I like making Games but sometimes I can’t

So I’ve been a big fan of Scirra’s Construct, but I haven’t released a game since IWBTG. Why is that? Well Construct 1 has this crippling bug that makes it that whenever I added anything to the new IWBTG project (yes it’s real, but hasn’t gone anywhere in forever), the game slowed down as a whole. Like, not if I make a stage bigger, the game gets slower (obvious side effect)… I mean if I add a TITLE SCREEN to the game, the overall FPS drops. Sadly Construct 1’s codebase is a mess and Construct 2, whenever it’s released, will probably be great. But Construct 2 will probably not be mature for another 2 years, if it’s even released by then.

So I’m getting a little antsy. I’m not a real programmer, so 2d games in Unity or XNA are out of the question, let alone working from scratch. So with Flash and MMF2 being joke options, and Construct being a crapshoot for any big project…. that leaves me with Game Maker. Good news is, while I can’t program like a proper programmer, I can script, so not only is text code doable to me, it excites me. So I’m probably going to give it a test run since it seems like it’s become a much stronger platform over the years. So I wanna ask if any of you kids have Game Maker experience that could tell me some of the limitations of it are. For example, could I remake Symphony of the Night with it (tacky 3d effects, big environments and neat shader effects — okay sure SOTN didn’t have those, but I’ll wanna use them) and, effects aside, would the game RUN WELL? Performance is very important to me, since IWBTG sucked so hard in that department. If I were to consider GM for Brave Earth eventually(though I think C2 will be the restarting of that project), would it be able to run well? Actually, what are the prettiest and most graphically intensive games made in GM?

Just trying to crowd source a little research here.

10 thoughts on “I like making Games but sometimes I can’t

  1. I’m not a programmer, but I don’t see why Flash is a joke option.

    Edmund McMillen made a lot of games in Flash, including Aether, Tri-achnid, and the original Meat Boy. They all appear to be rather well developed games. Some flash games have even gone further and have been picked up by Steam, such as Terry Cavanagh’s VVVVVV or Machinarium.

    If the price of a Flash licence is scaring you off, I’d advise looking into FlashDevelop using FlashPunk or Flixel. Matt Thorson of Jumper fame swears by the FlashPunk library. He made a few thousand dollars selling the “Give Up Robot” games to Adult Swim. All of this software is free. The FlashPunk library is designed to be Game-Maker-Like, so that might make it an attractive choice if you are migrating from GM7.

    Also, to answer your question, the prettiest games made in Game Maker that I can think of are Iji and Seiklus. I don’t really play many Game Maker games so I’m not the best person to ask.

  2. My advice….Stay the fuck away from game maker…you spend 3 years doing fuck all

  3. I’ve personally never used Game Maker, so I may be a bit biased.

    It’s perfectly possible to make decent games in GM, as evidenced by Iji and Spelunky, but I’ve noticed several drawbacks in every single GM game I’ve ever seen. Specifically, a really long loading time on startup and bloated filesize. AFAIK it’s impossible to get rid of those due to the way Game Maker works. It’s only a minor thing, but that’s the reason I don’t like GM.

  4. Have you talked to Scirra about the bug, do they know the cause? As a huge Construct fan I wanted to use it for making my fighting game (or at least prototype with it,) when you say add ‘anything’ do you mean absolutely anything? Objects or events or rooms or anything?

    As for game maker, which I have also used a bit, I personally wouldn’t use it but one of my friends makes some real fleshed out games with it, but he was also a super programmer and that probably helped him. I too feel the pain of lacking programming skills.

    You may also want to take a look at Stencyl (google will get you there.) I got in the beta and it looks promising, probably not stable enough for a full project like IWBTG2 or anything though. But if you want to try it you can sign up at the website.

  5. My biggest problem with Game Maker is that I never found a way to zoom in while placing tiles. So on my giant monitor it was difficult to actually make a game. I’m not sure if they ever found a suitable work around for it, but that was my major complaint. Otherwise, all the little personal games I made it on were easy to make. Obviously it does require a little more knowledge to start getting into in-depth tricks in the game, but there are numbers of resources in the game maker forums and elsewhere to help you get started with more complex gameplay actions.

  6. I love gamemaker, I’ve never used anything else so I don’t know if it’s the best, but I still love it. And nearly anything is possible wth it.

  7. I’m also rather curious why Flash is inherently a dealbreaker. It’s free, it’s inherently multiplatform, and there’s some really nice free developer support if you look around. The whole flixel scene in particular strikes me as pretty promising (although I’m personally struggling with updating to version 2 with a project I’m working on). It’s pretty nicely optimized, and any features not already included (pixel perfect hit detection), someone’s probably made a nice library for). There might be some harsh limitations I’m not aware of, but between Canabalt and Level Up I’m not really seeing evidence of it.

  8. Learn Unity. It may be difficult to grasp to begin with, but I mean, so are most other IDEs. You can use Javascript which is VERY easy to pick up. Learning a new language may be hard to begin with but if you have the time, no-ones gonna blame you if you spend longer making a more thorough game. Well maybe we’ll just hunt you down and make you play IWBTG on impossible untill you tear your own eyes out. But thats about it.

  9. Might you be open to collaborating with another programmer? I’ve been working in the industry for several years now, and I’d be thrilled to contribute in any way I can to a new IWBTG. I don’t know the first thing about Flash or Unity, but I’ve been writing C/C++/C# for what seems like ages and I’m somewhat familiar with XNA. In fact, a couple of years back I wrote a basic 2D engine/editor in XNA 3.0, parts of which could be reused.

  10. I’ve been working with GameMaker since it was GM4, I’ve gotta say there are a few things that always stopped me from finishing a game.

    First, the loading times. The more content you add, the longer the load times become. A full game like Castlevania AoS would take up a lot of space, like 50mb if it’s a full blown game with proper 2D graphics and music and it would load for about 3-4 minutes.

    Second, sometimes there are problems that you have no idea what’s causing them. Problems that you can’t fix no matter what and can’t solve them no matter what. It could be my lack of experience or doing something wrong, but when a game becomes complicated, finding the source of a new little problem in between everything becomes hard.

    Third, I just used to start making games with drag and drop icons and later finding that I need to move to rely on code more and more. In the end I just dropped the project because I knew that I had to re-do it from the beginning without using drag and drop or convert everything manually, which would most likely fuck up something somewhere.

    In past this used to be a problem, it isn’t anymore though, you couldn’t use proper transparency in GM versions 7 and down. Like, you couldn’t have transparency that allowed you to use 50% alpha channel and stuff like that.

    The performance is great though. You can make a room sized 999999×999999 pixels and show it on one screen or use views to follow character and it won’t slow down the game in the slightest. However there’s a limit on how many objects and effects you can use on screen, it never seemed to get in the way unless I went over the top and did stress tests.

    By my tests it seemed it could handle 2000 objects on same screen at once, but later I noticed that if I increased the size of the sprites it would start slowing down faster. The slow downs are interesting too, I always use 60FPS for default performance, when it slows down it goes to 45, then to 30 and then to 15, each time taking a step when it reaches a certain limit.

    Another problem that I have is that too many special effects slow down the game and they look great, so you want to use as many as possible. Anyway this isn’t a really informative post, but I hope it helps. I love Game Maker, I’d suggest learning an actual programming language though, but if that’s out of question, I guess Game Maker is the way to go. I tried other programs and Game Maker is the most… Friendly… by far.

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