Nightmod

2014-06-14

Via IndieGames.com comes the news of a rather unusual game creation tool called Nightmod. It piqued my curiosity enough for me to try it briefly. Here's what I learned.

The first detail that stands out is the scripting language used, which is Clojure -- a dialect of Lisp for the Java platform. Predictably, Nightmod comes as a 36-megabyte JAR file. That's fairly small in this day and age of giant software downloads, especially as it includes some art for the examples. The license, as stated on the GitHub site (you'll want to head over for the tutorial anyway) is public domain! That's incredibly generous for a project this size.

First impressions: I like the interface. In recent times, I've grown fed up with the traditional menu-and-dialog style of GUI, so I welcome any attempt to get away from it. Nightmod is simple and to the point. So is the tutorial actually, and even though my eyes glaze over the Lisp code, I could probably learn the system easily if I applied myself. But opening one of the examples in the IDE reveals a project structure more complex than the tutorial led me to believe, and what's worse, there's no way to pause the engine's main loop! That's terribly distracting, not to mention how much it slows down the system. I poke around at it a little more, but nothing springs to mind so I give up.

Ultimately, Nightmod appears to be similar to Love2D, except with a built-in IDE and, I think, a little more structure to the API. And since there aren't many tools in the space between drag-and-drop game generators and raw programming, it's worth a look.

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