It’s hard enough to assemble a team of people who have the skills to create all the pieces that are necessary for a complete game, and even harder assembling all those assets into a final product that’s polished for the world to play and enjoy. Depending on what genre of game you wish to make your software options can vary massively, but if it’s an adventure game you have your sights set on then there’s a great solution for your needs: Adventure Game Studio.
Adventure Game Studio Features
This is a game engine that focuses on a specific genre. If you were a fan of point and click adventure games in the 1990s like Myst, Grim Fandango, 7th Guest, and Toonstruck – or recent ones like Machinarium – then this software is worth exploring. Back in April of 2011 it received its latest update that included a completely redesigned Windows based (Integrated Development Environment) IDE to help make the software even easier to use, with source control integration with tools like Sourcesafe and Perforce.
As for actually creating your game from scratch, you’ll need to learn a very basic scripting language that’s similar to Java and C# in style. Your game will be setup with a point and click editor but all of the events and player inputs will need to be handled with minimal coding. Here’s the list of the most important features that Adventure Game Studio (AGS) contains:
- Hardware accelerated Direct3D graphics driver capable of graphically intensive games.
- Software graphics driver still supported for those running program on older systems.
- Graphics filters allow you to easily scale up low-res games to run on modern systems.
- Integrated debugger to help you step through script and easily trace down the source of errors.
- Choose from 256-color, 16-bit color, and 32-bit color, with Alpha blended sprites supported in 32-bit color games.
- Screen resolutions of 320x200, 320x240, 640x400, 640x480, 800x600, and 1024x768. Your game can be run full-screen or in a window.
- Support for sound files such as OGG, MP3, WAV, MOD, XM and MIDI files. Also options for ambient location dependent sounds, automatic footstep sounds, multiple sound channels, and crossfading between music tracks.
- Can play cutscene videos using OGG Theora or standard Windows files such as AVI and WMV.
- Easily create talkie games if with speech compiled into a single data file.
- Easy inventory management thanks to an items editor that uses simple Give and Lose commands during the game.
- Graphical User Interface (GUI) and mouse cursor fully customizable with user made GUIs available for download.
- Can create NPCs (Not Playable Characters) who roam the world that each have their own inventory and can be smoothly scaled and lit in different areas. 2, 4, and 8 directional walking animations are supported. Multiple player characters, such as in Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle, are possible too.
- Scrolling rooms are supported by simply importing an image larger than the screen resolution.
- Lucasarts style conversation system available, as well as Standard Sierra GUI template.
- Translations of your game to other languages are easy to make, and can be distributed separately as add-on packs.
- Plugin system which allows more advanced developers to add extra functionality to AGS.
- Compile your game into a single EXE file with a custom icon for distribution. Digital music and voice samples can also be compiled into separate files to allow for optional downloads.
- The game script is compiled to byte-code when you save the game, to maximise the speed of the engine.
- Game save and load features, automatic pathfinding, sprite mirroring, walk behinds, hotspots, objects, cutscenes, animations, timers, and many more features.
Even though it was released back in 1997 at the height of the genre it caters to, its most recent update came in April of 2011, so it’s still a viable option for most Windows users. However, not all Mac OS and Linux users will be able to run it. You should check the download page to see which version is best for you, but first check out the detailed tutorials section that contains tons of helpful tips and informative screenshots (especially the first tutorial) of how the software can be used.