Introduction: as outlined in my initial blog post, I am going to attempt to create the same basic game - that of the first few minutes of Gradius for NES - using a number of different game making platforms, one per day during my week off. I'm using GitHub to store the different projects. See my progress in the repo.
|Name||GameMaker Studio 2|
|Alt web site||n/a|
|Git/GitHub integration||Git yes, GitHub no|
|My github for this project||https://github.com/tildesarecool/grad-dah-clone-gamemaker-ed|
|Export format(s)||Windows only by default, extra cost for HTML5 and other platforms|
I paid for this software package multiple years ago but only used it a handful of hours.
Based on a number of videos on game engines I have now watched it seems like this is the 2D game engine package to contrast against all others in its class. And by class I mean relatively simple, a visual editor as an option and a scripting language of some kind to switch into. And also a big community with lots of tutorials and sample projects. At least one level down from Unity/Unreal, in other words. Other engines I would put in the same “class” as this package include AppGameKit Studio and Godot (again, my arbitrary definition of “class” including large communities and many tutorials).
It was hard to choose which to do next: GameMaker, AGK Studio or Godot. But I decided this one would be good to do first so I can contrast it directly with the other two, although I still have to buy AGK Studio (I only have classic currently).
I had purchased GameMaker Studio 2.0 on steam on some kind of discount (currently it’s $99) although there’s something on the GameMaker official web site called GameMaker Studio 2.0 that’s a free version of an other wise subscription-only piece of software. So I don’t know if the thing on steam differs from the free thing on on the YoYo site or not or perhaps I’m “grandfathered” in to something else (GameMaker was recently acquired by Opera).
Update: I have since learned the free version was introduced after the developer of GameMaker was acquired by Opera (in 2021). Opera also introduced the subscription pricing model. With the free version of GM you can't export as a standalone package of any kind but you can publish to Opera's new web arcade platform, GXC. At least there aren't any ads. Yet.
In any case, I bought this software back in 2018, used it a little while and – as is apparently usual for me – completely forgot about it. Put this in the same category as No Man’s Sky.
Anyway, this arbitrary idea for my week came up, I remembered watching and enjoying a “dev diary” by one Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation fame in which he uses GameMaker to create 12 games in the space of a year and decided this is indeed a good place to start.
The tutorial I chose is actually more of an Asteroids clone than my goal of a horizontal shooter like Gradius but the goal really is spend 4 to 10 hours in different solutions so minor details such as this don’t matter that much. I also chose the Drag-n-Drop or DnD version of the tutorial since that’s kind of what I’ve been doing for them up to now. If I spend more time with GM I’ll go back and try the programing language version.
At the end of the day
The Tutorial I ended up following is a few years old (2018) and the instructor or narrator whatever was talking really fast. I think these 15 minute videos took me more than an hour to make it through because I was constantly pausing the video to see the screen and make sure my screen was the same as hers.
I did make it through though. I have a version of Asteroids that is technically playable. Maybe one or two bugs. But mostly playable. I think creating games in other engines actually assisted in making the game in this one.
I still haven’t decided if this is the one I want to continue with or not. I mean I’m just assuming I’ll be spending ~5000 hours in whatever solution. So it’s probably something I should enjoy using on some level. Could be I didn’t give GDevelop enough of a chance but I have to say so far this is definitely my top choice.
I haven’t tried Godot yet though. If that can somehow be just as good while being free it’s hard to imagine why I would bother with GM. Perhaps I’ll take two days for Godot to get a better feel (this would include Christmas though so it may be one day anyway).
I used YoYo’s suggested playlist for an introduction, drag-and-drop edition. It’s from 2018, but I’m sure it will be “good enough” for my purposes.
Later I found this much more basic one that isn’t talking so fast and is much more current (not a space shooter but much easier to follow).