When I was using Game Maker in the 4.3 era few people had domain names for their Game Maker ‘team’ or resources sites. Now at the GMC it seems that almost every other gamemaker site has invested in a top level domain. There is still the high number of freewebs sites, and of course those people who insist on using ad-heavy hosts such as bravenet, and then we have the old .tk domains and other subdomains still bouncing about.
I do know quite a bit about domains, as I have around 20 in total and use them for various purposes, but the most important thing to remember is that a domain does not make a site. There are good sites without their own domain name, and equally there are crap sites that do have a domain.
Am I a hypocrite, since after-all this site is gamemakerblog.com? I don’t believe so. Back when I was actively using 4.3, and the super-cool shiny new version 5 I had a subdomain provided by vze.com (ShortURL).
Sure, domains may make it easier for people to remember your site’s name, but if you think honestly about the facts you probably won’t be getting much type-in traffic at all. Most of your traffic will probably come from links on the GMC or gamemaker clone forums or from your affiliates (incidentally check out the BETA of gamemakerblog’s Game Maker Affilaiation Service), a very small proportion of your visitors will actually type your URL in their browser address bar, and after they have done it a few times it will come up automatically anyway.
One good thing about a domain is that you can keep the same address for your site if and when you decide to move hosts. This will also cause fewer problems with incoming affiliate links etc. if your site has an established presence when it moves. Does a domain make your site look more professional? Well before someone has clicked on the link yes, but certainly not if you over-do things by mentioning that you have finally got around to purchasing a domain, – it’s not a big deal really, trust me. Of course once the site loads you can make your own decision on the professionalism portrayed by examining the design (or often lack of it) and content (or lack of it) available on the site.
Take for example FullForceGames infamous to me because of their PM spam, their website has a domain, but besides that what else is their on offer? Their use of courier new and ‘Coming Soon‘ message shadows what is, in reality, an empty site. Quite why FullForceGames decided to invest in a domain I don’t know, but it is a shame they didn’t spend the same amount of time in improving the quality and content available on their site which has remained the same for several weeks. Hey, they could have even spent the time they used sending unsolicited mass PMs to work on the site.
In stark contrast take a look at Swede Carl Gustafsson’s, author of the popular Beginners Guide to Gamemaker Programming tutorial, site. Carl has only recently moved the site away from its old location in free webspace provided by his ISP but his new URL of http://birchdale.net/gm/ is quite sufficient, and can be quickly located by a search. Yes, the design isn’t up to scratch and the site isn’t perfect, but this is besides the point. Content is King. A domain certainly isn’t.
This post is not sponsored by the Domain Registry of America, who incidentally are scum.Read More »
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So in true investigative journalist style, okay maybe not, I will be examining the trailers and discussing their effectiveness. Above all I will be seeing if any of the trailers can convince me to download the game they are promoting. I fear not.
First up is Senseless War, a “SENSELESS, CRAZY, INZANE ASS KICKING WAR!” game by Coffee Lover Productions. I paused iTunes so my music wouldn’t ruin the trailer but I needn’t have worried. Like the original Lander Remix trailer this had no volume.
Did it convince me to download the game? No. This trailer appears to be speeding through the gameplay very quickly, perhaps in 10 times speed and it all looked a bit rushed to me.
From the trailer it appears that Senseless War is a bit like xgenstudios’s Defend your castle game, however I won’t be downloading the game so I’ll never find out. The screenshot on the GMC suggests however that the gameplay is more complex. Overall I would say the single screenshot displayed in the GMC topic is more useful than the entire 8 (yes eight) second trailer.
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This free service is currently in BETA, so register and help us make the service better whilst helping your traffic grow!Read More »
It makes quite interesting reading as it compares various aspects of the programs and their communities, and suggests reasons why gamemaker comes out on top.Read More »
What a surprise and how unexpected. What did these newbies expect – “yes, sure you can rip and use graphics from any game, no problem – just put ‘sprites ripped from <game name>’ in the credits and you will be fine”.
Just as I hate people uploading copyrighted stuff to YouTube, I hate people who think there is some chance that they can steal the work of someone else. Although I suppose, at least they did ask – unlike the hundreds of people who have made mario clones etc. with gamemaker.Read More »
What format should I save my screenshot as?
The one vital rule:
If you don’t know the differences between different image formats, and how data relating to the picture is stored you might want to check out this article on Wikipedia about the way bitmap files are stored.
Using a bitmap, such as the 904KB image on shcorporation‘s freewebs site slows down your website hugely. Do you really think someone wants to sit and wait for an image to load just because someone can’t be bothered, or isn’t aware of how to make an image web-ready?
Okay, not a bitmap – but what should I use?
.gif, .jpg and .png are all fine.
Personally I prefer saving files in the .PNG (vector) format, because as wikipedia puts it, there are some distinct advantages over the other potential formats:
After asking if the community needs another magazine…
and being told
Creating your own magazine which you freely admit “is [half filled with] just stupid random crap.”
As featured in the May 2007 edition of the MarkUp Game Development Magazine
How many times have you started to play a gamemaker game before realising that the programmers ‘forgot’ to include full instructions and a control map?
Finding yourself playing a game for the first time without knowing what you are meant to or how to do it is daunting; however there are a lot of games out there which are just like this.
Some people make use of the ‘Game Information’ screen which can be set up in gamemaker, and viewed in most games, even if it has been left blank by the authors, by pressing [F1]. This however has very limited capabilities and can display only basic text.
Of course, for people unfamiliar with gamemaker they may not even know that help is available by pressing [F1]. So it is always best to include an external manual or full instructions which are clearly accessible from your games main menu.
A well-designed manual can include screenshots, graphics, annotated diagrams and illustrations such as a keyboard map of controls. There will also be room for a full introduction to the game, and you can even include hints for players to get more out of your game.
Creating an external manual is easy. It can be done using the most basic of software – a wordprocessor. Many games are distributed with a .txt readme file, however this usually contains just copyright information and is not suitable for a full professional-looking manual.
The beta version of Microsoft Office’s 2007 version of Word did contain a built in .pdf compiler so you could save your documents to be read by Adobe’s free Reader software. This however was removed from the official release, but is still available to install as a plugin from the Microsoft website.
Earlier versions of Word or other word processors can still be used by making use of free text-to-pdf converters such as pdf995.
There is no excuse for not including good instructions with your game. They can make the difference between someone trying and failing to play your game and someone playing and enjoying your game.
As featured in the May 2007 edition of the MarkUp Game Development Magazine – Download it now for more gamemaker articles, reviews and tutorials.Read More »