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What's the deal with gamemaker?

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Hi, everyone! I will probably be accepting a request from someone to do a Gamemaker tutorial. I actually don't use it or even know much about it. From what I saw on the app's website it apparently uses a more simplistic approach on game development using a built-in programming language. I just wanted to see if someone could help sharing any positive or negative (or neutral, even!) experiences about it and if this program really helps much in understanding game development. Any help is appreciated.

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If you're talking about the one at gamemaker.nl it's good for a hobbyist, or if you want to get a game out to get your company known in freeware/shareware circles (i.e. promotions).

I'm not sure what kind of tutorial you need, but if you're more specific (i.e. fighting games, platformers, etc. (need to specify which aspect you need if it's for RPG)) I'll see if I can write one up.

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I've tried it, a few years ago, and if you want my opinion then learn C++ or another REAL programming language and a render API like OpenGL or Direct3D!
The GameMaker program is only for newbies who are to lazy to learn what's going on behind the scenes...
It's okay for VERY small games, which are very simple and which doesn't need the speed, graphics or anything like a game a newbie would be making in C++ and OpenGL.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
hmm...I don't see the point in that 3DGameMaker software, it's just far too simple to be any more than a novalty, and certinly no use for a 'real' project.

However, the developers of 3DGameMaker also made software called DarkBasic Pro, which is certinly a big step forward. If your just starting out programming, or want to put a toe in the water in 3d graphics, then give it a try.

Its also pretty good for prototyping too, due to the speed and ease of getting things up and running.

It's a good 'My First Programming Language' but as always, C++/DirectX or OpenGL or simelar is needed for serious projects.

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As others have mentioned, to a certain extent it depends on which game maker you mean, as there are several with similar names.

I've played around a little with the demo/shareware version of Mark Overmars' Game Maker but haven't used it to create anything.

It looked to be a useful tool for those who wish to learn the basics of game design and creation without being distracted by technical details or needing to program.

It also seemed to be flexible enough to allow the user to go beyond the "point and click" creation method and learn a C style scripting language.

It could certainly be used as a stepping stone to learning a more sophisticated game creation system, such as the Torque Game Engine or 3DGameStudio, or even C/C++ programming.

It's a little like using Frontpage Express or Netscape Composer to learn the basic building blocks of web pages before moving on to coding by hand.

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I used gamemaker for almost a year before I started real programming. I got really bored with it after a while. ive seen some pretty good stuff come out of it, but its impossible to make anything really amazing with it. it has its own scripting language called 'gml' wich is basically a combination of c++ and java. I would say go for, since it is very poular and you would likely get more people to your site.

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I tried gamemaker long time ago as well it seemed nice at the time but sort of limited I abandoned it after a while. It's not a bad program to get started with though, it looks like they are planning to add 3d support as well link

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Yes, I'm talking about http://www.gamemaker.nl, as some of you have guessed. I looked up the page listing some of the games created with it and tried a doom clone that was in there. I didn't find anything too sophisticated about the graphics. Anyway, this tutorial I may be doing will be directed towards programming beginners at my school which I guess seems okay for a target audience. Thanks for the repies, BTW.

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I looked on the PyGame website and it looks like a nice option, plus it uses the actual Python programming language which is a good way to start! Thanks for that one.

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Including more sophisticated graphics capabilities with Game Maker would make using it more complex and therefore less suitable for beginners.

As it is, the program is a good balance of simplicity and flexibility whilst still allowing the user to transition to programming later (if they wish).

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I have experience with both Game Maker (gamemaker.nl) and PyGame. Here are my thoughts on each:

PyGame's greatest plus is Python. Python is a sexy, sexy language and a joy to program in. Unfortunately, there are some downers. PyGame is mainly an SDL wrapper, and SDL ain't all that great. There's no hardware acceleration for one thing, so you have to mess with things like dirty rect animation to get a decent framerate... ugh. However, I did incorporate PyOpenGL which fixed that problem. Another downer is speed. You'll have to write your own collision detection routines, and if you do it in Python, it'll be a challenge to get adequate performance. Portability is good, but distribution is a pain. Using py2exe to create a Windows executable works, but you end up with about 50 different files in the distribution.

Game Maker is what I use. It's Windows-only, and the scripting language is very primitive when compared with Python, but in almost every other way it's superior. It has a very nice IDE to manage not just code but all your resources like sprites, sounds, fonts, and others. Your game will be packaged as a single EXE file, making distribution simple. It's easy to pack any other files you need into the EXE as well. The scripting language, GML, is adequate (gets the job done, but isn't great). It supports recursion, local variables, plus native implementations of stack, queue, heap, hash, and list. It does not support compound data structures or array literals. There's not really anything you absolutely can't do, but some things aren't as convenient as they could be.

GM is made for 2D games, not 3D...so please don't draw conclusions from the Doom clone made with GM. As a 2D engine it does a great job. Collision detection is handled automatically for you, and only for objects which have collision events specified. You have control over whether detection is bounding box based (and you can set the box) or pixel-precise using the sprite or an arbitrary collision mask. Graphics performance is a little underwhelming in version 5.x, but the 6.x version (which is imminent) is a huge upgrade. GM6 uses Direct3D for graphcs, meaning sprites (and in fact the entire "view") can be scaled, rotated, and color/alpha blended, using the graphics hardware.

There is also support for DLLs to expand GM's capabilities. This is somewhat hampered by GM's limited support for data types, and the fact that DLLs don't have access to any of GM's internals (all action must be accomplished through a float or string return value). It's still a nice addition. There's a socket DLL around that's very handy as an alternative to GM's built-in DirectPlay-based multiplayer functions.

Well, I guess I've written enough. You can probably tell that I'm a user and fan of GM. It's not as inflexible as many people seem to think. And with the upcoming GM6, the problems with graphics performance will be vanquished. For the hobbyist who is more interested in making games than in programming, it's a fantastic tool. I'm a professional programmer, but not C (I do business programming, database type stuff). I make games in my spare time and I enjoy using Game Maker. It doesn't hamper my flexibility too much, and it doesn't force me to research the nuts and bolts of graphics, sound, input, timing, etc.

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I have used GM, and know many people that still do. It is not unflexible (to an extent), and somewhat powerful for tile-based/2D games. It IS a great starting place for those wishing to make games. Also, to make hobby games/etc. it is good also because it speeds up development times. However, if you want to get serious, start with this and move on. It introduces concepts such as sprites and collision detection, but also has things like 'rooms' and such, which can make programming, say, an RPG, very difficult (difficult, as in, you have to use tricks to manipulate it to get it to work correctly. By that time, you would be better off with C++ anyways). It does allow you to focus on game design, which would be beneficial for beginners/ameteurs/etc.

The new 3D support in GM6 is 'unofficial'. There are various software renderers for GM5 currently. Think about it, a software renderer written in a scripting language on top of a game interpreter. How slow can you get? Unless these people are doing it for the learning experience (which I highly support) or to benefit the community in general (which I highly praise), I would say 'move on'. After GM the best course would be something like SDL or something, which you can use to easily set up an OpenGL display and then go to NeHe and learn all that good stuff. The new hardware-accelerated 3D renderer (DirectX) will make everything very complicated. Simple movement from one point to another in 2D becomes amazingly complex, as you have to rotate the model as well to make it look believable. Not to mention that 3D modeling isn't something easy to begin with.

If you want to just make games, GameMaker would be a logical choice. If you want to make and publish games, I have never heard of a publisher that takes GameMaker games. But whatever you choose to do, "Well done is better than well said."

So, have fun and happy coding (GameMaker'ing)!

[p.s.] It might help to note that I am not a GM supporter, so my opinion may be a little biased here.

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Quote:
Original post by fyhuangIt introduces concepts such as sprites and collision detection, but also has things like 'rooms' and such, which can make programming, say, an RPG, very difficult (difficult, as in, you have to use tricks to manipulate it to get it to work correctly. By that time, you would be better off with C++ anyways).


It's not really like that. You can always set up a room of the same size as the screen, and from then on just forget the whole notion of rooms altogether, if that's what you want. It's really no trickier than using any other graphics library in that case.

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game maker uses the windows api for almost everything, i think
using a game creator is good if you're very newbie,
but if you want to create games so it will be your own or to publish it as shareware (or if you want to be a game developer in future), i wouldn't use a game creator for this. (you can start with game maker if you want to be a game developer in future, but not for long..you wouldn't find a job with a game creator)
as a 2d game creator, game maker is good
and by the way, the '3d' that id software used in doom 1, is called Raycasting.
it is a technique that uses 2d calculations only, so many game maker users made a Raycasting feature (i think it looks better in dos and not windows, but anywayz)

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