I read the INN forum almost daily and find the discussion interesting. There are a lot of knowledgeable members here with a lot of experience. There are many discussions of “low” code here and what it is exactly. But in all those “low” code discussions, I miss one strong contender: Scirra Construct 3 or shortened C3. In my essay below, I try to give you an alternative insight into “no” code development.
C3 is a 2D game development application running in your browser. It is a very powerful environment based on events and behaviours. In most games, you can program without a single line of code, just using those events and behaviours.
The learning curve is fast, and there are enough tutorials, both video and text, to get you up and running fast. The programming method is very refreshing and innovative. Personally, I have a much closer bond with the game and its characters in this visual environment.
To give you an understanding of how programming in C3 works, I give you here a screen-capture of an event sheet (ignore the left and right panes, only the middle one is important):
At the top of the event sheet, you include other event sheets which are used over your whole game. Then you define your global variables which are used over the whole game. It’s very important to be very considerate here because, like global variables in Xojo, they can bring you in trouble before you know it.
Then you have the group “Initialise” (for clarity, you group as much as you can):
Let’s explain a little:
Look at the left part, which is the condition:
“Initialise” is the group to which the events belong.
Then below that, you have the line “System On start of layout”
We use the “System” object to tell C3 to execute the action on the right every time the layout starts.
Now let’s examine the actions on the right belonging to this event:
Every time the layout starts, those four actions will be carried out.
The first line, “Functions Call FadeIn”, will call the function “FadeIn” inside the “Function” group.
In the following line, the “System” object will set the global variable “bln_g_FullScreen” to “True”. The same for the next two lines but then for other global variables.
These were the “System” objects. However, we can also add events to sprites (prefix spr_) objects. Let’s take a look at the following section, which controls the input of the player:
On the left side, we test the “Keyboard” object to see which key is pressed. On the right, we call the corresponding function, which carries out the action. The application can easily adapt to the wishes of the user.
And to conclude the explanation of event sheets, let’s take a look at the declaration of functions:
Here we define the functions we use in other sections of the event sheets. If you want to make a function “Global” to be used over the whole application, you put it in another event sheet and include that event sheet at the beginning. Simple like that.
Let us take a look at the layout of another game:
In this game, the player has to click a carrot in sequence to finish the game successfully. In the screen capture above, you see the development environment on the left, the properties pane, in the middle, the game design area; and on the left, the Project pane.
Everything inside the Project pane is logically ordered. To make it more clear, here is another screen capture of the Project and Layers pane:
Everything is organized. Like in a drawing application, you can have an unlimited amount of layers, which you can order the way you want.
Now, we take a look at the “Properties” pane for the “spr_Bunny” sprite object:
The important properties are marked with a green rectangle. Especially look at the “Behaviours” which define how objects behave. Let’s take a closer look at the Bunny behaviours:
In the left dialog, you can see the behaviours added to the Bunny object and also can add new behaviour. When you click on “Add new behaviour”, you can select a new behaviour out of the extensive dialog on the right.
Now let’s conclude the C3 tour with a view of the “Animation” editor:
At the bottom are nine animation frames (the blinking animation is out of view). Frame 0 to 7, let the bunny tap its feet when idle. Frame number 8 enables the bunny to blink occasionally when it is idle, waiting for the user. In the “Animation” pane top-right, you select which animation you want to modify. In the “Animation Properties” pane, you change the properties for the animation.
The “Point of Origin” in the middle is essential when placing the Bunny in the game. The “Collision” not used in this game aims to detect collisions with other objects.
C3 is an exciting and powerful game development environment that is almost completely visual. Within a few hours, you are creating your first game. Everything is very intuitive. Also, C3 handles screen sizes, and you can change the viewport in a snap.
When you want to take a closer look at C3 or want to try out C3 with a free version limited to 25 events and 2 layers, you can take a look at the Scirra website:
If you want more, you need to buy a subscription, which is 21.51 USD for personal and 78.42 USD for a business licence for one year. Both are billed annually. For what you receive, both are very affordable.
If you want to create 2D or simple 3D games, Scirra Construct 3 is what you need. It is very stable, doesn’t crash the system and is reliable. It surely is not bug-ridden like Xojo. Also, there are several monthly updates, and bugs are fixed immediately.
Also, their customer care is excellent, which is a must for subscription-based applications. When you have no Internet, you can still use C3 if you log in within seven days.
When you are on the Scirra website, you can also check their very active forums. If your question is urgent and you have a subscription, you can email them.
I hope you find this conversation useful and exciting. I am happy to know your thoughts about Scirra Construct 3.
Have a great day!