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Bladecoder Adventure Engine

When video games first became popular and accessible, it seemed like each new month brought a new gaming genre. Arcade conversions, text adventure games, vertical shoot-'em-ups, horizontal scrolling shoot-'em-ups, platforms, strategy games, and point-and-click adventures all appeared over a few short years. As technology improved, it seemed these game types would be forgotten as progress supplanted them with more engaging and more immersive game types. But this hasn't happened. Instead, many of those original game types have survived and are even flourishing in an age where GPUs perform real-time raytracing and smartphones are millions of times more powerful than the Apollo 11 guidance computer. In particular, 2D graphics are still relevant, remaining popular in platformers, RPGs, and point-and-click adventure games. Even the original Sierra developers returned in the adventure games category, with the successful crowdfunding and release of Thimbleweed Park in 2017 and many similar titles released in the proceeding years.

There's more to the old game ideas than retro gaming and nostalgia. Many of them can be the basis of a modern legitimate title, while hopefully also being easier to produce on modern hardware than the original titles back in the day. The Bladecoder Adventure Engine is a perfect example of this. It's a set of modern tools that help you create interactive graphic adventures, much like Monkey Island or Thimbleweed Park, and it's even being used to create an Android and iOS game called The Goddess Robbery. Using the editor, this and other games can be downloaded and inspected in order to help you learn how to build your own games.

The quality of the games you can produce on Bladecoder Adventure Engine is dependent on the quality of your artwork.

The engine itself consists of two parts: a graphical editor and the background engine for running the resulting game. The graphical editor (Adventure Editor) is where you're likely to spend the most time because it's where your project is created, assets are added, and functionality implemented, all without requiring any programming. Projects consist of one or more chapters containing scenes. Scenes are analogous individual locations, such as the Scumm Bar or Governor's Mansion in the original Monkey Island, and they're core to point-and-click gameplay. The editor enables you to easily import assets, including the graphics for a background, sprite actors for movement, and objects to show, hide, and collect. All of this is tied together by adding clickable areas in the background linked to verbs such as "lookat," "pickup," or "talkto" to perform actions. This is game creation via point-and-click, using the panels around the principal scene window, and the application has more in common with a graphical editor such as Gimp or Krita than an IDE. The end result can be exported and published as a standalone game without any programming or compilation.

There's initially a lot to learn, but there are some excellent example projects, good documentation, and even a few video tutorials to help get you started. It's easier than using Godot or the ancient Adventure Game Studio and could be a great way to get someone into game development who might be intimidated by programming or using something less-graphical. It's also perfect for collaboration because the work can so easily be split into artwork, sound design, script writing, and game design, with an end result that can be shared with anyone, even commercially.

Project Website

Actors and scenes can be fully animated with small previews, and full screen playback is easily accessible.

Multiplayer shooting platformer


When Teeworlds describes itself as a multiplayer shooter, you might be forgiven for thinking it may be a game set in space where you zoom across a star field chasing ships being flown by online competitors. This game, however, is set in the world of a retro, 2D, side-scrolling platformer, and you play as a cartoon smiley face with a gun. The background artwork and animation is similarly cartoon-like, featuring seasonal changes and the usual mix of canyons, snow and ice, and intensely green foliage. You jump and zoom around these levels trying to avoid getting shot while also trying to shoot the other players in the same level. Rather than simply pointing left or right in your direction of travel, the gun angle can be changed as you fly through the levels, helping you aim more accurately. This is an unusual mechanic that can feel a little like playing classic two-player tanks while on the move, but it also requires an additional level of skill as you try and take on all the variables, including gravity, special effects, and bullet type. Another unique element is a Bionic Commando-style grapple or swinging arm that helps you traverse the level like a caffeine-fueled Spiderman, leading to some very unique gameplay.

The multiplayer aspect is core to the game, and there are several online modes to choose between. The most popular are Deathmatch and Capture the Flag – where you hunt down the flag, capture it for yourself, and defend it against your adversaries for as long as you can. This all depends on the popularity of the game online, and thankfully, the game is well established and has a great following. There were over 600 servers when we checked and over 1,200 players playing online, making it easy to find a game. You can also run your own server locally for your own use or as part of the online community, and it's the same for the levels themselves thanks to a super-easy level designer.

Project Website

Teeworlds' license is OSI compliant, but its bespoke wording is closer to a public domain game than we'd like.

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