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What are the benefits and disadvantages of using Game Maker for 2D game development?

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If it's not that great of a program, what 2D game development programs would you recommended over Game Maker?

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Why isn't it a great program? It is a tool, it can be a great program if the game you've to develop isn't limited by it, or it may an obstacle if it is limiting you. So, it depends on your game and its relations with the tool constraints. Anyway, competitors are Scirra Construct and Torque 2D afaik. Anyway, you can also consider using 2D middlewares (SDL, pygame and the like) in order to code your game without using external tools.

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Been a while since I have used Game Maker, so I don't know how it has progressed. However, I can tell you that you may start to find it a bit limiting. Game Maker is great if you have no programming experience, but in the end you will always find yourself wanting something more powerful.

My personal recommendations for stable alternatives are Love (love2d.org) and Pygame (pygame.org). These use Lua and Python, respectively, but don't provide the visual tools that Game Maker does. You could also try Adobe Flash, or even Javascript and the Canvas element. All of these that I mentioned all have the advantage over Game Maker in that they work corss-platform, whereas Game Maker only supports Windows.

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[quote name='ekimr' timestamp='1322829063' post='4889747']All of these that I mentioned all have the advantage over Game Maker in that they work corss-platform, whereas Game Maker only supports Windows.
[/quote]

On their [url="http://www.yoyogames.com/make"]site[/url] they talk about [url="http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/mac"]Mac[/url] and [url="http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/html5"]HTML5[/url], but I don't know the details.

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Game maker is a great program, it's really good for 2D games, i reccomend you check out Wanderlust Rebirth and Ninjammin Beat-Jitsu, there are many other awesome 2D GM games and some 3D games also.

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The pros are that it's quite easy, gives you some flexibility with scripting, and you can use it for fast prototyping. Also, you can use some third-party stuff ( like DLLs, DyLibs, extensions or libs ) for more complex projects. It's also a nifty tool for targeting handheld platforms, but I have no experience with that.
Personally, I've found the lack of structs and classes limiting once, but I've found a quick and painless workaround for that. If you have a limit that doesn't lie in the scripting language, then you can just skim the forums for a DLL.
The cross-platform issue depends on your budget. You can buy it for Windows, and then pay separately for the other platforms.

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I think that the standard usage is use GameMaker for prototyping your idea and testing out if its fun and may work for your final game. Make small tweaks to your design and test it out again. Once you are more of less sure of the design element, then you can go finish the game in the language of your choice using the graphics library that suits you.

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Id say it depends on the game but I saw an awesome looking platformer ala Sonic/Megaman done in Game Maker like 2 months ago, it had weapons, it was fast and had combos too. It had 3D particle effects on the background and some 3D objects. The main character was made using a prerendered model. It was running at 30+ FPS and the game was smooth. I was very surprised that it was made in game maker. Sadly, I don't remember the name! >.<!

Also, Game Maker is being rewritten for the next version. And at the moment they have a Windows, Mac and HTML5/Javascript version. Also they have one called Game Maker Studio which lets you develop for all of them and iOS(i think) and Android, if you buy the capability to do so.

My advise would be, why not try Game Maker? If anything, the worst that It seems to do is let you try out your ideas much faster.

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I got to be honest, I'm working in GML for the last three and a half years, and I've both seen and done some amazing things in it.
I don't think it's really that much limiting, you can always find creative solutions to pretty much any problem you might come across.
I've even work on an MMO in GML that ended up being awesome in beta.
I personally really enjoy Game Maker platform and I think it is way underrated.

P.S. YoYo games (the creators of Game Maker) are also publishers and if you make a great game they may end up publishing it for Android, iOS, Windows and Mac.

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I listed some alternatives to Game Maker in two blog posts: "[url="http://clicktobegin.net/tools/how-to-make-games-without-programming/"]how to make video games without programming[/url]" and "[url="http://clicktobegin.net/tools/more-ways-to-make-games-without-programming/"]more ways to make games without programming[/url]".

I think those most similar to Game Maker would be Construct 2, Multimedia Fusion, Stencyl and GameSalad. I'm a big fan of Construct 2 personally, but Game Maker is also very popular and quite capable. Try out the free or demo versions of a number of packages that interest you and choose whichever you personally prefer yourself.


The strengths of Game Maker -- and similar packages -- have been covered pretty well above, but I just wanted to point out that beyond prototyping and making games for your own private usage a skilled developer can actually use these packages to release a successful game. [url="http://store.steampowered.com/app/109200/"]Legend of Fae[/url] and [url="http://store.steampowered.com/app/201480/"]Serious Sam: The Random Encounter[/url] were made with Game Maker and are both distributed via Steam. [url="http://store.steampowered.com/app/48900/"]Saira[/url] was made with multimedia fusion and is also distributed via Steam. [url="http://freebirdgames.com/to_the_moon/"]To the Moon[/url] was made with RPG Maker that is privately distributed and was Metacritic's highest user-rated game of 2011.

Beyond simply prototyping, if you take the time to become proficient with the packages you can develop good quality games and make some money with them, and I think over time as they become more popular and more capable we'll see more examples of successful games made this way.

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