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Scrolling Game Development Kit 2 (SGDK2) is designed to simplify and speed the development of 2D scrolling games for beginning game developers and experts. Although this program can be used for other types of games, it's primary design is to assist in the creation of scrolling games, especially side-scrollers. This is the second major release of this program, and is a total rewrite from the ground up. If you are a new user you may want to focus on the Main Features section below. If you are familiar with the old version, you might be more interested in the What's New section.

Main Features

The design of SGDK2 attempts to maximize both flexibility and user-friendly design. Here are some of the high level features that make SGDK2 a powerful and interesting environment for new and experienced game developers.

  • User friendly interface: Rather than requiring the user to become familiar with coding, the environment provides many wizards, selection lists and templates to make it possible to create complete games without requiring the writing of any code.
  • Extensive customizability: The vast majority of the generated game's source code is exposed in the IDE's "Source Code" folder and can be customized beyond recognition. This is theoretically flexible enough to allow you to go as far as creating a project whose source code generates a 3D game instead of a 2D game, or compiles to a web component instead of a Windows application. Furthermore a saved project file is nothing more than XML, so you can conceivably write your own programs to process, edit or re-use project data.
  • Embedded Graphics Editor: Although you can import images from external sources, it's not necessary to flip back and forth between programs as you create or edit images. SGDK2 has a powerful graphics editor built in with tools sophisticated enough to handle alpha translucency, rotation, anti-aliasing and color re-mapping, among many other tasks. You can even add your own tools.
  • Integrated Map Editor: The main foundation of a 2D game is the data contained in its maps. The map editor in SGDK2 includes abilities to select and place tiles, copy blocks of tiles, easily add and edit sprites and groups of sprites, and add/edit "plans" which define areas or coordinates where events happen on the map.
  • Sprite Editor: The sprite editing system is very flexible, allowing you to define any number of states and frames that compose a sprite, and define rules that determine how the sprite behaves and transitions between its states. All these rules are based on C# source code which you can edit or extend by adding new functions of your own design. Samples are included so you're free to use pre-defined sprite types, customize the rules for sprites, or get down to the lowest levels by editing the source code on which the rules are based. All this can be done within the IDE and saved with your individual project... no re-compiling SGDK2 code is necessary.
  • High performace graphics: In version 2.0, the games generated by this program were based on DirectX by default (though a project can theoretically be customized to use other technologies). The main update with version 2.1 is a switch to using OpenGL as the graphics library of choice. This also improved performance even more. As such, you get crisp, smooth graphics performance on systems with adequate hardware support, whether you're playing in a window of full-screen.
  • Real-time transforms: Rather than pre-rendering your sprite with 8 different color schemes at 72 rotations, you can draw the image once and then adjust the color (to a limited extent) and rotation in a Frameset. Then if you decide to change your sprite's appearance, you only have to change the graphic on which it's based, and all variations will be automatically affected.
  • Collision Detection: Collisions between sprites and tiles are based on an optimized algorithm that allows the game to efficiently make a sprite respond to slopes and walls. Collisions between sprites can either be based on a user-defined rectangular area within the sprite, or on a collision mask that is in turn based on a certain level of opacity in the sprite's graphic. Again this is optimized for reasonable performance with larger numbers of sprites.
  • Animated Tiles: Not only can your sprites be animated, but so can your backgrounds. You can define a series of frames for each tile value that you want to animate, and link the tile to a global counter object that defines how fast the tile is animating (which frame it's displaying). Each animation can be linked to its own counter, or you can have many or all tile animations share a common counter.
  • Multi-layered Maps: you can create multi-layered parallax-scrolling maps by adding layers that scroll at different rates horizontally and vertically.
  • Compiled output: The games generated in this environment are internally transformed into .NET applications and then compiled to binary executables. That means they don't rely on runtime processing of script/code, but are compiled to a form optimized for performance. Furthermore, it's possible to create entirely self-contained games that generate a single EXE file with all the data embedded.
  • Sound/Music support: The environment includes support for playing OGG, MP3, MOD and other formats of music and sounds (provided by the third-party FMOD library).
  • Scalability: Maps created in SGDK2 can opt to use 1, 2 or 4 bytes per tile depending on how many types of tiles you intend to support, and because you can have as little as 1-byte per tile, you can create some very large maps with very low memory requirements. A map representing more than a billon pixels of viewable space could be created in under a megabyte using 32x32-pixel tiles.
What's New

For details about what's new in the current release, see the What's New page. The section below is mainly an introduction to SGDK2 for users of version 1.x.

Many features have been greatly improved during the total rewrite in .NET that was done for version 2.0. Here are a few of the more interesting differences since the last 1.x version.

  • Shared Sprite Definitions: Sprite templates no longer have to be re-defined from scratch for each map. Sprite Definitions, which are the replacement for most of the features formerly found in a sprite template, are shared accross the whole project.
  • Run Windowed or Full-Screen: The graphics and map editors run in a window with a much more friendly interface than that found in version 1.x. But more importantly, the games created in this environment can run either in full screen or windowed mode.
  • Run-time customizable controls: The default project template includes an options menu that allows the player to customize the controls instead of requiring the designer to pre-set them.
  • Multi-player Support: It's much easier to create multi-player games.
  • Customizable scrolling: Scrolling is no longer hard-linked to the player sprite. You can design a game that forces the map to automatically scroll by following an invisible non-player sprite.
  • Easier Sprite Placement: You no longer have to create a path for every sprite, and you no longer have to exit the map editor to add sprites. Now you can simply select a sprite in the map editor and place it on the map with a single click like you would a tile.
  • Integrated Customization: No more editing VBScript in a separate window in a separate file. To customize game behavior in SGDK2, use the integrated code editor, and see your customizations (in C# code) saved as part of the project. Furthermore, you can not only add your own code now (as you had to do before), but also edit almost all of the pre-existing code that goes into generating a running game, giving you much more control over the overall behavior of a game.
  • Build Your Own Sprite Types: You no longer have a limited selection of sprite types such as "left/right" or "8-direction" sprites to choose from when creating a new sprite definition. You can import, customize or create your own sprite types by creating any number of states, and define your own rules for how they behave. You can do this without even writing any code.
  • PNG support: PNG is now the native graphics format of SGDK2 internally. This also means that you can have translucent graphics. Instead of only having transparent or opaque pixels, you can have 255 levels of translucency.
  • Simplified File Management: Project data is now all embedded into a single SGDK2 file instead of having a GDP file that references all sorts of external files. No more confusion when moving projects around or backing them up.
  • Sound Support: You now have the ability to play OGG and MOD files. MOD will be good for compact representations of long pieces of music without relying on the quality of the sound card's sound table.
  • Overlapping Graphics: Your tiles are no longer confined the space they occupy on the map. You can have graphics of one tile overlapping those of another.
  • Composite Graphics: Your tiles and sprite frames can be composed of multiple graphics without having to pre-render all the possible combinations as their own graphics.
  • Offsetting Layers: You can now create layers that have a position not "anchored" to the top left corner of the map. A layer does not have to cover the entire map, so you can have a layer that just represents some tiles for a small part of the map.
  • Overlay Map: The player's inventory and other features can now be represented on an "Overlay" map, a map that is drawn in front of the main map, and generally does not scroll.
  • Counters: Instead of "Inventory" a more general-purpose concept of "Counters" have been introduced as global numeric variables.
  • Independent Tile Animation: Tile animation is now linked to a particular counter instead of an internal global counter, so not all your animations need to be based on the same value. You can, for example, have a counter that only switches to a particular value when the player accomplishes a task, which in turn changes all of tile X to tile Y via the linked counter.
  • New Tile Solidity: You are no longer confined to 6 tile solidity shapes. 11 shapes are provided by default, (including a new shape that allows the player to jump upward through a tile and then land on it) and you can write your own by customizing the code that defines the tile shapes.
  • Save to Memory: When saving a game to a slot, you no longer have to write it to a file. The saved game can be stored to a "memory" slot which only exists for the duration of the game. This is handy for resetting the game to an initial state without requiring a file.
  • Partial Save: You now have some choice about which data you want to save. You can save just data for the current map or just the counter values or everything.
  • Collision Detection: In order to give the user more control over the collision detection process, tests for colliding sprites are now performed more explicitly. Test for collisions between a specific sprite and all sprites in a specific category. Also, the collision test can be a simple rectangular collision test or the fancier pixel/mask-based test.
  • Global Tile Categories: You can now include tiles from multiple tilesets in a single tile category. This allows, for example, a single sprite definition to treat ladders from different kinds of layers the same way. A "winter" map might use a "winter" tileset that looks completely different from the "summer" tileset, yet the player could have rules to treat them both as ladders.
  • Sprite Categories: Sprites can also be categorized now for the purposes of testing collisions or creating instances of sprites of a particular type/group.
  • No Tile Matching or Maze Generator Yet: In the interest of getting SGDK2 into the hands of users as soon as possible, some of the less critical features are left to a later release.