Hello, faithful readers! Several years ago, when I started the Simulation and Game Design program at my local community college, I was introduced to GameMaker, a swell program that allows game designers to create a wide range of 2D and pseudo-3D games. It’s most interesting feature, in my mind, is the GUI development environment, which allows novice programmers to drag-and-drop most of the programming elements needed to create the game. Attributes, variables, and arguments are usually added via dialog boxes. These features allow non-programmers to be introduced to object-oriented programming concepts in a very visual and intuitive way. Eventually, you can move on to adding hand-written code using the Game Maker Language (GML), the proprietary object-oriented programming language behind the GameMaker application.
A couple of years later, I took a course on designing games in Adobe Flash. One of the things I was most frustrated about when using GameMaker was the limited capacity for delivery platforms (at least in GM version 7 and 8.0). GameMaker has now advanced its development to the point where it can be implemented on more than just PC platforms…but you have to pay enormous amounts of money in order to do so ($100 for the Pro level of the application, then $99-$199 for add-on modules allowing you to implement GM code on various mobile platforms as well as HTML5). While I was taking the Flash course, and given my frustration with the limitations of GameMaker, I had the idea of trying to recreate various GameMaker projects using Adobe Flash. Adobe Flash uses ActionScript, a programming language similar in many ways to GameMaker’s GML programming language.
However, with full-time work and part-time school I did not have the time to pursue that idea. Until now. One good thing about being unemployed is that I have time to pursue side projects I would never have time for during regular employment. I plan to post progress reports on my GameMaker-to-Flash project, and possibly will even develop tutorials for the process (though that will depend on how difficult it is to do and how long it takes me to get through it). Stay tuned for more!