Game Maker is a software application written by Mark Overmars in the Delphi programming language. Overmars released the original version on November 15, 1999. The primary interface for the creation of games is via an object-oriented drag-and-drop system, allowing users unfamiliar with traditional programming to intuitively create games simply by organizing things visually on the screen. Users select a personally-created object and drop instances of these objects in the area of the game being worked on, and Game Maker automatically applies any global effects to that instance of the object. To extend the drag-and-drop functionality of Game Maker, users can use files called Libraries to add new drag-and-drop items known as Actions to the lists. These can be created with a special library builder.
The program is designed to allow its users to easily develop computer games without having to learn a complex programming language such as C++ or Java. For experienced users, Game Maker contains a built-in scripting programming language called the “Game Maker Language (GML)”, allowing the user to further customize their game and expand features. Games can be distributed under any license (including no license), in non-editable executable “.exe” files or as the .gm6 (Version 6.x), .gmk (Version 7.x) and .gmd (Version 4.x, 5.x) (source code) file itself. Users of Game Maker are allowed to sell creations as long as no copyrighted material is included without the copyright holder’s permission (images, sounds, etc.)
Game Maker is becoming more widely known and used, with many sub-communities, such as 64Digits and Games Showcase, among many others. It has attracted a substantial number of users; mainly because of the program’s accessibility to beginners while still allowing complex tasks to be undertaken by more advanced users. It is not as narrow in game creation as some other programs, as it allows the creation of many types of games, including platform games, first-person shooters, third-person shooters, massively multiplayer online games and simulation games. Game Maker is fully capable of creating standard programs as well, making it a very versatile development platform.
Game Maker 7 still incorporates the use of Direct3D, allowing the usage of limited 3D graphics, and adds limited support for simple 3D models. Converters make it possible to use more popular 3D formats such as .3ds, and .obj for use in a 3D project. It also supports the ability to create certain particle effects like rain, snow, and clouds easily.
Here are some functionalities only available in the Pro Edition:
- You can use rotated, color blended and translucent sprites.
- There are additional actions for e.g. CD music, rotated text and colorized shapes.
- You can use special sound effects and positional sound.
- With the particle system you can create explosions, fireworks, flames, rain and other effects.
- A number of advanced drawing functions, for example colorized texts and texture polygons.
- It is possible to create multiplayer games that can be played over a network.
- You can define your own room transitions.
- You can include additional files in the game executables.
- The Pro Edition can easily be extended using extension packages. These can be made by everybody and will in general be provided free of charge.
- Three such extension packages are included adding many room transitions, windows dialogues and printing facilities.
New features in Game Maker 7:
- A new extension mechanism, making it possible to extend the functionality of Game Maker in many different ways. (Pro Edition Only)
- Splash screens now support animated pictures
- Solved security issues
- Windows Vista compatibility
- No additional system requirements than Game Maker 6
- Many other small additions and bug corrections (as outlined here in the “Bugs corrected in the newest version” section)
- Version 7.0 is mostly backwards compatible with version 6.x project files except for some minor changes in the newer version such as room transitions. Version 7 will also open version 6.x project files that were previous marked as corrupt.
- Registered users are not required to purchase a new license to upgrade to Version 7 Pro Edition; however users may need to obtain a new registration key. There are no guarantees that a user’s registration license will be valid for future versions of Game Maker after 7.0.
- “Registered” version of Game Maker has been changed to “Pro” version
- Create extensions for Game Maker including action libraries, DLLs, and Game Maker Language(GML) scripts using the extension builder found on the Game Maker website.
- Encryption of version 7.x project files.