Tuesday at GDC, Engineous Games showed off Sketch Nation Studio, their long-awaited game creation tool kit. The followup to Sketch Nation Shooter, this game was in development for the past year as Sketch Nation Jump before they took some extra time to enhance the game, and now it is just about ready to hit the world.
This will allow budding game creators to create their own endless platformer game of one of five types; endless jumpers like Doodle Jump, an endless descent game, horizontal jumping games, endless runner, and an endless flier, similar to Jetpack Joyride. Other genres are planned to be added at some point in the future.
There are two ways to create games: Simple mode, which allows users to choose a genre, add some player and enemy art, and create their game; this process can be done in under two minutes, as was shown off in our demo of the game. Advanced mode allows users to create games in about an hour, according to developer estimates. Platforms with specific behaviors can be created, along with various enemies, powerups with a variety of effects, various scoring systems implemented, and advanced art effects applied.
Sketch Nation Studio will be free to download, but will have in-app purchases. What this currency, entitled Sketchbucks, will be used for is to download games from the service. Users will start with 1000 Sketchbucks, and will spend 50 or so Sketchbucks to download a game. However, it will be free to upload games to the Sketch Nation networks, and users will get Sketchbucks for every game they ‘sell’. The developer, Engineous Games, is trying to create a social network with news feeds and shared activities so users can see who among their friends is playing what, and to try and beat their high scores.
The app’s most defining feature may be the ability to submit games to be sold as separate games. These must be created separately from the Simple and Advanced modes, and do not feature the ability to import user-created games or user art from the network at this point. The games will then be submitted to the developers for review, and if approved, will be sold on the App Store for $0.99, with 50% of the price after Apple’s 30% cut going to the game creator. Payment will be handled through PayPal initially, though there are plans to partner with another payment processor in the future.
The app will be submitted to Apple soon, and will be available as a universal app. Canadians will get a head start on the creation, as the app is planned to launch there in a brief stress test before the global launch. A lot of these details are subject to change, especially as the app may push the boundaries of what Apple allows in their review guidelines, but this app and its technology should be available to the general public in some form soon.