Thursday, April 7, 2016

Making a Game

By. George Philbrick

When I first tried video game design, I had no clue what I was doing. Now I can comprehend and write in a couple programming languages. The first game I designed was made using GameMaker studio. It was a trashy three quarter view endless zombie survival game. That being said, the process was insanely fun and intuitive.
What's great about the program is it can be used by people who haven't a clue what they are doing to create a simple fun game while learning about coding. I began with just a simple zombie and player, the player could shoot and the zombies would simply spawn randomly. Simple right? That's only how it starts.
Once one starts making a game, one is immediately immersed into an easy and fast learning curve. All of sudden, one is no longer worrying about simply making the character move when one presses a key, but about how to make the water pump in that randomly generated house give a different amount of water to the player depending on the distance it is from the nearest water source. Or how to make sure the zombies chase the player once he gets on a bike and becomes a new object.
The program is amazingly simple to use. It all operates using objects and variables, teaching some of the most complicated programming ideas in an intuitive way. It even has a built in photo editor for designing the sprites for the objects you make. To code using it, one simply needs to drag and drop a vast array of code blocks.
Game Maker has been used to design many games that are sold for profit, such as Nuclear Throne and Gunpoint. Nuclear Throne has a 97% positive rating on Steam and is has been purchased by over 5,000 people.
The one downside to the application is that it is only free to an extent. The free version has all 2d features of the regular one and a massive amount of capabilities, but leaves a watermark on the game. If one truly wanted to publish a game, one would have to pay $149 for the full version. This removes the watermark and adds a module allowing the design of 3d games. Additionally, a user may pay extra for export to mobile devices.
All in all, I think one can ignore the watermark for the free version, as it still offers a vast amount of fun and learning opportunities. The upgrades are worth it if one truly intends to publish a game, as in reality the full version is not that expensive. So if you want to mess around with video games and try to make your own idea a reality, Game Maker is definitely for you.

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