I am not a programmer. I’m not an artist. I’m not a game designer. But still, I’ve been tinkering under the hood with Game Maker, and it has been one of the most exciting, challenging, interesting and creative things I’ve ever done with my spare time.
The crude, painful screenshot above is from the “Game” I’ve been working on (and yes, I use that term extremely loosely) I’ve ambitiously called Mars Trooper. It’s pretty much an exact duplicate of the game that Tom Francis is showing the internet how to make on his YouTube channel. Tom claims not to be a a great or patient programmer, but he is an absolutely wonderful teacher and the enthusiasm he brings to game making simply gushes out of all of his videos.
It’s been a massively interesting experience, and I’ve found myself becoming extremely excited with the simplest experimentation. I called out to my girlfriend just to have her watch the simple waypoint-pathing system I designed to order around a shooter-buddy, or the basic vision cone I whipped up to make it possible to sneak past a guard. The accomplishments are extremely humble, but the ownership you feel over something you’ve figured out how to do on your own is pretty grand. And, I wholeheartedly encourage you to jump in and try your own hand at it!
Tom and his internet-students have been working with the free version of Game Maker, so anyone (and I mean you) can jump in very easily and with no previous experience! I heartily recommend you do so, because looking behind the curtain of how all this game designy business works has been very enlightening, and mind-stretching in just the most satisfying way.