1.1. Goals and Features

Actimator is made with the following goals in mind:

Easy to Learn: Learning how to make a video game should not be hard. Anyone over the age of 10 should be able to learn how to create and publish a video game.

Fun to Make Games: Making video games should be as fun as playing video games. Our motto is: don’t just play games, make one.

Get Results Fast: Making video games should be more about turning your creativity into a playable game, and less about struggling with the underlying game and physics engines.

Be Collaborative: Making games requires multiple skills such as storytelling, level design, programming, graphics design, and sounds design, that are rarely found in a single person. A good game design software should help a team to work closely together.

We have built the following features into Actimator to achieve these goals, without reinventing the wheel.

1.1.1. Educational

Actimator is specifically optimized for beginners with no coding experience. This book and tutorials are designed to be self-paced for absolute beginners. We follow the Learning by Doing mantra to teach the required coding skills to beginners, as they use Actimator.

1.1.2. Web-based Environment

Actimator is built completely using HTML5 technologies and runs inside a Web browser. You do not need to install any plugin in order to run Actimator. Besides the game development environment, Actimator Website takes care of organizing and storing your projects, sharing your projects with your friends, and publishing your projects to the Web and mobile platforms.

1.1.3. Rapid Development Environment

Actimator’s visual environment makes it fast and easy to design and develop video games. The visual environment includes visual scene (level) editor, visual physics editor, and visual programming language.

Being completely visual, Actimator lets you make games as complex as Angry Birds in hours or days, rather than weeks or months. Furthermore, being real-time collaborative, it lets you and your team works together on the same project at the same time, hence increasing your productivity and decreasing development time.

1.1.4. Built-in Physics

Actimator comes with a built-in physics engine built on top of Box2D, which enables developing complex physics-based games such as Angry Birds. Furthermore, Actimator’s visual physics editor makes it easy to define and adjust physics behaviors such as gravity, collision, speed, bounciness, etc.

1.1.5. Realtime Collaboration

Actimator is realtime collaborative. This enables multiple users to work on the same game project at the same time, no matter where they are located. It works quite similar to Google Docs; only here users will be working on a game project. When working on a game together, changes made by a user are instantly applied to all other users in a fraction of a second. This allows users to code together, see each other’s changes immediately, learn from each other’s actions, or divide the game design and coding tasks between each other.

Real-time collaboration brings the following advantages to learners and teachers:

  • Social Engagement: Which one is more enjoyable: working on a project alone all day long, or working together with your friends towards the same goal?
  • Peer Learning: You can learn coding skills from a more advanced peer, by watching the code unfolds in front of your eyes as he/she writes it. Or vice versa, you can teach coding to a friends, by walking them through a tutorial and helping them in coding/design activities.
  • Pair Programming: It has been shown that pair programming leads to higher quality products. Working in a pair or a team increases the chance of producing a game that is actually playable.
  • Productivity: Which one is faster and/or results in a better game: one person doing all the design, coding, and playtesting tasks, or two friends working on the same project, either doing the tasks together or dividing the tasks between each other?

1.1.6. Cross-Platform Publishing

Actimator offers Web, iOS, and Android publishing. You can save and maintain multiple versions of a game and publish a new version when it’s ready.

  • Each game gets a page with a clean URL that you can use to showcase and share your games with your social network.
  • You can playtest your game on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, using Actimator Player app.