It is 10 years to the day since Mark Overmars released the first public version of Game Maker, 1.1. Since then Game Maker has undergone huge changes with the addition of Game Maker Language scripting, the introduction of many more drag and drop icons and functions, 3D, particles and extensions. The userbase has grown from a handful to many thousands of individuals around the world and Game Maker is now taught at schools globally with over 40,000 games having been uploaded at YoYoGames.com.
The history of Game Maker is a topic covered in many one-issue magazines where the content is taken primarily from a page at the YoYo Games wiki. Hopefully our look back at a decade of Game Maker will be more insightful and should bring back some memories.
Above: (l) Game Maker 1.1 from 1999, (r) Game Maker 2 from 2000
(1999-2001) The early years of Game Maker saw big changes to the interface and several different file formats. A quick look at the interface in Game Maker 1.1 (above left) should immediately indicate some of the biggest changes as all the drag and drop icons fit on one panel for a start!
Rise to prominence
Above: The first Game Maker game I made, (l) the Game Maker 4.3 IDE looks familiar to the one used to date
(2002) Hands up who remembers the ezBoard community. The one username I will always remember is Burning Sheep Productions, last active at the current Game Maker Community in July this year. The off-topic areas were surprisingly good natured.
4.3b, released in 2002, was the first of version of Game Maker that I used. This period saw the launch of the first Game Maker magazine, frequent updates to the software and a selection of top quality user created editable Game Maker games on the official website.
Well known community members included Damaged and Morphosis.
Above: (l) an example of 3D graphics in Game Maker, (c) start of the current Game Maker Community, (r) Nag screen shown at the start of Game Maker 5
2003 saw the launch of the current Game Maker Community and the beginning of the commercial side of the free game development tool. Initially Mark asked for donations to support his work on Game Maker and then version 5 introduced registration at $15.
In 2006 Mark and Jacob Habgood released their first book, The Game Maker’s Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners. Version 6 of Game Maker included a completely re-written graphics system which included 3D functions.
Well known community members/staff: hpapillon, Smarty and shad0w.
(2007 – current) 2007 was the year in which Game Maker became part of the UK startup YoYo Games Ltd. The Game Maker Company took a one-third share in the company that counted former xBox employees Michel Cassius and Sandy Duncan amongst its investors.
As of now there has not been a release of Game Maker for over two and a half years. Incredible when you consider the extra resources the company should bring.
Well known community members: Chronic, KCLC, NakedPaulToast and of course FredFredrickson who is perhaps more famous for his appearances in Game Maker magazines than anything else.
A second release candidate of Game Maker 8 is now expected before the final full release (date still unknown). There will be a new logo, a new registration procedure and updates to the services offered at YoYoGames.com
Game Maker 1.1 and 4.3 screenshot courtesy of Eyas Sharaiha from YoYo Games wiki