I got into game design back in 2011. I published an indie game under the name “Zanga Man” to moderate success. I even revived the project this year and intend on launching a new version in a few days. But I didn’t use the new “Game Maker studio” and I don’t think I will any time soon.

Humble beginnings

I started out with game maker 5.3a. It had it’s limitations but it was approachable and with a bit of trail and error I managed to get out a product in a few days. I had ventures with other game making software to various degrees of success.

Other solutions

I purchased Jump Craft for 50$ from First Productions and used it to build an educational game for my graduation project. I also tried Gdevelop which is free of charge and open source. But I always kept coming back to Game Maker. I learned a lot about it and I still have old projects that can only be edited inside it. I don’t think they can be ported to any other game development software (or Game Maker Studio).

Reasons why I won’t be using Game Maker Studio any time soon

1. You have to login each time you use it

I downloaded a free copy of the software and created a “Yoyo games account”.

Every time I wanted to boot into the program it took it’s sweet time logging in. Taking up to several minutes at times! I know this in part could be due to my poor internet connection. But does it have to check a free version each time? At times I close and come back a few times a day. That doesn’t make much sense to me. Can’t it not save my login information instead of me entering it by hand each time?

2. If you’re not online, you can’t code!

This is a major deal breaker for me. I sometimes like to disconnect the internet and work offline to minimize distractions. Or simply due to power cuts and weak connection I’m unable to remain online for the duration of the work session. So forcing me to be online all the time is a deal breaker. The program will lock you out if you don’t have an active connection.

3. Pricing

I took a stroll at the prices of the product. I was unpleasantly surprised to see that it was the dreaded subscription based model (pretty much like Adobe). The price for one year of Game Maker studio pro is 800$ per year! That is seriously overpriced and I don’t think the improvements that the program has seen justify this price tag.

Simpler times

A comparable package is from 2012 when Game Maker studio professional started at 99$ and could cost more depending on extra modules. This was a one-time license.

There was a less feature packed version called Game Maker Studio Standard that cost 50$ that was more than fine for what they now call “indy”. I managed to reach these prices that no longer apply from the web archive.

Not worth the hype

I’ve seen video tutorials of people working on it and at core it’s version 8.1 with some some cosmetic differences. I am comfortable with paying for a game development tool. Being reasonably priced and a one time payment. But these prices are not very encouraging to me and to many indy developers.

I’ve openly spoken against piracy but I think such prices give pirates an argument to pirate software products.

Final Words

There are several open source products on the market worth your time. Game maker studio isn’t one of them currently.

Have you ever tried a pro version of game maker studio? What do you think of it? Is it worth the price tag? Let me know in the comments below.