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Learn how to jump across platforms, avoid enemies and collect power-ups, for ages 11+

For this guide we’ll be using the FREE online software Construct 3. Construct 3 is the best software to create games. Over 100,000 users monthly make & sell thousands of games globally. From learning the principles of programming, to working as teams, prototyping ideas, publishing, marketing and more. From primary to adult education and everywhere inbetween, Construct 3 is the perfect tool.

What you’ll need to get started

  • Computer with a modern browser (you can do this on tablets, but its easier on a laptop or desktop)
  • An internet connection
Using game creation as a tool for education is one of the most engaging and exciting ways for students to learn a wide range of skills and abilities.

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Making wildlife inspired video games at Fingringhoe Wick.

Get Started

Step 1. Getting setup

First you’ll want to visit editor.construct.net and select NEW PROJECT, you can go with the default settings for now. DOn’t forget to name your project!

The screen infant of you might look confusing but don’t fear, it’ll all become clear in time! On the left we have the properties bar, this displays information of whatever you have selected. On the top right is your project folder, containing all the links to artwork, layouts (levels) and event sheets (where the code lives).

In the middle is your games canvas, and thats where we’ll begin.

Step 2. Adding your sprites

Start by right clicking on the canvas and select INSERT NEW OBJECT and select SPRITE. Now click anywhere on the canvas and the sprite editor will pop open.Theres no need to do any fancy artwork right now, it’s quicker to just used coloured boxes, we can swap them out for cooler artwork later down the line.

When you’ve picked a colour, use the PAINT BUCKET tool to fill the sprite box. To save you just need to click the X in the top right of the pop-up.

 

Step 3. Adding Behaviours

When you add your sprite it appears in the OBJECT TYPE list in your project pane (on the right), try and get into the habit of naming your sprite every time you add one otherwise you’ll end up with sprite1, sprite2, sprite3 etc. and that’ll get confusing quickly! To rename a sprite, simply right click and select rename.

Construct makes it really easy to add platform controls to your sprites. Simply select your sprite and then click BEHAVIOURS in the properties menu. Next, add the PLATFORMER behaviour.

Now, add a new sprite (the same as before – right click on canvas, insert new object etc.) and make this a different colour as it’s going to be our floor. When its on the canvas, you can use the dots around the sprite to stretch it into whatever shape you like.

After naming this sprite FLOOR, add the SOLID behaviour to it and now click PLAY at the top of the screen.

HOORAY – you have a working platformer game!

TIP: You can now drag in FLOOR from the project pane and start to design your level.

TIP: Add the SCROLL TO behaviour to your PLAYER sprite and the camera will follow you as you move around your level!

Step 4. Coding Your Game

Now we want to start adding some code to the game, lets begin with making the game restart when we miss a jump!

To do this we need to navigate to the EVENT SHEET, this is where our code lives. Think of this a big flow chart of every decision you want the game to make.

Start by clicking ADD EVENT, we want the game to do something when our PLAYER leaves the screen, so the PLAYER is the object we want to create a condition from.

Next, scroll down to the condition titled IS OUTSIDE LAYOUT.

Now, the game is saying “if the PLAYER is OUTSIDE LAYOUT” we can perform an action. So, click ADD ACTION and then select SYSTEM – this is where the condition RESTART LAYOUT lives.

Congrats, now your game restarts if you fall off a platform!

Step 5. Adding a Checkpoint

Now we can fly around our level, jumping from one platform to the next. Lets make it so we can progress to a second level!

First off we want to make a new sprite, lets call this GOAL. To get back to the layout, just click Layout1 at the top of the screen or in the Project pane.

Back inside our event sheet, we want to ADD EVENT which says PLAYER – ON COLLISION WITH – GOAL – GO TO NEW LAYOUT.

Now at the moment we only have one level so we can’t progress to a second! The simple fix is to DUPLICATE Layout 1, to do this right click on it in the Project pane and select duplicate.

Double click on Layout 1 and then hit play to test.

Step 6. Adding a Moving Platform

Lets make this game a little more challenging! Moving platforms are a classic in platform games, begin by creating a new sprite. Then you’re going to add the SINE behaviour (as well as SOLID, as this stops us falling through it).

You can then edit the numbers of the behaviour and see how it affects the object! The default makes it slide side to side, but you can make this go up and down, spin, scale – experiment and see what they do!

Step 7. Adding Power-Ups

As well as making the game harder, we can also make it more exciting with power-ups! I’ll show you how to make them collectable so you can hide them around your game for your players to find.

Start by making a new sprite, don’t forget to name it, and then place it somewhere on your layout (either layout 1 or 2, which ever you prefer).

Then, in your event sheet create a new event that tells the game: When PLAYER collides with POWERUP…make something happen! When you select the player as your action, have a look at all the options. In these screenshots you can see we’ve enabled DOUBLE JUMP. But this could also be JUMP STRENGTH or SIZE – whatever is going to work with your game and level design ideas.

Perhaps you need double jump to get over a cavernous gap, or a smaller size to squeeze through a tiny hole.

TIP: To make your game extra cool, you can DESTROY the powerup sprite after you collide with it, to make it look like you have collected it!

Step 8. Adding Enemies

Based on what you’ve done already, you can probably work out how to do this now! So lets add a new sprite, and force the game to restart if the PLAYER collides with it!

TIP: Add the SINE BEHAVIOUR to your enemy to make it extra challenging!

 

Congratulations – you now have a working game, with powerups, enemies and multiple levels! What next? Well, you could start by swapping out some of the prototype artwork for custom made artwork and sound effects. Some sites we find useful are:

  • https://www.gameart2d.com
  • https://opengameart.org
  • https://itch.io/game-assets/free

Signals is not responsible for the content of external sites, please use your best judgement when visiting and especially downloading content. 

The construct website is also full of more excellent tutorials on making games, so visit https://editor.construct.net/#Beginner-Examples for more guides on video game making!

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