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Game Maker - Software Review

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by Aaron (subscribe)
I like to be opinionated sometimes & express my views and can be highly judgemental when I want to be..
Published July 17th 2013
Game making without a masters degree
Ever since I was small I've enjoyed playing video games, eventually there came a time when I wanted to make games. As soon as I started looking into what was involved in making a game, I was instantly overwhelmed and convinced you'd have to have a masters degree to do everything.

I tried to find a program that would make game making easy and at first I could only find software that let you make a game with limited power or control, until I stumbled across game maker.

When I first started using it I felt like I could create anything I wanted from the moment I'd learnt the main essentials which aren't hard to learn. For $20 it practically offers you drag-and-drop programming abilities requiring you to link things up and tell what things are meant to do and how to react in certain situations. This unique method of connecting things together is especially great for those who have a creative mind and has difficulty relating to black text on a white background.

To give an example of a typical work flow that's involved in making a basic simple game in game maker, you'd need to create yourself suitable sprites (flat 2D images which can be animated or single pictures), objects that correspond to the sprites and a room (your game's playground area) where everything takes place. The object is what enables the game to have interactivity and so it'll be required for the creator to instruct the object's properties to do something when the player interacts with the computer.

If we wanted a stick man to walk when the player holds down the right arrow key, it'll be as simple as instructing the object to both move to the right and change its sprite to the walking sprite and when the key is no longer held down, the object's sprite would change back to the standing still sprite and the object would stop moving.

Of course it can get a lot more complicated than that but drag and drop has its limitations and actual lines of code are eventually required for the much more complicated tasks. Despite that minor draw back there's still a vast amount of things you can do whether it be adding in sound effects, music, cinematic clips, score boards, objects that follow a pre-determined path, simple artificial intelligence, timers, health bars and more.

Probably the coolest feature is the ability to create and submit to Apple's AppStore/Google Play but it should be noted that this requires Game Maker studio (costs extra) and the windows operating system.

I'd recommend this software to anyone who's creative and wants to make their first real game and has the patience to learn the essentials that entails a moderate learning curve.

Available for Mac OS X 10.5 and above, Windows XP and above.
The lite version is available for free as a trial with limited features.
Visit here and here for more information.

I've included a link to my first real game maker game from the yoyo game website that I've submitted.Click the link to view
Super Pac-Man
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Cost: $20
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