Make Your Own Games with GameMaker 8.1 lite for Free.
Make Your Own Games with GameMaker 8.1 for Free.
Years ago, I wanted to be able to make my own 2D games but I didn’t want to have to dish out tons of code to do so. So, like anyone, I search for it on the Internet, and there is was: GameMaker. At the time they had two versions: lite (free) and full (about $25.00). I downloaded the lite version, and I had a game built within two hours.
For this article, I decided to see how far GameMaker has come. Now they have a newer version called GameMaker 8.1 lite and it is still a free download. So, I then downloaded the newer version to see what has changed. The interface of the newer version is still similar to the version I downloaded years ago. Plus, if you did want to add a little programming to your game, the GML (GameMaker Language) editor was still there. Of course, I am sure the GML commands have been substantially updated. However, the main selling point of this free editor is its click and drag interface that allows you to create basic 2D games without programming.
So….What is New?
What is new is that now the free version comes with two step-by-step tutorials that allow you to get use to the interface. Tutorial 1 shows you how to create a maze game and focuses on the click and drag interface. Tutorial 2 covers both the click and drag interface and shows you how to do basic programming in GML. Plus, tutorial 2 also covers how to create a scroll game. Basically, by following tutorial 2, you’re creating the old arcade game, “1945”. So, if you follow both tutorials, you will get the basic jest of how the interface works.
Where to Download:
The main website that hosts GameMaker is Yo-Yo games. There are two free versions you can download. One is for WINDOWS; and one for MAC. Also, on this site there are additional tutorials that allow you to make even more games.
If you like GameMaker 8.1 lite and want to upgrade to the full versions, then you can download the full version for both Windows and Mac. The full version costs $39.99 and you get a lot of extras like adding 3D graphics and 3D hardware acceleration.
Another newer version that they have created is GameMaker HTML 5. This version is a little more expensive at $99.99. I did not download this version but according to the article on YoYo games website, this version allows you to create your games for web development and browsers. Basically, you can create flash type games using java script. As of this writing there is only a Windows version of HTML 5.
Finally, they also have a newer version that is under development called GameMaker Studio which should be out soon in 2012. This version will allow you to create your games (still using the drop and drag method) and export it directly to mobile phones (i.e. iOS (iPhone), Android (Smart Phones), and MAC packages). I can see right now how many will jump on that to create apps for mobile phones. Of course there is no price tag quoted as of this writing.
My experience with GameMaker has always been a positive one and the newer version is very good. I have always had no problems in making 2D game with it and never seen any major bugs. Plus, the tutorials that come with this engine are in depth and very easy to understand. Indeed, after you do a few basic tutorials, you should not have any problems with the click and drag interface. On top of that, if you spend a little bit of time learning the GML language, you will also be able to program your games without too much difficulty.