Stencyl

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The scene designer in StencylWorks.
Stencyl is a game creation platform that allows users to create virtually any type of 2D game with or without programming knowledge. Users can use the toolset to develop both Flash and iOS games. It previously could only be used to create Java games.

The application is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Flash games can be created for free, but iOS development costs $149 annually.

History

Stencyl grabbed the attention of RMRK in May 2007 when a thread was posted about it. Initially, it garnered a great deal of excitement from forum goers. Many RMRK members became members of the Stencyl community forums, some even becoming official contributors to the various game creation kits.

Unbeknownst to the general public, in 2008, Stencyl's vision was allegedly reimagined and StencylWorks (the game creation application) was scrapped and reprogrammed. The team announced that the project was to enter a "stealth mode", meaning no screenshots, videos or specific information regarding the program would be released. This policy to withhold information created a great deal of controversy on RMRK and elsewhere, with many claiming that the project was a hoax.

After a long time of being locked down with very little information provided to the public, in 2009, Stencyl entered a private, invite-only beta. Quite a few members of RMRK were invited into the beta, though most didn't stick around for long.

Midway through the private beta, Stencyl switched from being a free Java game creator to a free Flash game creator.

Finally in May 2011, Stencyl officially launched to the public.

Later that year, Stencyl began allowing users to develop games for Apple's iOS platform, though users are required to pay $149 a annually to do so.

Past Controversy

For a long while, Stencyl was under production but offered little to no information on what features it would offer and what it would be capable of, causing many people in the RMRK community to become skeptical. Some felt it was a hoax; others felt it was destined to become vaporware or glossyware.

Another large issue was the use of "snippets", sections of code (or pieces of script, in RPG Maker terms) that users piece together. Some people, ahref in particular, presumed that this would cause compatibility errors. Supporters of Stencyl didn't seem to think this was a problem. Irock suggested ahref post on the Stencyl forums about it, since he, like everyone else, didn't know enough about the program to warrant a proper defense of what they adore so much. In time ahref did post there, and was given a response from members of the team. While they made it clear that anyone releasing snippets needed to include clear documentation on it, they admitted that users cannot just arbitrarily grab random snippets and combine them. This was seen by some as slightly contrary to the claim that users need no programming knowledge. Critics argued that they would need at least enough knowledge to know what will and will not cause compatibility issues, thus requiring a limited form of programming knowledge.

At one time, Stencyl was under attack for seeming limited to fangames. All of the screenshots and videos available were of games made featuring Mario, Mega Man and other characters. Even all their information regarding examples of Snippets included how to create Mario. Yet at the same time they claimed "Stencyl is not limited to fangames". They said at one time this was the goal of Stencyl before changing their model in 2008.

HaloOfTheSun and many others had no problem with the platform itself, but more with the fanaticism of something which fans of Stencyl knew little about, considering the absence of information provided by the Stencyl team. Many fans of Stencyl, especially in their forums, would ruthlessly defend the platform, some even taking criticism and skepticism personally.

Release dates had been pushed back until finally there was no release date, but with promise to offer one soon. Screenshots and videos as well as information on capabilities are not given. At first this was due to that they didn't want to "build up hype" and have users disappointed (again, see vaporware) but eventually changed their reasoning to the following:

"The major implication of this is that we have to keep silent until we're done. Our intellectual
property (IP) and ideas differentiate us from the competition, and we don't want that leaking out 
until we launch. We can talk in generalities, but we aren't going to release any screenshots, videos
or major ideas until we are very close to launch. We ask that you understand and respect this." 
- Jon, Founder of Stencyl

The Stencyl team was asked constantly when the release date would be, mostly because of their promises that this will be an incredible game making program, yet never provide any information as to why, other than that it can "easily make about any 2D game". They also kept changing their release date. With no release date, they promised that some form of beta would start by the end of 2008, which actually didn't wind up happening until Fall of 2009.

Stencyl member, eventual RMRK member and all-around autristic jokester, wareya said:

<Waraya> [Stencyl is] not a load of crap.
<Wareya> There is proof, I can assure you. I own a company.

Users of Stencyl

Many members of RMRK have, at one point or another, been involved in the Stencyl community, been an internal contributor to Stencyl or used the application.

Users

  • Irock - Community Team Member, Stencyl IRC operator
  • Arrow-1 - Former contributing graphic artist, musician and beta tester
  • Malson - Former contributing musician
  • Yossy - Former beta tester
  • NAMKCOR - Former beta tester
  • Anski - Former beta tester
  • wareya - Former beta tester (Stencyl member before becoming an RMRK member)
  • Skanker - Community member