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Will game maker hurt me in the long run?

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If I want to program games for a living, and am one day hoping to move on to 3D games, would I be better off ignoring game maker and learning to program from the ground up?

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Well, at the end of the day making games is the most important part of making games, so there's some value to making any game, and GameMaker does have its own scripting language. (And you can do some pretty robust things in it, like the original release of Spelunky.)

 

But if you specifically want to become a game programmer, as opposed to a designer, artist, or other development role, you'll have to buckle down and learn programming sooner or later. It certainly won't hurt you to learn with GameMaker, and having a gentle start might help you keep your motivation up, but it won't be directly transferable to AAA game development.

 

If you have some programming experience, you can check if there's some game libraries or engines in a language you already know. If you're an absolute beginner, but you want to jump straight to programming, I'd personally recommend that you look at Unity, because it uses C#, which is mainstream enough to have many outside resources for learning. Unity itself also has a lot of tutorials for you to start from. (You can also make 2D games with Unity, if you want to start with that.)

 

There are other options (like Unreal) but I wouldn't recommend them for a complete beginner because they expect you to be an experienced programmer right off the bat.

 

I'd also recommend that beginners avoid building their own engines at first. That may be something that you decide you want to do down the road, but learning how make a game and write an engine at the same time often becomes too overwhelming, even for experienced programmers.

 

Summary: Learning GameMaker won't hurt you, and can teach you about programming, but it isn't the fastest route to becoming a programmer.

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It won't hurt, but if it is taking the place of limited time that could be spent learning more bare bones coding it would definitely rate second.

The game industry is already very competitive, being a programmer means that having to have the ability to program, and well at that, is basically a requirement to ever stand a chance at a job.

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If you're serious about programming games for a living, then using Game Maker would be a waste of time that is much better spent learning to code.

I get the feeling you're relatively young. That gives you a lot of freedom and free time that you won't have later - take advantage of it now, while you can, to learn harder skills - like coding.

BTW, if you end up deciding (for whatever reason) not to go into game-making, then being able to code will help you a lot more than being able to use Game Maker.

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If you are serious about making games, you will not find it as a credential for getting a games job. I believe Game Maker is a purely hobbyist tool.

 

Otherwise, in terms of it harming you it won't - but do make sure you are learning the skills that are required to make games without such a tool.

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I believe Game Maker is a purely hobbyist tool.

 

Tell that to the developers of Spelunky, Risk of Rain, Hotline Miami, Gunpoint & Savant

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If you are serious about making games, you will not find it as a credential for getting a games job. I believe Game Maker is a purely hobbyist tool.

 

If your resume says, effectively, "I once made a game no one knows about in game-maker, download it here to see how unpolished and buggy it is." then yes, its not a very effective credential. Nor will it ever be an effective credential if your aim is to become a graphics or engine programmer.

 

If, on the other hand, you can show that you brought to completion a highly-polished, relatively bug-free game that at least the people who've played it seem to enjoy, even if there's not all that many of them, then that's an excellent credential for many roles in the games industry. Not the only one you need, most likely, but it makes a positive note on one of the most crucial credentials -- the ability to make and ship something complete and polished, and possibly to take and implement user feedback.

 

Fully 60% of the top-grossing mobile games are made in Unity, which is not very far removed from GameMaker -- I daresay that anyone who can make a very complete and very polished game in GameMaker is fully capable of wielding, or learning to wield, Unity very effectively.

Edited by Ravyne

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The novice-ness or not of the tool doesn't mean much for the kinds of credentials it speaks to. Yes, no one is going to hire you for your 1337 gamemaker skills and set you to work with it, but that's not the point. If someone can make something complete, and polished, and fun then it speaks to their ability to finish something non-trivial, and exercise the same kind of design skills any other toolset would exercise -- I don't care what language or tools you used, just show me something awesome.

 

Its not the whole picture of course, but neither are someone's 1337 C++ skills.

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