Thoughts on Game Maker

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by squamulus, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. squamulus

    squamulus New Member

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    I decided I want to make a game, or maybe 17.

    Before I go the C++ route and bootstrap my fledgling programming skills, I want to see if I genuinely enjoy making games.

    To that end, I thought I may dive in to an ease-of-building platform like Game Maker or some other such beast. Granted, the process is wickedly different from building from scratch, but I think going from the top down may prove more fruitful in the end for me.

    Do you guys have any thoughts on some easy-building game applications? I've looked into Game Maker but am generally ignorant of alternatives that may be hidden by my google searches.

    And for the less developmentally challenged among you, what SDK's do you guys use, and why? Just in case I decide to go the more serious route somewhere down the line.

    Explosions,
    sqm
     
  2. esrix

    Original Member

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    Pencil. Paper. Note cards. Maybe some foam core, if you're adventurous.

    That's the quick (and low tech!) way to find out if you enjoy making some games.

    Okay, that aside...

    It depends on the kind of game you want to make and what platforms you're targeting. Some tools are better than others at doing different things.

    I recommend taking a look at Adventure Game Studio. It's geared towards adventure games, but it's pretty easy to add in other functionality through some basic scripting (like, say, a battle system for an RPG).

    If you want something more along the lines of telling an interactive story, there's Ren'Py, which is extremely easy to use.

    If your particularly adventurous you might go for Flash + ActionScript. Handles most of the rendering for you and if you have the Adobe Flash CS3/4/5, it's easier to create menus and interfaces and whatnot, but it can require quite a bit of code to get it to work the way you want. Plus, it makes it easy to distribute the game to on the web.
     
  3. Vino

    Vino New Member

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    Actually I think the whole pencil paper thing is more than a joke. It helps a lot to flesh ideas out on paper first. For many game mechanics, writing them down helps you see them. For Digitanks, I designed an extremely simple version of the tank-on-tank action and made a tabletop game out of it, to test how fun it is. In the process of doing this I realized many mechanics that the game needed to make it fun, because I was able to actually physically play it. The first version of the game was just a computerized version of this. It's a great way to test out the fun without putting too much work in.
     
  4. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    Game Maker is the easiest, so I recommend trying that one first.

    Pencil and paper is also a great way to design and prototype a game; doing so forces you to think your mechanics through.
     
  5. Uhfgood

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    You can't make a board game out of an action game.
     
  6. JakeR

    JakeR New Member

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    I personally love Game Maker, despite of some of its flaws. Especially with the new version 8, functionally it is very good for most 2d projects. Another good engine to consider is Unity 3d, which the indie version is still free.

    I use directX for graphics and Fmod for sound when developing in C++, but I still use Game Maker for some 2d projects, since much of the testing has already been done for you.

    Game Maker can teach you some bad coding habits, so just beware of that when scripting. On a side note, if you do use Game Maker, use the scripting language, don't bother with the action libraries which just get converted to code anyway.
     
  7. PoV

    PoV
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    You haven't tried.
     
  8. cyodine

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    Last few weeks I've been diving into Unity and have been having fun with it. In the past, I've been doing the slow painful way of C++ hard-coding my own physics and collision detection. Unity makes that all so much easier, and I kind of like using scripting, keeps things more organized. I'm looking forward to using it for at least any prototypes, maybe even actual full games since it definitely seems to be speeding the process up quite a bit. I haven't check the other stuff mentioned though.. GameMaker, Ren'Py, Adventure Studios. I've seen games written in GameMaker that looked nice -- I think that Great White Destroyer game where you play as the shark. And Jack Norton's new something-moon detective game that's out is using Ren'Py I think?
     
  9. Jack Norton

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    With latest release which includes a new language screen and openGL support, you can make lot of interesting stuff with Ren'Py.
    Just take a look at my games and you see what I mean (farming sim, RPG with combats, etc).

    However if you're starting from scratch could be worth learning flash, if you don't hate AS3 like me :)

    edit: a BIG plus on Ren'Py is that produces 3 platforms with ONE CLICK. You make the game on Pc, click on build, and you don't even have to own a Mac or Linux. It's all done. Hard to beat that, unless you use some web language like Flash, JS, etc. :)
     
  10. squamulus

    squamulus New Member

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    Sweetness. Thanks for the direction. I've been flushing the idea out on paper over the last few days. It's a quick one, so it should be a fun first project. No MMORPG parties for me.

    -sqm
     
  11. jrjellybeans

    jrjellybeans New Member

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    We were using Game Maker for the first couple of years. Recently, I switched over to Flash and can't ever imagine going back.

    While it was nice, if you can understand the basics of GML, you will most likely be able to work with Flash.
     
  12. electronicStar

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    I'm going to throw Construct in the discussion.
    It's much more visual than gamemaker.
    It doesn't use a real programming language, rather some visual drag and drop "bricks", but rest assured you can do any complex task you can think of. But some people will prefer a real script language.
    The only problem is that it's still in beta state and it is sometimes unstable.
    Also it is Windows only.

    www.scirra.com
     
  13. dadio

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    The beauty of GameMaker is that it is so easy to understand, so fast to get things underway & so flexible & expandable.

    Other programs mentioned here are either quite genre specific & very limited (Ren'Py, AGS)...
    or are more difficult/less visual & require more coding knowledge (Unity/Flash)

    Gamemaker also has a really amazing, active community (GMC) where you can find hundreds of genre examples & .dlls & get your questions answered fast.
    Imo, GameMaker is the best option out there at the moment for a non-coder to get stuck right into creating games & see results fast.
    I would say the only disadvantages of GameMaker are:
    1. A known (annoying) screen tearing issue that effects some PCs.
    2. PC only (tho the Mac version is just around the corner now... & PSP-Mini porting is set to arrive sometime this year - which could work out very interesting).

    I think many people out there dismiss GM out of hand, assuming it to be primarily a "simple Drag & Drop Platformer Maker", but the truth is the GML scripting language is actually really nice (& the option is there to expand functions even further with .dlls).
     
  14. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Nope, with Ren'Py you can easily do:
    - a shoot'em up (you can use the new language system or pygame inside it)
    - a RPG (which I'm doing)
    - an adventure
    - a game like civilization

    once again when you have a LANGUAGE, and not a simple tool, you can make lot of stuff. The main problem of Ren'Py has always been the documentation, but apart that is really powerful and flexible, surely better than game maker.
     
  15. esrix

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    AGS is similar in those respects. You can use the interface without touching any code at all to make an adventure game. However, just a hint of code can easily add in features not normally associated with adventure games. For example, if you wanted a character to chase another character, it's one function call. A shmup would take some doing in AGS, though.

    On the plus side, it's also very well documented.

    I'm not knockin' GameMaker, though. Just offering up some other options. In the end, it's really what squamulus is comfortable using.
     
  16. squamulus

    squamulus New Member

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    Thanks for the lovin. I decided to go with Gamemaker for the moment, though I did check out all the others you guys mentioned, nearly all of which I hadn't heard of.

    One quick question for those of you who've been around the block a bit:
    What's missing in the tech you're using? Be it unity or gamemaker?

    For example, Game Maker doesn't take me out on dates anymore.

    Though perhaps more serious ^^
     
  17. JoKa

    Indie Author

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    Don't forget to mention Multimedia Fusion 2. Easy to start even with zero coding skills. Can create exe, Java and Flash stuff and more runtimes are on the way.
     
  18. ManuelMarino

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    Squamulus, what about jumping into the Roguelike world?

    I still can't find a "great" roguelike. One I love is http://www.incursion-roguelike.org/ but it's far to be completed.
     
  19. Ratboy

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    Found some time yesterday to mess around with Gamemaker 8 Pro. I like it. I got a simple ship flying in the newtonian way around a sun and firing bullets that inherit the ship's vector up and running pretty quickly, including the time spent drawing the sprites & starfield backdrop. Took me a lot longer to get to this point when I did the same thing in Blitz a while back. Given my glacial programming speeds, Gamemaker's approach suits me well.

    This'll give me a new hobby for those times between freelance jobs at the very least. :)
     
  20. speeder

    speeder New Member

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    I had to dump game maker :/

    I made my university last project on it, it was a more or less good experience, the software is solid, easy to use, and only with a few problems.

    But YoYo games act in the worst way as possible, I bought GM twice, got screwed, I complained in their support to get a "fuck off" thing on me.

    I even e-mailing Mark Overmars, and he told me to say "sorry" to the support, so that maybe they would stop deleting my tickets and actually support me... :/

    In the end, they concluded that the reason GM was misbehaving was Softwrap fault, and that I should ask my money back, because they had no intention of fixing it.

    Fortunately, I found a GM-like software, that has one advantage that made me instantly switch to it: It supports non-windows machines (like Mac, GNU/Linux... and the original author made even some iPad games with it, although the iPad version he don't released yet).

    It is named Novashell, unfortunately the last version is from January 2009, and noone beside me is modifieing it (so if you want the newest version ever, including bug fixes, you will need my version). But the author (MrFun for those wondering... the dude that made Dink Smallwood) sometimes still give support :)

    I think that is it...
     

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