My first game using Game maker

When I was a young, I often wondered ‘how to create games?’. As I grew up, I realized the harder way, that writing a game was not as easy as mastering a new language or a class library. There is a lot that goes in. A couple of years back, I tried to write a game in ruby, but wasn’t completely satisfied. I was wondering if there was a tool that could help me create games faster. A tool that would make things easier, but not at cost of flexibility and control. My search for such a tool brought me to Game Maker . To begin with, I'll define Game Maker as a wonderful visual programming platform. It is a great tool for game development. If you ask me, what GIMP is to image processing, Game Maker is to game creation. It is amongst few really well-designed software I have come across and I wonder if there are others in its class which can rival it.

For whom is it ?

Now, I have no experience doing games, so I can’t comment about the advance stuff. But if you are someone who knows basics of programming (even BASIC and PASCAL), you can use Game Maker to create really wonderful games. We are not talking of a tool that only allows you to mod games, but it actually allows you to create new games from scratch. Creating even a simple game from scratch takes hell lot of time, which turns-off hobbyist like me. With Game Maker you can go through basics of Game creation, without having to do much. It’s much like an IDE to me (it really is!).

How does it look?

I simply love the UI of this program. It looks very much 'object oriented’ to me. Those folders on the left very elegantly group things required in a game. Also, Game Maker has tools for working with imported media. For example it has a built in super cool image editor, that even lets you create animated gifs from static once. Various effects can be applied to imported sound, and many such things.
The UI neatly arranges game elements into folders.
The inbuilt sprite editor is a very helpful tool.

Visual Programming

This in my opinion is the most wonderful feature of Game Maker. Each object exposes certain events to which actions can be attached. This is done through the ‘Properties’ dialog. The ‘Properties’ dialog and what is does is amongst the best features of this software. You can create complete behaviors using drag and drop. You can have loops and conditional logic (like if..elseif) without having to write single line of code. More ever, I am surprised by the amount of flexibility it provides. It is actually not difficult to learn for someone who has no knowledge of programming. Programmers can make use of GML (Game Markup Language) to accomplish more complex tasks, which may not required in simple games.
'Object properties' dialog showing visual & event driven programing buttons

Showing Off

Another cool feature of Game Maker is that you can distribute the games you create. Game Maker can create executables (*.exe) from your games! Games created by Game Maker will run on any windows computer. You can also submit your game to their website so that others can play them online, within their browsers!

Creating a great game

I am certainly not the best person to say anything about that. But a good game, always starts with a good idea. Also graphics and sound are very important constituents of a game. Game Maker's website has some wonderful tutorials. I strongly recommend reading them before starting any major project. With Game Maker, creating game becomes a lot easier. But, getting the right graphics and sound effects can be a bit tricky. Game Maker is nice toy that can keep me busy for months. It is something I would always recommend to beginners. Screenshots from my game



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