Game Blocks: The Thing We Are Making

Game Blocks is a Game Creation System in development.

The current prototype is not ready for publication quite yet. Soon.

In an interview about Super Mario Maker, Shigeru Miyamoto said “Wouldn’t it be fun if these tools became a game so anyone can create these levels?”. One night in February 2016 it occurred to me that although Super Mario Maker is a really good level editor, and the levels themselves are fun Mario-style levels, the editor itself is not much of a game. So I thought to myself “What if making the game… was the game?”.

For this first release you may notice that  Game Blocks is very similar to Super Mario Maker, Indie Game Sim, Platfinity, Build ‘n Bump, and any of countless platform games that happen to have level editors. This is because making a level editor is not necessarily easy, but it is a straightforward feature set and doesn’t require too much invention. It’s just the foundation for what comes next.

WarioWare DIY was a game ahead of it’s time. Before Super Mario Maker was released, one idea we had was to have something almost as simple as WarioWare DIY but you could make levels similar to NES Remix with it, and then combine those simple one-screen levels together into a full game. So once the main SMM style level editing features are implemented, the next step is to start adding the more advanced WWDIY style customization features and NES Remix style game types, as well as the ability to define how the levels connect to each other and what the larger goals of the games are.

In addition to the editing features, we plan to have what we call “the main game” be an integrated tutorial similar to how the first parts of Portal and Half Life 2 integrate teaching the player seamlessly with the game world. Playing the game will teach you how to make a game of your own. The actual features need to be implemented first, since the tools to teach you to make your game are also the tools we need to make the game that teaches you how to use the tools.

You will be able to fully customize sprites, tilesets, sound effects, and music. Game Blocks may include some tools for asset creation, but it might not, since there are already so many good programs for art, sound editing, and music. Assuming we get onto Steam, there will be Steam Workshop support, but it’s not required to share your games. You will be able to simply copy your game folder and give the files to anyone you like regardless of the other options we implement.

We estimate it will take at least two years (as of January 2017) to finish, so we’re aiming for a launch date sometime in 2019. We will likely have a Kickstarter at some point, unless we’re able to get full funding some other way.

So now it’s back to work on the prototype.

EDIT: I occasionally use Game Creation System and Game Construction Set interchangeably. This is because Wikipedia considers them to be the same thing. However, I consider Game Blocks to be more of a construction set for a very broad set of specific kinds of games than a general tool set like Game Maker Studio. So I hope that clears things up a bit.

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