Create games that can be played on all kinds of devices
There are lots of programming tools around but not all of them make writing games very easy. GameMaker Studio not only promises dedicated gaming tools but offers the opportunity to produce games that work on several different kinds of devices including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
We are looking at the Professional version that can be used to test mobile verisons of your games and has tools for teams working on a single program.
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As GameMaker: Studio is installed through the Steam software, this is a simple process.
Running the software is also very simple with two large buttons for Play and Make.
The Play option is a good way to find out what other people have been doing with GameMaker: Studio. You can subscribe to games, clicking on the option to do so will take you to a dedicated page in the Steam client. It's easy to filter the results, which is just as well as there are lots of games in the Workshop.
Select a game and click on Subscribe. It will appear in the GameMaker: Studio list. Click on Download and then it will be ready to play.
The Studio itself is well designed and easy to navigate. We strongly recommend working through the tutorials as they give a very good introduction to the sort of games that can be made. We did find that the various files for the tutorials were in a different folder to the instructions but they weren't hard to find.
When you actually get to writing code, there are tools to help you. Code is coloured. It can be surprising just how much of a difference this can make to finding and fixing errors. The status bar at the bottom of the code editor will warn of any errors that have been found.
Code completion menus will also appear. This is very useful when selecting variables in code as it helps prevent problems caused by small typos that don't break the rules of the language. The code completion does not appear as often as it does in say Visual Studio and we found that if we ignored it the first time it appeared when we were entering code it did not reappear. Whether this is helpful might be a matter of taste, but we would prefer to have the code completion visible all the time GameMaker: Studio thinks we might need it. This would be especially helpful to beginners.
Pairs of braces will be highlighted when the cursor is near one of the two, which helps keep track of how the code is written.
We were pleased to see that if we updated the name of an Object in it's properties, this change was reflected in the code used by other objects.
If Steam achievements are the kind of thing that motivate you, GameMaker Studio has plenty to boast about (full list here).
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