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Game Maker 8.1 Lite Cannot Create Executables (Updated: Change of Plan?)

The Lite version of the Game Maker 8.1 beta cannot export executable Game Maker files. This is one update that is missing from the official list of changes.

Whilst testing the software I had entirely overlooked the removal of this feature until this morning when registered upgrade keys were cancelled for a test. This had the effect of converting Game Maker 8.1 Standard installations to Game Maker 8.1 Lite until the key was re-entered.

If you are thinking it might be possible to circumvent this additional restriction by locating the .exe in your temporary files whilst testing the game – you can’t. This file will not run.

The Lite version of Game Maker 7 for Mac has always been unable to export games in a format playable without having Game Maker installed.

The “Publish your Game” menu option is also not currently enabled in the Lite version of the current beta however this will return before the public release enabling Game Maker 8.1 files to be uploaded to

Update 16:13 BST: Mike Dailly on twitter: “After a little discussion… looks like we’ll try that [enabling creation of .exes but limiting them to a short period of play] Perhaps 10min before timing out…. That long enough? We’ll try that then and see how it goes. I’m very aware that being a world wide produce means we sell in less well off areas. Actually as a rule… we’re happy to listen to reasonable discussion and argument. If you can persuade us; we’re happy to change!”

What do you think?

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  1. I’m 13. Not to sound snotty, but I also think it was a very bad move. When GM8’s DRM was broken, they gave me tons of licenses, because it would revert to lite after every use. Since I had pro, I got tired and downloaded a crack. I bought pro on 1/1/2010, and have been using game maker since late 2007. My hobby has lasted me 4 years, and I think I’ll stick to GM8. I mean, GM8.1 is broke too, but it won’t even open. So much for “Better and updated”.

  2. I started learning to use GM when I was in fifth grade. I used an out of date version (2.0 I think) and it was one of the best things that happened to me in my elementary days. I soon bought Pro 7.0 for the price of $20.00 and my ability with GM exploded rapidly in my middle school years. It taught me the basics of programming like if else statements use of variable etc. I want of students to be able to learn to make games and feel the joy I felt when I finished my first game, and the ones after that. I think YoYo should keep the price low to keep all sorts of people interested. I know to most of us $40 or whatever isn’t much, but before I worked $20 was near my limit. AAlso allowing kids to buy it word will spread to their friends and they will buy it too, instead of being stuck in a very limited lite version of the game, where they might get discouraged easier

  3. I made several games in gamemaker 6 unregistered before I convinced to buy it.
    I remember I download rpg maker xp too, but i wasn’t able to share my creation unless I pay 60$, that why game maker win my 20$ than rpg maker xp.

  4. “enabling creation of .exes but limiting them to a short period of play”
    Oh thank you Mike that’s SO much better. You fixed it, bravo. Now YYG’s going to be full of games you can only play for five minutes before it tells you to get out because the creator hasn’t bought GM. Rather just leave it disabled – that’ll clean some of the garbage off the YoYo site, won’t it?

    Fall From Grace (
    Astatine (
    These and many other great games made in GM Lite – these are what you’re killing. Or maybe this is some sneaky way of promoting open-source software. =/

    I’ve already paid for GM8, so this isn’t going to affect me, but it’s going to affect a lot of people who are going to pick GM up in the future. Hell, I remember using Lite for months and having a blast before I upgraded to Pro. If I hadn’t been able to create EXEs with Lite, I probably would’ve got bored with it, tossed it out and found something else to use.

    I don’t know who YYG is aiming at. I’m not sure they know either. Good luck being the YouTube of games when it costs $$$$ to upload a game. And good luck being a respected and worth tool provider for serious devs when they’d probably rather use XNA or Unity.

    • It’s probably because they think the GameMaker is for themselves, and not those in the community who actually use it (and Pay for it).

      Alot of developers make this simple mistake.

      I agree with everyone its a bad move.

      I’m Already starting to learn Unity3D as a backup.

  5. I was right…
    [From Game maker Blog]
    Mrme picks up on the fact that the new Lite version of Game Maker 7 for Mac can’t create executables. He goes on to say the exclusion “will likely show up in GM9″. I think the comment is throwaway speculation but if the removal of the feature to create executables happens I imagine there will be a considerable bunch of unhappy Game Maker users.

  6. This is a monumentally moronic decision. As a kid I learnt GM through Lite and later decided to update to Pro when I advanced. I wouldn’t have even bothered to learn using GM Lite if all I got was a 5 min exe demo, instead I would have just used other free game makers (of which there are many) or pirate the damn thing. Who the hell keeps making these retarded decisions at YoYo?

  7. The big problem I see with limiting .exe building is, actually, it’s not a single one, it’s a couple.

    1. It’s not an upsell. It’s archaic now given folks can go and work with Unity, go and do stuff with Flixel and stuff already for free. A compelling pro feature set (which, y’know, GM already pretty much has for most 2d development needs) is a good upsell. This is just, I dunno… needless.

    2. The greatest incentive, the absolutely best thing to help people learn and get hooked on game dev is to let them easily share their work and get feedback. Not on YYG. With their peers, their friends and their family. Let them be chuffed that they’ve made something, built something and it’s theirs. Ownership. It’s important. Being able to say “that’s mine, I did that, look” is important. Get them hooked that way. Then see 1.

    3. The part that makes me sad is that coupled with the price rise, it’s another step moving GM away from the kids or making it more difficult to get the kids hooked. Yeah, it’s easy to say age whatever “you should buy this now you can use it” but that’s age. We think things like that because we’re old and stuff and we think business or code. It’s thanks in no small part to the accessibility GM has provided that we’ve got people like Cactus making games. That we’ve got parts of the indie scene becoming so successful and y’know, the knock on effect is that all that reflects well on GM as a tool. If it’s good enough for Cactus etc…

    It’s that democratisation that GM has played such a massive part in that’s helped it move from “oh, you use GM? Scumbucket!” to no-one blinking an eye anymore. It’s that democratisation that’s got kids making cool games then buying GM then advocating its use to others, y’know?

    I know I approach this from a more moral than business-like stance but again, I’ve said this many times, GM is an immensely beneficial and powerful tool. The more you restrict or squeeze out the amateurs, the beginners, the kids, the less worth it has as a tool. The more it becomes just another thing. A thing that goes the way of Blitz3d, The Games Factory or y’know, anything else that once was the thing but now isn’t.

    It’s those kids, those beginners, those amateurs that are going to be the devs of tomorrow. GM encouraged them. That’s what it was for and where it really shines. I’m super happy to see it finally getting updates like it deserves, I’m super happy with the updates its been getting but y’know, not this.

    It seems to utterly miss the point of what makes GM so immensely good a tool. It’s not just the features, it’s that it let kids build games for free then when they wanted/needed to get more/better features, they forked over cashmoney.

    • If I could up-vote this comment – I would!
      This is perhaps the most ill-advised move on YoYo’s behalf – probably the most egregious in a long line of ill-advised moves (like the crippling Softwrap DRM and making the cross-platform publishing proprietary). However unlike the DRM for the Pro version this one affects the GM Lite – the part that gets the kids hooked! Not allowing the users to share their creations is a devastating blow to the GM community. It fundamentally misses the point of easy-to-learn software dev pack, and makes it far less attractive at a time when GM is no longer unique, and no longer even the best option for a beginner.
      I seriously hope this move backfires, so the cold, calculating businessman who took over our beloved Game Maker get a reality check and reverse their decision to make Game Maker another useless piece of crippleware so abundant on the internet.

    • I could not have possibly said it better, Rob.

      On this playfield, to further limit the ability to distribute Game Maker gamers, when so many other powerful and free options already do it better with vastly lower barriers to entry for players, is insanity.

      DarkFalzX, the people at YoYo are good folks. I think this is just an honest (if massively shortsighted) mistake in a effort to drive much needed traffic to the YYG site. This change will certainly do that but at an unbelievable cost.

  8. Game Maker needs to have 3 things, which is what brought me to it originally.
    1. Is Free
    2. Can Makes Games
    3. Can Make Exes

    Kids don’t have money. They are curious and want to have fun. And they want to show their stuff off. Kids and Teens need to be the primary focus group.

    What is a computer game with out an executable after all?

    People should feel the need to upgrade when they need advanced feature WITHIN the game itself, and only then; which means a little more than your average user.

    I have also started learning Unity, but wasn’t really calling it a backup. Although I guess I should now.

  9. Probably the most ridiculous new “feature” by far, also combined with the near-doubling of the price! Could it be that YoYo games are trying to take Game Maker into the pro dev environment territory, and away from “accessible way for kids to learn game development”? If so – they are approaching it entirely ass-backwards, which I hope backfires spectacularly. Instead of making the dev environment more robust and flexible, improving the various editors and allowing the users to use 3rd party editor plugins, they are focusing on essentially monetizing the program that has been unchanged since its free days. More draconian DRM and the ever-shrinking “Lite” version are not ways to attract people to a game-dev environment that is already severely limited in its functionality and performance.
    Finally, this move by YoYo is a direct shot against the very community that made it great. Most people on the GMC boards started using the free version of the Game Maker, receiving feedback on their creation from people they shared their games with, and only moved on to the Pro when they were good and ready. Now this will no longer be possible. The tool that was conceived as a free, accessible way to learn game design and share your creations with community has been co-opted by just another business to whom it’s just “a product” – might’ve as well been soap, or pens or something.

  10. You should care for what a GM user like Wade says.

    These YoYo Guys are amazing… with the bad meaning. Hahahaha… man.

    They treat customers like they have the best program(or at least the best game making program) in the world. They’re like: “Hey, kid. Pay 25$ or shut up!” But, even if you pay they can still treat you like you are a customer who didn’t pay for their product.
    You can get such experiences in the gmc, with the admins and the fanatics.

    Relax, YoYo, calm down. You have a good program in your hands, but not the best, not the only.

    Game Maker started to be a program to educate, firstly. Treat it like that.

    Hope their gonna change their minds at how they treat customers and their approach.

    Surely I’m not gonna buy or support YYG, if they’ll keep doing things like this.

  11. I started using Game Maker in 2004, when I was 14. After learning how to actually use the software and make games better than Click The Clown, I thought Game Maker was great. I could create exe files that I could give to my friends on floppies or use as school projects without having to install anything extra.
    I eventually kept learning, and then reached the limits of what 5.3a lite offered. After Christmas, I had enough money and bought the Pro version for $20.

    This did not happen in 10 hours. If YoYo expects all their new users to make an opinion in just 10 hours and buy their software, they’re wrong. Sure, for some programs 10 hours is plenty of time, but it takes longer than 10 hours to learn how to use Game Maker and be able to make something more than Catch the Clown. Why would someone pay $25 for that?

    By the way, the Game Design classes at the local college will soon be switching from Game Maker to Unity. The students aren’t going to like that they can’t share games with their friends.

    I’m afraid I won’t be buying Game Maker, because I didn’t learn how to do much after 10 hours and I could just learn C++ / XNA / Unity / etc. for free, with vast resources all across the internet.

    It’s too bad though, that YoYo company almost had something good.

  12. Problem with YoYo Games is that they are trying to make “AAA Maker”. They are going to leave their OWN imperative idea – Enabling game dev beginners to make games

    Watch out YoYo, you were unique, and right now you are trying to be like others. Not good start with GM 8.1.

Game Maker 8.1 – Limited Beta Begins

Game Maker 8.1: Video of Changes [Part One]