GameDev Diaries I

It has been a pretty busy week but, amidst paperwork and tours through the city, I’ve finally started working with GameMaker.

I think that the built-in tutorials are pretty boring and inconsistent, that’s the reason I abandoned the tool the last time I started learning it. Because of that, I’ve been searching for other sources of knowledge and settled, for now, with two.

The first one is a series of ongoing video tutorials by Tom Francis, creator of Gunpoint, called Make A Game With No Experience. While he has no background as a programmer, the videos are oriented towards the creation of games using GML (GameMaker’s own programming language) and he certainly does a good job explaining it in a very affable way. The videos are targeted to people with very basic knowledge (if any) on gamedev and programming (something that is clear by the frequent pit stops to explain basic steps), and are great for anyone wanting to start using it (beginners and advanced programmers as well). It is a free and great option for completely beginners and anyone trying to get to know better GameMaker.

The second one is a book titled GameMaker Game Programming with GML, written by Matthew DeLucas and published by Pack Publishing. I have mixed feelings with this book; while I have certainly learned very useful tips from it, it has turned out to be very tedious to read (I may be biased, as I don’t like to read e-books). I finished the second (out of three) example and am beginning the last section of the book. Because of the nature of the author as a programmer, this is a better source to learn proper coding in GameMaker (as Tom’s approach, while clear, is somewhat naïve). It costs $26.99 (I got it for $5 on a sale) and I’d recommend it for people who already have a medium understanding of programming.

So far I’ve had a good experience with GameMaker, it’s an easy-to-learn tool that becomes handy for quick development. I’m currently using it to develop a small game for January’s One Game A Month which, while not big, is helping me realize and verify some truths about game design; mainly that the mechanics of a game convey meaning and establish an implicit moral system. It has also is giving me the chance to see what decisions deviate from the original intention of the game.

Jams and other indie gamedev events are a great opportunity to test new game ideas and tools as well. After learning Game Maker, I’m set to continue learning Phaser (first, creating ports of the things I make using GameMaker).

This week has also been a little unfortunate; my laptop’s charger stopped working and I’m basically using a desktop from home while I wait for the new charger I bought at Amazon. The experience hasn’t been completely negative, being forced to work away from my usual spot has been great so far and working primarily with my (originally secondary) 22″ monitor is also pleasant (using 15.4″ displays running at 1080p can be really tiresome).

Also, this year’s Game Jam will take place during this weekend; what a timing. I hope that my old laptop still has a little strength left. Nevertheless, I think it’s going to be an amazing event, just like last year’s.

Boy, do I miss my laptop :(

I expect to get back to business with my partner in crime by the end of February, meanwhile:

cave man

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