For those unfamiliar with YoYo Games’ GameMaker product, it’s grown to become a popular method of making 2D games for people who aren’t thoroughly skilled in the art of coding. The engine is intuitive enough that you can snap together a simple game without much knowhow, but rich enough that you can dive in further and make more complicated things as your skills grow. The best thing about it is that you can authentically publish your creations with Steam and other legit markets. The worst thing about it is the prohibitive cost.
Doing anything serious with GameMaker requires a heavy investment of several hundred dollars, and the modules are divided by the format you wish to publish on: one for PC, one for HTML5, one for each console. PC and Mac development is cheapest at $39. But for PS4 and XBox One, Sony and Microsoft want $800 each! (Note: a Switch module is coming this summer, and official development software costs $400, so we would anticipate the GameMaker version to be around the same amount.)
If you’ve always wanted to experiment with GameMaker but the prices put you off, there’s good news. Beginning today and lasting through the next two weeks, a special fully-furnished version of GameMaker Studio 2 will be available for anyone with a YoYo Games account to download. It’s in honor of the Game Developers’ Conference and the various Game Jam sessions going on within. Once the Game Jam period ends it’ll no longer function, but the whole point of the Jam is to put together a game as quickly as possible.
You can get the GDC Game Jam version of GameMaker 2 by heading to the YoYo Games website and creating an account. Anyone who already has an account can go ahead and download the software. Then see what you can make!