GameMaker: Tetris in full Drag & Drop


Click to launch the HTML5 version of the game

First, take a look at the above link. There's score, 7 tetriminos, slowly growing difficulty - standard things for a Tetris game. The catch? There isn't a single line of code. Nor a single variable. It's all done in GameMaker's "drag & drop" visual scripting.

The story of how this even happened is like so - yesterday was another day when my internet connection disappeared for half of the day without any logical reason whatsoever. As I look at the top of my now-static TweetDeck timeline, and notice this bunch of tweets from Vlambeer's Rami Ismail. While you can generally agree with points outlined, few things could have had better clarification:

  1. Difficulty depends not only on developer's coding skills, but also on the tools used.

    For example, making a "space invaders" game in most modern tools with built-in memory management, collisions, and function sets is easy enough, but should you go lower level... storing invader information in an array? Storing and moving around dynamically created player and invader bullets?? Programming trajectories and destructible defenses??? Not as much careless fun as you may have envisioned. Pong may seem suddenly simpler with base requirements of just a bunch of variables and inverting ball x/y velocity for bounces.

    Additionally, certain tools are best suited for certain task. For example, it is easy to make a turn-based puzzle game in PuzzleScript (hence the name) due to the way engine is based on "rule" definitions. Making a platformer game in PuzzleScript, however, is a much harder feat. It isn't, by no means, impossible, but requires more planning than it would take with a "platformer-centric" engine.

  2. Game development isn't just about having the right tools/resources/experience, but also actually using them creatively. As such, programming in general is often about finding an approach to the problem that isn't the most blatantly obvious or expected but produces results more efficient in terms of computer of development time.

To not make it all look like a rant or a opinion piece, the rest of this post is about creative use of tools - particularly, making the aforementioned Tetris in GameMaker without a single line of code or variable.

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GameMaker: Click ‘n drag to pan view

vis-view-drag

Today I'm going to tell a bit about implementing "click and drag to scroll" type of effect in GameMaker. This particular thing is useful for strategy games (and normally bound to middle mouse button), applications (where visible area may exceed available window space), and various mobile games and applications (where visible area may be panned by tapping and dragging the finger).
Effect itself looks like this:

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GameMaker: “flawed” AI path finding

In some cases, you may want object's AI to not pick exactly perfect path.

This example demonstrates creation of a basic "flawed" AI, that uses a rather plain method of finding path. Such will still make it reach destination in many cases, but will also allow player to "fool" the AI, making it stuck in dead ends or T-intersections (if player is standing right behind the wall).

To illustrate simplicity of concept, example is largely made in Drag & Drop.

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GameMaker: Angular motion


It's like drifting. On a spaceship. In space.

This is an example of managing angular motion in GameMaker.
In turn, that means having angular speed with acceleration, friction, and limitation.
Such can be particularly useful for simulating a more 'smooth' rotation behaviour, when object will not start or stop rotating instantly.
If combined with relatively properly written code for linear motion, this can grant pretty nice behaviour for space games.
Also there's a "trail" effect added, originally just to demonstrate how it works.
Everything is pretty nice and simple.

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GameMaker: Animating backgrounds

This simplistic example demonstrates how to cycle backgrounds in a room at a fixed rate, as you would do with images in a sprite.
Obvious advantage of cycling (animating) room backgrounds is that these are handled and drawn by engine, which makes them generally faster than something you can achieve in a short amount of time.
Seen method supports any number of backgrounds larger than zero.

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GameMaker: Coins, floating text, basic shop

GameMaker example - coins, floating text, basic shop
Let's just say that art assets for this example are from abstract collection.

While I have made this example a long time ago, it appears that questions about such still are common, and thus it would make sense to give it a 'searchable form' of post here.
This example demonstrates creation of 3 things:
  • Coins, as a basic collectable item.
  • Floating text, which is used here to display '+1' on picking up a coin, but has many other uses.
  • Shops, as objects that sell you useful (or here, useless) things for coins.
Overall, rather simplistic, however still useful for ones that do not know what they're doing with these.

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