[NOW AVAILABLE!] The Interactive Stencyl Textbook

smashfoxx

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What app did you decide to use for your interactive book?

Photics

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What app did you decide to use for your interactive book?

The plan is to release the book as an interactive PDF. Flash files can be embedded into the PDF, along with game assets that can be downloaded. I think that's the best solution for this community, as it won't matter if you're using a Mac or PC.

The problem is that I've been pretty awful at creating games with Stencyl.  :P

I was reading about Mochi Ads recently though, and I'm still psyched about using Stencyl. I've been entertaining the idea of turning Photics.com into an online arcade, which is one of the themes for the book. (The app store isn't the only way to make money.) I've been dreaming about running my own arcade for years. But with Stencyl, the dream is a lot closer to reality.

...but will I be a developer... a publisher... or both?!  ???

The question I've been struggling with is this... do I want to be a game maker? The truth is, I'm a lot better at making tutorials and books than making games. I don't have to make the best games to publish the book. If I scale back the samples to be modular, they might have more appeal and be easier to build. I don't even have to make games to run my own arcade. Instead, I could hire developers to build games or buy exclusive Flash games. There's even an easier option than that. I could simply embed the best games from this community and others. There are so many free web games out there.

There are some other issues I've been struggling with. Now that Stencylpedia 2.0 is starting to get out there... is a textbook really necessary? I think the answer to that question is... yes! The textbook should be quite different. The other issue is that StencylWorks is pretty volatile right now. A lot of changes can happen between 1.4 and 2.5. I don't want to have to rewrite pages and pages of copy. (And without Android/HTML5 publishing, the book isn't complete.)

I'm still watching to see what happens with the Stencyl Market. The current plan is to sell the book through FastSpring. They have a nice feature to personalize a copy of the PDF. Although, I have been watching for news about the Stencyl Market. That might be an alternative.

As mentioned earlier, my web development work has been a huge distraction from this project.

So, that's the update.
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

Photics

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Here's a quick update...

Today, I've been making great progress on the book. I've just about finished my first interactive example.

I realized that my earlier approach was not the best way to create this book. I was thinking of creating game examples and then explaining those game examples. From what I've been reading on this forum, that's probably not a good idea. Examples should be part of the book, but that cannot be the main focus. Instead, it should be more about explaining the software... to help people get away from the cut-and-paste crutch.

Now that Stencylpedia 2.0 is out, I was surprised at the reactions. It's forced me to rethink this book... and I think it's a good thing. I can really push the medium to create a unique learning experience. I like the new Stencylpedia, but the goal here is to create something different.

And just a general comment... I'm excited! :)

I've been struggling with this project for a while. I know that many of you are waiting for this book. I don't want to let you down. It hasn't been fun working on this project — but that changed today! It's important to be enthused, as my writing will reflect my feelings.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 03:20:28 pm by Photics »
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

Jon

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Thanks for the update!

ipe 369

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When you say interactive example, do you mean like a mini game demo you made that people can play to learn about things?

LDeathnote

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Maybe create some flash tutorials like Abigayl's series to showcase specific parts of the textbook. That would generate alot of interest.

Photics

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When you say interactive example, do you mean like a mini game demo you made that people can play to learn about things?

Well, if done correctly... it could be both.  :D

I'm trying to focus on the visualization of fundamental elements in Stencyl. And in doing so, these examples could be applied as game elements.

Here's the idea... if you understand the basics, then you're better equipped for handling the advanced stuff and to make your own games.

I guess the best way to explain it is like this... in my last book, there were a lot of helpful charts. For this book, I'm planning to make those types of charts interactive. Adding true mini-games are a possibility... but right now the focus is on the explanations of common game elements... making a player shoot, jump or face the mouse... or adding things like hit points, artificial intelligence, particles... visualizing math/physics... that kind of thing.

I realize that people want mini games templates, but I've seen what bad things happen when templates are released. I haven't figured out that balance yet.

Here's another one of the questions I'm struggling with... every interactive example could be a downloadable project. But with such freedom, will nefarious individuals be more likely to rip off my work? It's possible, but I might have to take that risk. Not only are the interactive examples great for visualizing stencyl game development... the source is a great learning experience too.

Maybe create some flash tutorials like Abigayl's series to showcase specific parts of the textbook. That would generate alot of interest.

I am planning to release a sample when the book is done... or maybe I'll show off some examples as I get closer to launch.
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

captaincomic

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I realize that people want mini games templates, but I've seen what bad things happen when templates are released. I haven't figured out that balance yet.
What bad things do you mean? Mini games sound like a great idea to explain everything.

Quote
Here's another one of the questions I'm struggling with... every interactive example could be a downloadable project. But with such freedom, will nefarious individuals be more likely to rip off my work? It's possible, but I might have to take that risk.
I don't think anybody will rip off your work, and even if so, you don't have to worry. You're likely to put a lot of work into this to make a polished product, and if somebody just copied parts of it, the result of his "work" will be much worse compared to your work. And I think nobody will be interested in a poor-quality rip-off.

CrimsonThunder

  • Posts: 96
Can't wait for the sample please keep us updated. :)

ipe 369

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What will the textbook cover? will it be more suited for newbies? I started using the software at the beta (I know it doesnt say so on my profile but i lost the password and everything so i had to make another account :) ) And i could of used a book like this back then, but will i still have a use for it now?

Photics

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What bad things do you mean? Mini games sound like a great idea to explain everything.

Deep Blue Apps does a great job of creating game templates. And when those templates are released... well... something like this...

http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=106765

...usually happens.

I don't think anybody will rip off your work, and even if so, you don't have to worry. You're likely to put a lot of work into this to make a polished product, and if somebody just copied parts of it, the result of his "work" will be much worse compared to your work. And I think nobody will be interested in a poor-quality rip-off.

It's a good way of looking at things. While Zanda was something of a fiasco for a few days, the commotion did die down quickly.

I'm thinking that I'll probably add the source for the Interactive Tutorials. As for mini-games, I think that depends on the quality that I can create. One of the reasons I'm not further along on this project is that Arcading didn't turn out the way that I expected.

What will the textbook cover? will it be more suited for newbies?

The book will be similar to my last textbook, which covered the entire game making process.

I am thinking about adding advanced topics though, like custom code. Example: AdMob is not supported by Stencyl right now, but shouldn't I be able to add it myself? If I can figure it out, that's a great topic for the book.
Michael Garofalohttp://photics.com – Author of The Interactive Stencyl Textbook 8)

Vigilence

  • Posts: 62
"For this book, I'm planning to make those types of charts interactive. Adding true mini-games are a possibility... but right now the focus is on the explanations of common game elements... making a player shoot, jump or face the mouse... or adding things like hit points, artificial intelligence, particles... visualizing math/physics... that kind of thing."

"I am thinking about adding advanced topics though, like custom code. Example: AdMob is not supported by Stencyl right now, but shouldn't I be able to add it myself? If I can figure it out, that's a great topic for the book."

Sounds good. 

I know you are weary about mini-game templates, so instead of adding a template how about walking through the process of making the mini game instead, that way we actually make the mini game and get a walk-through on how to approach its construction.

ipe 369

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Oh you should add a small introduction to AS3 and the stencyl API too:P

LDeathnote

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^

Second that motion!

Almakos

  • Posts: 632
It would be nice to have a book which explains basics of Stencyl, user-friendly description of blocks and when it is reasonable to use them.
For me it is difficult to learn Stencyl, because there are a lot of things to understand, and I am at the point when am not sure in which direction I should dig.
Usually when reading tutoring book I am being guided from initial easy things to more complex. And there is a guarantee, that I wouldn't meet something what I haven't been taught before. That is very important for beginners and that is a problem I am facing now.

Also I would suggest to write mini-tutorials and put them on your website. As for the topics for tutorials, you can ask your visitors via polls or email. That way you will gather feedback and your readers would help to shape your future textbook and make it easier for you to write.

Anyway, good luck with your book.
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