5 GameMaker Cliches To Avoid

on August 14, 2013 - 156430 Views

GameMaker is a wonderful tool and it allows those with creative ideas who don’t have all the technical know-how to produce their own games.

But after many years, we’ve seen a lot of home brew games, and it’s about time some cliche features and thoughtless design failures are put to rest once and for all.

Boxes & Circles Don’t Make Good Characters

Creating a walking cycle (or even just requesting one) is apparently too much for some people. Instead we end up seeing endless amounts of games that substitute legitimate character design with colored gliding boxes and rolling balls.

Sure, at first it was cute controlling a cube with eyes. But this isn’t 1992; after years of lazy character development, those guilty of this can surely try a little harder at some actual graphical work. By all means, if a sphere or box is a legitimate part of your game design, go for it. Just be warned, it’s easy to tell when a feature was considered, and when it was slapped together.

Default Resources

A default load screen and default icons are really off-putting. They are designed as placeholders that can later be changed, and nothing more.

As much as we all love the program, you’ve failed your job as a designer if you haven’t solidly masked that your game is made in GameMaker. It’s another case of graphical laziness. Developing an icon takes minutes with a free tool like GIMP. And the default loading bar can be turned off if you really can’t be bothered whipping a custom one up. The same goes for GameMaker’s default dialogue boxes – don’t use the them unless you want to tell the world you are incapable of creating custom pop-up windows.

Be sure not to use default sprites either. They are there for initial experimenting with GameMaker. No project worth sharing has ever been made with default sprites and backgrounds.

Windowed Mode

There is a time and place for using full-screen, and it isn’t utilized as much as it should be. There is no problem in using windowed mode. It’s easier to work with, and depending on what kind of game you make it may be the best option for you. But in the GameMaker world there are a lot of games, especially 3D ones, that missed the opportunity to go full-screen. It only takes a few lines of code to adjust room sizes or views to any resolution, and adjusting GUI elements to sit correctly on any screen is a matter of simple X and Y positioning.

Embrace full-screen. It will make your game appear more professional, and the end user will appreciate a more immersive experience (it’s hard to get into a game in windowed mode, being constantly reminded you are looking at a computer screen.)

Pseudo-Companies

There is a strange obsession with creating game companies in the GameMaker community. New users are often guilty of this more than anyone else. You don’t need to create a logo, or a business name, or assemble a team of people you’ll never end up using (seek help only when you need it, team requests should be used sparingly). Don’t create a shoddy website for a non-existent, unregistered gaming company. Don’t put obnoxious trademarks on your software. If you want an identity associated with your work, use your username or your real name. Or how about linking to a YouTube channel where you can post videos of your game when it’s out?

In a nutshell, splash screens and bogus company names don’t make you look credible. Since most people abandon their GameMaker projects and teams, it’s best to leave any business details for later – and only if you plan to stick to it and produce more software. And if you want to protect your work legally and freely, copyright can instantly be applied to your work. You can also use a free Creative Commons license, if your game is freeware or open-source. As for trademarks, you don’t need them.

Short Stories

As indie developers, we have to do all the work ourselves. Sound, graphics, programming, design, and everything in between. And we all strive to finish our game and get it out there for the public to see. Sadly the one area that often suffers for this is the game storyline. It’s typical for a GameMaker project to feature an unsatisfying, small amount of levels, or even have an unfinished storyline. It doesn’t matter how good everything else in the game is if the duration of play is only ten minutes.

It is hard to get people to download and play your game, and you get one chance to make an impression. Do you think they will come back to play the update after you finish the storyline a month later? Yeah, keep dreaming.

The flip side to this is having a long storyline that sucks; this isn’t a problem for GameMaker games usually, but it’s worth putting that warning out there anyway.

Don’t fall into the crowded depressing world of cheap GameMaker creation flops. Tools like GameMaker make it easy to do a bad job. It takes a good job to reach an audience of players. It’s easy to cut corners; it’s not to create a decent game in an over-saturated indie world.

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64 Responses to 5 GameMaker Cliches To Avoid

  1. Ruthwik Rao says:

    One example as to how to make an amazing game out of boxes is Thomas was Alone. Although, the game isn’t made using GameMaker, it definitely applies for the mere concept of overall game development. Of course, most of them are lazy to be not able to build sophisticated characters, but not all the time IMO. There are very good games out there that have boxes or spheres as game characters, but you’re making a slight mistake by basing a game on the sophistication of how characters look. But I agree, if people are making such cutbacks, they better compensate for it in the overall design approach to the gameplay.
    And as you told,
    “By all means, if a sphere or box is a legitimate part of your game design, go for it.”
    Basically, my whole rant in that one sentence.

  2. Dain says:

    You said “No project worth sharing has ever been made with default sprites and backgrounds.”
    http://epigam.prophpbb.com/topic502.html
    http://epigam.prophpbb.com/topic12.html
    Both were made using some default sprites, and yet I consider both to be worth sharing.
    Still, the majority of the games made with default sprites aren’t very good however, so you still stand correct, depending on who you ask, that is.

  3. Suppercut says:

    “It only takes a few lines of code to adjust room sizes or views to any resolution”

    I call horse manure. Show me this “few lines of code” that just magically changes resolution. You scrapped display_set_size, and every other method is either hacky or broken.

  4. Johan Brodd says:

    Most important of all: Good planning makes for even better games. Designing a game haphazardly is one thing you should never do. Start off by writing down a script covering the story.

  5. John Roland says:

    Above 5 points do not really matter in my opinion. A good game is:
    1 – great gameplay (e.g. good mechanics, movement of character smooth and intuitive, etc)
    2 – excellent level design

    If you remember why old games were great, it’s because of 1 and 2. A game can have nice graphics, but it’s not really that important. That’s why old game were great.
    I’ve seen many games with bad mechanics and bad or boring level design……..

  6. mrPink says:

    if youre into gamemaker and spending alot of time, planning and making many games which u release, i cant find any wrong using an artistname or halfway companyname like “pinkygames” or “made by pinky” , it may even motivate you further, but stick to one name…decide caaarefulllly. but maybe leave out the Ltd or studios or whatever that sounds very big, if ure just one person hehe.. and very good examples of what to remember to do and not, above

  7. Anon says:

    There are too many do’s and don’ts here.

    The goal is to finish. When you finish you can make another game. Then you can make another – and another. After a while you will have familiarity enough with the tools to tackle things like design and graphics.

    If you can finish your game you will have more experience than most of the people who commented on this article with their “advice”.

    Do your own thing in your own way and learn at your own pace. You don’t need a big list of “advice”. All you need is the manual and time and persistence. That’s the real deal.

  8. Anonymous says:

    TL;DR
    Here is my GameMaker tips, and also i got the from other people :
    1. Don’t use default sprites/backgrounds/tiles/sounds of GameMaker, you should make your own or get some of the internet.
    2. .MP3 is not an good sound for GameMaker.
    3. Use .OGG instead of .WAV.
    4. Add more detail on your game. Be artistic.
    5. Gray background and default room size is very boring. Change them.
    6. Set room speed to 60 or more instead of 30.
    7. Moving walls should not even have soild, or it would cause a glitch.
    8. Game information is ugly. Make it inside the game. And turn off for it.
    9. (Display Message) is bad, as you know. You should change the skin and botton.
    10. You should make icon for your game. Not an default GameMaker icon.
    11. Path isn’t good, only sometimes.
    12. Variables are very useful. And very good if they are persistent.
    13. Room transition is bad.
    14. Sometimes you need .DLL for GameMaker, so it will be something unique that has not been on other GameMaker games.
    15. Hide the loading screen, everyone will know it was made in GameMaker. Don’t make fake loading screens.
    16. Step Avoiding sucks so bad, don’t use it for path-finding.
    17. Don’t give up when working on a very good project. Don’t work on another project if you’re tired. If you work on a new project, this will lead you to stress and get depressed.
    18. Create Effect sucks, it always will be bad for your games. Can’t even set the depth of it. Only above and below.
    19. 3D sucks, really. Wait until you get a new version of GameMaker and get more shaders.
    20. Don’t take a Example game from GameMaker and edit it, because they are bad and people won’t even like your game.
    21. Platform always need physics.
    22. Show Highscore is shitty.
    23. Don’t get sharp colors.
    24. Surface are very good for lightning, sometimes it won’t work but there is always an another way.
    25. For platform games, don’t make an object with only one sprite that doesn’t even change sprite when moving or jumping.
    26. Don’t stretch the images, it’s horrible to do it.
    27. Learn more GML (Game Maker Language), do not ever get tired of it.
    28. Make the sprites more soft, not pixelated. It will look bad if when it’s rotating.
    29. When making a rhythm game, then the game must excactly follow the music’s beat.
    30. When making a Music maker in GameMaker, don’t make the sprite notes into 32×32. Or set the collision width to 1, because then the sound will play like more than 1 time if you don’t set the collision width to 1.
    Here are other GameMaker tips. :
    When making your own lib and gonna upload it. make the action icons beautiful as you can, use GIMP, Photoshop or whatever but not Microsoft Paint, it will look shitty as fuck.

    • Johan Brodd says:

      Let me say this as a musician. A music tool made in GameMaker sure is a posibility, but you’ll have awful latency issues. Trust me! Better to drop that idea. It’s better to use a premade software like LMMS to compose your music rather than create your own application.

  9. Benjamin says:

    The comment about fullscreen is a little unfair I think. GM:Studio has a big problem with up scaling pixel perfect graphics to full screen, you get this distortion of pixels – which is frustrating considering the amount of pixel art that is used on the platform in 2d games. The issue was worked around in version 8, but its still quite a major problem that hasn’t been fixed.

    If anyone has a method that allows pixel perfect upscaling to fullscreen I would be really interested in learning more.

    • rbvl says:

      Hi! I’m pretty new to GM:S and this comment is pretty old… but I figured I could help whoever steps in here.
      I used to have the same problem. I like big square pixelish stuff, and I like to create small sprites that I zoom in afterwards to make them look even squarer (more square??…).

      Anyways, anti-aliasing for such use is pure evil, and I believe you can turn it off by proceeding to Resources > Global Game settings (or Shift + Ctrl + G) > Windows / Mac OSX > Graphics tab > Interpolate colours between pixels…

      Cheers

  10. AceOfShades says:

    Well, I could say that everything the article had to say doesn’t necessarily apply when someone is just using GM for fun, or just to try it out or something, they are free to try whatever as they please(in accordance to the law of course)… BUT, if that person is someone who considers a career in game development, this article just may save that person from making a mess of him/herself. Not a bad article, not bad at all.

  11. Matthias Wiet says:

    Thx for posting this i love all the comments and thank you for pointing out all the problems! i have been using game maker for over 5 years and having people ask me for help get annoying after a while.

  12. Johan Brodd says:

    As for the story I don’t really think this is such relevant topic. How much story does Pacman contain? Or Arkanoid? Yes there is a background story, but getting the story too complex often sets game design back from completion. No people, a simple game with a simple tutorial should be enough as an indie game developer.

  13. Impredecible says:

    I keep considering 3 a very stupid point.
    Full screen is totally unnecessary and impractical: forces lose control of what happens in the rest of the computer, and prevents do other things while playing.

  14. Johan Brodd says:

    Well I understand the pseudo company thingy, and I tend to use a similar strategy.
    Although I’m using a logical name for my project: JoBroMedia, Media by Johan Brodd. This is a project I’ve got going for the last 16 years. However I intend to register this as a company, as soon as my games get released.

  15. tim marks says:

    just a point about using TM for trade mark, your info is wrong, you can put TM after anything you want to trade mark, its is then trade marked you dont have to pay, its (R) TM that you cant use, that is a registered trade mark and you do have to pay for that, the difference is that is easier to take someone to court with a registered trade mark, but the normal free TM means no one can copy your trade mark from the moment you use the TM, you can still tell the person who has stolen your mark to not use it, but if they refuse you will have to get it registered to take legal action, if you dont reg it as well you better make sure you can prove what date you added that TM to your stuff.

  16. Daleo Star says:

    I really liked this article. I remember when I was 14, and I was experimenting with Game Maker 3.0. And I was one of those kids that thought he could make games using other people’s sprite work, and tile sets. And I’ve grown up a lot since then. 10 years later, I’m finding myself back with Game maker (Game Maker Studio to be exact), developing my first “Real” game.

    It really surprises me that there are quite a bit of “Garbage” games out there, and that’s not just Game Maker. A lot of people think they have what it takes to be a game designer. I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with people making fake companies. Actually, my team has already planned our team name [Catboy Games], and we refer to ourselves as a independent gaming company; even if it isn’t true, it does help us stay motivated. It’s the idea that: “Well, even if we aren’t a gaming company now, when our game is finished, we will be; so lets go ahead and get used to the idea now.” Granted, it does get really gimmicky, especially when people put unfinished work on their websites, or silly tech demos (if they aren’t a website dedicated to tech demos). Maybe it’s the whole American Idol effect, where some people just aren’t good at game development but they believe it in their head that they are. But the way I see it, in the golden era of Independent Development, there really isn’t any excuse for poor quality in their games. Every game developer has played video games throughout their life. They should know what flies, and what doesn’t. What games have succeeded? What games have flopped. And I’ve read quite a bit of articles as of late from game developers who’ve made it. And they know what they are talking about.

    So, does it take effort? Does it take time? Does it take thought, and research? Well, of course it does. My game probably won’t be done til the end of this year. And, because I want players to WANT to play it, I am willing to put the time and effort into it. And if anyone else wants people to play their game, then they better sit down and do the work.

    Thanks for the Read.

  17. John Jones says:

    Joshua “Loaf” Liddle :
    You are obviously a hobbyist because your view of quality control is very poor. I am amazed you still think leaving placeholder resources in your work is fine. Very shonky indeed, I’d be surprised if any of your previous work is up to a standard worth getting out there.

    I honestly have to agree with you, Joshua. People don’t really know about quality if they just use GM graphics. The person could use a TINY bit of these GM images, but not a lot. They also should edit those images. People also seem to think that their games can succeed by slapping everything together with minimal effort, not realizing they’re just failing and embarrassing themselves. Making good games take time and effort (hey I’m 14, but I do understand quality and effort). I do use the TM and (C) symbols in my games, but that’s because I felt like it. It doesn’t matter anyway; people look at the game, not the copyright/trademark notices.

  18. wy477wh173 says:

    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I’ll chime inn to anyone reading this in the future.

    I am of the school of thought that default graphics and poor color schemes make you look like an ameture. After prototyping for my last company’s next game ,making over 30 prototypes, the company shut down and I was left a bit in the cold, So I turned to GM and churned out a bad game in just under four months and havent looked back to Unity since. (Sorry about the run on sentence) Game Maker was aimed at pre-teens who wanna pretend to be programmers before the release of GM:S which is an attempt to make the engine look more legitimate. It worked to a degree.

    IMO, the problem of bad GM games lays with the developers more than with the software. Games like Hotline Miami shows what can be done with a skilled team in GM. The same things go for all engines, especially free/cheap ones. People make tons of trash games in Source engine and UDK.

    In closing, its easy to get lazy and use default graphics or drag and drop functions, and I’m not saying there isn’t a time in a dev’s career when drag and drop or default resources dont fit, all I’m saying is If you want to be taken seriously as a developer, its really about you, not your engine.

  19. Bebop says:

    I really hope this article will get through to at least some people.

    As a Game Maker user with standards, it really disappoints me how when many people hear that a game is made with Game Maker, the next thing that comes to their mind is usually something along the lines of “Going to be bad”.

    Of course, I can’t even blame those people. Honestly, I’m the same way for the most part. One of the reasons is because I acknowledge that a lot of young people use Game Maker, and they expect positive feedback from the public the way that their Mother gave it to them.

    And I’ve noticed a lot of Game Maker users just make quick half-assed games with hardly any gameplay value in it, then release it to the public and usually expect positive feedback, and take any sort of criticism as an insult, instead of taking it as a valuable note from one of their players that they can keep in mind for next time.

    Note to the majority of Game Maker users: Please, raise your standards.

  20. Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

    bro :Brotip: TM symbols CAN be used. (C) copyright symbols cannot.
    EditMore OptionsModerateSpamTrashMoveE-mailBlacklist

    That is not entirely correct.

    You can’t fully “own” a trademark for free. It must be registered and it costs to do so. It is to my understanding US law allows you to claim a trademark for a product or service if you have legitimately used the name, but there are many disadvantages to not formally registering it and you will have a hard time getting exclusive use. Legally, an unregistered trademark is very flimsy; you are not fully protected.

    For a small indie developer, an unregistered trademark is just another symbol to add to the ‘read me’ file. Its virtually meaningless.

    As for copyright, you own all the rights to your work immediately. I’m not sure if this applies to every country or the US, but thats the way it works where I live.

  21. bro says:

    Brotip: TM symbols CAN be used. (C) copyright symbols cannot.

  22. Desert Dog says:

    “Please spare me your awful Internet argument techniques. I never said that and you know it. You are mixing two different responses.”

    No… actually, your words were “Its your kind of attitude that keeps GM from being a tool for serious indie developers”

    And we know what my attitude was about.. nothing wrong with using free gfx when appropriate. (and yes, that does include the default gfx)

    But your right, I was being pedantic. Sorry.

    “Unfortunately for me? I think that sums up you have a personal grievance with me rather than a genuine interest in discussing this. ”

    Unfortunately for you, as in, it means your premise for your argument is extremely shakey.

    ? Uh, but yes, if you feel I have a personal grievance against you, go ahead. I’m afraid, I don’t even know who you are…

    “I can confirm I’ve had GM games that have made their way out of the GMC, and been shot down by “its made with GM”.”

    I’m sorry, but no game can be shot down with it’s made in GM. Just as no game can be shot down because it was made in Flash, or Construct, or C++, whatever.

    Take pride in your work. Just because you “mask” the fact it was made in GM, it’s still made in GM! Shallow minded ‘wannabe indie’ jerks are still going to try shoot the game down.

    Who cares?

    “I’m not sure what you expect me to say about your previous work. ”

    I’m not sure, either, but you had a lot to say about my work when you didn’t know what it was. I assumed you were interested in what I’d done.

    “Feel free to PM me on the GMC if you want to continue this discussion. I don’t get into rants in the public domain anymore, and I don’t see this going anywhere reasonable. ”

    Well.. I thought were were discussing this blog post.

  23. Desert Dog says:

    “Game Maker is looked down upon in other indie circles because it is an interpreted language.”

    Hey, what? I thought it was looked down on because of it’s default graphics..!

    Unfortunately for you, GM isn’t as looked down on in indie circles as you might like to think.

    And being interpreted is their least concern..! Read this to get a better idea of how a ‘serious indie’ views GM:
    http://moacube.com/blog/professional-developers-look-at-gamemaker/

    “”[snip]..But either way, you are dreaming if you think any end user will be impressed. Apparently you are making games for you and your friends rather than the world.””

    Well.. no, not quite, actually. My game Prison Ball was professionally published by YYG’s, I’m selling a card game on the mac app store, and I’m talking to, and licensing out, HTML5 games to publishers.

    “This is about making a good product. Perhaps you are confused where this article is coming from.”

    Perhaps I should have added ‘successful’.

    And, judging by your 2 paragraph rant on my qualifications to judge such matters, your obviously eager to tell me all about yourself, and what qualifies you to make such *expert and wide-sweeping* statements.

    So shoot, go ahead. Knock me out with your professionalism. Once I’m awed, I’ll timidly creep away thinking ‘Loaf must be right!’

    Btw, you may want to read what Daniel Cook (Danc) has to say on the matter of using free graphics:
    http://www.lostgarden.com/2007/12/how-to-bootstrap-your-indie-art-needs.html

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      “Hey, what? I thought it was looked down on because of it’s default graphics..!”

      Please spare me your awful Internet argument techniques. I never said that and you know it. You are mixing two different responses.

      “Unfortunately for you, GM isn’t as looked down on in indie circles as you might like to think.”

      Unfortunately for me? I think that sums up you have a personal grievance with me rather than a genuine interest in discussing this.

      I can confirm I’ve had GM games that have made their way out of the GMC, and been shot down by “its made with GM”. This was a couple of years a go. One single blog source isn’t exactly convincing compared with actual experiencee in a real situation.

      I’m not sure what you expect me to say about your previous work. I guess I was wrong about your intentions with the software, but your view on GM is very inconsistent with your work. Neither of this changes any of my points regardless.

      Feel free to PM me on the GMC if you want to continue this discussion. I don’t get into rants in the public domain anymore, and I don’t see this going anywhere reasonable.

      You’ve heard what I have to say, I think its quite obvious I’m not buying anything you are saying. Your attitude to GM is one I would discourage.

      (oh and, free graphics are not demo graphics– lets stay on track at least)

      • Riptide says:

        LOAF, please, you’re down, don’t try to find another arguments, desert dog just destroyed you, and you know what ? He is right, you’re a coward

  24. Desert Dog says:

    “Things like default graphics are lazy, they brand your work as GM made and their make it look generic. You think that is snobbery? Ridiculous.”

    Yep, keep using words like ‘they brand your work as GM made’ and I’ll keep saying snobbery.

    How’s that ridiculous? It’s the obvious conclusion.

    “Its your kind of attitude that keeps GM from being a tool for serious indie developers and instead the laughing stock of the indie world.”

    So who’s laughing?

    I think you’ve got some sort of inferiority complex about GM. You seem obsessed with hiding the fact games are made with it, and you refer to it as the laughing stock of the indie world.

    I don’t give a darn. I use GM because it’s fantastic, and I can make games with it.

    Oh, and FWIW, plenty of ‘serious indie dev’s use, or have used GM.

    (and plenty have started their career/journey/whatever using free-to-use Gfx in their games)

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      “Yep, keep using words like ‘they brand your work as GM made’ and I’ll keep saying snobbery.”

      Game Maker is looked down upon in other indie circles because it is an interpreted language. You can deny this and act righteous if you want, its the reality and unfortunately if you are committed to having your work be more than just a learning curve you are going to have to put a bit more effort into making your game.

      You are obviously a hobbyist because your view of quality control is very poor. I am amazed you still think leaving placeholder resources in your work is fine. Very shonky indeed, I’d be surprised if any of your previous work is up to a standard worth getting out there.

      You are entitled to your opinion. But either way, you are dreaming if you think any end user will be impressed. Apparently you are making games for you and your friends rather than the world.

      “(and plenty have started their career/journey/whatever using free-to-use Gfx in their games)”

      This is about making a good product. Perhaps you are confused where this article is coming from.

  25. Zakrin4777 says:

    Joshua “Loaf” Liddle :Things like default graphics are lazy, they brand your work as GM made and their make it look generic. You think that is snobbery? Ridiculous.
    Its your kind of attitude that keeps GM from being a tool for serious indie developers and instead the laughing stock of the indie world.

    I agree, default graphics should only be used for learning and as place-holders.
    but what really keeps GM from being a tool for serious indie developers is the fact that GM is targeted for Kids.

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      Definitely no denying this has been the case in the past, but I’d say if Yoyo Games have been trying to do anything its been rebranding the software as something more than a kids tool, and the step towards iOS and Android is just what it needs.

  26. Desert Dog says:

    Actually, that was kinda my point. Your article seemed to be less about the end user, and more about GM snobbery.(for lack of a better way of explaining it)

    Don’t use GM default graphics (why? Because.. they were made with default graphics!)
    Don’t use GM dialogue boxes. (why? Because that’ll tell the world your incapable of making pop up boxes!)

    You fail if you don’t mask that the game was made with GM( Why again!?! Why does the user care? Heck, why do I care if someone knows the game was made with GM!)

    Don’t use bogus companies/whatever. (why? It doesn’t make you look ‘credible’. Hey, what about the game! Isn’t this meant to be about GM cliche’s?)

    And then
    Tools like GM make it easy to do a bad job. (Why?!? And c++, flash, etc, make it HARD to do do a bad job on a game?)

    I think your full screen point is fair, and people should take the time to implement an options page, turn full screen, turn music on/off, sound, and such. (make sure these settings are persistant!)

    And, to be fair, I think your first point about squares has some point to it, I’m just not sure how that’d be an issue, and if so, how/why it’d need to be resolved.

    Another point was about the game icon, and loading screen. Make them about the game, a good loading bar can help set the scene for your game.(not about ‘masking’ that is was made with GM or not)
    These points are about game design.

    FWIW, some of the most professional GM games out there use GM’s dialogue boxes. To name a few..
    Cute Knight,
    Immortal Defense uses them in the level editor,
    Magi ‘did’ use them, (the last update now has a custom one, with a nice animation, which does look nicer!)
    Lost Snowmen
    ..And so forth.

    With some graphics, the buttons look great, and work really well.

    I think the article itself (making your games better) is a good topic, but you’ve kinda hit it from the wrong direction.

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      Things like default graphics are lazy, they brand your work as GM made and their make it look generic. You think that is snobbery? Ridiculous.

      Its your kind of attitude that keeps GM from being a tool for serious indie developers and instead the laughing stock of the indie world.

  27. Jay Griffin says:

    I agree with Desert Dog on his third point. I’d say starting in fullscreen in much more of an issue, and one criticism I’ve frequently heard from professional reviewers and the like. Always, always start windowed at least. Quite a lot of people use multi-monitor setups these days.

  28. Desert Dog says:

    1: If boxes is what someone wants to go for, then let them. Most likely it isn’t via choice (‘boxes are sooo cool!’) so critisizing a game because it uses simple graphics doesn’t interest me. I applaud the fact they even made a game, I know how much work that takes.

    More important a point would be that people keep graphics the same/similar style, or don’t neglect sound/music aspects of the game. (like throwing in any old .mp3 to loop away, with 2-3 sound fx only!).

    2: Default resources.. what’s wrong with ’em? Fine set of cards, good chess pieces, some nice breakout graphics. the statement “you’ve failed your job as a game designer if you haven’t solidly masked that its made in Game Maker”

    It’s absolute bunk.
    For what it’s worth, Pacific Wings looks exactly like a “GM game”:
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pacific-wings/id445844946?mt=8

    and is fairly popular (2million+ installs).

    A better point is only use free graphics resources, so long as they match (or you can make them match) the rest of your game.

    3: A bit meh on this one. But yep, I think that players adding the Option to select full-screen is good. Always start the game in windowed, though, at least, if your gonna change the screen res.

    4: Null point. Your nit-picking on a different type of person. Someone wants to have fun, forming ‘companies’ and talking with members, and work on a game for a few weeks.. great, and good on them.

    5…. no comment.

    Earlier someone commented on ‘poor article’, and look, don’t take that too negatively, but it kinda is. It’s just your personal gripes&peeves. Which isn’t so much a discussion point.

    I ramble, but yeah.

  29. Rex says:

    Actually, I think one of the most amateurish things I see in Game Maker games is the use of overly saturated and/or clashing color schemes. Effective use of colors is a great way to demonstrate that you understand good game design. Cramming as many of the brightest colors you can onto the screen all at once is not.

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      Good color schemes are important, I agree. Maybe graphics in general is just an area that suffers in GM. People should consider venturing outside of MSPaint heh.

      • Code4240 says:

        The graphics failure is something I’ve always found a bit curious. Graphics is my schtick, and the whole reason I use game maker is because my graphic design skills are way better than my coding skills. I’d assumed most people using GM were in a similar situation.

        I guess I figured that people that didn’t do coding OR graphics that well would be doing something else. Apparently I was wrong.

  30. Dang it. My last game used a box character as the main character, but it was a a fun character who changed expressions. The entire game had this box-like feel to all the sprites.

    I don’t have a problem with “psuedo-company” names, they are fun to make. The reason why they are disliked is because they are often made by little kids who get a burst of enthusiasm and then quit putting any effort into their “psuedo-company”. There are some great “psuedo-company” out there like MoaCube. They are very much an actual company, but at one time they would have been just like all the “pseudo companies” out there.

    Windowed mode doesn’t bother me, but tiny windows really bother me.

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      Well, as I said, box characters can work if you intentionally use them as part of design. But if its just there as a shortcut, chances are you’ll have a shabby end product.

  31. Chris Sanyk says:

    I’ve posted a resposne, following up on these points here:

    http://csanyk.com/rants/2012/02/865/

  32. Elmernite says:

    I like this, nice short, and has some good points.
    I am interested though, was it sudo names that you had a problem with. IE Kengine Gaming? Or Branding things as fake companies? (With the LLC and the TM and so on?)
    Because I understand using a name and then sticking with it so that it allows people to follow a particular game maker.
    -Elmernite

  33. Mike says:

    Actually, I think it’s a pretty good article. If your trying to make a good game, and one that folk will want to play, then the 1st 3 points in this are pretty important.

    The company name thing I’ve always found is just a bit of fun, I mean why not release your games under a company heading? You don’t need to be registered or anything, just a “group name” – as long as they don’t change for every game.

    I have found the story telling of indies to be bloody annoying, as most refuse to let you skip them. I hate sitting through boring cut scenes, and no matter how hard you worked on them, and how pretty they are, please let me skip them or I’ll never play your game again!

    The only other one I’d add to all this, is don’t announce a game when you’ve just started. Chance s are you won’t finish it, and it’ll just make you look stupid that you didn’t finish. We ALL have projects we don’t complete, so why not wait until it’s almost finished before you try and generate some interest/PR?

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      I completely agree with what you said about announcing a project. It kills motivation from the start.

      As for story lines, I was referring to the game story more than anything. I have no patience for cut scenes haha.

    • Zach says:

      Most of Loaf’s articles are.

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m always open to constructive feedback, so if ever you want to chat about something I’ve written here or anywhere you can always flick me a PM at the GMC. That goes for anyone. Thanks.

    • Sondar says:

      Poor Comment. No but seriously, instead of shooting a quick criticism at someone, why not try and include some reason as why you disliked it? You might also want to comment on what you liked about it as well. Just a thought.

      • Steven says:

        I agree. If someone wants to criticize something, explain why it’s bad. Otherwise, it’s absolutely worthless.

        I actually liked the post because I am new to Gamemaker Studio and I don’t want to make common mistakes.

    • Dreadofmondays says:

      @Sondar: It’s a poor article for a few reasons, biggest of which is ‘you are failing your job as a dev if you haven’t masked the fact that you used game maker.’ Insulting bull, implies GM is incapable of creating quality works (which is a straight-up lie). There’s been some fantastic work in the past and GM has an amazing amount of potential, but for some reason, people assume that because of GM’s low entry level, nobody can make anything decent with it.

      There’s also the bit about ‘Adjusting GUI elements is simply X and Y positioning’. Well, maybe for resolution changes, but have you ever tried to use a zoomable camera? You need to shrink the GUI size with the view size and keep the elements all in the right places and get around the pixelation that happens as a result. Doesn’t sound simple to me.

  34. Dan says:

    Glad someone finally mentioned psuedo-companies.

    My team uses the name “Wormintheworks” but it’s made clear on our site that it’s a TEAM not a COMPANY. I’m fed up of seeing “Firepoo games LLC” and “PixelGMUsers Ltd” when people clearly haven’t registered as a company…

    • Joshua "Loaf" Liddle says:

      @Dan: Very true how ridiculous some of the names can be. Its especially tiring when the same person creates multiple fake ‘company’ names and messes people around who have the misfortune of dealing with them as part of a team.

    • Agree, there is no problem using an alias or team name to release a game but I don’t like the fakery. I guess the reason for it is that some people decide to emulate games they are familiar with – and one point of this will be the branding they see each time they start up the game.

    • Rex says:

      I dunno, “Firepoo games LLC” sounds pretty legit to me…. which is what I would’ve said if I was 11 years old.

    • Kittie says:

      I’m not a Game Maker user (so far the only things I’ve produced are a non-interative visual novel, a bunch of unfinished visual novels, and some unfininished Flash games), and I think I see the problem with fake companies (maybe), but I honestly don’t know what else to do. If I scatter my art projects around the Internet anonymously, it will be very hard to gain repeat customers because people will have trouble finding my other commercial work. If I use a personal, individual name to bind them together, I’ll have a personal, individual identity on the Internet–permanent, unable to be changed as frequently as undergarments, and probably connected by accident or necessity to personal, individual contact information. I’d love to get a business license and make my “company” (currently me and my dear mother) into an actual business, but it seems like a frivolous expenditure until we actually have profits to offset it.

      (And yes, we have a very cheesey name; it would delight me to see our kitschy name and pastel logo in an art history textbook someday.)

      • Jonathan says:

        There is nothing wrong people creating companies but I do agree that if you are going to do it. go all the way. I found this article very insightful and would like to offer a piece of advice. You may register your company in any state for a small fee. We are talking like $50 here. Just go to you secretary of states page.

        • Daniel says:

          Not always that cheap, but I agree. I paid the $200-ish dollars to get my company going. There’s plenty of websites that offer to help get you set up if you don’t want to deal with all the legal shenanigans personally. I can understand wanting to make a company to seem more professional, but when your “company” isn’t even real and the name is obtusely childish, you aren’t looking professional, you’re looking like a child playing make-believe.

        • Liroku says:

          Although this is old, I just now happened upon it. Although the initial fee isn’t too much, in my state, and many others, you have to start filing quarterly reports to the state and/or county tax office. I found this out the hard way when I first started out and had a knock on my door for an audit haha. I explained the situation and apparently it’s pretty common. He helped me get everything in line and I had to pay a fee for the visit.

    • peter says:

      well as for psuedo-companies yes thats wrong and ilegal to, but if you release a game and it is for sale or has adverts that you earn from or any in app purchases then you have to by law register as a company or sole trader, in the UK right now as from 2 months ago HMRC is asking apple and google for all the details of anyone from any where in the world to chase up possible taxes that they are avoiding, so be warn get real and get reg.

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