GameMaker: Studio is the real deal; its drag-and-drop programming system allows new designers to jump right in. When they want access to more flexible or nuanced behavior for game objects, these would-be designers can switch over to the built-in scripting language. An additional program may be necessary to create art assets, but GameMaker also includes a basic sprite editor.

Learning the creation process is easy since GameMaker includes a series of step-by-step tutorial projects. These have a logical flow to them and could easily be used to scaffold students into game design. We use tutorials we have taken and extended for platform, scrolling and other styles of games.  Advanced students can move beyond drag and drop functionality into the Gamemaker scripting language for advanced control.

Working with GameMaker: Studio is easy; its user interface for game creation is consistent and clear. Making a game is a straightforward process of assembling all the game pieces into a common library, shown through an expandable hierarchy tree, and then setting up various “objects” using those art or sound pieces. This is followed by adding different behaviors to the objects (such as what to do when a player pushes the left arrow key or when one object collides with another), creating a new “room,” and placing the objects in the room.

Additionally, GameMaker: Studio is one of the most popular game-creation tools, meaning it comes with active support forums and numerous opportunities to participate in a learning community that extends outside the classroom. Students can take what they have learned and go beyond the classroom and continue extending their projects as their time allows.  We will provide challenges and tutorials to make continued development possible. The GameMaker: Studio community has grown significantly in the last few years allowing many locations for questions to be answered and to collaborate with developers.