There have always been projects that aimed to allow regular users to create programs without the need to touch any code. Google, for example, offers the App Inventor for Android that lets you build smartphone and tablet apps by snapping together Lego-like blocks. Construct 2, which officially launched earlier this week (though it is still in beta), promises to let you create HTML5 games without the need to know any programming language. Indeed, after trying the software out for a while (it’s Windows-only for now), it’s clear the developers are on to something.
Getting Started is Easy
The initial experience after launching the development environment is a bit disorienting. You’re dropped into an empty screen without much warning and without any hand-holding. Thankfully, the developers have created a set of very useful step-by-step tutorials that will guide you through building your first game. Unlike some other similar “programming-less” environments, Construct 2 doesn’t feel like it’s holding you back. Instead, it really feels like the developers thought about all the typical elements you would need for a game while still giving you the freedom to experiment outside of the basic confines of side-srcolling shoot-em-ups and jump-and-run games. Sure, you are not going to develop the next Grand Theft Auto with this, but seeing your own little game in your browser is quite a thrill nevertheless.
To see what you can achieve with Construct 2 once you master its intricacies (and maybe manage to draw some pretty sprites as well), have a look at this demo. If you’re not the most artistically skilled member of your family, don’t worry. The application comes with plenty of sound effects, music tracks and sprite packs. It’s worth noting that you can also develop iOS web apps with Construct 2.
Construct 2 comes in three different versions. The free version, available here, comes with a limited set of sounds and graphics packages and only allows you to create up to 100 events and 4 layers (enough for a basic game). The standard version ($32 during the beta phase), doesn’t have any of these limits and comes with significantly more sounds and graphics. If you decide to publish your game and make over $5,000 revenue from it, you need to buy a business license ($169), though you better start working through that beginners tutorial if you want to get to that point.