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User Guide

Welcome to the Sploder™ Physics Puzzle game maker guide. This guide will help you to understand how to use the game maker, and get you started making games. It is recommended that you print this guide out for quick reference.

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Introduction


The Physics Puzzle Maker allows you to create small worlds that simulate realistic physics. You can create worlds with objects you can move, aim and drag around. You can add projectiles, crushable objects, and connect objects together with joints and springs. You can add scoring and penalties to your simulations to turn them into games or puzzles. Since this is a Sploder™ game maker, you can publish and share your games on the sploder.com web site, just like the other creators.

Help as you Create

Almost every button in the creator will show more information to help you if you hold your mouse over the button. Also, there is a prompt at the bottom of the creator that will give you further help as you create your world. Be sure to take the tour the first time you use the creator, as it will give you a general overview of the parts of the interface.

Different Modes

Certain buttons and selections only apply to specific tools, or your current selection. So, the right side of the toolbar will change depending on which tool you've selected, and whether or not you have selected any objects.

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Games & Game Levels

At the top left of the creator you will see the standard game management tools, which are New, Load, Save, Save As, Test & Publish. There is also a Level Selector at the top right corner.

Physics puzzles and game levels do not carry game settings from level to level. For instance, if you have 2 lives and 100 score in the first level, it does not carry to the next level. Each level starts fresh, but you must win a level to proceed to the next level.


Testing, Saving & Publishing Games


At any time, you can test your game by pressing the Test button. This will test your current level. Be sure to save your game early and often as you build it. Saving is not the same as publishing, so you can save as often as you wish, and then publish when you are ready to share your creation with the world.

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Adding & Managing Game Levels

You can add up to 9 levels to your game. Levels are played in order from 1 to 9. To add a level, press the + button. You can change the order of levels by selecting a later level and pressing the button. To remove a level, press the - button.

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Creating Objects

To get started making your world, you'll need to add some objects. There are two ways to do this. You can start by adding ready-made objects, called Prefabs. You can also draw your own objects using the drawing tool.


Prefabs

Perhaps the simplest way to add complex objects to your game is to drag and drop ready-made objects from the Prefab tray onto the canvas. These objects already have all of the settings necessary to be used in your game. These objects were created with the creator itself, so you can modify them or pull them apart to learn how they work. Once you learn how these are made, you can use your knowledge to make similar objects.


Drawing New Objects

To make new objects in your game from scratch, you start with the drawing tool. The drawing tool is the first button on the toolbar. When you select that tool, you'll see options on the right that allow you to select what to draw. The first dropdown menu shows a list of shapes you can draw, like circle, square, ramp and polygon. Drawing starts by clicking and dragging on the canvas. The polygon drawing is a little different - you draw just by sketching out the shape.

Once you create a new object, you can use the select tool (the second tool on the toolbar) to edit the shape. When you select an object, you will see yellow handles that appear. You can click and drag those handles to change the shape. For polygons, you can move individual points. Double click on the points to remove them, and double click on a polygon edge to add a point.

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Selecting Objects

There are two ways to select objects. The Select tool allows you to select a single object. You can edit its shape, size and rotation by dragging the handles that appear. You can also edit any modifiers that are attached to it. The Window Select tool allows you to select multiple object by dragging a selection window. It also hides all modifiers so you can edit objects without the modifiers getting in your way.

When you select objects, you will see the attributes tools appear to the right of the main tools. You can edit the properties of selected objects as a group. You cannot change the shape of objects by selecting a new shape from the dropdown. Once a shape is created, it is always that shape.

You can delete objects by pressing the Delete key on your keyboard, or by pressing the at the upper right corner. If you've selected multiple objects, you can also group them together for convenient editing by clicking the under the Delete button.

You can also use several standard keyboard shortcuts with selected objects.

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Changing Object Physics

All objects you create have physical properties, which affect how they behave in the game.


Movement

Next to the Shape menu is the Movement Constraints menu. With it, you can select different kinds of movement for your object.

The lock button will allow you to prevent movement of a free, pinned, or sliding object. You can use other actions to unlock the object during the simulation. This is covered in more detail later on.


Material

Object materials affect how much objects bounce against eachother or slow down when they rub against eachother (friction.) They also change the mass of objects, so more massive objects are "heavier" when there is gravity, and push harder against less dense objects. There are also special materials.


Strength

Object strength allows you to create objects that are crushed by collision or pressure forces in the game. The default choice is permanent, which means it will never shatter. The next three are strong, medium, and weak, which are more and more fragile, respectively.

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Changing what Objects Look Like

You can change the look and feel of objects in the game using the paint tool. Simply double-click on any object to pain it with the current styles. The pick tool, next to the paint tool, allows you to pick up styles from other objects so you can paint with them. You can also select multiple objects, just like the Window Select tool, and modify them while in paint mode.

You can change several styles for any object. You can change the fill color, line color, or texture. You can also choose to turn off fills, lines, or textures for any object. Finally, you can change the layering of the object to choose which objects appear on top of others when they overlap. The last two buttons are Opacity, which allows you to make objects see-through, and Scribble, which allows you to make an object appear hand-drawn.

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Playfield, Background & Goals


If you activate the select tool and have no objects selected, you will see buttons for changing general settings for your game level.


Size, World Physics & Boundaries

The Playfield button allows you to set up the physical properties for the world, and the way it appears. You can set up a larger game area, turn gravity off or on, and choose the world boundaries.


Background Colors & Effect

The Background button allows you to change the background colors for your level. You can also add effects like rain, snow, or clouds.


How to Win: Score, Lives & Time Limits

The Goals button allows you to set up the rules for the game level. You can set up how many lives you have at the start of the game, how many points you need to score to win, how many penalties you can take before you lose a life, and whether or not there is a time limit.

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Changing Object Behavior

On the left side of the creator are three more trays that are hidden when the creator starts. Click on any of the tabs to view them. They contain modifiers that allow you to change the way objects behave in the game. These can be dragged onto existing objects and modified by dragging the ends of the modifiers. Modifiers can only be edited in Select mode. In draw mode and Window Select mode, the modifiers are not selectable. This allows you to edit and move objects without the modifiers getting in the way.


Physics: Motors, Joints & Springs

The Physics panel contains modifiers that can be used to change the physics behavir of objects. Springs and joints can be used to connect objects, or to pin objects to the background. PinJoints can be used to connect objects with a stiff bar. If you drag the objects together so the ends meet, you can create a Bolt joint. Bolt joints can be used to create complex moving objects like the Robot prefab.

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Controls: Adding Keyboard & Mouse Control

The Controls panel allows you to make objects controllable with the keyboard and/or mouse. This is useful for creating "Player" objects or physics puzzles you can manipulate. The Selector modifier allows you to focus keyboard and mouse control on a single object by selecting it with the mouse. This way, you can create multiple controllable objects, and control them one at a time. The Adder modifier allows to to create an object that duplicates itself with the press of the spacebar or mouse button.

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Widgets: Spawners, Factories & Connectors

The Widgets panel allows you to add modifiers that create complex active objects that are controlled by the computer. The Spawner modifier is just like the Adder, except it creates duplicates automatically. The Connect modifier is special - it allows you to attach two objects in a parent-child relationship, so you can attach a Spawner or Adder to a moving object. The EventLink modifier allows you to connect the events of one object to another object. Factories allow you to create a Spawner that duplicates a set of objects, like a Robot, so you can have complex objects duplicated during the simulation.

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Complex Behaviors

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Locking Objects

When you lock an object in the creator, it not only locks its motion, it locks all modifiers attached to the object. So, you can start the object in an inactive state, and then attach an unlock action to it to turn it on in response to an event.

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Collision, Passthru & Sensor Layers

With the button you can set up three physics layers for your object. Collision layers control which objects collide. Objects on the same collision layer will always collide. Passthru layers allow you to set up groups of objects you want to never collide. This is useful for objects that have sensor events that you don't wish to be activated when they collide with eachother. Finally, objects on the same Sensor layer will trigger a Sensor event for both objects.

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Object Actions & Events

If you select an object and click the button, you will be able to turn your objects into special game objects that do seemingly intelligent things like increase the score when they are touched by the player. The Object Actions dialogue allows you to assign Actions to Events that happen to the object.

Events are things that happen to the object during the simulation. When you think of Events, replace it in your mind with the words "When this happens..."

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Sharing & Copying Games

If you or anyone else has published their game and allowed copying, then you can copy the game level by clicking the Copy This button at the bottom right corner of the game. Once you come to the creator, click the Select tool, then the Clipboard button, and paste the level into your clipboard. You can then modify the game, learn from it, and make it your own!


Further Help

That's it! There is a lot more to this creator once you get used to the way it works. If you have questions, the best place to ask is in the Community Forums. Also, keep an eye on the Sploder Staff page and Geoff's page for tutorials and help.

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