Game Blocks

Sheldon J. Pacotti has created a toolset for teaching game development, especially  for “constructing non-linear stories, which in my mind comprise more than talk trees and branching conversations.”

The toolset is build on Byob (which is based on Scratch).

Pacotti explains Game Blocks on video:

Download and tutorials available at:

Quick Intro to Spreadsheets for Game Designers

Claire Blackshaw gives brief intro to using spreadsheets in Opinion: Stop Being The Useless Designer – Excel and Formulas.

Excel (and other spreadsheet programs such as Numbers and Open Office) has excellent tools to quick prototype game system behaviors, as Blackshaw points outs.

For prototyping complex behaviors, writing simple computer programs in unavoidable, I think. I have found Python extremely useful for quick prototyping. There are handy libraries for Python to create and analyze simulations; for example, SimPy for creating sumulations and rpy for statistical calculations (rpy requires R). Pygame can be used for creating playabe prototypes.


Chat Mapper

Chat Mapper is a tool for writing branching dialogue. It is free for personal use and indie or commercial licenses are affordable. However, free version does not allow exporting dialogue to xml and use it within a game.

The interface looks nice and how the branching is visualized is great.

The Chat Mapper documentation says that scripting (LUA) can be used to control dialogue flow. This, I guess, means that to use exported xml, the game engine needs to support LUA, at least in the extend used to build logic to the dialogue flow.

Game Engines

For the future reference…

Free game engines for creating point-and-click adventure games:

Commercial game engines for creating 3D Games:

  • Torque3D ( Editor in Windows?; can used to publish for OSX, Windows, Linux, Wii, and XBox360)
  • Unity3D (Editor in OSX; can used to publish for OSX, Windows, Wii, IPhone)
  • Quest3D (Windows only?)

I have only hands on experience with Unity3D. We are using it for building Lies and Seductions, a game relatting to my doctoral research. So far, I am quite happy with Unity3D.