A Bite From The GameMaker Buffet

There was a time when playing a GameMaker game meant downloading an executable file and running it on Windows. That was it. Now users are playing games in their browsers, on their mobile phones, on Mac OS X, and even sharing content with each other via Steam. GameMaker really has become a buffet of platforms. So the question is…what to pick?

It’s one in the morning and I can’t sleep. What better time to fixate my interest back onto GameMaker and the increasing amount of new games being developed with GameMaker: Studio? You might be sitting at your computer, or on the sofa with an iPad, but either way there is something for you here!

I’ve decided to collect five pieces of material found during a night of insomnia, and to explore the most exciting part of the GameMaker world: the finished products made with the tool. Who could have foreseen such an explosion in GameMaker content back in 2007?

Windows – Lost Woods

Let’s start with the original way to play GameMaker games. Windows executables will always have a special place in the hearts of GameMaker users, even if it does seem like interest in Windows development is waning. Still, few can resist the nostalgic allure of the classic red ball icon of the past.

Lost Woods is no exception to this nostalgia. It uses default high score menus and game information windows, and does so surprisingly tastefully. The game is typical in that it uses a “retro style”, probably to mask the poor spriting ability of the developer, but as far as games go it’s quite solid. Gameplay is simple: move the crates and get over obstacles to the finish line. There will be monsters along the way, and collectible items that have you risking life and limb on each level. Overall, Lost Woods is just a sweet, satisfying little game.

Mac OS X – Robo’s World: The Blulite Rocks

GameMaker for Mac OS X was an anti-climax, mostly due to how it was based on an outdated version of GameMaker. In hindsight, it was a mere smudge on the history of GameMaker. However, GameMaker: Studio is reinvigorating interest towards developing games for Mac. The Mac App store means selling computer games is as easy as selling apps.

One example of this is Robo’s World, a game by Attila Branyiczky. Available for $1.99 USD, it joins the long list of artsy platformer games made with GameMaker.

It includes a story mode (where you must save a robot city from virus corruption) mini-games, and achievements. Everyone likes a good platform game.

HTML5 – Zombomb

HTML5 is an exciting platform because it allows games to be played virtually anywhere on almost any operating system. It also provides another avenue for commercial gain from GameMaker games.

Zombomb is a wonderful example of a GameMaker HTML5 game. Good graphics, simple but addictive gameplay, a highscore table, and a nice finish. Throwing bombs at zombies and watching them explode is always satisfying, what’s not to enjoy here?

Android – Run For Your Life!

Developing for Android is both fun and potentially profitable. Many people around the world own Android phones and the majority use them for portable gaming.

Run For Your Life is a game developed by 2D Emotion, with cute “pixely” graphics and an overall good feel. It comes in free and paid versions. The game is all about avoiding obstacles to escape from the certain doom that trails behind you, on the Paradise Island of Yo’Ma. It makes use of tilt features, a real demonstration of how GameMaker caters to Android and other mobile operating systems very well. Good luck, I hope you escape the apocalypse.

iOS – Briquid

The iOS platform (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch) is a popular option for those wanting to develop commercial games.

One group of GameMaker developers has designed Briquid, a clever puzzle game with 100 levels. It is being sold via Gamious. The aim is to shift water from A to B.  Sounds simple, right? Just wait and see.

The game is available for $2.99 USD on iOS. This is a very polished product, complete with its own website and promotional video. Briquid is a prime example of the quality that is being reached with GameMaker: Studio.

Developing for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS X is just the start. It’s already possible to make games on Windows Phone 8, share content through the Steam Workshop, and who knows – maybe Linux will be the next milestone?

It’s a lot of fun making games with GameMaker, but once in a while, put down that code editor and go take a look at what your fellow developers and hobbyists are up to!

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