Create your First Computer Game with Stencyl
3.8 (101 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
5,372 students enrolled

Create your First Computer Game with Stencyl

With no previous programming or game design experience, build your own amazing 2D games in just a matter of hours!
3.8 (101 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
5,372 students enrolled
Created by Richard Sneyd
Last updated 10/2014
English [Auto]
Current price: $27.99 Original price: $39.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 6 hours on-demand video
  • 2 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • By the end of this course, you will be capable of creating your own 2D games
  • You will learn to build logic in a visual interface, skills which are transferable to traditional programming if & when you choose to take that step
  • You will learn to create your own sprites with Photoshop
  • You will have acquired a skillset which, in the near future, will allow you to publish your creations to Windows Desktop, Windows 8, Mac OS, IOS & Android
Course content
Expand all 42 lectures 05:48:16
+ First Steps: Getting Setup
4 lectures 16:36
Welcome to this Introduction to Game Design with Stencyl. This video explains who the course is for, & exactly what you will get out of it. Everything you see in this video, you will learn how to build on this course. No exaggerations.

Please remember: Always maximize the videos, to get the most out of them.

Preview 01:03

A general overview of the structure & focus of the course. Don't miss the Game Resources zip folder attached to this lecture. You will need it to complete many of the lessons.

As explained in the lecture, Stencyl is descended from an MIT project known as Scratch, but has grown far beyond it's roots, into a game creation tool which enables anyone with a creative idea and enough determination (coupled with moxy) to create there own 2D games. It's also capable of targeting many of the popular platforms of the day, such as Flash, Mac, PC, Linux, Andriod & IOS.

In the following sessions, you will learn the core skills needed to successfully conceptualise, design & build games with Stencyl.

Preview 08:32

The Udemy interface has changed quite a bit over time, let's make sure everyone knows what they're looking at before we proceed.

Structure of Lessons

This lecture shows you how to get up and running with the latest version of Stencyl. Version 3.1 has now been released, so an in-app update is no longer required, just download, install, and get started!

Installing The Required Software - Stencyl
+ From Concept To Creation: The Design Process
2 lectures 08:52
If you don't know where the finishing line is, you'll never cross it, so plan your game. This lecture with outline, briefly, the major considerations you must make when planning your game. This is a crucial stage of the design process.
Some things to be considered are the the core mechanics, gameplay, aesthetics (in terms of visual & audio style, tone, pace, rhythm etc).

The Importance Of Planning
In this lecture, we'll delineate the basic structure of our game, in terms of gameplay & mechanics. I'm using Photoshop with a Wacom tablet, but for you, pen and paper will do the job just as well. 

Our goal here is to hammer out the functional aspects of the game: we want to know how we'll handle movement, rotation, collision & conflict, health, measurement of success & progress, establishment of goals etc... Then we can start making the game.

The Concept
+ Intro To Stencyl: Starting Our Game
5 lectures 01:14:11

Let's jump in! This lecture will familarise you with the layout of the Stencyl game tool. Don't rush through this. Take some time to get comfortable navigating around the different sections & screens. Then, when you're comfortable, move on to the next lesson, where we'll start building functionality using the blocks language! The resource pack you need is attached to this lesson as a .Zip file, under extras. Keep it somewhere safe for all future lessons.

Exploring The Stencyl Environment
Our first look at working with actors, scenes, & writing our own behaviours. Exciting stuff! Remember, you must never rush through a lesson. Take time to absorb the concepts at your own pace. Only move on when you're ready. This way, you will incrementally (but quite rapidly!) build a bedrock of knowledge & core ability.
User Input & Character Movement
Do you remember variables from algebra class? Attributes are different kinds of variables, and you'll be using them from now on when you build games. Every attribute must have a data type. The attribute types in Stencyl are:

Actor Type - A reference to an actor type, not a specific actor in a scene (game level).

Actor - A reference to a specific actor in a scene (game level).

Region - a reference to a specific region in a scene. Can be created in the scene editor, and assigned to the attribute, or in code.

Animation - A reference to a specific animation on the actor. Animations are edited in the appearance tab in the Actor editor.

Scene - A reference to a scene in the game.

Number - Can be any numeric value, a float, an integer etc. Some examples of acceptable values: 1, -5000, 40, -49.389, 12.497

Text - Can be any combination of characters on the keyboard - words, sentences, names, paragraphs.

Boolean - Can be either true or false. Use the true and false blocks in the conditional category to change the value of this attribute at various points in your code.

Color - a reference to a colour value.

Control - a reference to a control. Controls are set-up in the game settings window, under the controls tab.

Sound - a reference to an audio file, which can then be triggered in code when something happens.

List - a list is a special attribute which holds references to multiple things. Like a shopping list. Can be useful in accomplishing certain programming tasks. These can also be called Arrays.

Effect - a reference to a visual effect, which can be applied to an actor. Effects can be edited in the effects tab, in the actors category of the blocks palette. 

Font - a reference to specific fonts. Any font you want to use in Stencyl must be imported as a resource first.

Actor Group - a reference to a collision group. Collision groups are set-up in the game settings window, through the groups tab.

Game Attribute - used to keep track of global values, such as player score, number of lives, current level etc... these can then be saved, and reloaded the next time the player starts the game.

Understanding Attributes (AKA Variables), & Creating the Enemy Actor

In this lecture, you'll learn to take Input from the mouse, and utilise some basic trigonometry (don't panic, I'll explain it) to make the PC (Player Character) look at the mouse.

Trigonometry is the mathematical discipline which concerns itself with angles & triangles. Sin, Cos, Tan mean anything to you? Well don't worry, we only need to click together a few fundamental blocks to get the result we're looking for. Stencyl makes trigonometry pretty easy.

If you're curious about more advanced Trigonometry, I've included an external link, which provides additional information on the topic.

Character Rotation: Looking At The Mouse
All games contain conflict of some kind. This may not necessarily entail violence - very few people would say that tetris is a violent game - but all games must require effort on the part of the player to achieve a satisfactory outcome. In our game, this takes a fairly literal form, as it does in many popular games: Enemy encounters.
Making Him Shoot (This is fun)
Use this quiz to evaluate your own learning with respect to the basic concepts & techniques covered thus-far on the coures.
Basic Concepts
5 questions
+ Important Concepts Examined
6 lectures 36:19
Events are at the heart of programming game logic in Stencyl, let's take some time to understand them better.

Some common events are: When updating (always), When Starting(Just once at the start), When drawing(used for HUD elements, such as a health bar, or radar), Do Every X Seconds, Do After X Seconds, Mouse Is down, Control Is Pressed etc... There are many others, which will use as well.

We can also create custom events, which can then be called at will. We will be doing this a little later on.

Events Explained
These are the blocks you'll use again and again and again...
The Most Important Blocks
Loops are used to perform multiple, similar tasks a certain number of times. That's something you'll do a lot, so let's get the hang of it. Repeat X Times is the simplest loop to use. There are other, special purpose loops, which are just as easy to work with once you understand the fundamentals of how they work. Some examples of these are For Each Actor On Screen, For Each Actor Of Group etc...
Basic Loops
this is an introduction to how Stencyl handles audio. It's actually very simple, involving the use of just a handful of blocks. You must remember, however, to only use MP3 files.  More detailed lessons will follow.
How Stencyl Handles Audio
Without conditional logic, there would be no game rules and, hence, no game. It's very important but also --you'll be glad to hear -- very easy too. The basic concept is as follows:

If Condition 1 = true, perform task 1, otherwise if condition 2 = true, perform task 2, otherwise...

Creating Conditional Logic - If Statements

In general, we'll be writing our own behaviours, because we need to learn how they work, and how to fix them if they stop working. You should be aware, however, that there is a built in behaviour library in Stencyl, which we can leverage once we've learned the basics of how they function internally. In this lesson, we'll take a quick look at where they are, and how to add them to a scene or actor, depending on the behaviour type.

The Behaviour Library
Intermediate Concepts
6 questions
+ Creating Your Own Game Art (Sprites and Sound FX)
3 lectures 23:51
Go get yourself the 30 day free trial of Photoshop CS6, if you don't already have a copy. This isn't a Photoshop course, but I'll teach you enough to work with the resources and create your own game assets.

If you can't get  your hands on a copy of Photoshop in the long-term, don't panic. There are plenty of free & open source solutions out there. In fact, Stencyl ships with a default image editor, Pencyl, which isn't have bad. Other options are GIMP, Paint.NET etc...

Also, an older version of Photoshop, Photoshop CS2, is available for free download from the Adobe website! 

Downloading the Free Trial of Photoshop CS6
An overview of the Photoshop CS6 layout & interface. This is not a Photoshop course, but I will teach you enough to start making some sprites for your games. There are plenty of learning materials available online if you wish to further your understanding of Photoshop. I've included some external links to aid you in that pursuit, should you be interested.
Introducing Photoshop CS6
We already have a crosshair in the resources, but let's make our own to get used to spriting with Photoshop. This will provide you with some basic spriting skills, which you will need to develop further if you wish to create your own game art. If you do not consider yourself to be an artistic person, that's fine! Just work with someone who is.
Creating The Crosshair
+ Developing Core Functionality
11 lectures 01:43:02
Now let's give your enemies little brains so they can move around the screen. We're going to create a 4 way wander behaviour.
Basic AI
Let's make the camera follow the player. Think it'll be hard? It won't be. 

It requires just one block in the When Starting event: Make Camera Follow Self.

Camera Follow
In this lesson, we'll make our very own crosshair follow the position of the mouse, and then we'll hide the cursor. Remember to maxamise the videos before you watch them!
Adding The Crosshair
Collision groups dictate which actors can collide, & which ones cannot. This is very important, so make sure you understand how to set them up, and how to assign an Actor Type to an Actor Group.
Collision Groups - Setting Them Up
Design is often an iterative process. In this lecture, we'll learn how to update the appearance of an actor with a new, better spritesheet. You will likely be doing this a lot with your own game projects.
Updating Sprites - A Nicer Projectile
The PC (Player Character) can wander out of the bounds of the scene. Let's stop him from doing that. Terrains can be used to do this.

In this lesson, we'll learn how to spawn a new actor, such as an explosion for eye-candy, when another actor dies. Once again, this is something you'll want  to do a lot, so take time to assimilate the process.

Create Explosion On Die
Switching animations based on state is something you'll have to do in pretty much every game you create, so pay close attention to this lecture, as it explains the logic involved in achieving this.

We are going to switch to the walking animation when he is moving (movement keys are pressed) and switch to the idle animation when he is not (the movement keys are not pressed).

Handling Avatar States - Switching Animations
Cannot be pushed can be a useful setting if we wan't to prevent physical forces from knocking our little actor around the screen. An obvious example of where this would be useful is in the case of a moving platform in a platformer game.
Cannot Be Pushed
Let's make the enemy brains a little smarter, using something called a FSM (Finite State Machine). Basically, a state machine is a piece of conditional logic switches between states based on rules within the game. We're going to switch between Enemy Wander & Enemy Pursue Player, based on proximity.
Advanced AI
Debugging is an integral & inevitable aspect of the game development & design process. Let's debug certain parts of our enemy AI. Pay attention to how I'm problem solving: looking for clues as to what's wrong, and testing possible solutions until I find one that works. That's the debugging process.
AI Bug Fix 1
+ Finishing The Game
10 lectures 01:24:42
There would be no conflict, no challenge in the game, if the enemy didn't offer some resistance to our efforts. Let's make him do just that when he's in the pursue player state.
Enemy Shoot
We don't want the projectiles to live forever. This would look messy, and eventually choke the game. so let's tell them to die after a certain amount of time. 
Reminder: maxamise those videos to get the full effect!
Die After X Seconds
A little more bug fixing. Learning to troubleshoot & debug your code is one of the most important skills you can acquire as an aspiring game designer.  You'll be doing it continually, throughout the development process. It can be fun and rewarding though, so don't be scared!
Bug Fix 2
Aren't helicopters cool? Let's add one... This will serve a functional purpose later on in the lessons.
Adding The Helicopter
We need a method of measuring success in a conflict scenario. Health bars for the PC & NPC's (Non Player Characters) will allow us to do this.
Creating Health Bars
Let's start blowing up the place. Creating a somewhat destructible environment can often add to the enjoyment of the player within your game, especially if that destructibility feeds somewhat into the gameplay/functionality of the game. 

In this lesson we'll create explorable crates, the destruction of which allows access to certain areas etc...

Destructible Environment 1

Now, let's blow up the place in a slightly fancier, more sophisticated way. In this lesson, we'll create destructible barrels which generate shrapnel. In a later lesson, we'll create game rules which dictate that when this shrapnel hit's either the PC or an NPC, it causes damage, thus making the destructible object a game mechanic.

Destructible Environment 2

When we have implemented core functionality in a game, the next stage is to refactor that code. That means tidying it up, and making it more efficient, where possible.

Refactoring The Code
This is where we further define rules, and polish our project off as a playable demo.
Game Rules
Game rules continued...
Game Rules 2
Advanced Concepts
5 questions
+ Conclusion
1 lecture 00:43

You've done it! Congratulations! If there is anything in the course that you are still unsure of, I advice you to go back and revise the relevant lectures, until you gain a more firm understanding of it. Beyond that, just start making games! & remember to plan first!

The advanced course is now available for internal, discounted progression for those of you who want to take your skill level from beginner/intermediate to expert/pro.

Preview 00:43
  • A computer, either Windows or Mac, which can run Stencyl. Almost any computer should be capable of this
  • Enthusiasm about the subject
  • Commitment

Note: This course is officially endorsed by Stencyl.

No prior experience is required to take this course. Learning from the ground up, you will acquire all the skills necessary to Design and Create your very own computer games, which can then be shared with your friends, or even published to commercial markets such as flash portals, the App Store & Google play. Using the unique logic block system of Stencyl thought in this Stencyl Course, you will be able to create a game of any genre, quickly and effectively. Please follow through the lectures sequentially, and always maximize the videos to get the most out of them. Among many other things, by the end of the course you will have learned how to:

  • Create a top-down perspective for your game
  • Move characters with the keyboard
  • Easily rotate actors to look at the mouse cursor
  • Spawn and destroy actors in real-time, at will
  • Write simple and advanced AI for non-player characters
  • Design levels using tile-sets and actors
  • Create health bars
  • Implement game rules to determine between success or failure

For the most effective learning experience, it is essential that you pay close attention to each lecture in order, and then complete the task yourself. If you struggle, watch the video again until you get the full sense of the lesson. Get excited, this is a learning experience you'll never forget. Prepare to start making your own games with Stencyl.

Who this course is for:
  • Complete Beginners
  • Hobbyists who wish to create their first production quality, cross-platform title in less time
  • Students
  • Indie Developers, Looking For a Faster Way To Build Multi-Platform Games