Here at AppStorm, we review many games throughout our various networks. From Mac games to iPhone and Android games, we can’t help but to give some love to the gaming culture. With the recent addition of Game Dev to the Tuts+ network and our own Gaming Month here at Mac.AppStorm, we decided to review an app that isn’t a game, rather, a game creator: GameSalad.
GameSalad is an application that allows you to create games for a variety of platforms. So in essence, this app can help you create your first game in no time. If you are an indie game developer or someone interested in creating a soon-to-be iOS smash-hit, GameSalad is probably the best and easiest way to get your hands dirty and let your creativity run wild.
What is GameSalad?
In a few words, GameSalad is a game creator tool that grants you the ability to develop games across many platforms without ever writing a single line of code. Cool, right?
That is just scratching the surface of GameSalad, though. The power behind the app allows you to easily create games for iOS, Android, HTML5, and Mac without ever having to worry about porting them over and over.
Although GameSalad strives to be easy and accessible to anyone out there, it is good to note that this application can get extremely complex. The games you can develop may not be Diablo III, or Call of Duty grade, but that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to just a few things here and there. On the contrary, GameSalad can help you create the next big thing on the Mac App Store
probably giving us a chance to feature your game here!
How Does It Work?
It is kind of hard to tell you how GameSalad works without transforming this review into a full-blown tutorial, but here is a small rundown:
When you start, you’ll first be asked if you want to create a blank game, start with a template, or open a saved file. When you are ready to create your game, you’ll be taken to the Game Creator. There, you can choose the platform your game will play on, input a name, description, instructions, and tags for your game.
Once you are done with that, you’ll move on to the Scenes tab. There you can add Scenes which are basically the different screens and scenarios or levels your games will have. For example, one scene will act as your intro screen, the other will function as your main menu, while a third will be the game itself.
After that, you have the Actors tab. Actors are basically anything that exist within Scenes. (Yes, there is quite a few keywords used by GameSalad, so the manual will really help you out.) These Actors can range from buttons, controls, and backgrounds to enemies, player characters, and visible (or invisible) objects. They (as well as Scenes) can be edited separately. You can give them names, colors, actions, and more.
GameSalad’s Key Features
To shed more light on the things you can accomplish with this app, let’s take a look at some of GameSalad’s key features.
No Coding Necessary – This is perhaps the biggest promise GameSalad will give you. Aimed for designers without much or any coding knowledge, the ability to create games without having to worry about code is both satisfying and encouraging. The editor gives you an immense variety of options to bring your dream game to reality, so you won’t need to spend months writing code.
Testing – GameSalad comes with the GameSalad Viewer that allows you to play and test your games on all your devices in order to polish your game
free of any bugs, that is. But that is not it. While you can test all your games across devices, you can also test them right from the GameSalad Creator. Additionally, you can test your game on Safari.
Publishing – Some of you will love GameSalad for this feature alone. And why shouldn’t you. It is not only intuitive, but it also saves time and effort. Basically, this feature let’s you publish your game to the GameSalad Arcade with the push of a button. You can also publish your game directly to the web, Mac, or any iOS device (and Android if you have the Pro version). There is more, though. If you need to update your game, you’ll be able to push that update with ease. Once your update is pushed, GameSalad will take care of the rest and automatically update your game no matter where it is embedded.
The GameSalad Community
Even though GameSalad let’s you develop a game without writing one line of code, there is one down side to it. GameSalad can be outrageously intimidating. With ton of options, menus, features, and complexities that power the app, getting into GameSalad is no joy ride. But that applies to any application, really. I mean, if you give Photoshop to someone who has never heard of it, they will most likely be intimidated by the sheer amount of features Photoshop processes. This is true with GameSalad as well.
This is where the GameSalad Community comes in. If you give the same person Photoshop and a link to PSD.TutsPlus, he or she will probably be able to conjure up something pretty sweet. With GameSalad, you have a great deal of documentation, help, boards and video tutorials at your disposal. There is absolutely no excuse to not try it out.
Oh, and if all fails, just play around with the app’s options. Hitting the wrong thing isn’t the end of the world.
Nope, GameSalad is not the end all be all game creation application, but, it does empower you with everything you need to create a sweet iOS game. While, yes, GameSalad can be a little complex as you get more into it, this app is still a sweet tool to have if you want to create mobile games without knowing how to code. That by itself is reason alone for aspiring game designers to take a look at this great application.