A Game Maker Tutorial: Getting Started
Creating video games has been a dream for people for many years, but creating them takes a lot of time and knowledge of various programs and languages. Knowing how to code is just one aspect of video game creation, but you must also know how to draw, create assets, and make sure that things can interact well with each other.
Today large video games are made with hundreds of developers and they can take years to create. Even smaller games can take a year or two to make with the help of several dozen people. Game Maker was designed to help make this process easier. If you want to learn about the more traditional ways to create video games, check out the Udemy courses Learning Game Design that teaches you everything you need to know about the basics of creating, designing, and making your own game into a reality.
What is Game Maker
Game Maker: Studio, which is commonly referred to as Game Maker, is a program that allows you to create video games dragging and dropping various forms of scripting in a language specifically known as Game Maker Language or GML. You can even learn the language to make even more complex video games.
The point of Game Maker was to allow anyone to create video games even if they were a computer programming novice or they had no experience in video game creation at all. Through Game Maker you can create various console games and even develop android games with ease.
Game Maker Limitations
Although Game Maker is a great tool for creating video games it is also somewhat limited in what you can do. For example, Game Maker is mostly designed for creating 2D games, which means that you don’t have the wide array of 3D assets that you may want for your video games to be created. You can make 3D assets, and it is possible to create a standard 3D game in Game Maker, but it will be a lot more complicated and difficult.
That doesn’t mean you can’t create games in 3D though. The Udemy course Game Design – Introduction to Unity 3D gives you all the information you’d need to create your own 3D game.
Getting Started with Game Maker: Creating Sprites
Downloading Game Maker is simple, and once you do so you can get right into the creation process without learning anything really. The first thing you want to do for your game is create your sprites. Sprites are usually what you want to visually represent your game and sprites can either be a single image that you move up and down or several images that loop cycle through each other in order to create an animated sprite.
To create a sprite all you have to do is go to Create Sprite in the Resources menu of your game. You can pull your sprites from any design program you want. There are a ton of design programs you can use for your sprite creation.
Sometimes though people are worried that they don’t have enough skill to properly animate their games, but it is far from complicated and you only need a little practice. The Udemy course Mastering 2D Animation will help you learn what you need to know to become a great animator in no time so check it out.
Adding Sound and Music
No video game is complete without both sound and music, and Game Maker makes it easy for you to drop this into your video game. Go to the Resource menu again, just like you did for your sprite, and go to Create Sound. There’s also a button on your toolbar that takes you right to the menu as well.
When you bring up create sound a window will appear that asks you to name the file and load a sound. Remember that Game Maker can only use two types of files. Wave files that end in .wav and mp3 files that end in .mp3 are the only files you can utilize to get sound and music on your game.
If you want short sound effects that play, such as when the character is running or when a sprite gets hit, then you should use the wave file, but for long songs and background music it’s a much better option to use mp3s instead.
Game Maker only allows you to play a single music track at a time, so utilizing both types of files to create sound effects and music is great to make the game more dynamic and not focus on playing a single piece of sound at a time.
Game Maker allows you to compress your music, stream it and play it in real time from the disc, and create target options where you set the conversion rates of sound in your game.
This can drastically change the way game is played on your video games, and it’s a useful tool for anyone who wants to create more dynamic sound effects in their video games.
There are two ways in which you can create backgrounds for your video games. The first way is to use a large image that takes up the entire screen. The other way is to create smaller images that are placed strategically around the screen that are called tiles. Tiles can be used to make the visuals of a game much more complex.
Again you can import background images into your game by going to the Resource menu and selecting Create Background or select the button on your toolbar. A window will pop up and it will allow you load in your background.
After you load your background you may want to make changes to it or edit it. Within Game Maker, you can use a very powerful image editor that gives you a lot of range when it comes to adjusting the color, size, and various other properties of your background image. Although the Game Maker image editor isn’t as powerful as more dedicated editors out there, you can still use it for a lot of changes you want to make for your game.
One thing you should be cautious of is using large backgrounds, especially if you’re planning to create video games for mobile devices or small devices in general. A large background uses up more memory and it can create slowdowns for people who are trying to play your game.
You must also name your background something that you can recognize so that Game Maker can make references to it when you’re using the drag and drop aspects of its programming language.
Your background can become an important part of your game and it can easily become more interactive and dynamic depending on the type of video game you’re creating so choose carefully when creating your assets.
Defining Objects in Game Maker
Of all the things you do in Game Maker, defining your objects will undoubtedly be the most important. In Game Maker defining your objects is what brings your game to life essentially. It’s what makes the screen scroll through each room, your characters collide and fight against each other, and it defines what appears and what disappears at certain times in the game. Everything you’ve done so far is to create resources for your video game, but now you will be using those resources and defining them so that they play a role in the game you want to create.
How to Define Your Game Maker Objects
Defining your objects requires you to go to the toolbar and choose Create Object from the Resource menu. The window is split into various sections that will help you define the attributes of your object and what it will do.
For example the visible section lets you choose whether or not you want the character to appear in the game immediately or if you want them to show up at a later time. If you choose for the character to be visible then they will show up as soon as the game starts.
Solid is a feature that lets you choose if a character can be collided into or if something can be walked through as if it wasn’t there. This is an essential way to create things in video games such as walls and even secret entrances.
Other things you can control in Game Maker is depth, collision detection, and even physics to help the game feel and look more realistic.
Getting the Right Version
Game Maker can be used for a lot of 2D games that you want to create, and you can even distribute the games and sell them, but if you choose to get the free version there are some assets you can’t use and you can only put a limited number of background images, characters, etc. into your game at any time.
You should try out the free version of Game Maker to get a hang of it, and then if you really want to seriously create deeper games then upgrade to the premium version.
If you’re not sure about what you want to do as a game designer, the Udemy course Brief Introduction to Game Design can help you figure things out.
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