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Love computer games? Ever dream of making your own professional-quality game? Game Maker is a great tool that lets aspiring game developers do just that—even without a background in computer programming! Game Maker has become enormously popular for game lovers who want to take the first steps into game development.

Game Maker uses an intuitive drag-and-drop programming system making it fun and easy to start creating simple games. Jacob Habgood, author of Apress’s "The Game Maker's Companion," the long-awaited sequel to "The Game Maker’s Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners," teaches readers how to make professional-looking platform games using Game Maker. Taken straight from "The Game Maker's Companion," Habgood provides a valuable inventory of nine key resources available in Game Maker:

1) Sprites: Sprite resources are the digital images that you use to represent foreground objects in your games. Game Maker supports loading sprite images from .bmp, .jpg, and .gif file formats, and now in Game Maker 8, .png and .gmspr, too. You can load animated images using the .gif and .gmspr formats, or by treating .png files as sequential strips of images by using _stripXX at the end of the file name (where XX = the number of frames in the image).

2) Sounds: Sound resources include both sound effects and music for your games. Game Maker supports .wav, .mid (MIDI), and .mp3 formats, but .mp3 music can take up a lot of space and often contributes to the large size of finished games.

3) Backgrounds: Background resources are digital images that you use to represent the background scene of your game. Backgrounds can only contain single images and Game Maker can load these images from .bmp, .jpg, .gif, and .png formats.

4) Objects: Object resources are the most important of all the resource types in Game Maker. They are used to represent all of the active components of your game. Objects can respond to events in your game by following a series of actions that you add to the event. In this way, you can program the desired behavior for all the different components of your game.

5) Paths: Path resources contain a series of points that define a route for object resources to follow in the game. These can be either closed looping paths or open paths with a start and end point.

6) Scripts: Script resources contain programming instructions written in Game Maker Language (GML). GML provides a more advanced way of programming in Game Maker.

7) Fonts: Font resources provide a means of displaying text in your game using the fonts installed on your computer. Game Maker grabs images of each character in your chosen font so that the game player doesn’t need to have the same fonts installed.

8) Timelines: Timeline resources provide a way of triggering many different actions at specific points of time in your game (see Objects for more on actions).

9) Rooms: Room resources provide spaces for staging all the visible aspects of your game (levels, menus, cut scenes, and so forth) and contain numerous settings relating to backgrounds, views, and the game window. Game Maker also provides an editor for placing instances of objects into your rooms to determine their starting positions.

About "The Game Maker’s Companion"
With contributions from four games-industry professionals and a highly respected member of the Game Maker community, "The Game Maker’s Companion" helps game developers advance with some seriously impressive gaming projects. Readers learn how to make professional-quality platform games with solid collision detection and slick control mechanisms. This book offers techniques to add depth and believability to characters and stories, such as cut scene storyboarding, The Monomyth, and character archetypes. This culminates in the creation of an original atmospheric platform-adventure which will take GML programming skills to new heights. There’s even a handy reference section at the back of the book which will be invaluable for adding common features to games. 


About the Authors
Jacob Habgood worked in the UK games industry for seven years writing console games for Gremlin Interactive and Infogrames/Atari. During this time, he contributed to a wide range of titles and lead the programming teams on MicroMachines (PS2, Xbox and GameCube) and Hogs of War (PlayStation). Jacob is now a doctoral student at the University of Nottingham, researching the educational potential of computer games. As part of this research, Jacob runs clubs and workshops teaching children and teenagers how to make their own computer games.

Nana Nielsen has earned a degree in Interactive Media and has worked in the games industry for more than a decade. She has published a dozen titles in different genres, including the platformer Crash Bandicoot: Twinsanity, the RPG Sudeki, the adventure series Broken Sword, and the sports title Virtua Tennis. She is currently working on the popular episodes of Doctor Who—The Adventure Games.

Martin Rijks wrote his first lines of code on paper at the age of eight. Martin discovered Game Maker in 2001, and ever since has been prodding it to see what it would do and has played an important role in building and maintaining the lively Game Maker Community.

"The Game Maker’s Companion"
By Jacob Habgood, Nana Nielsen, Martin Rijks
ISBN13: 978-1-4302-2826-4
ISBN10: 1-4302-2826-1
350 pages
Publishes October 15, 2010
Print Book Price: $39.99
eBook Price: $27.99