GameMaker HTML5 Module worth the cost?

Time for a quick “Ask Tobiah“:

Hello, I was researching the logistics of creating a Game. I would like to become an Indie Game Developer, and I was wondering if you think the GameMaker Modules (specifically HTML5 Module) is worth the cost of it. It’s now on sale for $149.99 (includes the 25% discount). I have been writing code to create websites, but does the HTML5 Module do more than just put the head and body tags in place? (One book I read has <10 lines of code that surrounds the Flash Animation so it’s easy to put a Flash Animation in HTML5 webpage). In other words: Would it be impossible or very difficult to export a game to HTML5 without the module? Another question: Do you have a list of websites to contact so that you can license your game to them after you create a game? I am new at this. Most of my experience is in writing code for websites. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.
-Trang Lam

Hi Trang. Personally, I think GameMaker is worth the money. It’s a great prototyping tool, and really great if you’re new to game development. It’s a harder argument now that Unity is free, but that doesn’t change that I think the tool is well worth the cost.

In order to run in a browser though, you will need to buy the GameMaker HTML5 module. Normally, GameMaker creates a Win32 .exe, can’t just include it in a page like you would a flash file. If your goal is to make games that run in the browser, you’ll just have to factor in the cost.

For your second question, not sure what you mean by “license”. Do you mean selling the game to gamers, or selling the source code? There are many sites that do both. Which one you should use depends a lot on what kind of game you have.

For gamers, different sites have different audiences. Find the ones that has players who would be into your kind of game. Unless you’re getting a good offer/promotion/something, try releasing to as many sites as possible to increase exposer. Though you may want to make sure you have some sort of news or notification system to know where your game ends up (if it gets copied) and if there are updates/they aren’t playing the latest greatest version.

For selling code, the clear choice would be the GameMaker Markplace.

Hope that answers your questions! I would also recommend checking out my resources page for other good links, and listening to other developers journeys on my Be Indie Now podcast.


Multiplatform game frameworks

Welcome to part two of a new blog series I’ve started, “Ask Tobiah”!

You can read last Monday’s question about multiplatform development. In response to it, I got today’s question:

What are your feelings on the different frameworks for creating cross platform games (such as unity, xamarin etc)? Are they any good? What would make you choose one / not choose one?
Matt Whetton

I love them! I’d highly encourage game developers to use frameworks.

It doesn’t make sense to me why you would want to reinvent the wheel and deal with all the time and hassle of building your own engine… Continue reading Multiplatform game frameworks

GameMaker Studio Standard now permanently free!

GameMaker StudioYoYoGames announced today that GameMaker Studio Standard, the first tier of their tool that normally runs $50, will now be free permanently.

Those who follow my blog will know that GameMaker Studio would go on sale, a lot. It’s great that they finally just removed the limited resource free version and made the Standard version available to every developer.

If you are just starting out, or a student learning how to make games, I would highly recommend downloading it. GameMaker can teach you how to code, how to create games, and now let you make anything you want.

They have not reduced the price of GameMaker Studio Pro. That remains $100. Still, never a bad thing to get more features in the free version.

If you haven’t yet, go ahead and download it for yourself!


GameMaker: Studio on sale again until May 25th.

YoYoGames has once again put their fantastic GameMaker: Studio software on sale again.

You can now upgrade your copy of GameMaker: Studio Standard to GameMaker: Studio Professional for $25, normally $50. In addition, you can buy any of the export modules (HTML5, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8 and Ubuntu Linux) for 50% off.

Another interesting thing to note is that if you owned the old version, GameMaker 8.1, you can upgrade to GameMaker: Studio Professional for $37.50.

Why get GameMaker?

I’ve said it many times before, but GameMaker is one of my top three favorite game design and development tools. You don’t need to code at all with its drag and drop interface, but once you get more advanced GameMakerScript enables you to do powerful things. One of the best reasons to upgrade to GameMaker Studio over 8.1 is the ability to release for up to 9 platforms.

The basic version allows for very simple games, limiting the number of objects and resources you can have. The Standard edition gets rid of that limit, allow you to make any kind of game you want. You can then release on desktops (Windows and Mac) AND Windows 8 Store for free! In addition to any other platform you buy for 50% discount.

Getting started with GameMaker

If you haven’t used GameMaker before, I released an open source Windows 8 game a while back called “GemRun”. You can use it as a template for your first game, deconstruct it to learn how GameMaker works, or just take bits and pieces as you may find useful in your development.

You can download the project here, or find the link on my resources page.

GameMaker Studio Standard Free again until March 2nd

Once again you can get GameMaker Studio Standard free from now until March 2nd, as well as upgrade from Standard to Professional for just $35.

Normally GameMaker Studio Professional is $100, with the free upgrade to Standard that means you can get it for $65 off.

This isn’t the first time YoYoGames has offered GameMaker for free or discounted the Professional version, but you never know when a deal like this will come around again.

How to redeem:

  1. Download GameMaker
  2. On the welcome screen, click the “Upgrade to Standard for Free” banner
  3. Enter your email address, and then confirm it on the second screen.
  4. Check your email, and copy/paste your brand new Standard edition key!

If you don’t already have Standard, there is no reason not to jump on this and get yourself a free copy. That way if you ever decide to mess around or doodle something in GameMaker, you won’t be limited by number of resources.


“Gem Run” live in Windows store

Gem Run Screenshot 01
The open source GameMaker: Studio game I made, Gem Run, is now live in the Windows Store if you’d like to download and play it.

I made Gem Run as an example project for a Windows 8 application in GameMaker. You can read my original explanation/list of features here.

Are there any features you’d like to see me add to the game? Let me know about it.

In the mean time, you can download the game now and play it.

Have fun!


Open Source Windows 8 GameMaker Game – Gem Run

I decided to take the time and write an open source Windows 8 GameMaker game for those who like to learn by example projects.

It’s called “Gem Run”

Windows 8 GameMaker Template - Gem Run Screenshot 01

Where can I get it?

You can visit the project website, or get the code directly off from GitHub here. The link is also on my resources page. Feel free to add features and contribute to it, if you’d like! If people are interesting, it would be cool to start a collection of ready to go Windows 8 GameMaker templates.

About The Game

The game is a simple “Temple Run“-like endless runner. You move your character left or right by the keyboard or by tapping on the left/right half of the screen. The goal is to collect as many gems as possible before dying from hitting the rocks. As your score goes up, the game gets faster.

I made the game to showcase the following aspects of GameMaker:

  • Buttons and menus
  • Keyboard, mouse and touch controls
  • Real time re-scalable game world (try putting it in a snap view!)
  • Basic collision/point collection
  • Infinite world scroller/runner game mechanic

Creative Commons Assets used:

In order to create this, I used some Creative Commons assets.

What is the Creative Commons? In shorts, if a type of copyright you can put onto assets you create that allows others (like myself) to use them within their works. They may or may not allow you to use the assets in commercial code for profit, and usually they require attribution.

I do not own these assets, and while they are included in the example code for demonstration, they are not included as part of my MIT License open source code.

Here are the free assets I used:

I have questions!

You should ask them! I would love to hear from you on any questions you have about the code, game maker, or game development in general.

Also, if you’re interested in seeing more templates (or would like to request I make a tutorial on a specific part), let me know!


GameMaker Debugger coming in version 1.3

I’ve been talking about GameMaker a lot lately it seems, with their free offer for Standard and $25 upgrade to professional. Now they continue the good news with the announcement of a proper GameMaker Debugger in the upcoming 1.3 release.

The ability to add breakpoints is huge, and will greatly speed up development when you have that weird bug/issue and you can’t quite figure out what’s wrong.

This was one of the major limitations of GameMaker as a platform, and now that is one less valid excuse to ignore it as a viable professional development tool.

GameMaker Debugger Preview
When can I use the GameMaker Debugger?

Unfortunately, it’s still early and development, and doesn’t support builds for native Windows 8 yet. Although you can always test on normal Windows Desktop and work out the major gameplay issues first before trying to export to Windows 8.

No word yet on when this will be released as part of the “stable” build channel. Hopefully soon!


$25 Upgrade GameMaker Studio Standard to Professional

GameMaker StudioYoYoGames is now offering (for an unknown amount of time) to upgrade GameMaker Studio Standard to Professional for just $25.

This news comes right after they made GameMaker Studio Standard free for beta users, and yes, you can use your free standard license as part of the upgrade.

Normally GameMaker Studio Professional is $100, but with this deal you can get it for just $25! Even if you already paid the normal $50, that’s just $25 more to upgrade GameMaker Studio Standard to Professional.

I’m very excited for this deal. I took advantage of it myself for my own independent game company, PlayPerro.

I was planning on purchasing a new professional license before the end of the year anyway, now in total I’ve saved $75!

Be sure to get your get your free copy of GameMaker Studio Standard and upgrade it to GameMaker Studio Professional today, before this offer goes away!


GameMaker Studio Standard Free for a limited time!

GameMaker StudioYoYoGames is offering GameMaker Studio Standard free!

No word on how long this deal will last, so I would highly urge all of you to take advantage of it, even if you aren’t  developing a game in GameMaker right now. You never know when it will be useful to have!

Why get GameMaker?

GameMaker is one of my favorite game design and development tools. It allows you to quickly and easily make 2d game prototypes using a drag and drop interface. You don’t need to code at all, but once you get more advanced you can use GameMakerScript to make your development even faster, easier and do more powerful things.

Best of all, you can make one GameMaker Studio project and release on up to 9 platforms!

The basic version allows for very simple games, limiting the number of objects and resources you can have. The Standard edition gets rid of that limit, allow you to make any kind of game you want. You can then release on desktops (Windows and Mac) AND Windows 8 Store for free! For an extra fee, you can release the same project on mobile platforms as well.

How to redeem:

  1. Make sure you are using the “Beta Update Channel”. To change this, right-click on the icon in the system tray.
  2. Install the latest version of GameMaker.
  3. On the welcome screen, you should see a big “Upgrade to Standard for Free” banner. Click it.
  4. Enter your email address, and then confirm it on the second screen.
  5. Check your email, and load you’re brand new Standard edition key!


Normally this costs $50, so getting GameMaker Studio Standard free of charge is significant.

Now you have no excuse not to download GameMaker and mess around with it. If you need any additional resources, such as art or sound files, you can find links to some free resources on my blog.

Go make some cool games! After you do, be sure to let me know about them. I’d love to check them out!