At first, YoYo Game Maker looks very amateur. And that’s probably because it is. Game Make was created as a way of providing a professional service to an amateur demographic, and therefore extend the scope of game developers and games created. On a very basic level, Game Maker uses a drag-and-drop interface so that no coding is required. The interface is arranged so that all the resources you are using appear on the left hand side of the screen, while the rest of the screen contains windows configuring these elements.
I have used code in this example, but the drag-and-drop options are clearly visible on the right hand side of the window. All options are categorised- these actions symbolise movement options for the character displayed. You may also notice that I’m currently using the lite version, which is completely free to download by anyone. There are few limitations when using this free version, but I will probably buy the standard edition at some point during this project.
For advanced users, there is the option to code the game yourself, which opens up nearly unlimited opportunities to create something to a professional standard. The software uses a built-in programming language called Game Make Language (GML), which is similar to C-based languages and presents nearly 1000 functions and variables at the disposal of the creator. Even if you are relatively new to coding like me, the code is still easy to because of the user-friendly interface.
This is a code I used to whilst I was trying to learn the language (comments are written in //green). It’s a basic code which used for character movement, which makes the character move left or right depending on the keys pressed. It also changes the sprite in accordance with whether the character is moving or stationary, and whether the character is facing left or right.
I have chosen to use Game Maker because of its simplicity and ease of use for beginners. Game Maker has a huge community of users dedicated to providing resources and creating help for new users, as well as sharing games. On the YoYo games Sandbox site, users can upload their creations and play games made by others, as well as access tutorials and tools to help with game creation. There are also many other publishing options for developers, including the chance to port to iOS, android and even PSP. You may not realise it, but many Game Maker creations have gone to be successful hits, especially on iTunes. Some popular games at the moment include They Need To Be Fed, Mr Karoshi and Maddening, which proves the diversity you can potentially create with the program.
Features of the Lite edition of Game Maker:
Drag & drop interface
Backgrounds, sprites & images
Internal image editor
Sound effects & music
Paths and timelines
Internal code editor – with user-definable syntax colouring
GameMaker Language (GML) – highly flexible scripting language
Packaged with images and sounds – freeware samples
Auto-updater – for updates and bug fixes
GameMaker watermark on executables
Additional Features of the Standard edition:
Modify resources at run-time – sprites, backgrounds, paths etc.
3D hardware acceleration
Off-screen surfaces – for rendering dynamic textures
Interstitial screens – loading screens, videos
Advanced text drawing – rotation etc.
Audio processing effects – reverb, delay etc.
Built-in data structures – stacks, lists, dictionaries, queues etc.
Extensions – using custom external DLLs
No Watermark on Excetuables