No coding required: How new designers are using GameMaker to create indie smash hits

PC Gamer at

In May 2013, Tom Francis opened preorders for his 2D stealth hacking game Gunpoint. By the time Gunpoint actually went on sale, a week later, Francis had already made enough money to quit his job at PC Gamer and focus on game development full-time. But for many people, the biggest surprise came not from the game's amazing performance three days after release, but rather the way it was made—that it was developed using a tool called GameMaker.

GameMaker: Studio, the latest version of the tool, has been developed by YoYoGames since 2006. Its goal is to break down the game development process into something approachable and easy to learn, shifting the main challenge facing game designers from technical knowledge to creative ability. But in part because of this ease-of-use, GameMaker has carried a stigma that it wasn't capable or worthy of powering high-quality, "professional" games. ("I can't believe you made this in GameMaker!" Francis recalls people saying. "That's so impressive!")

GameMaker Studio's Standard Edition now free for budding game creationists

Phil Savage at

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.