How video games are created can seem like some big mystery that’s far too complex to figure out without a university degree. However, there are countless young gamers who’d be interested in making their own games.
User-friendly tools such as GameMaker: Studio lower the barrier for entering into the game development by making things simpler and infusing the process with fun. If you have aspiring game designers in your household, constructing a game can become a project for the whole family. Here’s a brief introduction to GameMaker: Studio to get you on your way.
Entry-level game development
Made by YoYo Games, GameMaker: Studio is a tool for developing games that allows you to create and design 2D games from the ground up, without coding. Although, for advanced users, there is GML, a well-established coding language. However, it’s totally optional to use code.
Newcomers to game development find GameMaker very accessible, thanks to a drag-and-drop interface and an instinctual object-based system. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few younger users in the GameMaker population who use it to create remarkable projects.
You can dive in and begin tinkering with ease, even if you’re someone who knows virtually nothing about game design. It’s very rewarding to see your ideas brought to life. Numerous built-in tutorials are available as well as a multitude of YouTube videos that can help ease your transition into using more complex features of the system.
There’s a free version of GameMaker: Studio available to get you started. While this version is perfect for fiddling around, if your goal is to design more intricate games, you’ll want to purchase the Pro version. It’s a little costly but less expensive than some similar programs. Although you can create games for a variety of platforms, including Mac, iOS, Android, and PS4, GameMaker will only run on a PC.
What can I make?
You might be asking yourself, “what kinds of games can be created using GameMaker?” Technically, you can design some very basic games in 3D, but this software is designed primarily for the creation of 2D games.
Even within this limitation, there’s plenty of room to set your creativity free. Role-playing games, platformers, puzzle, side-scrolling shooters, and adventure games can all be produced with GameMaker. However, plenty of users are finding progressively more innovative ways to use the program to dream up experimental and unusual projects.
Game Maker: Studio is ideal for designing pixel-art, retro-style games since it has animation and drawing tools built in. It’s also possible to animate and import art that you’ve drawn by hand or crafted using other programs.
How does it all work?
GameMaker utilizes an object-based system to design gameplay, making the process more user-friendly for first-time developers. The objects can represent power-ups, obstacles, monsters, the player character, menu items, terrain, or any other item you can imagine.
Objects can have sound effects, special effects, and artwork added to them. Drag-and-drop command objects give life to the game objects, creating actions and events that control how they interact with your game world. The final step in this process is creating a stage or “room” for the game and place objects where you’d like them. Then press play to test out your game, and if needed, go back and make adjustments to fine-tune it.
There is a multitude of available commands, which means you can design a complete game without using a single line of code. After you’ve become familiar with the drag-and-drop system, even more options can be unlocked if you learn the GML code language. Another option is to use both the drag-and-drop and snippets of GML code, so it’s a system with a lot of flexibility.
Once your game is finished, you can make a splash screen and effortlessly compile it into an independent game file that can be distributed for free or even sold commercially!
Since developing a game is a team effort, it’s a great project for families to tackle together. Different aspects of game design could be assigned to each member of the family. Learning together can be enjoyable, and there’s more than enough room for everyone to join in.
Whether you are creating character artwork, sound effects, brainstorming the overarching gameplay concepts, or designing levels with drag-and-drop “coding,” there’s enough to keep everyone busy.
Remember to tell us about any awesome projects you end up making! And for more reviews, take a look at RPG Maker MV.