Game Maker Ruins My Life

December 15, 2008

Game Maker and I have a very love/hate relationship. I love it because it lets me create in a few hours what would normally takes days or weeks to do. I hate it because everything about GM is just so damn inconsistent. Game Maker is the English language of programming languages. It isn’t designed well at all, but it somehow works and works well.

Right now I haven’t been able to work on as much stuff due to the fact that any GM games crash on startup on my laptop, which is what I spend 80% of my time on. Fortunately, Game Maker 5.3A games are running fine, so it does present an interesting challenge of using a tool that I have largely forgotten about. Version 5.3A is a far step back from the current version, and looking at some of the features that didn’t exist in the earlier version made me realize how spoiled I am now.

My Game Maker problems are also cross-platform. I have been toying around with the new GM Mac Beta, and I really don’t have anything good to say about it. The sprite editor is a joke, and there is about a 50% chance that your game just won’t load. YoYo Games has slated the open beta for April, and they’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Am I disappointed by GM sometimes? Yes, but I have been using it for so long now that I would have to invest a large amount of time into changing my dev environment to reach the level of proficiency I have with GM now. I don’t quite think it’s worth it. Maybe someday another technology will come along and sweep me off my feet, but until then, I’m sticking with Game Maker.

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Free Flash Game
Play A game of visual composition

A game of visual composition (I’m not sure if that’s the final title or not) is a project by agj. It is reminiscent of a click & drag puzzle game, but instead of patterns of 3 or 4, the goal is to fare well against graphic design standards.

By applying basic graphic design parameters, like symmetry and rhythm, the game throws out the traditional point system for traditional concepts of design. You can see how well you fared once you complete your design, but it is somewhat difficult to figure out which icons represent which standard.

This is definitely a game which almost flirts with the possibility of “edutainment,” something a lot of people aren’t exactly sure can be done well. Because it is based off real design concepts, hypothetically, if you are good at graphic design, you should be good at the game. I think it would be interesting to see if that holds true. Using a game to measure someone’s skill in a field is an idea I really find interesting. It’s essentially applying a real world skill in a virtual world. I would hardly consider “whooping ass in Tekken” a skill, and would like to see more games that rely on real world knowledge.

A game of visual composition is something that is being worked on fairly frequently, and I really hope to see what it will become. I personally think it would be cool to integrate a way to export the designs you make for use as icons or banners.