As part of my self initiated work, I’ve been spending a lot of time using a program called “Game Maker”. Game Maker is a piece of software which allows users to make games with very little code required, but also provides a fully functional and simple to learn programming language. What makes Game Maker so great is that it allows users to prototype ideas much faster than with something like Flash because it allows you to drag and drops instructions in rather than coding them in. This saves a massive amount of time in the prototyping phase. The software can also be used to make fully featured games, which is obviously great as it is very easy to use.
The above screenshot shows the main screen. As you can see, everything that is used to build the game is organised into folders. When you wish to add a resource to the game, you just add it to the relevant folder and create an object for it. This can then be put into a “room”, which is what the software calls a “level”.
The above screen is used to create and edit objects. As you can see, you can add events (which work just like “Event Listeners” in ActionScript) on the left hand pane and drag and drop actions from the tabs on the right hand side. It is entirely possible to make a game just using these drag and drop actions, but it can be expanded on with code.
The above screen is used to write and edit code in Game Maker’s language, GML. As you might be able to tell, the above code is some code that I wrote to make the GUI on a game that I have been working on with a friend of mine on and off over the past year. One of the great things about GML is how easy it is to read. It is fairly simple to read the above code and decipher what it does exactly.
Finally, the above screen is used to edit the levels/rooms of your game. This is also a drag and drop screen, so it is very easy to throw things down in the software and chop and change things as necessary.
Game Maker is a very good piece of software to use for games that are not very intensive. For games which make use of more advanced features, an engine like UDK or Unity may be more appropriate, but they are not as simple as Game Maker. I intend to use Game Maker a little more during the course of the coming months to work on some personal projects.