Power Game Factory maker hopes to inspire creativity

Power Game Factory is a new Mac OS X utility that lets users create their own games without having to program code. Now the developer, Sawblade Software, is giving away a taste for free with the release of a demo version.

With Power Game Factory, you can create your own side-scrolling action games similar to the ones made popular in the days of 8- and 16-bit video game consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. The software’s creator, Jesse Simko, said he wrote Power Game Factory to help interest people in creating games who might otherwise be too intimidated by the idea of programming code.

Simko got the idea for Power Game Factory during his last year at Hampshire College in western Massachusetts. “I started off as an art major and it became apparent that I could also program. I switched over to computer science projects, and I made a side-scrolling game for my final project,” Simko recently told MacCentral.

Over the past couple of years, his efforts have gradually worked towards the creation of Power Game Factory, which he describes as “a creativity engine.” The software lets users put in their own art, and using a graphical interface, define the parameters of the game — specifying how objects work such as weapons, projectiles and other items, and so on.

With Power Game Factory, the emphasis is on the art you supply yourself as opposed to the game logic itself. You can easily import images from Photoshop or other graphics applications to populate your game. A toolbar at the top of the screen lets you define levels, what character sets you’ll use, interface controls, on-screen items players can pick up or interact with, what weapons or projectiles they’ll use, and more.

Once the game is set up to your satisfaction, you simply click on the Build button and Power Game Factory creates a completely self-contained, stand-alone app. You can even sell your work as a shareware game, without having to pay Sawblade Software any royalties.

Simko used REAL Software’s REALbasic development environment to create Power Game Factory. “It seemed a lot easier to get the hang of than any other language I had tried,” said Simko. Power Game Factory supports hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics, and can feature dozens of animation sequences per character, interstitial sequences using QuickTime, precise collision detection and other capabilities.

The Web site for Simko’s development company, Sawblade Software, already touts a forum board where users of Power Game Factory have congregated to share notes about how they’re using the newly launched software. Simko said that several projects are already underway, and he’s anxious to see what people do with the tool.

With the release of a demo version, Simko is hoping even more hobbyists who have an interest in making their own games can be attracted to Power Game Factory. The full version costs US$44 and is available for purchase online. System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.2 or later and an 800MHz or faster processor.

For more game news, reviews and information, please visit Macworld’s Game Room.

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