MarkUp: Effective screenshots

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.

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