to further solidify their understanding of the material. Existing video tutorials will also be made available.
The course’s final project is the creation of a game entirely from scratch, with minimal use of pre-made resources. Students will be evaluated based on the best practices explained during the course, and on the versatility of their code – in other words, how easy is to expand the game thanks to the reusable behaviors they make.
By completing this course, students will know how to navigate Stencyl’s interface with ease and will be able to explore the possibilities of design mode on their own. They will also be equipped with the knowledge to venture into more advanced topics through existing resources. Furthermore, the logical thinking skills acquired in this course can then be applied in the everyday life and in future programming endeavors, be they in Stencyl or otherwise.