Just reviewed "Construct 2 Game Development by Example"!

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:22 pm

Packt asked me to review Construct 2 Game Development by Example and I did for my blog. You can read my review here:

http://firefoxosgaming.blogspot.com/2014/09/construct-2-game-development-by-example.html

The book is a bargain if you get the eBook from Amazon for $16. It is aimed at beginners, but actually walks you through three games in great detail. I especially was intrigued by his explanation of how to do a Tower Defense game as well as an Angry Birds game.

John Bura is a really good writer and I hope he'll do a more advanced book (or I'll do it if he doesn't). This is a significant book for Construct 2 and you probably know all about it already, but I thought I would share my blog post. Thanks!
Last edited by Bob Thulfram on Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:11 am

Great review. I've always wanted the book but unfortunately I can't afford one at the moment. But that's a brilliant insight thank you.
"The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum." - Adlai E. Stevenson
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Post » Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:36 am

On the Tower defense game does it have a few levels (IE a level with quite a few enemies) and does it work well on a mobile?

I would buy it for that alone, I recently tried making my own Tower defense game and it was going ok but ran way to slow on mobile.

Thanks
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Post » Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:17 am

Thanks for the comprehensive and detailed review! It made me get Bura's book and I am sincerely enjoying it.
On the other hand I have to say I completely disagree with your analysis of the other Construct 2 book available (Dillon's) and I found your comments quite superficial and kind of disrespectful so I'd like to offer my own comparison about the two.

A disclaimer here: I currently am an IT student at JCU and I attended Prof. Dillon classes so I can say I know him and his teaching approach quite well and, while Construct 2 is not part of the official curriculum here, I am using it for my final year project.

Both books teach Construct 2 by explaining 3 full games. Bura's has a shooter, a tower defense and a physics puzzle while Dillon's has a shooter, a platformer with physics and a sliding tile puzzle.
Bura's set is clearly more trendy (that's why I think you enjoyed them more) but I actually found the second group more instructive since the whole creative process is explained in detail, referencing classic games and drafting out a simple game design document for each.
Note also that Construct 2 already comes with a well explained template for both Tower Defense and Physics Puzzle games so these are very easy to cover once you know the basics. To me, the other set of games felt more unique and as good as the others to learn the ropes of the engine, especially the sliding puzzle which is relatively complex.

I think both books are excellent in their own right: Bura's a typical Packt book. You known exactly what you get: excellent step by step tutorials to learn a game creation tool. No more, no less.
Dillon's work instead is unique in its own right and is a more ambitious project that wants to be a single volume introduction to indie game development. It tries to go beyond the mere teaching of a game engine and uses it to explain a possible way to think about game design, covering also theoretical aspects like the AGE and 6-11 Frameworks and the "One Page GDD" as proposed by Maxis/EA Creative Director Stone Librande.
I loved these approaches to game design and they are helping me a lot, but you need to face these with an open mind so I can understand they may not be for everyone.

In the end, if you just want to focus on Construct 2, Bura's is a great book. If you want to learn more about game development in general by using C2, Dillon's can be an eye opener.
If possible, get both!
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Post » Mon Sep 22, 2014 1:31 pm

I was considering HTML5 Game Development from the Ground Up with Construct 2 by Roberto Dillon, but you pointed out something that was bothering me. Dillon talks about his games. I get a feeling the book is practically about his games. I will take your advice, I go for John Bura's book -- thanks.

On a side note, there are lots of books for Game Maker and other engines, but have you noticed that there aren't many books (just the ones mentioned in your review) on C2?
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Post » Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:43 pm

Lots to reply to. Sorry, I've been traveling!

@Neller Here's the outline for the chapter on Tower Defense:

Chapter 6 - Making a Tower Defense Game
Starting the project
Creating a spawn point
Laying out the level
Setting up the turrets
Adding enemies and projectiles
Rotating the turret
Firing the turret
Setting up the path for the enemy
Setting up an enemy wave

As you can see, it's just one level, but I feel like adding more levels is easy enough. It told me enough to make me feel like I could do a tower defense game in Construct 2 pretty easily. He does explain how to do touch with the TD sample, so I think you could do it with mobile.

@tordonero I feel bad if I sounded disrespectful about Dillon's book. I certainly think that it was a huge amount of work and I think it is worth reading. Especially since there aren't a lot of Construct 2 books out there! You gave me a clue when you said that you had taken classes from him. For whatever reason, I've tried to read the book a few times and I just can't seem to connect with the writing. This just happens with me and some books. Oddly enough, I've watched several video lectures of John Bura, so I do connect with him.

But as @frn2000 and @tordonero point out, Dillon is more about game design and Bura is more about using Construct 2 for well-known game types. I've bought nearly every game programming book I have ever seen (starting in the 8-bit days) and I always seem to care more about being told how to program a game I already know. What if I don't like Moon Wolf, Kitty & Katty, or Turkey on the Run (Dillon's games)? They don't seem to be interesting but they could be great games. But I didn't feel that when I read his books. Whereas with Bura's Shooter, Tower Defense, and Angry Birds, I have played that type of game and had actually been looking for a TD game sample. Now if someone would just write a book on how to do a RPG in Construct, I'd be happy (or should I do it myself?).

I guess I'm saying that I'm more interested in nuts and bolts, not concepts. I am definitely recommending the Bura book, but I'd say that the Dillon book just didn't grab me but someone else might like it. You can go to amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IZL9O4O and read the TOC and index and see if you might be interested. Again, no disrespect meant, and I know all too well how much work goes into any book!
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Post » Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:02 am

I just bought So You Want to Be a Game Designer!: A Balanced Book of Practice and Theory by Merijn de Boer (http://merijndeboer.com/) because it was only $5 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GV4O9LK/). I'm surprised at the amount of information in it for a beginner's book, not only on C2 but on game design in general.
Bob Thulfram wrote:Now if someone would just write a book on how to do a RPG in Construct, I'd be happy (or should I do it myself?).

Regarding the RPG, @Ashley wrote somewhat of a tutorial early this year that could be the start of an RPG book.
https://www.scirra.com/blog/142/make-online-multiplayer-games-with-construct-2
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Post » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:33 pm

Bob Thulfram wrote:@Neller Here's the outline for the chapter on Tower Defense:

Chapter 6 - Making a Tower Defense Game
Starting the project
Creating a spawn point
Laying out the level
Setting up the turrets
Adding enemies and projectiles
Rotating the turret
Firing the turret
Setting up the path for the enemy
Setting up an enemy wave

As you can see, it's just one level, but I feel like adding more levels is easy enough. It told me enough to make me feel like I could do a tower defense game in Construct 2 pretty easily. He does explain how to do touch with the TD sample, so I think you could do it with mobile.


Thanks, Yeah I have actually started one myself and it was going ok (with touch controls and such) , but the frame rate when I started using quite a few enemies and turrets on a mobile dropped to like 10FPS

So I was mainly wondering if in his example it had quite a bit going on but the frame rate (on mobile) stayed 'ok'

I tried all sorts of optimization and everything but mine just wouldnt improve enough.

Thanks again
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Post » Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:19 pm

@Neller, I haven't tried out the Bura code in a production environment and maybe I should for a complete review. Great follow-up: "I tried the code but it only ran at 16fps"....

I think my biggest beef is that there are several ways to do things in Construct 2 but sometimes it isn't clear unless you've read every post and have a brilliant mind (we're looking at you, @Kyatric). I recently wrote a game in Construct 2 (a simple platformer) and several people pointed out better ways to do the same kind of tasks.

I'm going to do some testing.
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Post » Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:29 pm

frn2000 wrote:I just bought So You Want to Be a Game Designer!: A Balanced Book of Practice and Theory by Merijn de Boer (http://merijndeboer.com/) because it was only $5 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GV4O9LK/). I'm surprised at the amount of information in it for a beginner's book, not only on C2 but on game design in general.
Bob Thulfram wrote:Now if someone would just write a book on how to do a RPG in Construct, I'd be happy (or should I do it myself?).

Regarding the RPG, @Ashley wrote somewhat of a tutorial early this year that could be the start of an RPG book.
https://www.scirra.com/blog/142/make-online-multiplayer-games-with-construct-2


I just went over to Amazon and bought the book. Worth the $5 for sure! The book explains lots of things about game design (but in a way I could easily skip through) and does go through in detail how to do Pong, Brick Breaker, and Asteroids. Definitely cool. Thank you, @frn2000, for the tip!

I'll look at Ashley's tutorial, but I think it is time I tackled this. As soon as I get back (I'm still on the road), I'll start working on it. I'm still 50/50 on the fence about whether I should write it in raw HTML5 or Construct 2, but maybe I can prototype in Construct 2 and then do a later version in raw. I'll probably continue to do things in my Firefox OS blog first.

By the way, I noticed something very strange. When I went to look up something about Construct 2 and Googled "Construct 2" my review on my blog came up very high (5th) overall, but as some kind of Google+ listing https://plus.google.com/+BobThulfram/posts/Ff2o268xaUK. I still have no idea how Google+ works, but it's nice if it promotes Construct 2!
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