MouseLock & PointerLock for GameMaker


(click for web demo)

I made a small GameMaker: Studio extension that provides a unified API for "mouselock" between desktop and web (HTML5).

The way this works is by utilizing built-in mouse snapping functions on desktop targets, and using Pointer Lock API on HTML5. It bridges between the two, and you get simple functions like mouse_lock(), mouse_unlock(), and mouse_delta_x & mouse_delta_y for getting the mouse movement offset while mouse is locked.

So, if you ever wanted to make some web-based first-person shooters (or just games with mouselook) with GameMaker: Studio, now you can.

The extension is free and can be downloaded from itch.io or GameMaker: Marketplace.

Introducing: POOL [of doom!]


Game's title screen

This week a One Script Games jam was held on GameMaker forums. In short, the rules are that the entire game must be done inside a single script (function), which is then called once per frame, and must make use of built-in functions to store and process all needed information.

While potentially a little quirky, this seemed like an interesting challenge, so I made a game for it.

The result is a mini-FPS that is a mix of Doom, Quake, and a particular cue sport.

You can download it right now or read the full post for technical details.

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GameMaker: Minifying JSON

If you've spent some time working with JSON in GameMaker: Studio, you may have noticed that the built-in functions aren't exactly interested at making output laconic - they always write numbers with 6-digit precision, meaning that 3.5 always becomes 3.500000 even though the extra zeroes serve no purpose whatsoever.

The problem becomes more prominent when encoding data that is largely numbers - say, if writing down a shuffled sequence of numbers,

var map = ds_map_create();
//
var list = ds_list_create();
for (var i = 0; i < 32; i++) ds_list_add(list, i);
ds_list_shuffle(list);
ds_map_add_list(map, "order", list);
//
var json = json_encode(map);
ds_map_destroy(map); // destroys the list in the map as well
show_debug_message(json);

The output is as following:

{ "order": [ 30.000000, 22.000000, 2.000000, 8.000000, 17.000000, 14.000000, 25.000000, 9.000000, 20.000000, 29.000000, 10.000000, 26.000000, 6.000000, 15.000000, 21.000000, 1.000000, 11.000000, 3.000000, 24.000000, 12.000000, 19.000000, 31.000000, 7.000000, 28.000000, 18.000000, 4.000000, 0.000000, 5.000000, 27.000000, 16.000000, 23.000000, 13.000000 ] }

Where, out of 357 bytes, 250 bytes are whitespace or unneeded "precision".
A little inconvenient, if you don't have a compression algorithm on hand.
But, of course, that can be helped with a script.

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GameMaker: Using external version control

Over time, I have witnessed a particular scenario a few too many times:

  1. A person demonstrates complete unwillingness to learn how to use version control, be that due to "lack of need" or delightful claims of their existing approaches (which most often turn out to be manual backups) being sufficient or even superior.
  2. A person loses days, weeks, or even months of work due to human error and/or hardware failure(s).
  3. Noticeably bitter about the situation, a person attempts to continue defending their position.

Having spent far too much time arguing with people and explaining how to use version control, I have decided to make a blog post that would cover a few things on the matter:

  • Explain the advantages of version control over "simpler" backups.
  • Explain (step-by-step) the basics of using a common combination for version control being BitBucket (service) + Git (software) + SourceTree (GUI client).

While this tutorial is oriented on GameMaker: Studio users, it can also be easily applied for other tools.

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Understanding isometric grids

Isometric grid coordinate conversion demo
A GIF of the interactive demo seen later in this post.

Questions about the algorithms related to isometric grids are not uncommon. In fact, they are a little more common than you could expect them to be, given the relative simplicity of things.

So I have decided to write a little blog post on the two things important here:

  1. Converting local isometric grid' coordinates to global screen-space coordinates
  2. Converting global/screen-space coordinates to isometric grid' local coordinates
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Top-down bouncing loot effects

GIF
In action

A little while ago, I was asked about what would be a good approach to creating an effect for a top-down game where coins would fly out of a smashed object. Not recalling any tutorials on the matter, I've made an example of this exact thing, and this is a post detailing everything related to such an effect.

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