GameMaker (originally named Game Maker and is often abbreviated to GM) is a Windows and Mac IDE originally developed by Mark Overmars in the Delphi programming language. It is currently developed and published by YoYo Games, a software company in which Overmars is involved. Game Maker allows users to easily develop computer games without the requirement of prior computer programming experience, while allowing advanced users to create complex applications much faster than possible with most other programming languages with its built-in scripting language.

The latest stable release of Game Maker for Windows is version 8.1 as of June 2011, and version 7 on Mac as of 11 August 2010. Since its initial release in 1999, Game Maker gained many new features, notably 3D graphics support, as well as a significant user base, with YoYo Games providing free hosting for user-created games.

YoYo Games is currently undertaking a serious overhaul of the software in the form of GameMaker HTML5 and Game Maker Studio. These forthcoming versions of the software will allow development for other platforms such as iOS, Android, and Mac.


[hide]*1 Development history

[edit] Development historyEdit

Game Maker was originally titled Animo,[1] a program specializing in 2D animation. Overmars released the first public version (version 1.1) on November 15, 1999. While this version of Game Maker had a built-in scripting language, which was not as complex as in more recent versions, it and the next few versions of Game Maker did not have DirectX support, a separate runner to run games independently from Game Maker, or the ability to compile games into executable files.[1]

Each major release of Game Maker added substantial new features and improved stability, while gaining steadily in popularity. In 2001, version 3.0 implemented DirectX for the first time,[2] while version 4.0 (released July 2001) was rewritten from scratch, changing the interface significantly. Version 5.0 was released in April 2003, adding support for external data files and time lines.[3] In version 6.0, released October 2004, Game Maker's graphics engine was rewritten using Direct3D as a base, allowing for more complex operations such as easier alpha transparency and sprite rotation, as well as introducing 3D graphics functions.[4] Overmars began work on version 7.0, which introduced the ability to extend its functionality, around the summer of 2006,[5] and released it on February 28, 2007, through YoYo Games.[6] Game Maker 8 was released on December 22, 2009,[7] adding new features such as a revamped script editor window, improved image editor, and the ability to import and export resources from game source files.[8]

Starting with Game Maker 7 RC2, game data created with the program was encrypted[citation needed], due to concerns over decompilation.

[edit] Game Maker 8 logo controversyEdit

[1][2]The previous winning logo, as selected by YoYo Games. It garnered heavy criticism and controversy.On November 27, 2009, a new logo was announced on the YoYo Games Glog.[9] The decision received substantial criticism via the Game Maker Community and YoYo Games Glog with thousands of comments posted in protest. Games mocking the logo were created as well. After the negative response, CEO of YoYo Games Sandy Duncan blogged and posted on his Twitter feed making it clear he was reconsidering the logo's design.[10][11]

In response to the criticism, a topic was posted on the Game Maker Community where users could contribute a new Game Maker logo,[12] and on December 9, a new logo was chosen.[13]

[edit] Design and usesEdit

[3][4]Game Maker screenshotGame Maker is designed to allow its users to easily develop computer games without having to learn a complex programming language such as C++ or Java.

Game Maker's primary development interface uses a drag-and-drop system, allowing users unfamiliar with traditional programming to intuitively create games by visually organizing icons on the screen. These icons represent actions that would occur in a game, such as movement, basic drawing, and simple control structures. Users also have the ability to create their own "action libraries" using the Library Maker.

For experienced users or those with computer programming experience, Game Maker contains a built-in scripting programming language called the Game Maker Language (GML), allowing more complex games to be made with the program.

Game Maker allows the creation of many types of games, including platform games, first-person shooters, third-person shooters, massively multiplayer online games and construction and management simulation games.

[edit] Educational useEdit

As a professor of the University of Utrecht, Mark Overmars developed Game Maker partly as a teaching aid for his students. It is gaining recognition as a useful teaching tool in primary and secondary schools because of its easy entry and sophisticated scripting language.[14]

[edit] FeaturesEdit

[edit] Lite and Standard editionsEdit

[5][6]Game Maker 7 (Mac) DRMTwo versions of the Game Maker software are offered on Windows and Mac. The Lite versions are free to use, while the Standard editions require purchase. Lite locks out several advanced features and functions which are available in Standard, including the ability to use DLLs, particle systems, advanced drawing functions, 3D graphics, and networking multiplayer.

On Windows, the Lite version contains most of the functionality that allows users to create games and share them either by creating stand-alone Windows executable files, or publishing them on YoYo Games' website. Games created with the Lite version display a small Game Maker advertisement during the loading of the game, while games made with the Standard version remove this.

On the original Game Maker for Mac, a trial version with all features unlocked could be used for ten hours before it required activation; there was no Lite. However, as of December 8, 2010, Game Maker for Mac Lite was released as a free download. The Mac Lite utility contains most of the Mac Standard version's functionality, but it prevents users from creating stand-alone Mac executables. (Therefore, in order to share games for free, a user would need to give the openable GMK source file to other users who have downloaded and installed Game Maker for Mac.)

The renaming from "Pro" to "Standard", which occurred with the release of GM version 8.1, has caused a lot of discussion about whether or not Yoyo is releasing another tier. This hypothesis is backed up with Yoyo's 2011 "easter egg", showing the possibility to export games to multiple different platforms, including Apple's iPhone and HTML5.

[edit] Graphics capabilitiesEdit

Game Maker primarily runs games that use 2D graphics. Game Maker's graphics capabilities underwent significant improvements with each major release version, allowing for additional functionality including more efficient alpha adjustments and blending settings for sprites and other shapes. By version 6.0 (Windows), Game Maker incorporated DirectX, allowing more advanced graphics functions. Version 7.0 (Macintosh) uses OpenGL to render sprites.

Additionally in versions 6.0 upwards (Windows), Game Maker incorporates Direct3D, allowing the use of limited 3D graphics. Version 7.0 (Macintosh) upwards use OpenGL for 3D graphics. It also 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. Extension packages such as OGRE can expand Game Maker's basic functionality. It also supports the ability to create particle effects such as rain, snow and clouds, however not natively in 3D. Support for the editing of 32-bit PNG files was added in the 8.0 version of the Game Maker, which has also enabled users to use images with alpha channels.

[edit] Game Maker LanguageEdit

Main article: Game Maker LanguageGame Maker Language (GML) is the primary scripting language used in Game Maker. It allows users to further enhance and control the design of their game through conventional programming, as opposed to the drag-and-drop system. The syntax of GML borrows aspects from other languages such as C, C++ and Java, effectively making use of Object-oriented programming.

Originally, GML was designed to supplement the drag-and-drop interface, allowing advanced users to add greater functionality to their games or programs. Newer versions of Game Maker actually use GML as their base, with all drag-and-drop functions as pre-written GML scripts.

GML is an interpreted programming language instead of a compiled language. When Game Maker creates a stand-alone game, all GML (including drag and drop functions) is packed into the game executable. Every time the generated program is executed, an included interpreter carries out the commands indicated by the GML code. Being an interpreted language, GML is usually significantly slower than compiled languages such as C++ or Delphi.

GML also includes support for loading and using DLLs. This allows functions and routines to be written in other programming languages such as C++, Delphi, Pascal and others.

[edit] Extension packagesEdit

Game Maker itself is not limited to the functions and abilities included in the Game Maker Language. Game Maker games can load and use DLLs for additional functionality. The community has developed a variety of DLLs to extend Game Maker with things such as socket support and MySQL connectivity. As of version 7, the new extension mechanism allows users to include DLLs, GML scripts and action libraries in pre-built extension packages.

[edit] System requirementsEdit

The following specifications reflect the system requirements of Game Maker's exported executable files. The Game Maker tool has unspecified, but significantly lower requirements.[15]

System requirements for Game Maker 8.x:

System requirements for Game Maker 7.x:

  • Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
  • DirectX 8 or later (Windows) or OpenGL (Macintosh)
  • DirectX 8 compatible graphics card with at least 32MB of video memory (Windows) or OpenGL compatible graphics card (Macintosh)
  • Pentium or equivalent processor (Windows) or Intel processor (Macintosh)
  • DirectX 8 compatible sound card (Windows)
  • 128 MB of memory or greater (noted only in official Game Maker help file documentation)
  • 800×600 or greater screen resolution with 16-bit or 32-bit colors

System requirements for Game Maker 6.x:

  • Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP
  • DirectX 8 or later
  • DirectX 8 compatible graphics card with at least 16MB of video memory (32MB or more recommended)
  • Pentium or equivalent processor
  • DirectX 8 compatible sound card
  • 64 MB of memory or greater (noted only in official Game Maker help file documentation)
  • 800×600 or greater screen resolution with 16-bit or 32-bit colors

Versions 6.x and the .exe files from those versions do not work with the Microsoft Windows Vista or the Windows 7 operating system, due to an incompatible compression implementation in its creation of executable files. Version 7 of the program, however, works correctly with Vista, as well as most supported functions in versions 5.x and prior. As of June 24, 2007, Mark Overmars made a program to convert .exe files created with version 6 to work on Windows Vista.[16]

[edit] YoYo GamesEdit

YoYo Games
Type Partnership
Founded 2007 (2007)
Founder(s) The YoYo Games group
Headquarters Dundee, Scotland
Key people Mark Overmars

Sandy Duncan
James North-Hearn
Michel Cassius
Spencer Hyman


On January 26, 2007, Mark Overmars announced his partnership with a company based in the United Kingdom named YoYo Games.[17] The company, headed by CEO Sandy Duncan (ex Vice President of Xbox Europe),[18] was founded to support the future development of Game Maker, and to develop a community for developers and casual gamers. The motive behind the cooperation is that it would bring improved development to Game Maker, as well as provide a better website for its users. YoYo Games provides a free hosting service for any Game Maker games.

One title they publish was not created with Game Maker, Free Solitaire, which they developed themselves. They currently only publish for iOS but will soon start on PC, Mac, Android, PSP and HTML5.

[edit] WebsiteEdit

YoYo Games' website allows users to upload, share, and play their created games and those made by others. Users can also review and discuss these games, as well as games in development on the website. It also provides an extended help system and support for the sharing of digital assets. YoYo Games also hosts the GMC (Game Maker Community) forums and publishes Game Maker since version 7. The YoYo Games website was launched on April 28, 2007, in its beta form.[19]

The website has an instant play feature so people can play games online (similar to Adobe Flash), and allows games to be downloaded if the individual creators choose so.

YoYo Games runs game-making competitions on their website.

[edit] Game Maker CommunityEdit

The Game Maker Community (GMC) is an online forum made to discuss Game Maker and games created with it. It also discusses more general game design topics as well as game graphics, sound, and game distribution methods. The current forum was created by Mark Overmars[20] on September 18, 2003,[21] a month after the first release and is now a subdomain of the official YoYo Games website. On 15 June 2010, the GMC underwent an update to IPB version 3.1 which brought new personal message features, Twitter and Facebook integration, and a new theme.[22]

[edit] YoYo Games StoreEdit

In October 2010, YoYo Games announced that they were making a store that people could sell their games on for different platforms like iOS or PSP. The statement says the store will open "In the following weeks".[23] As of 23 November 2010 (2010 -11-23) the store includes only Game Maker for Mac, Skydiver Mach II, (the runner), Maddening, They Need To Be Fed, Simply Solitaire, Teka Teki, Prison Ball, Karoshi, Simply Poker Squares (and lite), Green Tech Plus (PSP only) and Sync Simple.[24]

[edit] Ports and other versionsEdit

[edit] Macintosh versionEdit

In 2008, Sandy Duncan announced a port of Game Maker for Mac OS X was being developed. The port had undergone many delays due to technical reasons. A version[25] was made available for private beta testing.

On December 4, 2009, YoYo Games' Mac Developer resigned;[26] however, work resumed on January 27, 2010.[27]

On April 14, 2010, a release candidate for the Mac version was released.[28]

On August 11, 2010, YoYo Games released Game Maker 7 for Mac alongside a new Macintosh games hub entitled the YoYo Games AppStore.[29]

[edit] PlayStation Portable versionEdit

On 10 March 2010, YoYo Games CEO Sandy Duncan announced a new version of Game Maker that would be coming to the PlayStation Portable system.[30][31] YoYo Games recently held a competition (Competition 05)[32] in which the restrictions resembled those of a PlayStation Portable, and many rumors arose. Eventually, after over three months, an official announcement was made. YoYo Games also has begun a new competition (Competition 06)[33] with restrictions similar to those of a PlayStation Portable.

On January 26th YoYo Games announced that they had finished development of their first PSP game.[34]

[edit] iOS Version and controversyEdit

On 24 September 2010, YoYo Games announced they were making an iOS version, compatible with Apple iPod, iPhone, and iPad.[35] On 20 October, they have submitted Skydiver Mach II, their first app to the iTunes store.[36] As of 22 October 2010 (2010 -10-22), the iOS version is not yet available for public use, however, YoYo Games has released information regarding the requirements for Game Maker games running on the platform.

On January 5, 2011, YoYo Games posted their idea of a formal cease and desist letter on their Glog. The post scolded the works of the GMC users Revel and Aragon1029, the author of the Game Maker 8 Decompiler, for working on a decompiler and compiler for their iOS apps, which would allow users to bypass YoYo Games and independently publish their creations, posing as a financial threat. Although there was rarely any controversy surrounding the decompilers for Game Maker for Windows, YoYo Games was outwardly angered by the rumors of such a pair of tools being developed by Aragon1029 and Revel. As a result, the decompilers were never released.

Revel, one of the contributors to the controversial tools that YoYo Games threatened over, regularly posts DLL's for use on the Game Maker Community to expand the capabilities of Game Maker. As a result, he is well known throughout the community. Aragon1029, or Zach Reedy, has contributed to several games posted on the Game Maker Community over the past several years, but was not well known until he announced the Game Maker 8 Decompiler. Alongside his open source decompiler release, he also released documentation of the file formats used and produced by Game Maker. Several months later, he also released a utility that could analyze any Game Maker 8 source file and count and categorize the number of lines used in the application.