At the start of the year we conducted our annual prediction poll in which 7 proposals about the future of Game Maker were put forward to vote on. 170 readers took part and indicated which they thought would occur during the year. Now, halfway through what has already been an eventful year in the development of Game Maker, how are the predictions faring?
A 3rd-party Game Maker iOS compiler will be finished and released to public (56% of respondents thought this would occur in 2011)
This particular statement originated off the back of the GameMaker iOS decompiler project. In December 2010, just before predictions were made, two GameMaker users developed software which could turn iPhone apps developed using GameMaker into an editable GMK file. Shortly after the prediction poll started a video was released showing the reverse – a GameMaker created game running on iOS using YoYo Games’ technology but without their authorisation. Days later the project was dropped following a cease and desist notice from YoYo Games and nothing has been heard since.
There has been some work on getting Enigma games running on iOS but I can’t find a latest status update on this. Darkflow also promises to make your GameMaker games playable on iPhone but has not yet been released.
C++ runner available in standard Game Maker distribution (44%)
In March Sandy wasn’t sure whether the games YoYo plan to publish to PC would use the current Delphi, or a new C++, runner. Posting on the YoYo Games blog in May he stated that Game Maker Studio Edition will provide access to C++ runners for various platforms.
When this question was phrased GameMaker Standard did not exist (it was called Pro) so the wording does not relate to this particular version of GameMaker, just a distribution accessible to the average GameMaker user. When Studio is released its associated fee and extra features will mean that it is far from “standard” so this prediction does not look like being met.
More regular updates to be made to Game Maker (44%)
This has most certainly happened. One of the key changes introduced in GameMaker 8.1 was the addition of an automatic updater which enables YoYo Games to push out updates to the software to users regularly without GameMaker users needing to visit the website and download a new version directly.
The development team of Mike and Russell have been taking full advantage of the benefits the Game Maker updater provides. The current latest version of GameMaker for PC is 8.1.106 and numerous bugs have been fixed since 8.1’s debut as can be seen from the changelog. Judging from comments on the GMC and the changelog progress on the Mac version appears to be slower but I cannot verify this.
Additional restrictions introduced to free PC version of Game Maker (36%)
This has already happened and very nearly to a substantial degree. The free/Lite version of the GameMaker 8.1 beta originally had the ability to export games as executable .exe files disabled. Quickly abandoned, a limit of a maximum of 10-minutes play time on Lite created was then mooted before the ability to create executables was once again added in.
An additional restriction however is that games created using GameMaker 8.1 Lite must display a “created with GameMaker” logo in a corner of the screen at all times. As well as this GameMaker advert now shows when the game is closed. Plans to restrict the improved room editor to upgraded users only were also scrapped. See: Full details on final 8.1 Lite restrictions.
A new Game Maker interface (27%)
Following improvements to the GameMaker sprite editor in version 8.0, 8.1 saw improvements to the room editor and script editor but the main IDE interface remains the same.
An official self-publishing solution for mobile distribution available (19%)
GameMaker Studio was announced. YoYo Games “don’t expect to ship [GameMaker Studio] with a rich feature set” in 2011. It is possible that a HTML5 version will be released this year. [^]
YoYo Games “to have published more than 500 games” (17%)
The number of different titles published is less than 20 and however you count publishing (separate versions for each platform) the number of released games is nowhere near 500, in fact it is nearer to a tenth of that figure.
It appears that instead of opening their “store” to user submitted games YoYo Games now favour on working on GameMaker Studio, which will let purchasers publish their own games to mobile platforms, and working with YoYo Games Studios and approaching other respected GameMaker developers to produce portable games.
And there are still six months to go…