Adventure Game Engines

I’ve always been interested in game development-but unfortunately was not gifted with a programmers brain! When it came down to the technical know-how, to turn something in my mind into something interactive, I just drew a blank.

Luckily for me, my brother has a programmers mind, making us the perfect development team and exposing me to the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of game development for quite a few years.
But thanksfully, over the years there have been quite a few companies who have seen this gap in the market, and have made either their tools available for developing game content, or actually created software for making any sort of game with pretty simple scripting languages.
Now Im not going to go into the game engines, and editing software out there-but I do wanna point out some of the engines available out there for creating an Adventure Game. These are the 3 engines I seriously considered when first designing STASIS.
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ADVENTURE GAME STUDIO: http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/
Adventure Game Studio allows you to create your own point-and-click adventure games, similar to the early 90’s Sierra and Lucasarts adventures. It consists of an easy-to-use editor to create your games, and a run-time engine to play them.
The game interface is fully customizable, with classic Sierra and Verb Coin templates provided by default. AGS manages most of the game so that you don’t have to – it does all the donkey work like load/save game functions, pathfinding and scrolling rooms so that you can concentrate on the parts of your game that make it unique.
Set up your rooms, characters and sprites visually in the editor, then add some script to handle game events and you’re done! You can even create a standalone EXE file containing your entire game, which you can then distribute to your adoring fans worldwide.

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I really liked AGS. It was really simple to use, and the games instantly had that retro feel to them. Some of my favorite adventure games are created directly in them, such as Yahtzees ‘Chzo Myhtos series’ (5 Days a Stranger, 7 Days a Skeptic, Trilby’s Notes and 6 Days a Sacrifice.). My biggest problem with AGS was that is IS very limited to creating older, retro looking games. I wanted to create a very rich, atmospheric world, FILLED with highly detailed areas to explore. So I left AGS as a ‘last resort’, and figured I could always adjust my vision for the game if necessary.
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WINTERMUTE: http://dead-code.org/home/
Wintermute Engine Development Kit is a set of tools for creating and running graphical “point&click” adventure games, both traditional 2D ones and modern 2.5D games (3D characters on 2D backgrounds). The kit includes the runtime interpreter (Wintermute Engine, or WME) and GUI editors for managing and creating the game content (WME tools) as well as the documentation, demonstrational data and prefabricated templates.
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I enjoyed playing around with the Wintermute engine, and its supprt for 3D characters was really a selling point. I actually began planning STASIS useing the Wintermute engine, until I game across…
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VISIONAIRE: http://www.visionaire-studio.net
Visionaire is a tool that makes the creation of graphical adventure games very simple. The only thing you need is some creativity and imagination, and after a bit of playing around with the program you will soon see your first results! The main purpose of Visionaire is to empower fans of adventure games to create their own games, without requiring extensive programming skills. Therefore Visionaire provides a huge set of existing “Actions” that can be combined in all imaginable ways. This allows people to develop there own games without writing a line of code.
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Just a few hours of playing around with Visionaire, and I was hooked. The ability to quickly change graphics on the fly, support of PNG’s, the ability to create the game in much higher resolutions (I’ve tested up to full HD, with no problems), and a very active development team, Visionaire just had everything I was looking for. After a day of use, I already had a working level.
Now I’m definitely not saying that the other engines out there aren’t as good as Visionaire, or lack any features that it has-but just from a workflow perspective, Visionaire suited me perfectly.
It is limited, in that you can ONLY create 2D Adventure Games. No RPG’s, FPS’s, or plat formers. But I didn’t want that…I wanted to create a ‘classic’ 2D Adventure Game, with high end graphics-and that is EXACTLY what Visionaire has allowed me to do.
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So there you go! Just 3 options here, but there are a TON of other adventure game engines out there-any many game engines that will allow you to create any game you can think of.
-Chris