Recently we have seen new releases from the three of the magazines devoted to the GameMaker platform. GameMakerTech and MarkUp are the publications that have released the most issues to date with 13 and 14 magazines respectively.
New this year are two magazines – out with the lack of originality and in with a brand of mouthwash made by Procter & Gamble for Matthew Haigh’s magazine with 5 issues out since February. Appearing in August was Darren Poole’s GMWeekly, which due to it’s frequent release schedule has already released four issues.
Several GameMaker Blog readers have contacted me in the past few months asking if I will do any more comparative posts between the latest offerings from these 3 magazine teams. I originally did this as a one off in December last year when MarkUp and GMTech tended to release their issues within a couple of days of each other – so far since January however this has not been the case.
I thought today I would concentrate more on how the different GameMaker magazines have evolved since their launch instead of focusing on a single issue.
Over the past few issues GameMaker Tech have appeared to of consistently had the greatest number of contributors and have 15 team members listed on their forum and indeed their 13th issue had 20 contributors credited as opposed to MarkUp 14’s eight. In its position as new-magazine-on-the-block Game Maker Scope (formely Game Maker Magazine) appears to be struggling for contributors with the majority of the work being done by Broxter and Mattthew_H however I notice that Gamma6, formerly of GMFetch, is also part of the editorial team. GMWeekly is written entirely by Darren Poole, but has signifcantly less content than the other magazines because it is released regularly.
In distant days (okay, about a year ago), MarkUp tended to focus more on the game development side of GameMaker whereas GMTech appeared more as a gamers magazine featuring a large number of reviews and previews of games created with GameMaker. This was a deliberate policy with MarkUp editor Eyas stating on July 10th last year “MarkUp is aimed at developers not gamers“. More recently the magazines have become very similar and there is very little difference in the type of content featured within them as both move towards a central ground between game makers and game players. The most obvious change is the focus of GameMakerTech which in February 2007 had a ratio of making to playing articles of 2:7 which had changed to 8:5 by their fifty-page twelth issue. GameMaker Scope has a high proportion of wordy news articles and reviews and as yet relatively few tutorials. GMWeekly features mostly GameMaker and GameMaker Community related news, but also includes game reviews.
It is hard to measure the popularity of GameMaker magazines. MarkUp and GameMaker Tech are far more established than GMM and therefore you would expect them to have the greatest number of downloads per issue. At the GameMaker Community GameMakerTech’s topic is the most popular of the three but is also the oldest. Downloads wise I expect there are variations on an issue-by-issue basis depending on how well an issue is promoted and the content it contains.
As shown by the graph below released by GameMaker Magazine in their fourth issue GMM’s third issue had a much greater number of downloads than their second issue – the likely outcome of increased awareness of the release because of controversy over the similarity of their new layout to that recently introduced by GameMaker Tech, I believe.
Regularity of releases
Its sad to say it, but on this criteria all magazines have shortcomings. MarkUp and GMTech have both taken breaks this year and GMS did not release in issue from May to August this year and have now switched from monthly to bi-monthly publication dates.
Quality of finish
Until recently MarkUp was the slickest and best looking magazine, however since the introduction of their new layout which we have now seen in 3 content-rich issues I believe GameMaker Tech now have the upper hand.