My First(ish) Game

Let me start by saying that I started playing around in Game Maker Studio about a month ago. I started by picking a tutorial series on YouTube and diving in. The tutorial series I chose was for a turn-based strategy game. I started this tutorial while I was doing research on best practices, so it took me a bit to realize that it was not a good place to start. This is not the game I am going to talk about today. It was not starting small, therefore it went against the guidelines I am trying to stick to. I did finish the tutorial series because I did not want to set the precedence of quitting in the middle of a project.  The tutorial did not result in a complete game but it did form the foundation for the game that I will go back to when I have more experience.

That is why the game I am going to talk about is my first-ish game 🙂

YouTube has been a great resource during this process. I used several tutorials to learned different aspects of Game Maker Studio. I will link to the tutorials that I used in this project at the bottom of the post.

Any way, on to the game. As I stated in my last post, I am trying starting small.  My first game is like the classic Asteroids, just with a few extras.

Before I get too far in, let me start off with a download link:

The file type is one that is generally used for testing purposes.  You should be able to launch the game from the single file.  My understanding is that some anti-virus programs do not like it, so if there are too many problems, I can try to upload something different.  I am looking into ways to embed the game into my blog posts.  Hopefully that will come in the near future.

Now into the game.

I am not happy with the title screen.  I am going to remake it.

Here are the things that were involved with this game:

  • Pixel art:  This “old school” style of art that you would see on game consoles such as the NES and Super NES. While I am not new to digital art, I am new to pixel art. I found it to be a fun challenge to find the balance between detail and simplicity while working in a limited area. I did look at a couple tutorials, but I didn’t find any of them very helpful. I mainly used Photoshop and the Game Maker’s built-in image editor. I can proudly say that all of the art in the game was made by me.
  • Sound:  The sound in the game is very simple.  I used to create all the sounds.  This is one area that I am looking to improve upon.
  • Collisions:  What to do when something runs into something else. Collisions are going to happen a lot in this game.  Between the tutorials and threads on the Game Maker Studio forums, I got the collisions mostly working.  There are still some bugs with things not always bouncing properly, but it does not keep the game from being playable.
  • Particles:  The explosions and thrust trail in the game are made with particles.  Two tutorials and some experimenting got me to this point.  I want to experiment more and try to use the particle system in more ways.
  • State Machine:  This is just a fancy way of saying “Look at this one thing and do something based on its value and this list of outcomes”.  I am not new to state machines.  For those who are familiar with coding, it generally uses a switch statement.

That pretty much sums it up for now.  It took me about a week to get to this point and I still have some cleaning up to do and bugs to squash.  I will likely have one more post on this game when it is done.


Links to the tutorials I used:

Creating a star field in Photoshop – used for the background

Making a game like asteroids – first video in a 12 part series


Another one on particles

Making a beam

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