It's never been easier to make your own game than it is in 2013.
This is one of those popular phrases that people trying to encourage youngsters into computer science-related fields like to trot out every so often -- what kind of young geek doesn't want to make a game, after all? -- but there's actually a considerable amount of truth to it. While getting an actual job in the games industry these days is generally dependent on knowing your way around industry standard languages such as C++ or C#, there are plenty of toolsets out there that let you get a game up and running with minimal programming knowledge. Some of them even prove educational to use in the process, getting your brain familiar with concepts such as logic, and encouraging you to think carefully about how to instruct a computer to do what you want it to do.
The latest addition to the wide array of game-making toolsets out there is a curio called Puzzle Script, Rock Paper Shotgun reports. Puzzle Script is the work of one Steven Lavelle, aka "increpare" and the creator of abstract puzzler English Country Tune.
Puzzle Script is an engine that uses HTML5 and consequently creates Web-based games that require no plugins to run. The scripting language itself is very simple and straightforward, and works by you first of all defining "rules" by which the game will work -- what happens when a player runs into a block, how do they move and the like -- and then designing a series of grid-based levels using purely ASCII characters. You can run and test the game in real time while you're fiddling around with the code, allowing you to easily see what's working and what isn't, and the language comes with some extensive documentation explaining how everything works and how to use it. There's also a selection of example files available for you to play and experiment with that shows how flexible the engine is.
The engine isn't without limits, though; Lavelle himself notes that it's "not a general purpose game making tool... not even a general purpose puzzle game making tool, or even a avatar-based turn-based puzzle game making tool" but that it is a tool that might prove "handy" or "enabling" for people, since it's an easy to use solution for those who want to try out some simple ideas without having to worry about coding things like graphics engines and the like. Because the hard work of actually getting the game on screen, reading input and the like is already handled by the Puzzle Script engine, you can concentrate on setting up your game's rules and level designs to make some interesting challenges.
Already a variety of people have started making interesting little games with the engine, including veteran developers such as Farbs (ROM Check Fail, Captain Forever) and Terry Cavanagh (Super Hexagon, VVVVVV, Naya's Quest). Lavelle has set up a Tumblr page to highlight some of his favorite projects, each of which can be previewed as a GIF then played online with no additional downloads required.
Find out more and start making some games on the official site!