While by no means the only game creation platform out there, GameMaker has powered a good few commercial indie games. Our own former Section Editor Tom 'Moneybags' Francis made his game, Gunpoint, using an older version of the tool. Now he spends his days circling the office in a Golden Helicopter, flicking spoonfuls of caviare at the windows. If flinging fish eggs at your former place of employment sounds appealing, maybe you should take advantage of GameMaker Studio's current deal, which lets you grab a free copy of the commercial Standard Edition.
Ask someone to associate a real, live human with Grand Theft Auto today, and they will most likely say Dan or Sam Houser, the current heads of Rockstar Games. But neither of the brothers actually created the series. YoYo Games' Head of Development Michael Dailly actually created the original game in the mid-1990s, alongside David Jones. Now Dailly is revisiting his 1997 opus with modern technology and a 3D upgrade.
You might have heard that “It’s never been easier to make a game.” And it’s true. But how do you actually make one? What do you make it ‘in’? How much does it cost? How long does it take? Can you sell what you make, and do you owe anyone any royalties? Do you need to learn a programming language?
I don’t know, but I do know a lot of indie games. And lots of them are made with tools and suites that claim to be beginner friendly. So for each of the most popular tools, I found an indie developer who had made something cool with it, and asked them what it’s like to work with.
Starting game projects is easy – finishing them is hard. That's why GameMaker: Studio's Steam integration is so rife with potential. In addition to providing a guaranteed, albeit squirreled away, gallery for creations in the form of a Steam Workshop section, Game Maker's latest iteration features, incredibly, achievements, effectively bribing developers into creating, testing and releasing their projects onto a number of different platforms. At the time of writing, 21.5% of people have created an empty room, while only 0.1% have encountered 100 or more compile errors. Developers: make buggier games!
The really exciting part is Studio's Workshop page, which is already chock-full of titles. Stupidly, however, in order to actually play any of these games, you first have to download the free version of GM: Studio – Steam treats them all as mods, for some reason. Like much of Steamworks, there's also quite a lot of dreck on the GameMaker channel, so sorting through the Mario clones and reskinned tutorials is going to be a problem. Or rather, it would be without us here – look below for a list of the best GM games to be Workshopped thus far.
Valve quietly updated its Steam storefront today with its "Software" tab, selling utility, development, and benchmarking tools. Although Valve announced its move into non-game products as early as August, today marks the public availability of visual and structural development apps on the digital distribution giant.