GameMaker 8.1 Lite Restrictions – Final Decisions

YoYo Games’ original intention was that the free, or Lite, version of GameMaker 8.1 would be unable to create executable files. Indeed early beta versions of the program had the “Create Executable” option from the file menu disabled. This would have meant that in order to play a game that had been created using GameMaker Lite you would need to do so either via the YoYo Games website and its Instant Play browser plugin, or by downloading GameMaker yourself and loading the .gm81 file containing the game data.

Understandably the announcement of this intended change was unpopular and many thought this branding of games would drive new users away from GameMaker rather than encouraging them to stick around and upgrade. Whilst it was understood that in order for the development of GameMaker to continue the software would have to pay for itself, some vocal respondents viewed the removal of the ability to create .exe files as a restriction too far.  It has to be said though that the Game Maker 8 logo debacle received more attention than the indented removal of such a key Game Maker component.

What you may have read up to now will probably have given you the impression that the restrictions on GameMaker Lite were only heading one way – harsher. However there have been a couple of restrictions removed in the change from Game Maker 8 to GameMaker 8.1

Additional Restrictions

GameMaker 8.1 Closing Splash Advert
Whenever an executable file created using GameMaker 8.1 is closed a splash screen advert appears behind the game. It cannot be closed and automatically disappears after displaying for 3 seconds. The message currently displayed encourages upgrading your copy of Game Maker with only the small URL at the bottom of the ad clickable which takes you to a placeholder page on This advert would have little relevance for those not already familiar with Game Maker, whether or not the message shown varies depending on who it is shown to is unknown.

A semi-transparent GameMaker watermark, labelled a “TV logo”, appears throughout the duration of the game in a corner of your choice. The default location is the top left of the screen but this can be altered in GameMaker’s preferences. The logo cannot be repositioned between rooms which I imagine could become quite annoying for some users. The image below shows the four positions in which you can select to place the GameMaker TV logo, only one can be chosen per game.

GameMaker 8.1 Lite TV Logo Watermark
The 4 possible positions of the GameMaker Lite logo watermark. Only one is used per game.

Retained Restrictions

The majority of restrictions remain the same as for Game Maker 8 and previous versions. These include the lack of 3D and multiplayer support, disabled drag and drop actions and GML functions, the inability to use extensions and the forced display of a GameMaker banner whilst the game is loading.

Removed Restrictions

image_angle – this local variable, used to control the rotation of an objects sprite, is available in GameMaker 8.1 Lite. image_angle became available to upgraded users only following the release of Game Maker 6 and led to workaround solutions for users of Game Maker Lite including using a large number of sprite subimages and inefficient rotation scripts.

draw_sprite_ext(spr,subimg,x,y,xscale,yscale,rot,col,al) – this function allows scaled, rotated and partially transparent sprites to be drawn.  Though in GameMaker 8.1 Lite the sprite can only be blended with white.

Room editor improvements, including the ability to zoom and pan around game rooms, which will appear in the upgraded version of GameMaker 8.1 will now also be available in the free version.

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