Gunpoints Of View: Tom Francis Teaches Gamemaker

yes I screencapped the streaming glitch from the first second of the video because I'm a big jerk

Do YOU want to be the next indie millionaire? Well, you can’t. There are far too many of the blighters already and not a lot of room for more. You could make a game though: that’s pretty cool. I suspect many people reading these have thought about doing so, if they haven’t already, but the question is where to start? Well, with an engine, and if you’re a raw beginner that’s either going to be Gamemaker or Unity. The former’s the best bet if you’re making something 2D, which is the best bet if you’re working solo. And then: where to start? Well, how about a new video series from affable Gunpoint creator Tom Francis?

The former PC Gamer writer had no dev experience before starting on the game, and it worked out pretty well for him, so these surely are yer actual pearls of wisdom.

“Making a game with no experience” is the series, and part one is ‘writing your first code’. It’s laidback and accessible, and I think genuinely helpful. I may just give it a go myself.

By Tom’s own admission he’s not much of a programmer, but he managed to pick up the key syntax that got him through. There’s also stuff in there about why making games is such an appealing thing to him.

Disclaimer: some members of RPS know Tom Francis personally. Other Gamemaker tutorials are available. Other Gamemaker game makers are available.

26 Comments

  1. Drayk says:

    This is amazing… Like many gamers I’ve always wanted to learn how to make games but was too lazy/busy to make the first step. I am gonna watch those classes even if i don’t do anything with it afterwards.

  2. Morcane says:

    Great stuff. If someone wants to do a Windows / C / C++ totally from the ground up video series, try to follow along with Handmade Hero (link to handmadehero.org) by Casey Muratori. He streams his sessions on Twitch (PDT I think), but there’s a Youtube video channel.

    • Person of Interest says:

      Thanks for the link! I once read Casey’s blog to get my fix of The Witness developer news. He seems to be very generous with his time and knowledge.

    • Alien426 says:

      I’ve downloaded and watched the first few videos from the YouTube channel link to youtube.com. Nice stuff. (Even though his “Let’s see” tick is getting as annoying to me as Jonathan Blow’s lip smacking.)

  3. pepe says:

    Although Gamemaker and Unity are good choices, I started playing around a while ago with the Blender Game Engine. For those familiar with Blender as a 3D content creation tool, this might be a good choice, especially for quick iterations/prototyping.

    • RARARA says:

      Blender is lovely for modelling and rigging, but the engine portion is a bit of a mess – documentation is terrible and the last stable release was over a year ago.

  4. Wowbagger says:

    Just another nail in the coffin for corruption in games journalism. How much did he pay you in bacon to put this up hmmm?!

    • Malrick says:

      Reported.

      • RARARA says:

        You can never silence us! We will reveal to the world the widespread bacon-based corruption in video games journalism!

      • Wowbagger says:

        No one expects the porcine inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise!

    • Setroc says:

      Bacon!? No wonder my bribes to RPS haven’t been working, I’ve been sending them in the old RPS bribery currency of biscuits.

      • RARARA says:

        Say, what’s the bacon-to-peggles conversion rate in the RPS exchange?

      • Wowbagger says:

        Apparently bacon scented candles are also considered legal tender.

      • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

        There’s something very suspicious here. Everyone knows it’s Americans who like bacon. Unless… *pulls top of bacon strip, revealing an inner secret compartment full of Jaffa cakes, marmite and Earl Grey teabags* GASP THE PERFECT CRIME

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Does it matter if it’s back bacon or just regular ol’ bacon?

    • welverin says:

      I was wondering why Alec kept going on about people being available. I would think with all of that indie money, they wouldn’t need the help.

  5. bstard says:

    Beware if you buy a game 9 months from now.

  6. DantronLesotho says:

    Aw, but I wanted to be the next indie millionaire :(

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      *purple guy from Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 saunters in”

      you can’t…

  7. qribba says:

    Impressed when I saw the show case for games made with Game Maker. I used Game Maker in university 8 years ago and it was already a nice tool and very easy for making games with then.

    People always compare game engines to which one is more powerful but at the end of the day the question is which engine will let you sit and tweak the game play endlessly for hours and create something fun

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, if you want to make a game engine for fun then that’s great, but I’m all for tools that make realising ideas in the simplest way possible easier.

  8. Sarkhan Lol says:

    Francis is a cool guy.

  9. MadTinkerer says:

    Some of the Game Maker Tutorialeers (possibly a real word) I’ve been following are HeartBeast, Shaun Spalding, and RM2kDev. (Don’t be put off by RM2kDev’s RPG Maker themed name or his copious Let’s Plays. His Game Maker Tutorials are good stuff.)

    And now Tom Francis is finally a Tutorialeer himself! Huzzah!

    • Morcane says:

      Great links, thanks!
      For me, it’s not so much the programming that’s the problem (I code for a living), it’s the art – I’d love a good intro on (pixel) art with the basics you absolutely need for something like a game. Just to make your stuff a little more eye pleasing (if I’m really onto something, I’ll probably just look around for a gfx artist looking for work anyways).

  10. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Nice. I suspect this will be interesting even for people familiar with Game Maker as it’s always instructive to see someone else’s process. Sometimes you find out things you had no idea about for years.

    Also, I’ll just repost this from earlier: (some more useful GM links)

    A lot of existing tutorials were written for older versions of Game Maker. These are things to bear in mind when porting from GM7 or 8 to Studio: link to help.yoyogames.com

    Also keep an eye on the YoYo tech blog where they tend to post the latest news about big new features and delve deeper into existing ones: link to yoyogames.com

    And it sometimes helps to look at the source of existing games:
    Spelunky source – link to spelunkyworld.com
    Grandma platformer engine – link to forums.tigsource.com

  11. Zammalad says:

    I was always one of the ‘GameMaker isn’t capable’ crowd until recently when I invested a bit more time in it. Since then I have found it to be very good at what it’s designed for, so it’s all about expectations.

    In addition to the tutorial links listed already which I have used in the past, I also found this one very good: link to youtube.com