More can be read on how
I used Adobe Animate and the rest of the creative suite to bring this
project to life. Creating an interactive museum.
But in essence, it was
Adobe Animate that breathed life into the static imagery and made it
all interactive and fun!
Aside from the topic
Create a point and click game (Graphic Adventure)
This is an example of a game that was designed and developed by me, in AA.
After drawing the level
with a pencil and then proceeded to trim all the artwork in Photoshop
and then bring it all to life in Adobe Animate I playtested this
small graphic adventure with friends and family.
This was a ‘small’ self-initiated project in which I challenged myself to create a one-level game – or to be specific – a graphic adventure in under a month. That included the artwork and the programming on my own.
This E-learning game
was created to make learning fun for young children! Whist traveling
through a set of levels, the player would have to answer questions to
complete the game.
You can read more about how I created an e-learning game inanimate and learn from my mistakes.
You can make a viral game
This game was created
in Adobe Animate – as is the theme with everything listed in this
This game combined a mixture of using animation, artwork, and coding in Action Script 2 to create a twitchy game where the player had to jump over spears.
The purpose of this
flash game was to promote a comic and music score for a client.
(I had no part in the
artwork or the concept of this game – only its construction and its
Using Adobe Animate for ‘Animation’
You can use Adobe Animate for – you got it, creating animations! Adobe Animate is a good tool for creating not only games but frame by frame animations too. You can use tweens and keyframes to create motion graphics.
What you decide to do
with these animations and how you plan to distribute them is down to
You can place these animations on Youtube or publish then to HTML5 – I would strongly advise against using Animate and publishing to.SWF.
The SWF format is
already disappearing and will only continue to diminish in the
I have used Adobe
Animate numerous times in the past to animate characters, typography,
parts of games and many other interactive and moving elements that
sit somewhere between all that is listed above.
animations created in Adobe Animate.
Animated 2D painting created in Adobe Animate
This painting, the one shown in the image below was sent to me as is.
The purpose of
animating this interesting painting of the Yorkshire reservoir was to
capture the attention and drive traffic!
A link to the website can be found at the bottom of this post.
Many of the games and
applications I have used in the past have required me to use Action
Script to make them work. Action Script 3, along with 2 has been
around since Adobe Animate was called Flash.
You can create interactive ‘wound damage’ UI’s
This is an example
interactive project showing what you can make with the time and bit
of Action Script 3.
This is an experimental
piece of work showing a wound gauge that can be applied to a
hypothetical game UI.
About the interactive
The code and ‘states’
are relatively simple to create in principle for this project.
I created create 4 keyframes on the root timeline.
Added 4 Action Script frames above the keyframes
wrote ‘Stop();’ in the ActionScript layer which then enabled application to jump to the next frame when triggered eg – takes damage.
Or, a simple button
In this project, I have also added a ‘Healed’ state at the very end so theoretically if you wanted the player to heal when trigged, it would be the case of jumping the animation to that frame on the timeline.
This would make a great addition to a game UI or interactive adventure.
I have added my last
couple of projects towards the bottom.
You can use Adobe Animate for making video’s
Yes, not only can you just create Animations and make little HTML5 videos or enclosed apps that can be downloaded as part of an Adobe Air Package – but you can also create stand-alone videos and intros.
I have used Adobe Animate to create animated headers on websites, animated videos and intros and also starter clips that have been uploaded to Youtube.
Minor detour alert …
Many years ago, whilst studying, I used Adobe Animate a lot – it was part of my major and it was around this time I was shown a brilliant animation on “Bitey castle” if you have time I would advise paying the website a visit.
I have attached a link at the end of this post so you can look.
Back from Flash nostalgia…
Here are some of the live animations created in Adobe Animate.
Animated Intro – The Gadget Factory
The purposes of this
animated intro were to promote a brand theme – the Gadget Factory
as part of a marketing push to promote a new line of cool, fun and
This 20 / 30-second
clip was created using a variety of motion tweens, keyframes, and
experiments with visual effects to get the desired results.
The still keyframes
below have been pictured to show the animation in action.
I was in two minds as to whether to add this project but I felt as it was so infantile, fun and had a lot of TLC with the design I felt that it deserved some love.
For this project, I created an animated indent for a video clip that was featured at the start of the Kickstarter on the Crowdfunding page.
It was crass.
And it was created in
For the Guess Poo clip,
I animated a character falling from the heaven’s and plopping down
into the dark waters below.
It was arguably
(although fun) too much TLC that the game deserved but hopefully, the
animated clip that was added to the start of the video turned a few
Wondering what programs can you use to create your own games for free?
These 5 game engines you can use for Free are more than capable of creating a polished game whether you are a hobbyist or a small studio.
Below is a list of
items (most tried and tested) which you can use to create your game
whether it is a personal project or something you want to monetise at
a later date.
The 5 Game Engines
What programs can you use to create your own games for free? (in the beginning)
Adobe Animate is part of the Creative Cloud package. Although this application is only free as part of the demo version you can still try and test out your game.
If you like the program
you can purchase the product at a lower cost if you are a student or
Adobe Animate is great for making 2D games and animations which can either be played from your browser or downloaded as a stand-alone application (Adobe Air)
It should be noted, that if you do decide to use Adobe Animate you should avoid publishing your game as a Flash object (.SWF) as this format is becoming more and more defunct with many browsers no longer running it by default. Best avoid this SWF format.
Those are the facts
about Adobe Animate. I will now give some opinions on the program.
Yes, Adobe Animate is a free game maker as Demo and you can create some great 2D games and animations. If you want to get serious with the application, you will have to buy it.
Adobe Animate is great for making 2D games and animations which can either be played from your browser or downloaded as a stand-alone application (Adobe Air)
But, the program
doesn’t get as much love as it used to. In the heyday of Adobe
Animate (which was known as flash then), there were 1000’s of games
being created and published to the internet using this software.
As the years have gone
by newer and *completely free engines have come to the table where
anyone can play and test their games straight after downloading their
game. And you don’t even have to know how to code with some of them.
Adobe Animate is a
great program and the Demo is free but I would consider some of the
awesome modern and powerful options out there before investing your
time in this software.
I will always have
respect for Animate but I have started to find my love with newer
game engines that offer great solutions.
Stencyl is also a free game engine to download.
And, if you don’t like
coding or writing – you will probably like this application more to
create a game.
Stencyl behaves a lot like building blocks when you assemble code and behaviours. The one major frustration I found with using this application to create a game is that it does seem to have it’s technical limitations once you try to get off the starter steps.
Some of the simpler challenges such as creating a cursor in Stencyl (as shown) can be done but I struggled to get it to work with any degree of sophistication. That is not to say that you can’t or won’t – there are developers out there that have created games and monetised what they have made by using Stencyl.
But, this article needs to give a level playing field as to which game engines are great to use and are free.
Unity is a very able program which can create 3D games, 2D, 2.5 D games, platformers – you name it, quite a lot in other words.
The downside is, you will struggle if you cannot code or don’t have a mindset for coding. To get truly great results, you will need to code Unity in C Sharp to make something great.
The one big thing that bridges that knowledge gap (if coding isn’t your thing), is the asset store. It should be noted though that the asset store isn’t a silver bullet.
You can purchase many ‘assets’ and templates to do a lot of the heavy lifting for your game which makes Unity very appealing. There are even some free assets in store which you can use in your can ranging from 3D models to a range of furniture.
If at some stage you start to earn a substantial amount from your game, then you will need to pay the professional fees for the license to use Unity.
Winter Mute Engine is a
fair and free open-source engine that makes full 2D or 2.5 adventure
games. It is a good engine if you want to create some classic
adventures and point and click game as it comes with many of the
tools needed to have a ready to deploy game
You can see examples of what can be created in Wintermute by following this link to the Dead Code website.
In the past, Winter
mute had a very active forum with its active users willing to help
you out as when needed.
In my opinion, the main limitation to using the Winter Mute engine is that is predominately geared towards Windows PCs and general activity around it – isn’t as powerful as some of the others out there.
It should also be noted that if you intend to use Winter Mute you will need to code the game to work.
You can find out
whether Winter mute is the Engine for you. As you can see by some of
the examples you can see at can produce some excellent results with
the know-how and talent.
Unreal Engine, like the
other game engines mentioned in this post, is also free to download
and can create both 2D and 3D games that look like AAA standards.
The great thing with
Unreal Engine – setting aside that it is also free to download the
program is that it can create some spectacular 3D visuals which are
on par with epic games that see released on the Play Station or Xbox.
If you are intending on
creating games with some punchy looking graphics and excellent
lighting effects then Unreal could be the way forward for you.
On a personal level, I can only vouch for how good Unreal is visually and the quality of the games you can produce using this engine. You see an example of what can be created in Unreal here.
I have personally never
developed anything in Unreal – I have just stood on the sideline
and admire what can be created.
5 game engines you can use for free | Summary
I hope that is this
post has offered some insight into what game engines and programs you
can use to start creating your game for free today.
Some of the game
engines are better at certain actions than others and I hope that
this post has cleared up some of the patches of what you can and
can’t do – mostly based on personal experience with using the
Thank you for reading this post about what 5 game engines you can use for free. If you felt that this post was helpful and other game devs would benefit from reading it then do share.
Creating an interactive story, or game can be tricky! This post has been written to show how to make an interactive story game in Flash (Adobe Animate) – described using simple (less non-tectie) methods.
Make an interactive story or, in my case – an interactive museum!
If you are completely new to creating games or making interactive gaming experiences, then I would advise looking posts such as this: creating a STEM game that was also made in flash. This is from another project I worked on in the past.
Flash, if you are unaware is the old name for Adobe Animate. All methodologies and approaches in the post are still relevant today and I am sure will help you in your journey creating a cool story type game!
The short answer: How to make an interactive story game in Flash (Adobe Animate)
Artwork | You will need a graphics creation program such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, I have written a detailed post on the graphics programs which you can read here – creating digital artwork.
Build it | In order to build, or develop your game, you will need to use an engine or a platform such as Unity or Adobe Animate (flash) which is what this post and project as all about!
Publish it | Is that all? Sort of, if you want to make a compelling story game you will need to put a lot of time into making some striking visuals and compelling narrative to carry the player through to the end.
If you are just embarking on making games or interactive experiences, I would also consider using a powerful game creation program such as Unity. Unity is powerful, you can create a range of games types with many off the shelf solutions.
Although, Unity does come with a steep learning curve, so be warned!
The interactive museum in this post was built for a client using Adobe Animate and Photoshop. The steps below outline some of the methods and approaches to creating an interactive project.
Using Adobe Animate to build a game (or museum)
My core training was based around using Adobe Animate to make 2D games, animations, and rich media experiences – it was my major!
Now, I don’t wish to go into the opinions of why or why not to use Animate in this day and age. I will assume for whichever purpose, you either need or want to use the application to build an awesome experience and that is okay! None should judge.
You should know this when you publish with Adobe Animate.
When you publish a game in Animate, it can be created in the following formats and platforms:
.SWF (flash player browser) ( I would avoid this format now due to lack of technical support and accessibility issues) .
HTML5 – can run straight from your browser.
Projector files for both Mac and PC – similar to making regular program or .exe file.
As an app for Android and Apple.
As an enclosed Adobe Air app that can be downloaded straight to the computer.
My interactive project as shown further down in this article was made by publishing as an Adobe Air application and as a browser-based *SWF format. Old yes, irrelevant? Not at all.
The .SWF format or
flash player for browsers to be specific is an old format and I would
now avoid using it.
If you are undecided which is best if you are intending on making a game solely for a browser – use HTML5, WEB GL, or if you download your game, use Adobe Air.
Publishing to Adobe Air applications isn’t the only way to create an enclosed stand-alone program or application. You can use .exe or a mac projector also.
Flash Publishing Plus
You can also download
applications that extend the publishing capabilities of flash.
For example, ZINC will make a neat package for your application although it has now taken its servers offline you can still use the legacy format. MDM Zinc
Edit / note : many of the formats Animate can now output is very much capable enough of fulfilling the duties of these programs listed here. eg. Zinc.
You can also create a DMG on an iMac and pack your items inside it for professional distribution. You can also have a lot of creative license for logos and interface artwork.
On a personal note, I would be inclined to stick with ADOBE AIR. Adobe air comes with more than enough capabilities for packaging distribution for your game – even to implementing your or desktop icons.
Using Adobe Flash (animate) to publish your interactive story game to a browser
The image above is from a slightly older version of Adobe Flash (now Animate) but it shows that it is mostly a case of ticking the publishing formats you wish to use.
If you are skim reading this, I would advise paying close attention to the next paragraph, especially if you are want to put your game on the web.
Using The SWF format and flash player for your game?
The .SWF format is no longer as widely supported as it used to be, especially if you publish it to the web as a flash player. I would advise against using this format in 2020.
You may notice on certain websites a notification box appears on the body of a page asking for you to “run flash player”? That is what now happens if you publish to flash player / SWF. As shown below.
The image here
illustrates the flash player being put on hold until it is enabled by
By publishing to the
flash player with your .SWF object – Instead of your movie, you will
get a hollow grey box and notification.
Using the .SWF object
makes for terrible user experience in 2020 and has done for some time
now. Many people are more likely to hit the back button or just
ignore the interactive content as it needs to be enabled or ‘allowed’
by the user.
And how heartbreaking is that feeling after spending all of your time creating a game or animation? Flash player is now stopped by default by many browsers.
With this in mind, I
would say it is best to avoid a SWF / flash player for the browser.
And, don’t forget how this will also behave on a Smartphone now.
Use an alternative format if you want to display your content or show an animation – such as HTML5 if it is a game. This is all opinion based on what I have seen, learned and what is now professionally advised. You may ignore all this if you wish.
You will need to know ActionScript 3.0 to make your game work in Adobe Animate (sorry!)
Did I mention code? I’m afraid so. If you are not a coder you may hit some hurdles here or need to do some homework – or hire and Action Script Developer! ActionScript is the lifeblood for Flash games.
There are not many ways around not using ActionScript.
Adobe Flash, which was renamed to Adobe Animate a few years back, uses a coding language called Action Script 3 (AS3) to add interaction to games and applications.
Without being able to
code or at least being able to bash some ActionScript together, you
will not be able to create a somewhat sophisticated interactive
project in Adobe Animate.
Making a game or an
interactive experience will require getting into some script, even
just to make a level change, a speech bubble appear or simple player
Interaction in Adobe will require you to program. It is not the hardest language but if coding really isn’t your thing… perhaps consider an alternative means or more visual-based engine?
Or why not just jump in with both feet and find out if you can code?
You can start to learn
Action Script 3 here or by purchasing a cookbook and getting your
teeth sunk into it.
You can find these
types of books on eBay at a relatively low cost.
It should be noted that
if you do decide to buy one of the ActionScript books from eBay I may
get a small commission at no additional cost to you.
The next section of the post covers how I created an interactive museum for the client.
The Client Brief | Promote the museum (interactive experience)
After setting up a
meeting and discussing the budget and the requirements, I set about
what could be done to create an experience that would promote a local
museum in Cornwall.
The website part of the
project was built to inform and educate potential visitors. The
interactive part of the website was built to ‘excite’ visitors and
offer an e-learning experience.
The e-Learning part of
the website is what I have focused on in the article – “How to make
an interactive story game in flash”, or in this instance.
How to make an interactive museum experience that can be played from a web browser.
How I created an Interactive Museum in Flash | The Steps
Being a fan of all things to do with history and using my new found technical knowledge as a graduate, I jumped feet first into this project. This project allowed me to use my imagination and critical thinking to offer an experience that would entertain, entice and educate!
I was thrilled!
It was a challenge, but
a great one to embark on so early on in my professional career.
Designing the interactive museum | pre-development stages
Before opening up flash
or writing a line of code, I sketched down my ideas of what I was
intending to do and proposed it to the client.
After getting approval for the initial design, I started to conjure ways to make this project come to life both visually and technically.
The interactive museum,
which would work similar to a point and click style game or a graphic
adventure would be launched at the same time as the website, which I
The interactive museum was 2 stages – levels – where you could stand at two opposite ends of a large courtroom. This was the main stage of the hall, both in real life and in an interactive experience.
In early concepts, I
toyed with the idea of creating other rooms but with time constraints
and budget limitations, the 2 levels were more than enough and
difficult enough in all honesty at an early stage in my career.
It is worth noting here if you are also thinking of designing and developing an app or game, add some wiggle room on the timeline.
You don’t want to be
crushed by the deadline, worse still if you get stuck!
Under a supervised out of season and out of hours visit to the museum, I collected together as much knowledge as I could about my topic and environment. I wanted to create an authentic piece of work that would immerse the players.
I took pictures of the
environment which would later become the interactive parts of my
flash project. With the interaction in mind, I took plenty of
interesting close-ups of Cannonballs, skulls, puppets, etc which
would later be cut out and used.
Taking Photos of the Environment
The purpose of these PNGs allows for a transparent background on the objects. When the player ‘hovered’ over the PNG’s with their cursor in the interactive museum, a green outline would appear around the objects to show that it was ‘live’.
This small visual
representation is a good way of showing to the player that the item
was selectable or interactive in some way. Player or user experience
was paramount to the project as it should always be when creating an
After all of the
content was collected together, edited and prepared it was imported
into the project library in Flash and coded to life!
Yes, almost like a mad
Interactive Museum | The building & development stages
Heads up, consider ‘white boxing’ your game
White boxing? What am I talking about!
By this point, I had
taken my photos and created the bits and pieces as I needed to –
based on my artistic and creative vision.
All the artwork was
finished cut out etc.
As a more modern
method, I would actually advise against making your app this way.
Don’t worry about all
the nice polished artwork first. Focus on the function of the game.
It’s not an art project
for starters even though that is how I treated it. It’s a learning
experience for “others” to use. It’s for the client to promote
the museum. Not for me to show my skills, that comes second to the
Also, if you are new to
a program, and you have no outside help, you can throw away a lot of
time focussing on aesthetics that you may not be able to use due to
technical issues and programming hurdles which you cannot overcome.
And guess what happened to those piece’s artwork or assets because of that technical issue?
Or things I couldn’t
overcome – despite the fact I had created the final artwork?
They were canned.
I didn’t get to use it. All that time photographing, trimming, prepping, etc and I couldn’t use them because whilst I was overconfident I could code it into existence – I did meet with time and technical hurdles.
I would advise using a method called “white boxing” and this carries across many gaming or interaction projects.
Okay, what is “White boxing!?”
White boxing is a stage in which you are testing and designing how your game or interactive museum may work.
It’s a case of
designing the function before the form and seeing what constitutes as
an actual viable gaming experience.
In other words it a bit like mocking your game up first, or loosely sketching out what goes where and seeing how it works and behaves.
If you are curious and
just want to find out a bit more on where I learned the term “White
Boxing” read the book ‘Unity in Action’ – good book in my
You can find out a bit more about it here on eBay. It should be noted that if you do decide to purchase the book through eBay, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.
The code for the museum
In order to make this interactive museum work, I developed it in a language called ActionScript 2. Action script 2 is now a very defunct language and I would advise against learning that version of Actionscript now.
Unless you otherwise enjoy reading obsolete languages or need to edit the code in a very old project! And if you are editing the code in an old project it in AS2 – it needs to pulled out of the dark ages ( I can talk)
For which ever reason, stick with AS3 (Action Script 3) by default when working in Animate
And, for the sake of keeping my shared knowledge more relevant, I will share with you a piece of Action Script 3.0 instead which was the closest match to my AS2 script.
Now, if you are completely new to using Adobe Animate, I would advise downloading a demo from Creative Cloud and getting stuck in from there. The Demo is free!
Note: Remember that is a general overview of how I created an interactive museum. To go into greater depth I would advise looking for step by step tutorials on using Action Script 3. You would need a lot more than this post to discuss how all aspects of the code makes the museum work.
After I imported my artwork to the library it was essentially broken down into core elements – the background and the interactive elements – the clickable bits!
In order to make my
content interactive, I needed to make things happen when they were
pressed. A Scene change, a speech bubble or all trigger by Action
For example, this
snippet of code is what makes a button take a player to the next
scene when it is clicked.
After I imported my artwork to the library it was essentially broken down into core elements – the background and the interactive elements – the clickable bits!
when this button is clicked, go to the next scene, the next scene would represent the next level.
For your own knowledge,
and for my personal reference – I will call this a simple click and
go to the next scene.
And it just that, when the “arrowBTN” was pressed in the scene, it would take the player to the next stage or level – or Scene 2. There is nothing stopping you from adding multiple scenes to your game and having multiple click arrows!
Illustrations showing how to make a level change in principle
Click a button, go to Scene2.
Interactive story game / Museum | Hide and Unhide
The essence of this hide and unhide would be along these lines in Action Script
When I ‘hid’ or ‘unhid’ objects in a Scene, I used Action Script to do so – Object Orientated Programming.
This is the principle
of what I used with Action Script 3.0
MovieClipname.visible = false;
That little snippet of code (ActionScript 3) was employed a lot when creating a project.
That single short line
of code is telling Adobe Animate (flash) to hide the object when it
comes to runtime ( when you publish your app).
When It’s visibility is
‘false’. It will not be seen by the player. At some stage, you will
need to make it’s visibility true!
Now, in order to make
the movie clip become visible – it would have been attached to a
button like so. And this would have been written.
ActionScript 3.0 really honed in on something called Object Orientated Programming or OOP – now being a bashful designer.
At heart, a part of me didn’t want to discuss what Object Oriented Programming is – the notion of having me describe it here brings me out in schoolboy sweat
Programming is something I make use of lot these days whether it is
piece of script in C Sharp or something to be created in Animate. OOP
works with elements and animations inside your game, level or scene.
It is dedicated to working more fluidly with objects and classes.
Here is the Adobe definition for OOP.
“Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a way of organizing the code in a program by grouping it into objects. The term object in this sense means an individual element that includes information (data values) and functionality.”
– Source : Adobe
I hope my simplified approach helps with some principles of How to make an interactive story game in flash (Adobe Animate). Although this was used on the older museum project, the method still carries today.
That is a principle and
condensed overview of steps I used to build this interactive museum.
There was more involved
in my version such as point scoring but I won’t share that in this
post, as this post talks about the project as a whole and why it was
created and what it wanted to achieve – not the development stages.
Designing an interactive museum | The final Product
Up to this point, I
have covered some of the technical steps I used to create the
application along with discussing the core principles in both the
artwork and the main behaviours in the code.
To the all-important stage, the final product.
Looking back | What was
this for and did it stay on track?
This browser game was created to educate, entertain and draw attention to the real museum located in the town.
Did I feel that I stayed on track and met the brief as one of my early projects as a postgraduate and a freelancer? Mostly, but there are things I would do very differently now. In particular on the website and the UI to capture the core look at feel.
The is museum was
created in conjunction with the new brochure website which set up to
educate and talks to readers about the local trust of whom were my
clients for this project.
If I was to be honest, the one thing I would say is that parts of the website was OTT for the client’s objectives and budgets.
This browser game was created to educate, entertain and draw attention to the real museum located in the town.
The interactive museum itself offers a great addition to the project as a whole… that is where the project was arguably unbalanced from a web entrepreneurs perspective. The interactive museum was an addition but that is where most of the money and time were invested instead of the website which should have been the ultimate focus in my opinion.
The museum dominated too much.
To come at this again,
I would invest much more into getting some enquires and activity from
the brochure website. That would at least balance it from a business
All experience in hindsight from 11 years past! A lot happens in a design career in that time.
And it also contributes to what I am writing today. How to make an interactive story game in Flash (Adobe Animate)
What I would also do differently on my museum | personal note
The project on a personal note gave me a tremendous amount of experience in interaction design and creating applications in Flash. This was a follow on from creating games in flash, for example like the STEM / E-learning game I created which you can read more about.
From memory, the museum
project was a challenge – mostly coming from how long it took to
animate all the little elements and bug test it.
In the end, I felt it gave a result that I was proud to be part of and that was making an E-learning experience which was educational and fun.
There are a few things I would do differently from an art director’s perspective. As it was a project of limited financial resources, there is only so far you can g, sadly.
If this post has inspired you to create a game in Adobe Animate and how to make an interactive story game (not strictly in flash) then please refer back to this post, or feel free to ask any questions.
Below are some other additional links which cover topics such as; how to create and E-learning game, tip for website design and even some insights into alternative game engines!
How to make an interactive story game in Flash (Adobe Animate) – other resources
Creating a cool game is one thing, making a game that sells is another. This post covers how to sell your board game and make money in easy to follow stages. As an acknowledgment of my skills and experience, I have co-created successful party games in the past.
The Commercial Director’s informed games commercial success in figures. This was also fairly recent as from 2017 onwards.
The games that I was involved in creating earned £200k in revenue – nothing to sniff at and this post will share that information.
Intro –Monetising your game after creating it
Your number 1 priority should be making a great game that people can play and enjoy – don’t deviate from this principle. Making a halfhearted job and ‘just shipping’ it will backfire in the board gaming community.
If you want to sell your game in the future, make a good game!– don’t cheat your audience into buying a terrible product.
Creating the game – approach
approach to creating a game was a bit different from many I feel. it
didn’t come from an insatiable need to express my artistic desire or
tell a narrative that will revolutionise the world.
game as created based on a ‘ready’ market that didn’t need educating
on what the game was.
We based our concept on a pre-existing model and try to improve upon it – it wasn’t left to chance and gut feeling when developing the game and all of its expansions. The actions were deliberate and researched before the game was created.
You have a look at one of the early editions here. Which takes you to Amazon, or you can get the general idea from this image.
We created a UK version of the game that filled a gap – it started as an idea and evolved it something that was bigger and more potent over time and became its an entity that could stand on its own 2 feet.
3 main approaches to selling your game
Moving on, here is a quick overview of how to make money from your game.
1) Sell it retailers or individual shops
2) Pitch it to games publisher or distributer
3) Use a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGoGo
How to sell your game and make money through publisher/distributor and earn over | 200k
I was involved in creating a party game that earned over 200k in turn over in one year and over 100 k (give or take) in subsequent years.
Selling your game directly to a publisher or game distributor can bare large financial fruit. An advantage of getting your game in front of a large game distribution company is that they can sell your game in large quantities too. They have the channels, marketing, catalogues, and contacts. – You may, or may not!
So how do you get your game in their inventory?
You pitch to them
How to pitch your game to a seller and make money – wholesale
In order to look the professional, your game will need to look the part – eg be ready to ship, be affordable to buy and come with any marketing so you can to prove the game exists.
Don’t leave to much to the imagination, look as ready as you can be.
In order to pitch your game to the correct people, it will come down to knowing the right people. A previous colleague of mine used various methods to find the correct contacts, here are 2 I can recall worked well:
1) Finding them on LinkedIn
2) By going to shows and arranging meetings.
Pitching a game to a large distributor isn’t easy, but things with the best rewards rarely are!
My role in the process of winning such business (in addition to product creation) was to create pitch boards with renders and mock-ups of the games. These were often followed up with marketing PDF’s for buyers at the companies skim through.
I will let you in on a little something else also, should you get in with a successful game
Upsell your game to move toward a 200k gaol
So, you have a proven track record with a distributor, you have sold the game and now what do you do?
We gave them more – although there was a challenge here, we didn’t have more to give – initially anyway.
At this stage, we conceptualised prototypes of expansion packs and extra games and then pitched the “Final game” to the distributor via ‘mock-ups’ on a pitch board which may have still be in the concept stages.
*The games weren’t manufactured until an order was placed.
I won’t lie to you, this can be a risky way of creating a product. You should try your utmost to get a batch or set of prototypes ready to get around this risky approach.
These pitches and subsequent pitches which were driven by the commercial success were won with what was said and what was shown on the boards. At the best of times, a prototype of the game was made.
So, that is the power of the pitch – don’t underestimate it and considering the potency of your game and whether it can be scaled.
Did that party game really earn 200k?
I think for the first run of the Family Edition of the game, from one single order – it was approximately 200k turn over in orders, and $150K in profits according to the Commercial Director. And more additions of the game were created.
So, yes – 200K then even more over the years. As it was it was being sold in other countries and snowballed.
How to sell your board game and make money | shop & retailer
As part of your strategy to either grow your wealth or hit a 200k target (or any number), you should consider selling your game direct to a large retailer. As above, the process of winning the business and selling your game to high street stores such as WH Smiths in the UK you should explore the tactics of pitching and trying to win business.
For the sake of clarity, I will discuss the steps in order to sell your game to a high-street store and what was involved in the process.
Make sure you have your game ready. The more you have it together, the better this will be for you when you try to pitch your game
Dot your I’s and Cross your T’s – in other words make sure you have all conformity, barcodes and product information ready.
Is the product ready to be shipped? – fulfilment. Retailers like it to be straight forward and not have to worry about getting and unprofessional product etc. Have a warehouse or fulfilment centre ready to meet demand if the retailer places an order?
Build Trust – Retailers don’t want to take foolish risks. If there is an indication of an existing market or you have sold games before, consider putting this in your proposal.
Packaging – in retail, the packaging is more important than you may realise. The box art and how it looks on a retail shelf is incredibly important to a retailer and to the person buying the product. You need to make your product stand and look appealing. Its the box that may sell the game in the end.
It could also be worth noting that if you are yet to make or manufacture your box but have the artwork to utilise the visuals to create a planogram. This will help sell the dream and make your game look a little more real to the retailers.
These are some of the keys points I have been involved in when both collaborating and creating a proposal to a retailer.
This point was, in addition to the method of selling your game to the distributer a large contribution to it’s a financial success.
How to Kickstart your game and earn over 200k – if only knew.
Although, I have yet to be involved in creating a successful Kickstarter that sells 1000’s of unit most of my experience comes with working with retailers.
Companies have earned millions on Kickstarter
A website such as Stonemaier games covers lots of hints and tips on how to create a Kickstarter and make a success of it. If you have a moment you should take the time to read some of the articles.
I would also like to mention the games companies that made Bears VS Babies and Throw Throw Burrito, both of these board games were hugely successful on Kickstarter before going onto nailing it in retail. I have seen these games in Waterstones, John Lewis, WH Smiths & others in passing.
Both of the games had a huge fan base and used Kickstarter to its maximum potential. They used Kickstarter for what it does best – to validate a product and get ready for the next big step.
That next big step… conquer retail.
If you are intending on launching a Kickstarter anytime soon …. don’t launch unless you have a crowd waiting to place an order and buy your game!
crowd is crucial to a game’s success on the likes of Kickstarter. No
crowd? Probably no crowdfunding either.
If you want to hit the bigger numbers get all of you marketing up to scratch first and then roll it out. If you are struggling there is no shame in canceling your campaign and moving it to another day.
How to sell your board game and make money – summary
I hope this post was useful and offers some insight into selling your game to the big retailers and distributors. As mentioned above, the large sum of money was earned through selling to a retailer and distributors.
If you would like to know a bit more about the making of the party game, you can view the post here and read at your leisure. This post discussed more of the design stages as opposed to the money aspect of the game creation.
Selling your game – my credentials.
I am a designer with 10 years’ experience and I have been involved in creating party and card games! Whoop whoop, if you would like to know a bit more about my services you can read more about my freelance card game design and get in touch.
Thank you for reading how to sell your board game and make money, if it was useful feel free to share.
To create a digital STEM or E-learning game ‘app’ you will need to make a plan, download software to construct the game and have access to or own software to create the artwork and ‘assets’ for the game. This post covers all of the details on how to create a STEM game or application in a step by step process from software suggestions, to hints and tips.
The steps I used to create an E-learning / STEM game.
This post covers the
steps and stages I undertook to create a STEM game or what was then
an E-Learning game that could be played on a computer, be it either
an iMac or PC.
I would like to mention now that I am not a teacher or a STEM specialist. I took what was a principle and applied it to my game design for a major project. This article focuses more on the creation of the application itself, opposed the focus of STEM subject matter itself. If you wish to read more specifically on the subject of STEM you can find out more here : source
Why Create an E-learning (STEM) Game?
Before STEM was a term I had heard of, I wanted to create an application that was both entertaining and educational for young children. Games or gaming has a bad rap for being mindless and many are (I do like a mindless shooter as much as the next person). I was also a fan of the classic puzzlers growing up such as Monkey Island and Fate of Atlantis.
I wanted to create a
fun purposeful experience through the medium of gaming that will help
When the project was
assigned to create a big experience I wanted to create a game that
would utilise some of my existing skills as a young designer and
illustrator (as a student) and create a product that I would be proud
of. I wanted the E-learning game to have engaging puzzles and
characters that would pull the children in and compel them to explore
through the levels. They also had a mission, they needed to save a
About this E-learning game – Blossom Tree
The game was aimed towards children aged 7 +. As the player progresses through the game, they would have to answer questions of varying difficulty until they arrive at the final stage and save their friend. There were 2 main paths that had 2 types of questions.
Path 1 = Sums
Path 2 = Spelling
It should be noted that you can pick any of the core STEM subjects for your own project.
Both paths converge at
the end to logic and problem-solving questions which broke format
from traditional ‘yes” and ‘no’ English and maths.
The steps used to create the E-learning game whilst adopting STEM
After studying design
this was my first venture into developing websites, apps and 2D games
in Adobe Flash. From the start, I planned the project from the look
and feel to how it would play. I also made a level randomiser but the
concept ran into technical difficulties late into the game
development – get into your “white boxing people” please. It is
such a valuable stage for the process. I have mentioned in detail
below what “White boxing” is.
1 ) The idea for the E-learning Game
Sounds obvious, but the
idea was an important step. I had a vision and idea for what I wanted
the game o achieve and how it may look! After developing a viable
idea I set about doing some research online into “pedagogy” and
how it could be applied to the design of my e-learning game.
2 ) Game Objectives – “The Mission”
So you have an idea,
now what do you want it to achieve? You will need to consider the age
range for your game, whether it will be for all educational subjects
or will it just 1. If this going to be for free? Etc. As a teacher or
somebody looking to make a STEM game grab a piece of paper or open
word and start jotting down what you would like your application to
do for the world.
3 ) Planning your STEM / e-learning game
Great, so you have
established what you want your game to achieve and what will happen
in the game. I approached a more narrative approach to my game which
lent itself well to word challenges and maths questions. If you are
making a Science themed game maybe you could have a lab and you need
to find the secret ingredient for a concoction? Of you have
calculated sums and outwit an evil computer! The ideas are endless.
Start to the application – you game, how many levels, how many
characters, sound, animations, and try to do a rough cutting list of
what will need to be created. This may change as time goes along.
* note: the more ideas you have the longer it will take finish
4 ) Your Game Project Timeline
If this is your first
venture into creating a game project it’s tricky to gauge how long it
will take to create a fully-fledged game. If you are building it all
yourself – and learning all of yourself it could be a steep old
slope = a lot of time. None the less, in order to get your STEM game
live you need to set up milestones. I would advise breaking your
milestone down into smaller steps if not for timekeeping, then for
your own morale.
So, with your idea
ready and your research finished and plan set to be into motion. Now
is the time to roll up your sleeves and start building. The next set
of steps covers the more technical steps for getting started.
Technical steps on “how to create your STEM game”
The game that you see displayed was created by me in Adobe Flash (See product here). To create this game, I had learned how to code in a language called “Action Script”. Action Script is what made the nuts and bolts of the game tick, from the scene transitions to the answers boxes checking to see if the question is right or wrong. I have attempted to break down the process of making your game.
1) What gaming program should I use? Select a program to start making your game
Example of game engines you could use for your STEM project
Stencyl (great for beginners with no programming knowledge)
Stencyl is great for complete coding novices. The coding system works similar in principle to Lego Bricks, where you can stack and click together the functions and activities in your game. I have attached an example of what you can do in Stencyl. Or if you would like to, you can navigate to the post here and get an idea of how it works – (Stencyl post, custom cursor) Although Stencyl is good and has merits it has many limitations in my opinion. It should also be noted, that this engine is 2D only.
Unity Software (great for someone with some coding skills, create powerful games)
Unity software is everywhere and with large developer communities constantly improving the assets and the software but, be warned – it can have a steeper learning curve if you are wanting to create e-learning or STEM games this is truly a powerful piece of kit. One great advantage is that Unity comes with LOTS of tutorials, assets and game templates to bump up your game into completion.
Adobe Animate (Used to be king of the game makers, still good but not the most powerful)
The E-learning / Stem game shown throughout this post was created in what was known as Flash. Flash, now Adobe Animate has somewhat fallen out of favour with powerful programs such as Unity bumping it out of top position and accessibility issues for Smartphones driving in the wedge.
It’s a misconception that you can’t use Animate anymore to create rich-media applications – it’s not true. You can still create phone apps, HTML 5, animations, video indents, and games!
2) ‘White Box’ your game first
White boxing is
single-handedly one of the best modern techniques I have been taught
in recent years as it can save so much time. When I say ‘white box’
its a case of roughing out functionality and lose the form of your
game. Worry about the function and how the game plays first and use
place holder graphics in the early stages of development.
One terrible mistake I
have made in the past with utilising time is to create artwork for a
component (part) of a game that will not work and you end up having
to junk not only the component but the artwork/animation also.
Rough it, test it, play it and then make it beautiful!
3) Find a game Artist or Designer
A very important step
for your STEM Learning game is creating artwork that will be visually
appealing to children (and adults) when they interact with your
awesome puzzles. I tried to make the artwork for my game appealing to
a younger audience, to keep them engaged in the topic. You can either
create the visuals yourself, hire an artist (link) or look for free
and open-source artwork and make a Frankenstein monster of moving
stock graphics! (yes, a pinch of sarcasm)
4) Test, test again and assess – then develop your game further
Test your game on players that have never heard of it or played it. Although, I have to confess that I had trouble finding young testers and the youngest I could go to was 9 years old. Watch how people play your game and take notes on what you can improve. This is a valuable step, more so if this is being created for commercial purposes.
5) Publish your STEM application / E-learning game
You’ve done it! Depending on the size of your game, you have spent a year, 6 months, 2 weeks and you have published the application ready to go out to your classroom. You have created a game with a purpose that will hopefully help with learning and STEM development. – Well, in theory, you have made it, now you need to put it into practice.
How “I” created my STEM / E-learning game
I have outlined how you can create a STEM or E-learning game based on my experience and playtesting. I have attached a few conceptual details and visuals of the original game – Called “Blossom Tree” which was my first major foray into interaction and game design at the University of Cumbria.
I wanted the game to feel warm, friendly and filled with the freshness or being the outside, you never know – the artwork my spur children to go play outside, maybe build a den. You may also notice in the background there is a twisted silhouette of a castle. That is the final destination for the player.
E-learning game spoiler alert!
Speed rounds and classroom chalkboard.
I feel I may have constructed this game slightly ahead of its time. This game was created as part of a final major project whilst studying at the Cumbria Institute of the Arts in my final year of study. This would have pre-dated the surge in the smartphone and the tablet technology and well before the surge in digital downloading platforms such as Steam, Google Play, Apple Store, PS4 network etc.
This e-learning game
was created to be a web application or CD ROM .exe. The platforms for
downloading such games weren’t as prevalent then, whether they
existed at all. The commercial standpoint if I was to create this
game again I do a lot of things differently.
things I would do differently, for my STEM / E-learning game
If I was to remake this game I would add so much more interaction into the game, maybe some quicklimes scenes, a bit more movement and generally make feel a little less static, but hey, this was my first ever go at making something like this. I look at many aspects of the project – especially on the design side of things and hiss through my teeth or feel my toes curl as some of the aesthetics but still proud to this day to hear this from around the corner.
“This is F*****g ace!”
in a Cumbrian accent. And that was directed at what I had learned, what I had created and I had hoped would be an of a benefit to a few.
The take way on how to create a STEM game application
I hope my project and
how to post has motivated you and given some insight on how to create
a STEM application or learning game. The process of creating a game
such as this can be incredibly rewarding. It can also be a big
undertaking and if you need any help or have any questions. Well, you
know where I am.
If the found this post on “how to create a stem game application” useful please share. It could be helpful for those looking to create an educational game or something for friends and family.
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