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  Your View on GameMaker?  (Read 5586 times)
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Offline Slyth2727
« Posted 2013-06-08 03:10:12 »

Alright, for quite a while now I have turned my nose up at anyone that decides to use GameMaker instead of coding. Now I don't know much about the program so I would certainly not like to go around like this if you have to code while using the tool, so what are everybody's thoughts on it? Are they to lazy to code? Is it a useful tool to get things done fast and easy? Or something else? Go at it Smiley

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Offline Jimmt
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« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:13:22 »

It is a very high-level game generator (I've used it, very shortly, once), but it does allow for editing in C, I believe.
Offline Slyth2727
« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:16:23 »

Do you think that people that use it to make games extensively don't want to spend their time learning to code? For a while I presumed they were just too lazy... I hope I am incorrect

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Offline kpars

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:17:05 »

GameMaker can be great in many cases, just to toy around with things and see what you can do with it.

I'd think of it as a bit of a learning tool, to see how skyboxes essentially work, how terrain is created, etc.

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Offline Slyth2727
« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:18:17 »

Hey, makes sense. Any other opinions?

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Offline SHC
« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:18:50 »

I like GameMaker well and I think it is so useful to learn how a game is working with the events and some predefined actions. It suits well for beginners and for people who want to develop games without coding (with less). The language is so nice but since it's an interpreted one, I feel the game runs slight slow than to the native compiled games. Actually try this, the script can be in C like syntax and also in VB like syntax. For example,

1  
2  
3  
{
    // A comment
}

is equal to

1  
2  
3  
begin
    // A comment
end

Infact, I'm trying to build my own GameMaker like tool and hence GameForge. I'm currently stuck at writing a working translator to translate the GML code to my valid C# code based in the premade engine.

Offline Slyth2727
« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:21:34 »

Oh so it actually uses its own language! And good luck on your engine, it sounds like no small undertaking.

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Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:25:29 »

While good for newbie (and occasionally novice) projects, to actually make a decent game you have to get into GML anyway.

So you might as well learn a programming language and have all the tools available to you.

Offline Slyth2727
« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:26:27 »

Agreed

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Offline alaslipknot
« Reply #9 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:27:44 »

well it's just a tool, it has it's limit but also has benefits specially for non-programmers, however, till now i didn't saw any successful/commercial game build completely with game maker (DustForce prototype was created with GameMaker but then they wrote their own engine) 
so i think the "lazy-to-code" cannot be true because real game developer who want to develop successful games must have programmers on their team to do the coding, and i really don't think that there is a programmer that don't want to code (lazy) otherwise he is not a programmer  Emo
so in my opinion GameMaker is a great tool for young people to get into game development (i used it when i was 13  Grin ) also for designers to show their prototypes, so shortly, it's not meant for programmers, cause you know ...
programmers are the best  CoolYEAH !!
what ever  Roll Eyes  ...

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Offline SHC
« Reply #10 - Posted 2013-06-08 03:28:13 »

Here's more info on the wikipedia if you want. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Maker_Language

Offline jonjava
« Reply #11 - Posted 2013-06-08 07:04:55 »

Made my first games with Game Maker version 3 something. Had a few epiphanies with it. Haven't used it in years (8+), not since Version 5.3 I believe. Now it's owned by some company and I'm not sure the original author is any longer developing for it (Mark Overmars).

You could do platform games quite easily and with GML (Game Maker Language) you could really make professional ones too. It always lacked in it's portability though, although that's probably changed, and if you wanted to do anything fast you'd need to code a dll for GM to use. Multiplayer for instance was horrendously ineffective so everyone used the 39dll (which was made by a user called 39ster iirc). With that I made my first functioning mmo with sprites ripped from zelda games. I was very proud of it.

AAaaanyway, Game Maker got me into the fun of making games as opposed to playing them.

Don't know how it's like today but I think I'd prefer libGDX with what I already know. However, for a beginner I can imagine GM being something perfectly reasonable and preferable. As long as you don't dream of making 3D games or mmo's :))

Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #12 - Posted 2013-06-08 08:08:23 »

I think of GM simply as a different approach to making games that's no different from using a different language or a different framework or library. Not that someone is too lazy learning to code; but rather, those who use it simply embrace whatever advantages or disadvantages it may present and see it as the most efficient way for them to make games.

Two of the more known games to have been made with Game Maker are Derek Yu's Spelunky and Jonatan "Cactus" Söderström's Hotline Miami --- and both are great games. IIRC, Derek Yu is a Computer Science graduate though he doesn't consider himself a good programmer, and using Game Maker enables him to create the games that he creates in spite of that. Another well-respected game designer - Anna Antropy - has said that discovering Game Maker in 2004 was life changing for her and has empowered her to create games in the way that she believes they should be made.

So based on what I know about it and having seen games that have been made with it, I would say it's a powerful and useful tool. Even for those that like coding their games, it can serve as a means for fast prototyping. For those not so good at programming, it can simplify the game-making process a bit. It simplifies programming but doesn't eliminate it. You still need to be fairly skilled and knowledgeable at programming to make a game in game maker. Engines save time by eliminating the need to code low-level stuff like collision checking, pathfinding, sprite animation, etc., but you still always need to code game logic, entity behavior, AI and so on... no engine can eliminate that need as far as I know.

Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #13 - Posted 2013-06-08 08:25:01 »

well it's just a tool, it has it's limit but also has benefits specially for non-programmers, however, till now i didn't saw any successful/commercial game build completely with game maker (DustForce prototype was created with GameMaker but then they wrote their own engine) 
so i think the "lazy-to-code" cannot be true because real game developer who want to develop successful games must have programmers on their team to do the coding, and i really don't think that there is a programmer that don't want to code (lazy) otherwise he is not a programmer  Emo
so in my opinion GameMaker is a great tool for young people to get into game development (i used it when i was 13  Grin ) also for designers to show their prototypes, so shortly, it's not meant for programmers, cause you know ...
programmers are the best  CoolYEAH !!
what ever  Roll Eyes  ...

Not 100% sure how serious this post is, but fwiw, there are been a handful of good games which were critically and commercially successful, created with GM:

Spelunky
Stealth Bastard Deluxe
Gunpoint <<< this was just released this week, looks fun, has been selling very well and is getting great reviews
Hotline Miami
Immortal Defense

Also, Vlambeer (Super Crate Box, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter) makes a lot of their games on GM, and a lot of their games have been successful as well.


Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #14 - Posted 2013-06-08 08:29:25 »

The problem is that GM is so restrictive.

While it's not as restrictive as big publishers, it's not as much freedom as there should be. Wink

It's not because the creators of GM are evil, it's just an issue balancing ease of use and freedom of use.

Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #15 - Posted 2013-06-08 09:09:12 »

I guess one of the major points of consideration that will always come with choosing an approach to making a game will be the balance of freedom/flexibility vs. ease/speed. I found that with LibGDX, some find it with Game Maker, others find it with LWJGL and some create their own engines from base/pure Java --- not that one approach/tool/framework is better than the other, it's just a matter of finding what works best for your goal and what gets the job done.

Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #16 - Posted 2013-06-08 09:20:57 »

I guess one of the major points of consideration that will always come with choosing an approach to making a game will be the balance of freedom/flexibility vs. ease/speed. I found that with LibGDX, some find it with Game Maker, others find it with LWJGL and some create their own engines from base/pure Java --- not that one approach/tool/framework is better than the other, it's just a matter of finding what works best for your goal and what gets the job done.

Creating your own engine, while it may take a while at the start, in the long term is far more productive and less restrictive.

If someone was crazy enough to create a their own OpenGL binding, they would be far more efficient at graphics coding than all of us using LWJGL/JOGL and for some, LibGDX on top of that.

Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #17 - Posted 2013-06-08 09:27:27 »

I guess one of the major points of consideration that will always come with choosing an approach to making a game will be the balance of freedom/flexibility vs. ease/speed. I found that with LibGDX, some find it with Game Maker, others find it with LWJGL and some create their own engines from base/pure Java --- not that one approach/tool/framework is better than the other, it's just a matter of finding what works best for your goal and what gets the job done.

Creating your own engine, while it may take a while at the start, in the long term is far more productive and less restrictive.

I don't think so, not always. It depends from case to case. If some people are able to turn their vision of their game concept into a reality in the time-frame that they want to with Game Maker... and their philosophy for making games is complemented by something like Game Maker... then using Game Maker would be the best choice for those people.

Offline BrassApparatus

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« Reply #18 - Posted 2013-06-08 09:43:24 »

I have strong feelings about this.
Offline kpars

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« Reply #19 - Posted 2013-06-08 09:47:49 »

Fun fact: When I was 10, I once used GameMaker to make a Pacman game Smiley

Apparently some studios use GameMaker, if you want a TINY bit of proof, here's a video a few of us might have once saw when we got into game development:

In all honesty, I hated this video.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/c0o6BPYKBiA?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/c0o6BPYKBiA?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;start=</a>

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Offline matheus23

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« Reply #20 - Posted 2013-06-08 10:27:25 »

Game maker is pretty awesome.
When you start out and you have no Idea of how to make games, nor you know how to program, game maker is the perfect start, IMO.
You don't need to tell your students what a main function is or what a game loop is. All that stuff isn't there. Game maker was from the beginning on learning game technique algorithms and learning how math has to do with games: "How can I make my platform player jump and get pulled back from gravity?". Those questions are answered with those totally awesome click! Oh of course! reactions. And those are awesome, everyone knows them. And that's why I loved learning with game maker.

Later I switched to java mainly because I don't know how to "access" game entities. In game maker it's possible to get the nearest entity from relative to the entity you call the
instance_nearest()
(iThink) function from and it's also possible to save an entity you create from
entity = instance_create()
, but it doesn't give you complete freedom, and back then I didn't knew any other answers to that.
Also, game maker can be really slow. And actually that's the main reason I switched.

TL;DR: Game maker is really the best thing for learning to program and especially learning how to program games.

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Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #21 - Posted 2013-06-08 10:39:55 »

Game maker is really the best thing for learning to program and especially learning how to program games.

Is GM really the best thing for learning how to program? I wouldn't argue that it may be one of the better gateways into programming games, but I would think that first you would need a fundamental understanding of programming before you can move on to programming games.

Just wondering Smiley

Offline matheus23

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« Reply #22 - Posted 2013-06-08 11:23:01 »

Game maker is really the best thing for learning to program and especially learning how to program games.

Is GM really the best thing for learning how to program? I wouldn't argue that it may be one of the better gateways into programming games, but I would think that first you would need a fundamental understanding of programming before you can move on to programming games.

And I think exactly that is the interesting thing: With game maker you don't start out with a fundamental understanding of programming. And if you ever tried out game maker without knowing how to program, you will see that you will first start with getting the idea of the algorithm: If my player is standing on something and you press a key on the keyboard, the player should jump. You don't care about something that doesn't make sense for you yet: Main methods / classes, code in general.

That is the Idea you get, when you don't worry about the code. To get that idea you don't need to teach anything about programming to the people. If you start telling students 'Oh well, there's the if statement and the else and there are methods and functions and datatypes', they'll stare at you and say: 'Now why does that even exist, for what do I need that? Why? I just want my player to jump...'

But if you go the other route and start getting the algorithm and Idea first and then tell them how to express your thoughts in code, they'll say: 'Oh, that's what code was made for! Awesome!' and 'Ah, that's how I'd use the if-statement' and 'Oh, that's why you need to make a difference between numbers and strings...'

I like to go the way
game practice -> code theory instead of
code theory -> game practice, because the theoretical stuff won't tell you anything about how to use it. Often people get bored because of the theory, or they don't quite understand it and they won't be motivated anymore.

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Offline TifantaWorld

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« Reply #23 - Posted 2013-06-08 11:46:06 »

I think Game Maker is really cool. It's great for doing some quick and dirty prototyping, at the very least. And you can make "good"/commercial games with it (Spelunky, Hotline Miami, and Gunpoint being prime examples). I think the basic fact is that speed isn't a huge issue with every single game that one might well create. If speed is going to be an issue, Game Maker probably isn't good for that project. That doesn't make it a bad platform. It just means that it's not the right tool for that particular job. And I think that treating it as "less than," just because a lot of stuff can be abstracted via its drag-and-drop game building model, is shortsighted. Game design isn't just about hardcore programming. I understand that a lot of people who are into the programming side of it want to think that there's something inherently better about what they do, but you can make good things with even the simplest, and tiniest variety, of tools. That goes for most things, not just video games.
Offline kpars

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« Reply #24 - Posted 2013-06-08 12:19:22 »

Another thing I would like to note, is that people program software to help make our lives easier. That's the entire point, to make it easier. Creating a program with a more simple GUI which is easy to use helps us get things done faster. This can some-what be said about GameMaker. This is why game engines have their own SDKs, this is why microwaves have a button to do something for you so you don't have to. We might be in a future where there is no programming required at all to make a game, and GameMaker could possibly be a pioneer of this.

*Apologies if this is hard to understand 

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Offline sproingie

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« Reply #25 - Posted 2013-06-09 19:54:17 »

It's pretty much taken for granted in mainstream educational theory that while we're pretty good at fitting our existing abstractions onto new tasks and experiences, new abstractions are not something we can easily acquire out of thin air with a mere description of them.  For that, we have to reason from the concrete to the abstract.  Even people who are skilled at "book learning" (I'd count myself in that group) are usually just good at running some kind of visualization in their heads.  A really common trap for such people is getting a wrong analogy and sticking with it because they haven't had any opportunity to test out their mental model in the real world.

Telling someone who's never programmed before what a loop is by telling them about variables, and instructions, and flow of control, is either going to (a) take forever, (b) leave them with a lot of wrong assumptions they'll run smack into later, and probably (c) both.  Showing them a loop that actually does something, perhaps by showing the single step, then the next step, then the loop through the steps, will make it all "click" that much faster.

The functional programming crowd (which I'm also a member) hates to hear this next part, but I think that's why people tend to take to imperative programming more easily than functional.  It's easy to imagine the little execution counter as perhaps each line mentally hilighted as you execute it, left to right, top to bottom, just like reading, plus all the variables in their boxes clicking with each new value.  Not too many people manage to do beta reduction and graph rewrites in their head though.  Now at a larger level, I think FP actually becomes the easier thing to keep track of (hundreds of those variables clicking away?  no thanks) but it certainly isn't as accessible when starting out when things are simpler.
Offline matheus23

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« Reply #26 - Posted 2013-06-09 20:54:23 »

[snip]

I don't really get what that has to do with Game Maker exactly, you didn't even mention it once Cheesy

But other than that this is an excellent comment on the FP stuff. I want to find someone, who hasn't studied maths in college, but learned a functional language as first programming language. A language like haskell. I don't think that's possible. Probably there are some guys, but I doubt that.

Really great comment, which summarizes a thought I've had, too.
I don't think telling people about currying (which is one of the simpler constructs in functional programming), before they ever wrote a single program in an imperative language won't make them have that 'click' moment.

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Offline sproingie

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« Reply #27 - Posted 2013-06-09 21:23:02 »

The GM discussion had veered off a bit into "learn a real programming language first" vs "play with the tool first and learn later", which caused me to wander off into that whole pedagogy lecture. I'm not a big fan of GML the language, but it gets the job done I suppose, and I've certainly seen worse.

I do think FP could easily be taught as a first languages, and stuff like SICP does pretty decently at it, though the language might need some, well, dumbing down or spicing up for those who aren't taking it as a college level course.  It's good material, but boy is it dry.  Are we likely to see something like GameMaker using a functional language?  Probably not.  Inform 7 is fairly declarative, but really more a gimmicky syntax than anything really powerful, and not designed to run at anything resembling the speed like a graphical game would demand.
Offline TifantaWorld

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« Reply #28 - Posted 2013-06-10 03:38:23 »

I'm not a big fan of GML the language, but it gets the job done I suppose, and I've certainly seen worse.

I think the key to GML is that it's generic enough in how it functions that you don't have to spend a lot of time learning it if you're used to other curly-bracket languages like C, C++, or Java. You can pretty much dive right in and be correct in your assumptions about how the code works, and what it will do.
Offline princec

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« Reply #29 - Posted 2013-06-10 10:53:19 »

I used to be brilliant at FP at university. In fact I think I might have been one of about 3 people in the entire year that seemed to understand it, and for that reason I think it's never going to go anywhere further than specialists. I wouldn't use it now, that's for certain, but mostly because in Java I've finally found a tool that does everything I could ever need in a way that's easy to grasp.

GameMaker is a brilliant tool because it allows people to understand some of the high-level game development concepts without having to get bogged down with low-level concepts. A slightly more hands-on alternative might be Blitz Basic in one of its various incarnations.

Cas Smiley

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