GameMaker: Studio Features for Developers and Non-Developers

By Michael Rohde

GameMaker: Studio is a software tool that you can use to make videogames. It’s excellent for both beginners and seasoned developers. Beginners will enjoy GameMaker’s drag-and-drop Actions, while seasoned developers will appreciate the sophisticated coding windows. For both the new and the experienced, GameMaker: Studio provides fundamental features that enable you to create videogames faster and easier than ever before.

Fundamental features of GameMaker: Studio include Events and Actions. Events and Actions are closely tied together, in that each Event should have an associated Action. When you create Events with Actions, what you’re doing is telling GameMaker to create code for you in the background. That way, when you’re ready to publish your game, GameMaker compiles the code for you. All you have to do is upload the HTML5 files to your site, or submit your Android, iOS, or Windows app to the respective store.

Events and Actions make it easy for non-developers to make games. But that doesn’t mean veteran developers won’t appreciate using Events and Actions as well. A developer can add, write, edit, or delete code for a game through coding windows. These coding windows are created as an Action, which is assigned to an Event.

Here’s a typical overview process for creating something like a character in a game using GameMaker: Studio:

  1. Develop a written outline for what you want that character to do.

    How will the character move? How will it interact with other characters or objects in the game? What will the character do and how will it do it?

  2. Create a new Object for that character.

    Objects contain the properties for, say, a character, or enemies, or to control certain aspects of a game.

  3. Name the Object, say, main_character.

  4. Assign a Sprite to the Object.

    Sprites provide a visual representation of the character.

  5. Add an Event to the Object.

    An Event is something that you want to happen in the game. For example, you could add a Create Event to initialize variables or to assign movement to the character. There are many different types of Events that are triggered at specific moments in a game.

  6. Assign an Action to the Event.

    Actions are what you want the Object to do. If it’s a Create Event, and you want to initialize variables, you could add an Execute Code Action, which opens a code window for you to type code into. If you want to add movement to the character, you could add a Move Fixed Action.

  7. Save the Object.

You can now add that Object to a Room, which is where you assemble all the different parts of your game.