Mon, 14 Jan 2013 GameMaker for Mac review
Game authoring’s getting easier, thanks to tools like GameMaker for Mac - a dedicated OS X games maker.
- Manufacturer: YoYo Games
- Pros: Great documentation and demos get you going quickly, free version to try before you buy
- Cons: Support for export is confined to OS X
- Price: $19.99 (£12.30)
- Star rating:
When home computers first became available, a new industry of game creation sprang up. These bedroom pioneers were soon replaced by big production companies. More recently, homebrew game development has been making a comeback - with indie game makers responsible for big hits on Mac and iOS.
In part, that’s down to better authoring tools. Tools like GameMaker for Mac. It’s a complete system for making Mac games. Although it boasts an object-oriented workflow, there’s no coding required. If you’re feeling more ambitious, there is a built in language; GML (GameMaker Language). This gives you a high level of control over every aspect of the game building process.
Back to the nuts and bolts. As we said, GameMaker for Mac is an Object Oriented tool, and this is reflected in the work area. Every project has too a series of components. The main ones are Rooms, Sprites, Objects and Scripts. Sprites and Objects are visual game elements and Scripts control their behaviour. Rooms are used to define a gaming area (whether it’s an actual room or not).
To begin creating a game, you simply create a Room and then populate it with Objects. You can attach scripting behaviours and conditions to Objects. For example, an animated sprite may be assigned a specific path through the game environment. You can define movement types, collision behaviours and how it responds to key presses.
Gamemaker for Mac is a superb tool for learning the mechanics of game design
The full version includes 3D effects and hardware acceleration, including particle generation for atmospheric scenery and explosions.
GameMaker for Mac is not an easy tool to begin using. You’ll still to need to make assets such as sprites and sounds to create your game and a sound plan. Using the tool without any understanding of programming workflows may be too much to ask.
The best way to get going with the tool is to pull apart some of the games other people have made. Though not bundled with the main download, you can grab an archive of tutorials and sample games from the help menu.