You may feel that taking a screenshot is easy, and indeed it is, but a lot of the screenshots I see promoting games at the GMC and on sites devoted to gamemaker games fail to follow even the simplest of rules to make your screenshot effective.
There are a number of factors determining the effectiveness of a screenshot, of which the contents of the picture is just one.
I have seen countless games advertised with a screenshot of the game’s menu. The game’s menu for heavens sake. These ‘gamemaker teams‘, as they are often called are meant to be encouraging you to download their game, not a freaking menu.
Taking screenshots of the first level or first stage of game won’t be produce a good preview either. Often many of the features offered in a game won’t be available at this early point so any screenshots taken here won’t be exciting or showcase many of the programs features.
Once you’ve found the right time and place to take a screenshot you also need to consider how you are going to take it. There are lots of freeware programs out there which offer screenshot features however you don’t need any of them!
Taking a basic screenshot is simple, just press the [Prt Scr] key on your keyboard (above [Insert]) and paste into any graphics editor or even other software such as Word. However this probably isn’t the best choice for taking your screenshots unless your game runs in full screen and at a decent resolution as otherwise you will have to crop your screenshot down so only the active game window is visible.
Fortunately there is a very simple solution at hand which doesn’t involve downloading any additional software or any extra work on your behalf. Instead of pressing just the [Prt Scr] key press [Prt Scr] along with [Alt]. This takes a screenshot of just the active window. Open up your graphics program and paste, no more cropping away of your desktop!
The power of an effective screenshot is unbelievable and should not be underestimated, although of course a good screenshot can not make up for a poorly scripted and sprited game.Read More »
No not an article examining the ethics on genetically modified food production, instead a post taking a look at the people who use gamemaker and their collective commerical value.
The GMC is valuable. 48,183 members are valuable – sure this is far from the biggest forum on the Internet but for a company wanting to target around 50,000 and countless unregistered young, predominately male and computer literate consumers there is certainly a high value attached.
What prompted me to write about the Game Maker market was a couple of things, firstly a Game Maker related project I am currently in the very early stages of planning, and secondly a post on the GMC by Jake Ruston of darksoft.co.uk offering Game Maker users a 15% discount on their domain names for sale at $12 a pop. For anyone considering – don’t buy them. Even with the discount they are $10.20, Hostigation are currently at $8.95 for new .com registrations and there are discount codes available on top of that.
Parahosting.net are another organisation who have attempted to target the Game Maker market – however with limited success. A post on their blog appears to suggest that the vast majority of people are choosing their free service instead of upgrading so they are actually loosing money.
Take YoYo. A relatively untouched organisation so far by Game Maker Blog, not sure how that has been the case when there has been so-much criticism elsewhere. An albeit small company barging into the collection of file hosting and review sites, think gamemakergames, 64digits and fighting to the top by, as it appears, buying gamemaker. Of course there is nothing wrong or illegal about this, however many people may see it as immoral and may disagree with Mark’s decision.
How long, I ask you, do you think it will be before YoYo start putting adverts on their site? No adverts at first to soften the blow, and then once everyone has started using them up the ads will go.Read More »
One of the questions I have pondered for a while is how to judge the success of a game. Many people will think this is all to do with the number of downloads achieved or the number of 10/10 ratings they are given, however to me this is just wrong.
Downloads do not really account account for anything – sure a good game may get more downloads that a bad game – but equally people may download a game based on the quality of a programmers previous creations, because it appears to be popular or simply because it is advertised around them.
A good game certainly may get people telling their friends which will obviously help increase the download count, however before the viral effect can take place some start has to be made to get the word out about the game.
Of course the definition of a ‘good’ game is different for different people, heck, some people think Mario clones are actually cool. There are few games I can really say are ‘decent’ on the GMC – but of course my view of a good game differs from everybody else’s. Take for instance Forted (last time I promise) – I like this game and gave it my one and only rating in 4 years at the current GMC. Other people however didn’t seem to think the game was anything special. Far worse games achieve higher download figures, maybe because people are curious to see just how crap the creation is, or maybe because – as happens all to often – they believe the hype or want to copy it.
The success of a game can be judged in many ways – for some just getting a game to the release stage is a success. Especially if you are working on your first game this will be the case. You may not care about what people think of your game, in which case you are being very foolish, but to you it is a success.
A game may be viewed as a success if it achieves high ratings – normally given out by GMC newbies who come up with scores such as 12/10 or 7.4242111231/10 without giving any reasonable or remotely logical explanation as to how they arrived at the score. These members are also the types who like leave comments like “Mega c00l game -this rockz!”, it is traditional for the creator of the game to then copy this in to his topic description to plague the creations forum with grammatically incorrect and mis-spelt half sentences.
Then of course you have people with a little more time and sense who will judge a game on different aspects, e.g. graphics, originality and story – all of which will be irrelevant to Mario clones. These ratings make more sense as a clear breakdown of the game is shown – however saying things like “graphics 7.5/10, sound 3/10, story 0/10” doesn’t help. A two year old could pluck random numbers between 1 and 10 out of the air. Justification. Comments without justification are as worthless. Saying “That sucks” doesn’t help unless you are describing an automated drinking straw, instead you should say “Your game lacks originality as you have illegally ripped Mario sprites and music and claim to have come up with a unique concept. You also managed to mis-spell every other word in the game“. Then the creator knows to go away and come up with a new concept perhaps even a Pokemon fighting game or Zelda.
So far I have discounted download figures and ratings as accurate methods of judging the success of a game.
In truth there is no one method that can be used to judge the success of a game, and to different people success will be judged differently. Some people may be proud of their 7 downloads and 3 comments, whereas others will be disappointed unless they manage to sell 100 copies of their game.
I haven’t produced any games that I think have been successful, sure they have been finished and were downloaded several hundred times but I never stretched myself far enough to come up with something I was really proud of and could call a success.
In summary it is up to each game creator as to how they judge the success their game has achieved, and we should respect that.Read More »
YOYO GAMES LTD failed to submit its accounts for 2006 to Companies House which were due on 12/11/2006.
For those of you who are unaware Companies House is the UK’s official register of companies.
And yes, before you ask this is the right YoYo Games.Read More »
As I mentioned a few days ago the fourth issue of MarkUp has now been released. I know many of you will already have downloaded it.
At 24 pages it is the largest edition to date and included a review of the commercial game Heroes of Might and Magic V (not made in gamemaker). I have to admit I am puzzled by the presence of this in what is after-all a game development magazine rather than a general gaming magazine – or did I miss something? (I didn’t read the article).
A couple of articles I had written appeared in the magazine – one on effective screenshots and a review of Forted previously seen on gamemakerblog. This brought some criticism which if you regularly read this blog you will probably know about. However sadly this changed to a debate about the merits of popcorn and the origins of the word maize.
I have to admit I thought there was something ‘not quite right’ about this issue although I can’t really point it out with my finger. It just didn’t seem to, well it’s hard to describe, but it just didn’t seem right. Sure there were some excellent articles and graphics, but some irritating things really came to light when I was reading through.
Whilst the text in articles is well spaced out the actual layout of the elements on the pages seemed a little crammed, white space is your friend. I think the creative commons information on the cover should be moved – I know this isn’t a standard magazine you can go and buy at a newsagents or supermarket – but the front cover is the prime real-estate of a magazine, a chance to sell the magazine to passing punters – this information could easily be included at the end of the magazine or on a new contents page.
I think the mix of ‘wordy’ (hope that term isn’t offensive) articles and tutorials, such as is on pages 4 and 5, doesn’t really mix. I understand there may be space constraints but it just seems strange to mix coding and comment on the same page.
I appreciate the hard work everyone puts in to creating the MarkUp magazine, I for one certainly wouldn’t have the time to manage a project like it a the moment, and in my opinion MarkUp remains the number one gamemaker magazine out there. However I believe this criticism is valid and will help the MarkUp magazine develop.
Issue 5 of MarkUp will be about multiplayer games – you can find out more at the GMKing forum.Read More »
Looking at gmlscripts.com following a suggestion from Leif902 brought something back into my mind. Dissociation.
Dissociation: describes the disconnection or lack of connection between things usually associated with each other.
At the bottom of every page of the GMLScripts website there is a line which reads
GMLscripts.com is not affiliated with Mark Overmars, The Game Maker Company, or YoYo Games.
A single sentence which makes it clear that GML Scripts is not part of the same group as the above mentioned entities. I have seen similar sentences around the Internet for example on sites about AdSense dissociating themselves with Google and on unofficial sites devoted to certain topics.
When I was setting up this blog in April I considered adding a similar sentence to the footer of the site, but I didn’t. True adding it may help boost my search rankings by increasing the concentration of the words “Game Maker” on the site but I never got around to it.
Personally I don’t think I will add a dissociation statement on gamemakerblog unless some confusion arises or I get a letter from the incompetent people at YoYoGames (whoops, I probably will now). Of course I should backup my claim with evidence so here goes:
unbelievable unbelievably-none-existent customer support they have.
One and half months into GameMaker Blog and it looks like it has finally happened. I knew it probably would, it was just a matter of when.
Someone has taken offence to my comments.
I think the ‘offending’ sentence is as follows:
Sure, this [refering to Forted] has all been seen before with the defend your castle (xrl.us/castle) game produced by xgenstudios, which interestingly I also compared Coffee Lover Proction’s trailer for Senseless War (xrl.us/senselesswar) to, but the concept was good and Micco (xrl.us/micco), the creator of Forted certainly hasn’t produced a rip-off of defend your castle.
Remember this is in an article about the game Forted, it merely contains a link to my review of the Sensless War trailer. So Coffee, the creator of the Senseless War game decided to go to the MarkUp topic in the GMC and rant and rave about an article that wasn’t even included in MarkUp. Quite what he thinks my opinion of the trailer has to do with MarkUp I don’t know. My views are my views and they remain my views.
Let’s see what Coffee says, and before this kicks of further I’d like to point out that I am perfectly entitled to quote what has been said on an open discussion board.
Ok, what is it with you and that Senseless War trailer that I made with GMCap?! Instead of JUDGING my game by the trailer and saying it’s just a rip-off of the game “Defend Your Castle”, TRY THE DAMN GAME!
Firstly he starts off by suggesting I am running a campaign against his game – I wrote one article.
Then he says I shouldn’t judge a game by its trailer. He obviously misses the point of the article. I wouldn’t normally judge a game just by its trailer but if there is one available it certainly plays a big part. The article was one of a series investigating what I thought of games based on their trailers.
Apparently I said this game was a rip off of Defend your Castle. The actual wording I used in my review of the trailer was “From the trailer it appears that Senseless War is a bit like xgenstudios’s Defend your castle game”.
I fail to see how saying a the game looks a bit (purposely emboldened in the original article,) like something can be interpreted as saying the game is a rip-off.
Coffee then follows up by suggesting that I should remove the article from my blog and that I should not write about anything he has made without his prior permission. (!) This is not China. This is not Iran. I can say what I like. I simply expressed my opinion. I certainly don’t need someones permission to review something freely available on the Internet.
I also recieved two PMs from Coffee asking me to remove the post (I assume this refers to the review of the trailer). Again and again Coffee mentions that I shouldn’t call the game a “rip-off” without having played it. I never called the game a rip-off. Anywhere. But I certainly haven’t played it. And I don’t intend to.Read More »
Issue 4 of the MarkUp game development magazine published by GMking.org has been released.
Download links are below: