GameMaker Manual - (2024)

Creating your first game is always a challenge. But if you are willing toput a little bit of effort in it, it will actually be rather easy. You canhave it running within an hour.

Even though it is really easy to make games with GameMaker you willneed to understand some of the basic concepts. To this end you are stronglyrecommended to follow the tutorial that is shown when GameMaker is started.If you did remove the tutorial from view, you can always make it visible againby choosing Tutorial in the Help menu.

The Global idea

Before delving into the possibilities of GameMaker it is good toget a feeling for the global idea behind the program. Games createdwith GameMaker take place in one or more rooms. (Rooms areflat, not 3D, but they can contain 3D-looking graphics.) In these roomsyou place objects, which you can define in the program. Typicalobjects are the walls, moving balls, the main character, monsters, etc.Some objects, like walls, just sit there and don’t do anything. Otherobjects, like the main character, will move around and react to inputfrom the player (keyboard, mouse, and joystick) and to each other. Forexample, when the main character meets a monster he might die. Objectsare the most important ingredients of games made with GameMaker,so let us talk a bit more about them.

First of all, most objects need some image to make them visible on thescreen. Such images are called sprites. A sprite is often not asingle image but a set of images that are shown one after the other tocreate an animation. In this way it looks like the character walks, aball rotates, a spaceship explodes, etc. During the game, the sprite for aparticular object can change. (So the character can look different whenit walks to the left or to the right.) You can create you own sprites inGameMaker or load them from files (e.g. PNG files or animated GIF’s).Many sprites come bundled with GameMaker that you can use freeof charge in your games.

Certain things will happen to objects. Such happenings are called events. Objects can take certain actions when events happen.There are a large number of different events that can take place and alarge number of different actions that you can let your objects take. Forexample, there is a creation event when the object gets created.(To be more precise, when an instance of an object gets created; therecan be multiple instances of the same object.) For example, when a ballobject gets created you can give it some motion action so that itstarts moving. When two objects meet, you get a collision event. Insuch a case you can make the ball stop or reverse direction. You can alsoplay a sound effect. To this end GameMaker lets you define sounds. When the player presses a key on the keyboard there is a keyboard event, and the object can take an appropriate action, likemoving in the direction indicated. We hope you get the idea. For eachobject you design, you can indicate actions for various events; in thisway defining the behavior of the object.

Once you have defined your objects it is time to define the roomsin which they will live. Rooms can be used for levels in your game or tocheck out different places. There are actions to move from one room toanother. Rooms, first of all, have a background. This can be asimple color or an image. Such background images can be created in GameMaker or you can load them from files. (The background can do alot of things but for the time being, just consider it as something thatmakes the rooms look nice.) Next, you can place the objects in the room.You can place multiple instances of the same object in a room. So, forexample, you need to define just one wall object and can use it at manyplaces. Also you can have multiple instances of the same monster objects,as long as they have the same behavior.

Now you are ready to run the game. The first room will be shown andobjects will come to life because of the actions in their creationevents. They will start reacting to each other due to actions incollision events and they can react to the player using the actions inkeyboard or mouse events.

So in summary, the following things (often called resources) play acrucial role:

  • objects: which are the true entities in the game
  • rooms: the places (levels) in which the objects live
  • sprites: (animated) images that are used to represent the objects
  • sounds: these can be used in games, either as background music or as effects
  • backgrounds: the images used as background for the rooms

There are actually a number of other types of resources: paths, scripts,fonts, and time lines. These are only important for more complicatedgames. You will only see them when you run GameMaker in advancedmode. They will be treated in the advanced chapters later in thisdocument.

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GameMaker Manual - (2024)
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