Frogatto & Friends is a great free game. Solid controls, smooth movement, great art and music and plenty of charming, whimsical dialogue. First released a few years back, it’s still worthy of attention and praise even now. But the handfull of dedicated coders behind it aren’t satisfied with just releasing a single platformer, and recent development builds of the game not only include a bundle of new features (such as achievements and more robust powerups) for the game itself, but an incredibly powerful editing suite that allows you to change levels and even re-write code in realtime.
Over the past month, the Frogatto & Friends development blog has been taken over by several sprawling pieces detailing the basics of creating content in the Frogatto engine, real-time code debugging, adding new characters and rewriting physics, and even delving into the strange new frontier of the game’s own scripting language. In short, a guide on how to create whole new games using this (very solid) foundation as your starting point. For a consumer – such as myself – rather than a creator, it’s a baffling breadth of options, but I’m sure that anyone with a foundation in something like Game Maker might be able to get quite some use out of all this.
Right now, only the current WIP build supports the full improvements and editor, although it looks like the project is working towards a unified ‘version 1.3′ which will bring the full range of upgrades to the core game as well as the toolset. Frogatto & Friends is freeware for desktop systems, but is also available as a retail title on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. There’s even a port for the little-known but impressively powerful OpenPandora handheld. It’s an impressively broad and ambitious project, and surprising that we don’t hear more out of it. Well worth a look for gamers and developers alike.