This is the fifty-first entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
A pseudo 3D system made in construct 2 and 3 with no plugins
As you may have surmised from this tagline, this is not actually a game but rather a set of code that others can use when creating their own games. I am not a game designer nor a programmer, so I’m not qualified to comment on the code itself. But fortunately, as the parenthetical portion of the title informs us, there is also a playable example. And if there is one thing I am qualified for, it is playing examples.
For those unaware, Construct is game making software based in HTML5, pitched as a tool for non-programmers to help them realize their game ideas. The HTML5 basis means games can easily run in web browsers, as well as standalone applications. The current version is Construct 3, but the Pseudo 3D system of which I’m writing today can also run in Construct 2, if you are using that. Included in the download are source code for both versions of Construct, 3D models in .vox format, and image files (PNGs) converted from the 3D models (along with instructions on how to do that yourself). I am unable to even open any of this stuff (except the PNGs) because I lack the appropriate software. Instead, I was searching for the playable example, but failed to find it. It turns out, it is only playable in a browser, via the itch.io page.
Construct is primarily used to make 2D games, generally requiring plugins to handle 3D graphics, which are apparently difficult to deal with. Many who want to make 3D games instead turn to 3D engines like Unity. But this Pseudo 3D system, made without any plugins, does an impressive job of imitating a 3D environment. The playable example is a top-down car racing thing, and both the cars and the little orange traffic cones that they can knock about look and act just like 3D objects. The track is clearly a 2D image, with visible pixelation when the camera zooms in close, and there’s no discernable difference between driving on the track itself versus the grass between the corners and straights. But the car handles nicely, leaving tire skid marks when turning at speed, and the camera automatically zooms and pans to follow the action. For something that’s just an example of the code, it feels like a solid core that could be built into a fun game.
I don’t know how adaptable the Pseudo 3D code is. Is it limited to top-down racing? Could it be applied more generally to any top-down design, allowing for a 3D look? I would guess that this is its purpose: a set of code that others can modify to fit their games. But without owning Construct or understanding how to look at the source code I can’t verify how widely applicable it is. Presumably, someone who is making a game could use the playable example (which can be tested before purchasing) to get a sense for this. If you missed it in the bundle, it only costs a minimum of $2 to snag the source code, so there isn’t much risk in picking it up even if it turns out to not be directly useful for your project. If nothing else, it may be instructive on how to code up something that will work for you. If you’re cooking up a game that might take advantage of a pseudo 3D system, why not give this a look?
That’s 51 down, and only 1690 to go!