Progress report: GameMaker and making a bundle

Mysterious screenshot!!

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks engaging with GameMaker as a tool for… making games. In order to teach myself the system I’m doing two things. One was to obviously read a book and do some tutorials to get a feel for how things are accomplished in that world. The other is to make my next “game” in GameMaker, which turns out to fit quite well with the nature of the next game. And by game I mean “bundle”.

In essence the new game is actually a set of new games, cast as that all-important indie phenomenon, the bundle. By forcing myself to use GameMaker to make a sequence of games, I’m getting in touch with how it works a lot better – specifically how it can work for me. The first three games basically consisted of me attempting to bend GameMaker to my will. That is, I had an idea for the game independently of the system, and then I spent a very long time trying to work out how the hell you make it in GameMaker’s framework. Time consuming, but very worthwhile, and I can at least say that GameMaker is basically flexible enough to do this. (Not to mention that, when you get down to it, GameMaker’s kind of similar to Flixel, at least conceptually.)

But now I’m moving onto the fourth game (of five, I think), and I’ve been wanting to approach the whole thing differently. So the plan this time is to proceed from GameMaker to the game, rather than the other way around. One thing about GameMaker (a word I now feel I am writing too many times) is that it presents game-making (ugh) as a process of setting up entities and the rules that control how they behave. That’s not actually how I tend to think of games, as I usually leap in with a concept and then just “make it”. So the fourth game is to be all about entities with rules, another game making (oh god) adventure.

In essence it feels like trying to be something like Michael Brough, except without the having-been-doing-this-for-my-whole-life and definitely without the being-extremely-clever-and-good-at-making-systems. Naturally, I’m trying to embrace what is effectively my total ineptness with systems and rules by having a totally out-of-control system with heavily interacting rules, but then just throwing my hands up at the prospect of controlling/balancing the whole thing. I’m sure it will be a big pile of fun to play, right? Right? Nah. But that’s okay.

Anyway, the short version is just that the tools we use obviously shape our thinking, right? And it’s nice to have a go at embracing other ways of not just making but conceptualising games. So, thanks GameMaker and Michael. I guess.



1 March 2013
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