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GGJ Archives 2009-2012

Greenfoot: an excellent game making environment for beginners

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GreenfootGreenfootI am excited to see the Deakin University Jam Site sign up for GGJ 2010. Deakin is one of the sponsors of the Greenfoot project.

If there is a single system tailor made for beginning jammers it has to be Greenfoot! It's a well designed game/simulation environment with high level of abstraction and is freely available. You program in regular Java, but you have access to a rich (but small) library of functions and objects, that allow you to do things like animation and collision detection. All documentation is included and also available online, making programming very easy. The benefits don't end there! The compiler can easily export your game as a flash object embedded in an HTML page or even publish it automatically at the Greenfoot Gallery website! Very convinient.

How I got into it

I was an assistant instructor for the COSMOS summer program where we used Greenfoot to teach high school students about game design and programming in general. I had never heard of Greenfoot but was able to pick up, understand it and design a decent game in less time than we have for GGJ. I was quite familiar with Java though.

On the balance

I think it's a great demonstration of the power of Greenfoot. If you anticipate a lot of first-timers at your Jam, I recommend it highly. It does have some short comings. Compared to established IDE's or heavy weight simulators, it does fall short when it comes to debugging and memory efficiency. It is also difficult to combine with external software. Networking is nearly impossible and not supported. But other than that, it is great for what it does. Here's the game I created. You be the judge.

Aqua2: Click on image to playAqua2: Click on image to play

Greenfoot


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My second reason for the blog entry

is to demonstrate blogging capabilities with every regular account. Using wiki-like code you can create section headers and links. You can also insert any picture from your account. If you don't have any, you can upload one first and place the code somewhere in your text. You can even link the picture to an external address and control its layout and justification. Try it!

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