Game Development: How did I start making video games? (Part 6)

Welcome to your doom!

Previously on “HDISMVG” Part 5:

“I…greeted…an even greater abomination called college…But…I was…a gaming computer.”


I was introduced to a new program called Game Maker 8.1. It’s white interface with quirky icons like a red pac-man boggled my mind. I remember opening the application up, only to be greeted by a bizarre tutorial telling me how to make a game about clicking a clown. It made me a bit concerned for the mental health of the Yoyo games employee that created it.

Even though I felt a great amount of discomfort at the idea of catching a clown in a game, I proceeded to follow the tutorial. I didn’t really understand what I was doing, I just did what the tutorial told me to do. After continually going back and forth looking at the tutorial, I’d remember the MIDI song that would play while I clicked on the clown that moved around the screen.

At this point I was done making video games, I worked as hard as I could and got the recognition that I deserved. It got so crazy that it got to the point where I could make the worst game possible and yet my fans would adore everything I made. I sold so many copies that eventually Yoyo games had to owe me back money for using their application. Moving forward, nowadays I spend most of my time sipping pina coladas in my private cabana.

Oh right, sorry I got lost there for a second.

The game worked, I’d look at some other stuff they had like a platforming game like mario and a pac-man game of sorts. But something about mindlessly doing what someone else told me to do didn’t really teach me anything. Progress would slow down a bit, I wasn’t really sure what to do after following the tutorials.

It was only then, that I would google search my way to victory and find a book called The Game Maker’s Apprentice. This book is the sole reason I really took off with making games.

This book changed my life

While it is pretty out of date since it was focused towards gm 8.1. It contained some great explanations for game design and would allow you to create a handful of games that actually worked. But while I could have fallen into the same trap of just mindlessly following the tutorials in the book, this time I wanted to really try and at least hypothesize and understand why the tutorial was telling me to do certain things.

One of the games I made with Game Maker’s Apprentice.

Somethings I found that helped me to learn more effectively:

  • Try to make your own assets, trust me you will feel a greater sense of ownership and accomplishment even though you followed the tutorial.
  • Don’t just mindlessly do what they tell you to do in a tutorial, if they introduce a new concept to you, take a moment and really try to study what it is about, go online and just spend a couple seconds understanding it. If you don’t understand it, it’s possible you’ll be left behind in the dust unable to understand later stuff down the road.
  • Don’t make games about catching clowns.

Perhaps in a future blog post, I will go over some of these old games I made from the Game Maker’s Apprentice.

I will admit that it’s kind of lame that I would drop something like this to you, especially if you were interested in using the Game Maker’s Apprentice. Unfortunately, they’re so out of date that I don’t really think they’ll do newer revisions (and who knows Game Maker will eventually keep upgrading with more nonsense like Game Maker 3, and then Game Maker Remastered, Game Maker Ultimate, Game Maker Classic Revisited, Game Maker Modern Warfare, etc.). But despite that, there are so many free up to date tutorials nowadays that you can make some pretty great stuff.

One last thing before I go, I found that Open Source Projects are an amazing way to learn really fast. If you come across them, you can really study how they put the game together, how they programmed their systems like physics and so on. Doing little things like changing the sprites or sound effects are a great way to see how it works. But whatever you do, DON’T export the game out there as if you made it unless the creator gives you permission to do so (Seriously).

In the next post, I’ll give a quick rundown of useful stuff that I learned from this journey.

To be concluded…

-Brandon

www.tinywarriorgames.com

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