Jumping Into Game Design With GameMaker: Studio

Developing a game of any type is hard, and anybody who has gone through the pain of doing so can vouch for us. Alongside the wide range of design concepts and multiple developers software is the dark shadow that newcomers fear, programming. Whether it will be used C++, Python, Java, or even Windows Basic, those with little to no knowledge of programming will normally slink away from it.

Now, Gamemakerlab definitely recommend for anyone with hopes of joining the video game industry to learn a programming language, C++ if possible (More on that in another post). However, there are still those who either want to ease their way into game design or just want to test out their concepts without too much difficulty. For these people there are programs like GameMaker: Studio.

If you haven’t heard of GameMaker Studio before, here is a run-down of its official description from YoYo Games, the software’s developer.

The GameMaker: Studio family of products caters to entry-level novices and seasoned game development professionals equally, allowing them to create casual and social games for, iOS, Android, desktop and the Web (HTML5) in record time and at a fraction of the cost…

And when you’re done, GameMaker: Studio will produce an “app store”-ready iOS, Android or OS X app, Windows executable or HTML5 code, all at the push of a button and all from the same source code.

The finished product of your toils is thrown together for you without a hassle. However, GameMaker: Studio does have a number of limitations. The top being that it is only able to produce 2D games using sprites. Luckily, GameMaker comes with a built-in sprite creator that is actually very good for someone new to pixel art.

Another problem is that the program still relies heavily on coding if anything advanced is being done. Anyone using GameMaker will quickly find that its scripting language (GML) is not too difficult to use, but it is still rather daunting for anyone not familiar with C-based languages. There are plenty of ways to build simple games by only using GameMaker: Studio’s user interface, but do not expect to create your ultimate masterpiece without some programming knowledge or a great deal of trial and error.

Don’t fret though, because GameMaker comes with a number of tutorials that teach you everything needed to get started and how to create your first few games. They are all very useful for newcomers and we can say that we personally found them pretty helpful. Beyond that, you can find multiple tutorials on indie game forums and youtube.

While the basic version of GameMaker: Studio is free, the software does come in four other versions that do cost a bit of cash. The paid versions range from $50 – $500 usd, and each one adds a number of extra features that are mostly for developers looking to publish their games to devices such as the iPhone or Android. The free version should be more than adequate for anyone not trying to start their own indie company, but I would recommend shelling out $50 for the standard version after you have a number of games under your belt.

If you are having any doubts about GameMaker: Studio being able to create anything worthwhile, throw those away now. A number of indie developers have or still use GameMaker to create their games, and the original Spelunky, which became an extremely popular indie title, is among them. This shows that you have the possibility of creating some great games in this program, and all you need is some basic understanding of the C-language and a fun idea.


Gamemakerlab highly recommend giving GameMaker: Studio a try if you have any interest in-game design but are not sure where you should begin. It is also a great way to gently leap into programming without being too overwhelmed at the start. If you are interested in grabbing a copy of GameMaker: Studio, you can access to YoYo Games website to download.