The Stencyl Struggle

Stencyl was the struggle! Simply programming your character to walk was actually quite difficult for me. Sure it was a simple thing to do, but I remember asking myself: how do I do it? At first, I thought I only needed to add action animations to make my character  move, but I was wrong. I often ran into problems I could not understand and required the assistance of the oracle to get the job done. I went on the stencyl website and did a couple of google searches until I found what I needed. I was ecstatic that I overcame an obstacle, but now I needed to program my character to jump (ugh!). Essentially, I was caught in this cycle of overcoming an obstacle to be faced with another. Moreover, some solutions would create new problems which made the process of creating a moving character difficult. Eventually my trial and error came to an end when I made my character walk and leap across the platform.

Error message 2.png

A very similar message would show up when I tried to load my level

Aside from the programing of the character, I had difficulties designing  levels. I had to decide if my game levels should be hard, just right, or easy and I often wondered how to determine that.  I made about five different levels and tested them. I found that one of my levels was too basic, another too tough, and two others irrelevant to the game’s theme. I was essentially the Goldilocks of level design. Not to mention, the Michelangelo of level aesthetics whereas I had to make my level attractive. I added some blocks here and there and threw a little color on it, but my level looked quite ugly at first. Nonetheless, after a couple of days my level was practically a piece of art. I gave birth to wonderful picturesque game landscape I hoped my players would enjoy. The grueling process was coming to an end and all I needed to do was wait for my group members to make their levels.

wild king game.jpg

This is an example of a beautiful platform by platform designers

 

After such a long grueling process I did learn to appreciate platform designers in games. I know now that it takes time for them to make the game levels fair. In addition, giving the player an exciting and beautiful platform to hop, walk, and run across. Each intricate detail may take designers a long time to implement and perfect. So I admire platform designers who design for a game series like Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed. In comparison to my little stencyl platform I cannot imagine the frustration they must feel at that level. Platform designers may say to me out of respect, “you think a game on stencyl is a struggle? No, Anthem is the struggle!”

Anthem game.jpg

Anthem, known as one the most realistic games

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2 thoughts on “The Stencyl Struggle

  1. I fortunately did not have the role of platform designer in my group. Your experience sounds highly frustrating, although I’m sure that you felt that sense of accomplishment when you finally built your level after starting from scratch!

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  2. I understand completely what you mean, here! While I wasn’t the platform developer in my interface group, I encountered a lot of this during the Twine game. Keeping track of the various points and divergences and possibilities and story lines was so hard for me! Our group had a shared flow chart that helped us a little, and I had to go through box by box by box to be sure I wasn’t creating any loops or dead ends or incorrect pathways. Like you, I really came to appreciate the hard work of the professional game designers as a result of our small projects.

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