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Designing Games with GameMaker
Designing Games with GameMaker

So you want to create your own computer games

Playing computer games is fun. But it is actually more fun to design your own computer games and let other people play them. In the past, creating computer games was not easy. Commercial computer games you buy nowadays typically take one or two years of development with teams of anywhere between 10 and 50 people. Budgets easily reach millions of dollars. And all these people are highly experienced: programmers, art designers, sound technicians, etc.

But GameMaker has changed this. With GameMaker you can create your own computer games quickly without the need to learn a programming language. Of course you should not expect to create your own Halo 4 or Virtua Tennis within a few weeks. But that is also not necessary. The joy of playing a game is not related to its complexity. Simpler games, like Tetris, Bejeweled, Space Invaders, etc. are a lot of fun to play and a lot easier to create.

GameMaker offers an intuitive and easy to use drag-and-drop interface that allows you to create your own games very quickly. You can import and create images, sprites (animated images) and sounds and use them. GameMaker is bundled with a considerable collection of such resources to get you started. You can easily define the objects in your game and indicate their behavior, and you can define appealing rooms (levels) in which the game takes place. And if you want full control there is actually an easy-to-use programming language built into GameMaker that gives you full control over what is happening in your game.

GameMaker focuses on two-dimensional games. So it is not meant to create 3D worlds like Quake, even though there is some limited functionality for 3D graphics. But don't let this put you down. Many great games use two-dimensional sprite technology, even though they look very 3-dimensional. And designing two-dimensional games is a lot easier and faster.

GameMaker currently comes in two editions, the Lite Edition and Standard Edition. The Lite Edition can be used free of charge but it is limited in its functionality and will display popup messages. You can though freely distribute the games you create with it; you can even sell them if you like. See the enclosed license agreement for more details. You are strongly encouraged to upgrade your copy of GameMaker from the Lite Edition. It will considerably extend the functionality of GameMaker and it will remove the logo when running games. This will also support the further development of GameMaker. For more information on upgrading see the Standard Edition page.

This help file will tell you the most important things you need to know about GameMaker and how you can create your own games with it. Please realize that, even with a program like GameMaker, designing computer games is not completely effortless. There are too many aspects that are important: game play, graphics, sounds, user interaction, etc. Start with easy examples and you will realize that creating games is great fun. Also check the web site


for lots of examples, tutorials, ideas, and links to other sites and forums. And soon you will become a master game maker yourself. Enjoy.

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GameMaker Manual