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2 | WELCOME

FEATURES

CONTENTS

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COMMUNITY NEWS LESS SCHERZINGER, MORE SCHEHERAZADE SEQUELS THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTIVE A QUICK LOOK AT GAME WRITING ——————————————————————

WELCOME READERS!

REVIEWS

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t is that time of the year again, just a few months after our previous release there is another issue for you to make your way through.

As we are well known for (at least I think we are) we have put together another great issue, the stand out feature being the massive exclusive we have conducted on 'ArcMagi', the sequel to TeeGee's successful magical strategy game 'Magi'. Make sure you have a look through some of the mouth watering screenshots as well as get an in depth look at the early development of ArcMagi. Over the last few months quite a
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bit has been happening with GM, two GM8 Betas were released within a month, we have also seen YoYo Games extend the threshold for free upgrades to GM8 to anyone who registered GM7 Pro this year - surprisingly there are still people complaining on the YYG Glog. Development on the GMCG appears to continue to be growing strong, we have got some great interviews with the leaders of the project that you should take a look at. Plus there is a lot more, take a look at the contents to the right and have a read through whatever suits your fancy. KAY (GMTECH OWNER)

COILFIGHTER VIRUSXVIRUS XPLODE GMTECH HIDDEN GEMS ——————————————————————

EXTRAS

DEVELOPMENT OF: INNOQUOUS 3 GAME MAKER 8 BETA INSIGHT INTO: ARCMAGI [EXCLUSIVE] GAME MAKER COMMUNITY GAME WORTH A LOOK - LITHIUM PARTICLE DESIGNER CLOSING

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3 | WELCOME

COMMUNITY NEWS
GM 8: SOFTWRAP FREE!
Last month two beta versions of Game Maker 8 were released to the public at http://gm8.yoyogames.com/ for testing purposes. Game Maker creator Mark Overmars and YoYo Games CEO Sandy asked for bug reports to be submitted online and over 500 issues were logged for the first release. A summary of a few of the key features can be seen in our GM8 image on page 21.

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GAME MAKER FOR MAC

Editors
Kay Timoi

A third beta version of Game Maker for Mac, the first to be released publicly, has been made available via the YYG Glog. Sandy has also revealed that YoYo Games do not plan to synchronise the Mac and PC versions meaning we could see Game Maker 8 for PC released prior to Game Maker 7 for Mac.

GMTECH MAGAZINE UPDATES

The Softwrap DRM protection that caused problems for some users will not be used in Game Maker 8 however an online registration system will still be used.

FREE UPGRADES TO GM 8

Anyone who purchases or has already purchased the Pro version of Game Maker 7 this year will automatically receive an upgrade to the Pro version of Game Maker 8 free of charge. Previously free upgrades were only going to be available to users who had upgraded to Game Maker 7 Pro after June 1st 2009.

Once November 29th rolls round it will officially be three years since our first release. We are one of the longest running magazines and we would have never made it this far if it wasn't for the support of all the readers and writers, so thank you to everyone who has ever been involved in GMTech one way or another. However, all good things must come to an end and following a decline in the amount of members who are able to devote a few days a month to work on some content for the magazine we will see a decline in the amount of issues we release over the next year. We aim to put together another small issue before the end of the year, so, if you wish to help out and submit ideas or content visit the GMTech forum, register and post all your comments on the forum.

David McClure Evilspud Mike Alfus

Writers

Reviewers
Broxter NAL Scoz

Special Thanks To
AdilFaQah Philip Gamble StarFoxRox TeeGee The GMCG Team

NEW GAME MAKER BOOK

In July a new book introducing programming with Game Maker was released. Getting Started with Game Maker by Jerry Lee Ford teaches basic game development and programming principles and makes use of both drag-and-drop and Game Maker Language.

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4 | FEATURES

LESS SCHERZINGER, MORE SCHEHERAZADE
By David McClure

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omputer games have come a long way since their inception. Graphics have improved, genres have come and gone and AI has improved in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, even in 2009, one area in games remains sorely and unnecessarily stuck in the past; the depiction of women.

and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred”.

The oldest extant manuscript of the collection of stories collectively referred to as One Thousand and One Nights, better known to English speakers as The 1,001 Arabian Nights, dates from the 14th century. Some scholars believe that the collection originated much earlier than this, in the 9th century. The collection of stories is framed by the tale of Scheherazade, the daughter of the vizier, who volunteers to spend a night with the King, who each day has married a new virgin and had the previous wife executed, leading to the deaths of 3,000 women. Scheherazade is portrayed as being virtuous, wise, well educated, cunning, creative and kind; to quote the translation by the acclaimed 19th century scholar of the Arabic world Richard Burton, “[Shahrazad] had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of by gone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts
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Scheherazade tricks the king out of executing her by telling him enthralling stories, each of which she promises will be followed by one yet more wondrous. The particularly clever ruse that she employs is to begin telling each story just as their allotted time for the night is running out; if the King wants to know how the story ends then he will have to spare her life. A thousand and one days pass and Scheherazade has borne the King three sons, as well as educating him in morality and kindness and becoming his Queen. The oldest extant disc containing a copy of the game Soul Calibur IV dates from the early 21st century.

It also features a character named Scheherazade; this Scheherazade is a blonde nymphette who sports a beret and impractical armour which has been designed to accentuate the female form. This would be sex symbol is closer to Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls than the Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights. Immediately, a disturbing gulf between the two can be seen, a yawning gulf which widens when we compare literary female figures to the female figures in games. Women in fiction fall into many categories of character, with many different roles within the story, many different appearances and many different personalities. Women in games may take on a few different roles but they are nearly all designed to appear attractive and alluring. In the rare cases where they are not, they nearly always take the role of the villain or the mother figure. Further, women are still commonly used to represent the final prize in a game, with players having to rescue them from nefarious villains and the like. Who is to blame for this sorry state of affairs and what can be done to cause change?

THE CONSUMER

SCHEHERAZADE

Gamers vociferously protest many affairs but few seem to be perturbed by this problem. In fact, a small minority of them seem to like the current state of affairs and make creepy forum comments and fan videos about the women portrayed in games. Ultimately, it seems unlikely that change will be lead by
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Continued: Less Scherzinger, More Scheherazade
consumers; a boycott or other form of protest campaign seems unlikely to occur, given the general apathy towards the topic and the fact that nearly any game which features a woman will be objectifying without any controversy over the matter. designers from which to make up images of the various characters. Once the character designs are finalised, orthographic drawings are made and these will be used by the 3D modellers who actual create the character models. Several members of the development team are involved in the creation of each character, with responsibility lost at each stage of the process. To return to the character of Scheherezade in Soul Calibur IV, the design of this character is credited to Yutaka Izubuchi, a Japanese illustrator, anime designer and director. I am not familiar with Mr Izubuchi’s other works but I would assume that in order for him to have been invited to work on such a project they would not be as insipid as this character is. However, a brief review of his works reveals that they revolve around trite wish fulfilment imagery such as teenage boys who control giant robots, so it is quite probable that they actually are. Perhaps this is what is popular with many members of the public, but surely any designer or artist who wishes to retain integrity should not just pander to the lowest common denominator and try to churn out the same saleable concepts repeatedly. History teaches us that the desperate chase of public attention at the expense of this integrity is a fool’s errand; Jack Vettriano may have enjoyed great success in his life time but he is no Van Gogh. Of course, designers and concept artists can quite easily avoid repeating the mistakes of the past; all that is necessary is to insert atypical female characters and to choose not

THE PUBLISHER

At the end of the day it is the publisher’s job to make money. Given that games are currently proving to be one of the most successful and profitable entertainment industries it seems unlikely that publishers will want to change their winning formula too much. However, if your intention is to make money then why alienate half of the potential audience? Both genders watch films and television, listen to the radio and read books. If both genders are willing to spend money on leisure activities, why potentially cause one of them to exclude themselves? Indeed, if women do not currently buy as many computer games as men perhaps there is a reason behind this beyond cultural norms and perhaps this reason is that many games seem to be aimed at immature teenage boys who enjoy ogling scantily clad females and dream of being muscular chainsaw bayonet wielding supermen.

ILLUSTRATION/NOMURA TETSUYA

THE DEVELOPER

Ultimately, the way in which a game takes shape is down to its development team. The developers decide the way the game will play, who the characters will be and what form they will take. Generally speaking, a concept artist will be given guidelines by the
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to envisage every women in a given project as being an opportunity to include titillation or ‘sex appeal’. It should be noted that this does not mean including a highly attractive woman who is incredibly clever and a firearms expert or making a heroine who encompasses all the traditional aspects of the action lead. Instead it means creating characters with strengths and weaknesses, characters with less than perfect looks and
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Continued: Less Scherzinger, More Scheherazade
with builds and clothing appropriate to their activities and abilities. male characters are usually muscular, good looking, courageous and individualistic, generally considered to be strongly male traits. Where their outer appearance varies it will still normally remain within the limits of what the society that produced the game deems acceptable or attractive. Men in games are not objectified as much as women in the way that they are framed, the scenarios they are presented in or the roles they take although they are still, for the most part, fairly two dimensional paragons of manliness. Media products in general tend to follow and reinforce cultural stereotypes and the received wisdom is that these visual stereotypes are applied more often to females than to males. Games and game designers will be influenced by the culture they exist in and the media within it. Some might argue that there is no reason to apply a higher standard to games than to other types of art or media. I would counter this by saying that there is no reason to emulate mistakes made by others, especially not the mistakes made by a set of industries which games are slowly taking over from.

Of course, to create a rounded viewpoint of women in games we have to consider the portrayal of men in games and the fact that media products do not exist in a cultural vacuum. Generally speaking, men do not get a particularly good deal out of games either;

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There are many good reasons why it would be good for games as a whole if female characters were more rounded. Ultimately, I would say that the best reasons are that the current crop of female characters is derogatory to women, that this portrayal of femininity is inane and backward and that these characters are vastly dull. What we need is less Scherzinger and more Scheherazade.
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SEQUELS
By Mike Alfus

A

s gamers, we love to see a good concept continue, or amazing characters revisited, or traveling back to places that invoke the fondest gaming memories. In short, we like sequels. But there’s a catch. The sequels have to work. There has to be something more to bring the player back into the fold.

So how do you make a good sequel? What calls to gamers for another go through? Take a look at some of the biggest hits in gaming from last year, and you’ll notice that many of them were sequels. Fallout 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Grand Theft Auto 4 and Gears of War 2 all proved that gamers love a good continuation.

before. Taking a look at reviews and comments of a previous game in a series can be a great step towards the needed improvements. Ultimately, you’re making a game that is going to be played by the general public, so to ignore those voices that are giving direct feedback would be a huge mistake. The changes can be big or small, it depends on the scope of the game, and how it was initially received. One example that comes to mind is in GTA San Andreas, when your character finally took some swimming lessons, and wouldn’t drown if he tripped in a puddle. The addition of swimming in a game world as big as GTA is definitely not a ground breaking change, but it made a difference on gamers, and was well received. Adding new features isn’t the only way to tweak the gameplay either. Going back and revamping original ideas is a great way to bring gamers back to your franchise. Whether it’s changing some features of an online game mode, or tweaking how the character moves from cover to cover in a shooter, gamers always like to see old concepts get a bit of a facelift and a revamp, making them better than they were before. Another way to enhance the gameplay is to go back to ideas that were originally going to be implemented in the first game, but were cut out for some reason, and see how they can be worked into the new game. You always read developer interviews where they say ‘We really wish we could have done…’ so

ANOTHER DAY IN THE LIFE OF BOB

But what makes them good? What makes them worth playing? So many times in movie franchises, you’ll hear fans say “Man, I really wish they just would have let it be after the first one,” and for good reason, because if you don’t question it, then you end up with Rocky XII: Final Round. There are a few key things that need to happen for sequels to be a success.

the sequel is the perfect time to do that. Just because ideas were cut the first time doesn’t mean they should be forgotten forever.

Gameplay is a huge factor when considering whether or not a sequel will be a success over its predecessors. Not only does the gameplay need to match that of the original, but it needs to exceed it, while at the same time adding in new features that were absent
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If the sequel is carrying along on the plot from a previous game, like the God of War games, then plot and character development are paramount in considering what to have in the sequel. If the game was planned as a franchise all along, and not just one game, then the end of the first installment should wrap up most of the plot threads, while introducing one or two new ones that will lead gamers into a sequel. When a game has a truly involved storyline, then gamers develop a bond with the characters in that world. By continuing that story, you need to give players new challenges and conflicts
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Continued: Sequels
that the characters face, while at the same time acknowledging events that happened previously. Tying them back into the story that came before while at the same time propelling them forward on a new adventure is tricky, but necessary if you want to truly engage the player and make them feel like they have a stake in what’s going on. memories come flooding back. Audio flashbacks occur as you go through different areas, with the camera angles matching the very same ones in the original game. It was such a fitting way to bring Solid Snake’s story full circle, and make gamers feel that much more connected to the events in his life. Not only was it amazing to travel back to Shadow Moses again, it also served the plot extremely well, and ended in one of the most satisfying sequences in the game: taking control of Metal Gear Rex. If games aren’t directly related to each other in a series, like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty or Final Fantasy, there are still things that can be carried over to make gamers feel as if the games are connected. For instance, in every Final Fantasy game, there’s a character named Cid. You don’t always get him as a playable character, but he’s always there, and when you see the name Cid, you know it’s Final Fantasy. Or in the case of the Call of Duty franchise, you expect to lock and load, have bullets and explosions flying all around you and go through some of the coolest scripted sequences gaming has to offer. Keeping similar traits and features in a game can be just as important as the characters in it. Because really, what’s Gears of War without sticky cover and chainsaw machine guns? I’m not sure, but it’s not Gears.

KAROSHI 2.0

One game that did this beautifully is Metal Gear Solid 4. When you travel back to Shadow Moses Island late in the game, a wave of nostalgia washes over anyone who’s ever played Metal Gear Solid before, and the

engine every time a sequel is made, but since the developers have had more time to work with the software; gamers expect certain enhancements as the series moves forward. Increasing draw distances, decreasing frame rate hitches and working on things like anti aliasing and high dynamic range lighting effects are things that can and should be done with new installments in a gaming saga. To put it simply, to have a successful sequel, you need to improve what players loved about the first games in a series, and add in features and new gameplay elements that will entice them to come back to the same universe with an evolving story and characters. So go on developers, check those message boards, get those idea wheels turning and get those graphics tweaked to breathtaking realism. We’re hungry for more.

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Even though it may seem a bit obvious, we gamers like things to get a bit prettier as time passes. With that in mind, graphical upgrades are a must for any sequel. The games don’t need to be rebuilt on a new

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THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTIVE

How virtual morality can make your games more emotional than a Nicholas Sparks novel in an orphanage, by Evilspud

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n the 1996 Star Wars classic Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, players were given a choice. After tailing an enemy through a galaxy full of alien thugs and imperial troopers so that you could bring vigilante justice to the man who killed your father, players finally found him, holding your pilot and friend captive. It’s a very typical plot set-up, and certainly still used in many games, but this was different. The cut scene played out, and then, you were given a choice; would you kill your friend, or spare her life? Depending on your path, you would either join the light side or the dark side of the force (in other words, players got to choose between healing powers, or shooting lightning bolts out of their hands).

slaughtering thousands of lives, but game worlds are now vividly and eerily realistic, long, smart narratives are now expected in most genres (even some sports games), and players are beginning to play intelligently, treating games like fine literature. This means that when putting together a new universe, adding a moral backbone is capable of building an emotional connection between the player and the game that will strengthen the story, and provide new and unique options for game play and pacing, as long as it doesn’t take over your game. A world touched with humor, personality and fair dose of originality will keep the player interested, but as far as motivation and story progression go, they do nothing to compliment the game play. For example, let’s say you come across an incredibly eccentric baker who dabbles in Voodoo. That’s an NPC that would certainly stand out in a crowd, but then the story line progresses. In the middle of the night, there’s a shatter of glass and a group of thieves, dressed in black come sprinting out of the bakery, carrying sacks filled with potions and spells. The player goes after them certainly, but without an emotional connection, it’s just a new setting to play the game in. Adding a sense of moral obligation means giving the player a sense of responsibility, and more importantly, sympathy for the baker, and for an innocent village unjustly plundered.

Although the game had its’ flaws, putting moral choices in games is becoming more and more common. So far, the process has hardly differed from what DFII offered, players get different endings, minor alterations in game play, and little perks and aesthetic changes. If anything, morality has become a gimmick to extend the lives of their titles, guaranteeing that the only way players will see everything in the game is by playing it over and over. The players never really needed to reflect on the conscious reasons that they were
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So let’s add some sympathy. The difference between doing this and the color you have already added is like comparing a portrait to a film. The portrait is beautiful, but the story can’t be told without progression. It’s a different process, and one I recommend you take your time on. There’s multiple ways to build a connection between the player and this baker. The most straightforward way would be making the baker not only helpful, but likeable. Perhaps he compliments the player on his clothes, or helps him out in a tough situation. It might not work on every player, but it’s a start. A less obtrusive way would be letting the player think he has stumbled into this relationship on his own. When first entering the town, he sees a local pastor condemning the poor man for his sorcery. As long you ensure the player notices is, I can almost guarantee that they’ll investigate the ruckus. Here’s your first choice, taking sides, do you defend a man who has quite obviously has been publicly humiliated enough, or do you join the crowd
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HALF LIFE

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Continued: The Conscientious Objective
in scorning him. Either way, the player immediately associates this first visit to the town with the baker, and it’s an easy way to justify the locals becoming aware of your presence. This encounter will allow you to build up to the robbery, and create a better connection to the cause, it’s emotional and you’ve obviously created a response from the village. Feel free to go into it as detailed as you like. What’s important is that a simple act of stealing is now intertwined with the player’s relationship with the town! Where you want to take this is up to you, working these moments in so that they play a role in the overall growth of the player and the narrative as a whole depends on the game you have in mind, and as always, practice and implement as you see fit. But what if you’re striving for a minimalist narrative? Well, you can always surprise the player with some added touches to the game play. The extremes are pretty obvious, you create a game play breaking gun that fire one hit kill projectiles at long range, but you need to become psychopathically manipulative if you want to continue using it, by luring its power source, innocent children, away so you can use their hearts to build ammunition. I’m not going to go into detail, but if you want to avoid making the morality come off as a gimmick, leave it entirely up to the player. If you do it right, the player should feel not only emotionally conflicted (or at peace), but should be thinking about his actions long after playing. Simple touches that disturb or enlighten (an otherwise typical gun that slowly saps the vitality of the setting whenever it’s used, or a spell that makes kids giggle uncontrollably, but is a potent truth serum for adults). I recommend making these affects purely aesthetic, that way, the only issue the player would have using these would be based off his emotional connection to the game. How far you take these examples is completely up to you, but as I’ve said many times, every little touch makes your game that much more immersive, and if this is done right, then it’s gonna stick with a lot of people. Now ask yourself, are you trying to make an artistic statement with your game? Is it themed? Try to ignore the answer, because you should let critics worry about the answer. I believe game development should be a learning experience and I’m completely against forcing down a certain style. The difference between intrinsically designing the game you want to make and wanting to make a game good is the difference between

IJI

enjoying this art and making one of the most rewarding and involved processes in the world feel like work. When you add an emotional touch to your game, it’s going to take time and a lot of effort to get it right, and because of that, I recommend keeping it simple. Because it’s such and involved part of the stories progression, it can’t be thrown in haphazardly, in the sense of more is better, instead the more occurrences, the more you put into the occurrences you CAN add are what’s important. Once you have finished your game, congratulations! You have created a game with mature themes and ideas! As long as it’s coherent and fits into the game you have in mind, the relationship you’ve built between the player and the game is going to be deeper than any movie or book could create. However, keep in mind making a good game is never as important as the game you want to make.

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By Mike Alfus

A QUICK LOOK AT GAME WRITING

T

here are only so many stories to be told in this world. There's the underdog story, the fate of the world story, the long lost love story and so on. These stories are the backbone to literature around the world, and they also find their way into the realm of games. The key in telling stories like these is to find a spark of originality to make it your own. Why then, in games, do we constantly see the same story structures represented, and have characters that can be slapped into stereotypical molds? In my eyes, the story and character of a game can make or break the experience, so I've decided to come up with some basic do's and don'ts for video game writing. Here are a few things that should be avoided when considering the story for a game...

saves the world. Sound like any games you've played recently?

Don't let the entire fate of the world rest on the shoulders of a 14 year old farm hand. We've all seen Star Wars, and countless other movies and games that follow this formula and I think it's time to give it a rest. This plot thread mainly pops up in RPG's, where the main character, who most of the time is very young, becomes wrapped up in an adventure with world ending stakes. The story pretty much tells itself from there: young one is excited at first, then becomes frightened, is bolstered by those around them, doubts their abilities, eventually grows to the task and
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Don't use time travel as a way to explain a plot twist or ending in a game. Just don't. Now hang on, before you start screaming "But Chrono Trigger did it!" at me, let me explain myself. I love Chrono Trigger as much as the next gamer, and it's even one of my favorite games of all time. But here's the thing; Chrono Trigger was built around the idea of time travel. It was prominent in the whole game, so it made sense in that universe. But other games, games that don't revolve around time travel, should never use it to try and explain the plot. I just recently finished a game that pulled time travel out towards the end, where you find out that the last boss you faced was actually you who had travelled back in time to do... honestly I don't know what. I won't say what game it was, but I will say that it was a very recent title, one that I did not expect time travel to factor into at all. In the end, it's a total cop out, and lets writers and developers get away with totally inane plot twists that can ruin an otherwise good (or even just decent) storyline. If you're thinking about time travel in your next game, you better be ready to base the entire game around it, or else you run the risk of having some pretty peeved players on your hands.

Don't let your characters fall into conventional stereotypes, because that is one

of the quickest ways to turn someone off to your story, or possibly even your game as a whole. The story should be the backbone to the entire game, the rails upon which the roller coaster rides, so to speak. So why would you want to throw bland characters into the mix? You know them better than you might think: The Grizzled Soldier, The Fat Boisterous Friend, The Cool Renegade, The Witty Thief, the list goes on. It's fine to use those character types as general guidelines, but any memorable character in a game needs to have a good back story and some depth. Take Solid Snake for example. He's definitely build off the 'Grizzled Soldier' template, but he has a rich history that gives his character the depth that makes him such an icon in today's gaming world. Each

CAVEMAN CRAIG

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Continued: A Quick Look At Game Writing
character doesn't have to have a novel length background, but some extra details and intriguing information never hurt. for growth and development, you're starting to head towards the 'little man has the fate of the world in his hands' scenario. Having a more mature and older main character gives you a chance to develop a rich and deep back story, have their views on life already set, which can then be challenged later in the game. Any time you have a character that begins questioning what they once stood by can be a very dramatic shift, and make for a great piece of story. players along, other than enjoying the actual gameplay. Plot twists are important, but you need to have the questions laid down fairly early in the game in order for players to begin to piece together the answers as they go. One game that does this very well is Mass Effect, which plants several questions in the players mind early in the game, and then leaves them to explore the galaxy in the order they wish to find out. It's a great plot device, and a good way to keep gamers gaming. So I hope this helps. I'm not trying to stand on a soapbox either, and I don't want it to look like I'm talking down to all the game writers and story developers out there. Like I said, there's always room for improvement, and I hope you can take something away from the little list I put together. And remember, no time travel!

ANOTHER DAY IN THE LIFE OF BOB

Now I can see how you might draw the conclusion that I think all games, besides a select few, have horrible stories and cliché characters. No worries, because I don't feel that way. That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement though. If you're even stuck in writing or developing your characters or story for a game, keep the next few things in mind, because they might help you steer away from the pack.

Give the player options to curve the story in a different way. A few issues ago, I tackled the idea of moral choices in gaming, and said that having the ability to make them gives the player a much bigger stake in the story and the characters overall. By allowing the player to have input on how the story in the game progresses, they feel like they have a bigger role in the world or scenario you've created, and it becomes a much more enjoyable experience. You don't even need to create an entire open ended experience either, but merely giving the player a few choices as to how to advance the story along the way will help create a more immersive experience. Another way to have gamer’s eager to work their way through your stories is to lead them on with unanswered questions. You need to have a few mysteries up your sleeve in order to entice players along. Whether its details about a characters past, or some secret as to the actual origins or motives of an enemy, it's the answers to these questions that drive

Have a mature main character. I cannot stress this enough. If you let yourself think that having a younger character will be better for the story because it gives you more room
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14 | REVIEWS

COILFIGHTER
Developer : Chickenfeed Reviewer : Scoz Type : Completed

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egardless of the number of shooters created on the GMC, truly enjoyable shmups are few and far between. Understandably, when a decent shmup does arise from the swamps of reskinned tutorials it deserves to be recognised. Thankfully, Chickenfeed has recently satiated our hunger with their newest offering Coilfighter.

Coilfighter is a boss based bullet hell shmup. Players must fight their way through 11 levels of

screen filling action. To be fair, this mechanic is far from uncharted territory, however Coilfighter is compelling because of its level of polish, not its innovation. The diversity of boss weapons means that some beautiful and challenging bullet patterns emerge, and the segmented nature of the enemies creates dynamic battles that change as more sections get destroyed. The player is given the choice of three ships which range from bulky and strong to nimble and frail, and for the most part these choices are balanced,

however the sluggish choice tends to be a bit overpowered. The difficulty curve is fairly steep, but those who’ve played a lot of these curtain shmups will find it quite simplistic. Coilfighter certainly has an aesthetic presence. The graphical proficiency permeates most aspects of the game. Bullets shine with a colourful luminescence as they speed towards you, and your bullets spray out of your coil with startling ferocity. However, there are some choices that don’t quite sit right. The game centres on circular geometry, so it is somewhat jarring that the background is a shifting square field. Similarly, the player’s coil has an inner glow, giving the unit a stronger feeling of form; however this is not carried over to the bosses. some subtle bangs and bops to coincide with the emanation of a new bullet wave; however I was thankful to see that boss explosions were not ignored in this respect.

Newgrounds Audio Portal music is used to good effect, with song changes reinforcing jumps in difficulty. The style of the song matches the visual style, and the tempo matches the pace of the gameplay. However, the aural aspects of Coilfighter are somewhat let down by the lack of SFX. This game could really use
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Coilfighter is an enjoyable romp, though it’s unsure whether it has done enough to remain in our memories. It does not seek to revolutionise the genre, rather it merely reinvigorates our taste for it. It’s a fair chunk of game as well, with a lot of content to be had. Whilst the visuals aren’t perfect they are of a very high standard and should be applauded. If you’re willing to give Coilfighter a chance, you’ll find a solid, enjoyable shmup that is challenging and engrossing.

Gameplay: Graphics: Sound: Originality:

8/10 7/10 7/10 5/10

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VIRUSXVIRUS
Developer : NessXX Reviewer : NAL Type : Completed

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here have been plenty of entries into the "bullet hell" category in Game Maker games, a subgenre of "arcade shooter" which generally revolves around having to avoid hundreds, or thousands, of bullets while shooting the enemy or enemies creating them. Unfortunately, most bullet hell games end up being rubbish. VirusXVirus, thankfully, isn't one of these. The game is based on such other bullet hell games as the excellent Clean Asia!, also known as "the game that shot Cactus into

widespread popularity". VirusXVirus is like a simplified version of Clean Asia!, which in some ways isn't really a bad thing. For a start the controls are easy - directional buttons to move. That's all. Shooting is done automatically for you, except in survival mode where you can't shoot (more on that later).

without shooting it. Every 20 seconds or so (I wasn't able to tell exactly, every time I looked at the time elapsed, the sod shot me in the face) the screen fades out and the enemy is replaced with a bigger, more armed one. Without the shooting to remove some of the guns and alleviate the amount you have to avoid, this mode gets difficult fast. Graphically, the game is simple but satisfactory. Only shades of white, green and black are ever visible, and sprites are, for the most part, geometric shapes with perhaps a little inner decoration. They fit together well though. One thing I did like was the ingame background, a scrolling grid with the occasional 3D block. Within the game I found about four different sound effects. As with the graphics, they were simple but fit. To be honest, I don't think any extra sounds would've helped the game in this aspect. Same with the music great choice of tune. Since the creator of the game's mother tongue isn't English though, I'm not going to keep going on about them. They're minor errors and never hinder your understanding of what they mean. The game itself didn't contain any glitches I found.

In the main mode of the game you are attacked by increasingly complex creatures. Each one has a number of points which shoot at you in a variety of ways (the way they shoot depends on the shape, for instance the square shoots up/down/left/right, the circle shoots all of those and diagonally too). To complete the wave and move onto the next enemy you have to shoot all of these points off. The points are connected by inanimate lines that can be shot but don't need to be. Weirdly, when the enemy is defeated any of the remaining connectors stay floating on the spot. Survival mode is slightly different, in that instead of having to kill the enemy, you have to survive

A few faults were present in the game in terms of spelling and grammar errors, for example the killing of an enemy in the main mode resulting in "Level Succes!".

The game overall was very addictive, helped out by online highscores reminding you that you're not the best in the world at Survival mode... yet. Although some expansion of the idea would improve the game, in its current state it's fine. Definitely one of the better bullet hells.

Gameplay: Graphics: Sound: Originality:

7.5/10 7/10 6.5/10 4/10

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XPLODE
Developer : Dark Aura Reviewer : NAL Type : Completed

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shaped enemies, or anything else. Down to the core gameplay, that was it. Yet, somehow, for me it didn't matter.

ne type of game has, within the last couple of years, become pretty popular in Game Maker. The weird game. The ones that show no sign of realism, are full of bizarre but good looking graphical effects, and are usually shoot-em-ups. Xplode is exactly the kind of people I expect about a third of all players to hate. I like it. I'll get the gameplay factor over and done with. Xplode's gameplay is unbelievably simple. You're a circle. You shoot squares with lines. Squares sometimes shoot back. That's it. I didn't see any hint of powerups, other

What truly "makes" the game is how much effort has been put into the graphics. Killing an enemy explodes it into little swirly lines. The background is made up of constantly flashing strips of red and white. The game also appears to make use of surfaces - your bullets leave long trails as they zip across the screen (this may be my own poor judgment though - only bullets and the swirly lines left trails, and thre are other ways of achieving the effect). On top of all that, the

screen is constantly shaking. Don't play this game if you're epileptic.

As for sound, the music was really fitting to the game - loud, beaty, just the thing with which to fill your head before the game "xplodes" it. Sound effects are minimal, which doesn't matter. They're not the focus of attention. The game, I believe, does manage to maintain a level of originality, as do most "weird games" (yeah, I need a better name for it), despite all deriving from similar ideas.

in the way that gives me the nagging thought I've been hypnotised into liking it. The simplicity of the game, mixed with the bizarreness of the graphics, and dashed with the pure beatiness of the music, are a winning combination. Having said that, I'm sure there will be a lot of people who hate it. I can't judge if you will or not. If, after five seconds of playing you're laying on the floor shaking and gurgling, you're probably a "not".

Overall, I did enjoy this game, but
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Gameplay: Graphics: Sound: Originality:

4.5/10 9/10 7.5/10 8/10

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HIDDEN GEMS
ROLL BY MICHAEL PW
Physics games have been released aplenty in recent times and here’s another to grace our monitors. Including 44 levels with rising difficulty, this should keep you addicted for quite a while.

Broxter unearths the games you may have overlooked
fairly good, gaining difficulty at appropriate speed and with fresh features to keep it interesting. The controls are suitably simple as well. The presentation of the game is rather lacklustre, with unimaginative whites and blacks used much too often and an overuse of the font, ‘Calibri’. The main menu is probably the worst aspect – I’ve never seen such a plain, boring, unattractive opening to a game. Fortunately, the gameplay makes up for the disappointing presentation. vs YS lies in the clever level design and wide range of enemies to beat. The levels are quite long in length even though they’re one-screen (Alexitrón has cunningly incorporated checkpoints to lower potential frustration). The player must navigate through a number of doors in each level, with some usually unlocked by killing a certain bunch of baddies.

The aim of the game is very straightforward – get the ball from the start to the red circle at the end of each level. This is done through the player drawing a line, which the ball rolls on after being released at the click of the right mouse button. The ball must roll through all the rotating triangles, while avoiding the somewhat annoying square blocks - they kill on impact. The game runs fairly smoothly, even with the irritating transitions; glitches are far and few between. Level design is

Now, normally I’d write about the audio qualities of a game here. But… well, there isn’t any. Download

Visually, it’s consistent; the same style is employed throughout the adventure. The sprites are very well animated and make the experience feel more alive, if you know what I mean. The choice of colours is good, with each complimenting another and there

are some snazzy effects when the player or an enemy dies; they almost clash with the way of the game, but the creator keeps them simple enough not to. However, I felt that the menu could do with some serious improvement; its dull-looking appearance will be the first thing the players see, and it’s not exactly going to impress. There’s no background music, but there are a number of sound effects that are frequent enough to compensate for the lack of a running tune. Moreover, the absence builds up tension and atmosphere, to an extent. Whether or not this is a good thing probably depends on the player’s preferences. Download
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BLASTERMAN VS YELLOWSKULL BY ALEXITRÓN

Alexitrón has brought us another fun, action-packed platformer, yet this one seems not to have reached such a grand notice. Technically, the game is very simple, but the real meat of BM
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Continued: Hidden Gems

MINDHUNTER BY AMIDOS

MindHunter is a puzzle platformer with quite a clear core feature – the ability to control other objects in order to open a door to the next level. Pretty much every level involves moving through ‘teleporters’ after switching them on; while this is a good way of increasing the challenge, the overuse of the idea makes it feel quite repetitive after a fairly short time. The biggest problem with MindHunter is quite apparent – the controls are awfully implemented, leading to otherwise unneeded lengthy explanations of them. Not something you really want to read in a small freeware game.

The graphics carry quite a definitive style, helping with consistency. However, for some reason, the HUD doesn’t tone with this cartoony style and detracts from what could have been a very polished looking game. The menu attracts players with its polish and easy-tonavigate layout, but unfortunately I found another exception to the otherwise consistent visual treat – the game uses the default GameMaker game information text box to show the ‘Help’ information. This is something I never really like to see from any game; it considerably reduces quality.

SNOWBALL BY N-ORGANISM

The upbeat audio felt apt and matched the cartoony style of the game. While it did get a bit cyclical after a while, I found myself nodding my head to the catchy rhythm. As expected in a good game, appropriate and fitting sound effects are also present. Download

Snowball is a very linear arcade game with an extremely simple objective. The player must launch the sticky snowball character upwards from each spinning wooden wheel, gaining points for every jump. The real challenge is judging the timing, as one slight misjudgement can ruin your progress completely. There’s little replayability, since there are no new features at all, although the inclusion of online high scores in the downloadable version should tempt the player to keep trying to get the top score, even if it may bore the impatient. As always, in games by norganism, the graphics really do excel. Especially in the

professionalism of the presentation, with glossy information boxes and fitting effects that wrap up the game nicely. Most of the graphics work well together, with a nice range of colours. I was pleased to see more realistic visuals than the gimmicky retro-styled sprites that are increasingly common in GameMaker games of late.

The music is also very nice. Fitting well with the game’s atmosphere and style, it’s a joy to listen to and makes the game flow slickly. The sound effects also compliment Snowball, making it feel relatively professional. Download

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By NAL

DEVELOPMENT OF: INNOQUOUS 3

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randomly selected most of the other colours. Light, pastelly colours were used to give the game a calming aesthetic. After the graphics were done, I began on level design. I aimed for around 30 levels - plenty to play but not so many the game became repetitive - and managed that many. All the way throughout level design, which was about half of Innoquous 3's development time, I maintained a GMC topic and kept updating with builds. I also asked for new obstacles, many of which made the game (including switches and conveyor-like "movers"). With several obstacle additions, I was able to reach 30 levels without too many "out of ideas" points. I then ordered the levels based on testers' comments. Early in development I'd decided to include a level selection, so I started the menu system. I used a similar system to Ne Touchez Pas 3's level select, but refined it to make it better. For instance, the inability to play levels until you'd beaten all the previous ones meant I could store progress in one variable, not one per level. I also decided while making the menu that it would carry a "page"-style interface, where every page represented a game mode. After a few ideas on how I'd go about this, I decided to make the eight page titles rotate around a point and have the user "flip" them in a style (and engine) similar to the gravity flipping in the game. This ended up working really well - the menu runs very smoothly and is easy to use.

round mid-last year, I noticed the existence of a fair few platformers using changing the direction of gravity as their gimmick. None of them were very smooth in play though - they were glitchy, transitions between gravity directions were dodgy, and the games in general really weren't that fun to play. I'd recently learnt about the functionality of view_angle while making another (cancelled) game, and wondered if it could be applied to gravity switching. After an hour or so, the beginning of Innoquous had formed. Then, it was just level design. After making ten levels for this game, I ran out of ideas. I'd named the game Innoquous after the word "innocuous", meaning "harmless". I did this as there were no harmful obstacles in levels other than falling

off it, and I wanted to keep to this. I released the ten-level game believing it to be a failure. I was wrong. One of the YoYo Games administrators noticed and enjoyed it, and featured it. Its popularity then shot up very quickly - it was featured on numerous gaming blogs and got into UK magazine "EDGE". I was still unhappy though, so a few months after I released a sequel. I added harmful obstacles, which gave me more ideas. I made 18 new levels for the game then released it. It never matched the popularity, though it wasn't THAT bad - it recently got its 1,000th play on YoYo Games. Despite this, I remained unhappy. I felt there was way more that could be done with the concept. So, a couple of months ago, I began on making a third game. This time, though, I didn't just want more levels. I wanted to make the game BIG. Loads of levels, loads of game modes, loads of everything. I wasn't sure if my attention span would allow me to make something so big, but I went for it anyway.

Before doing anything else, the first thing I did was added colour to the game. I wanted Innoquous 3 to feel different to the other games in as many ways as possible, and colour was the easiest difference I could make. I kept some of the graphical features intact, though, including the effect where the ball "joins" to walls (achieved by drawing all the outlines with a very deep object). I went for the logical "blue sky, grassy floors" and
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Continued: Innoquous 3
Another aspect I'd decided early on were the game modes available (excluding speedruns). I'd had an idea for a mode like "Fiery Floors" as early as mid-Innoquous 2 so I made it for 3. The mode was incredibly easy to create the menu uses a global variable to work out what page it was most recently viewing. The lethalised floors then see if that variable matches the Fiery Floors option - if it doesn't, they delete themselves. The levels were tested in this mode for difficulty, tweaked and finalised. Excluding Standard (normal) mode, the other main option is Conditional. This was one of a few ideas I'd had for modes - I ended up choosing it as, although it would take a little work, it would mean the mode had variety (each level has its own objective although about 50% are simply "Complete the level in a set time", each one requires thought on how to meet the objective). I added an additional part to the HUD for Conditional displaying the level objective and completion status, so the player didn't have to keep returning to the menu to check what they had to do.

Once this was done, I moved onto making the speedrun modes. This brought up one of the most tedious parts of making the game importing the levels from Innoquous 1 and 2 and replacing all the old objects with I3's equivalents. This basically meant remaking all 28 levels. I split one of Innoquous 2's levels into two part-levels as it was big and laggy, and added an extra level, to bring the level count to 60. I named the two speedrun modes INQS 30 (speedrun of I3) and INQS 60 (speedrun of all three) respectively. I then made the engine for the initial countdown and post-speedrun congratulations/commiserations, which wasn't too much effort. Trophies/achievements are popular nowadays, so I felt I had to include some. I decided on ten trophies which were then sprited quickly - I found a royalty-free picture of a trophy, then added text/images for each one. They got their own page on the main menu and were able to cross themselves out if not obtained. During this part, I also added a Percentage Complete variable. The rest of the offline stuff was just cleaning up - making the title image, filling gaps on menu pages with relevant (or irrelevant) information, adding the row of buttons for functional stuff like saving, loading and quitting, etc. Throughout development, I'd been in contact with someone with a fair amount of PHP and

online GML skill, "Unknown Gamer". I asked him if he'd be able to make something for uploading scores online and having them displayed - he said yes. He completed most of the online work around the same point I completed the offline part. He took the editable and added the needed code, and it worked fine. He also added things such as global ranking of completion percentages and fastest speedrun times. Even though Innoquous 3 is technically complete, it's getting bigger. Unknown Gamer is working on individual signature cards, images which show people your stats and can be placed in forum signatures, on websites etc. Another user is working on a level editor for the game. If this is completed, Unknown Gamer will then work on the ability to upload levels to a community of I3 players. I will also work on integrating the creator and player into the game. I hope this has given you an idea as to how Innoquous 3 has been made, and will continue to be.

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GM8 BETA

Information on YoYo Games' latest GM8 Beta

Download

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ARCMAGI

The first Magi was a fun packed tactical game, but now Timoi finds out that ArcMagi is looking likely to be one of the greatest GM games ever.

GMTECH EXCLU SIVE

INTERVIEW WITH TEEGEE, THE PROJECT LEADER
For people who haven't played the first game, what is ArcMagi going to be like? It's going to be much like Magi in terms of basic concept. Which is something between fighting games like Tekken and Magic the Gathering. You pick one of the available mages and duel other wizards utilizing various strategies and spells. There's also the RPG component with raising your stats and such.

It what ways is it different from the first game? Well, quite frankly everything is different and yet it's a similar game. You know, it's kinda like what Quake was to Doom. There's a huge difference between the two, but they share the same core idea and gameplay. That's why it's not called MAGI 2. It's not a sequel — more like the same concept redone from scratch to be a much better overall game.

rebalanced, or otherwise improved.

From obvious stuff: there's the new art, a move into sideways perspective, changed character development system, tons of new spells and abilities, and overall a much higher level of polish of all the game elements. But it's really more subtle that that. Virtually every part of the game was reworked,
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When do you expect the game to be released? I don't know. I hope for somewhere in the next year. It's a large game and we want to take our time to polish it. Being indie, we don't have real deadlines, and we want to take advantage of that. Commercially, was the original Magi a success for you? It sold enough to allow me to fund ArcMagi without selling a kidney. That's a huge success for a first commercial game!

The team list shows that as well as you,

there is also someone with the title programmer. Do you both write code for the game, and if so how do you control how all the code is put together? Yes, we both write code for the game. It took us some time to learn how to keep everything clear, modular and well documented, but it definitely was worth it. We have different areas
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Continued: ArcMagi
of expertise though, and it helps a bit. I focus on visual aspect of the game, gameplay balance, AI, and user experience. Marius is more "technical". He coded the engine, the underlying mechanics, editors, and other stuff needing a better grasp of complex maths than I have. good, fun and strategically challenging game. There's also some meaning of what the characters and events in the game actually represent, but I don't want to impose it. If someone wants to dig deeper to get our message, that's cool. But if someone prefers to just focus on throwing fireballs and watching them explode in pretty colors, that's great too. During the entire production of the game from start to finish, which part is the most time consuming/requires the most effort? Hmm. It's pretty even in ArcMagi. Each one of us puts lots of time and effort into what he or she does. The graphical content and character animations definitely take tons of effort to create. So does gameplay balance, user interfaces, engine coding, and recording all the game's music. What is the most important skill you've learned as the leader of the project? That it's actually possible to create such a complex and large game in a team of people scattered around the world. Before ArcMagi I would say it's just unlikely to keep everything together.

THE TEAM

We had a few problems with overwritten code and misunderstood feature requests, as GM isn't really designed for multiple coder projects, but nothing major. Frequent communication and documenting everything you do seems to be the key. Also, being good mates and trusting each other is very important as well. What is the main focus of ArcMagi? To have some fun smashing wizards with meteors, ha ha. I really just want it to be a

TeeGee is keen to stress that ArcMagi is very much a team effort. From left to right there's Thomas Grochowiak (aka TeeGee), who is the team leader, Rob Westwood, the music composer, Marius Utheim, the programmer, Kate Kluge, character designer and Lurk, the artist.

But it seems that if the team acts more like a group of friends and everyone feels enthusiastic about the project, it's not only possible but very enjoyable. It's also important to let everyone show off their skills in the final product. Feeling of authorship that fulfilling "I've made that cool part" sensation - keeps people interested long-term
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THE SOUND OF ARCMAGI
TeeGee writes about ArcMagi's music recording sessions

CONCEPT ART

hese are few pictures Rob (our composer) took during live recording session for two of the game’s musical pieces – Fear Her and Morricone Mages.

This is a character design done by Kate “Dormouse” Kluge – our concept artist. It represent one summoned creature – the djinnie.

We are all very dedicated to this project (that’s probably why it’s moving forward even with us being located all around the world) and each team member is trying to do the most with the resources and skills available to him or her. Sometimes it really went beyond 'the extra mile' and what a reasonable person should put into project that isn’t supposed to return a huge profit! In case of Rob it was gathering his friend musicians and vocalists to record live performance that would enrich the game’s music. Boy did he succeed! All the tracks sound really great now, with that special magic that only real instruments and voices have.

Our goal was to design the characters so that they escape the beaten to death fantasy cliches and are much more modern and stylish in their look.

Rob’s also preparing some more surprises for the game’s soundtrack, but even I’m not sure what they’re going to be. What he already showed me bodes really well though.

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GUI EVOLUTION
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TeeGee explains the steps taken to create the GUI

rcMagi’s GUI (Graphical User Interface) has had the largest amount of total reworks of all the game’s elements so far.

Third attempt focused on making everything lighter to make the GUI take less screen space. I wasn’t satified with the outcome aesthetically and realized we can’t really make it lighter without removing something and limiting areas that weren’t necessary all the time.

After the failure to provide a clear and easy to understand GUI in MAGI, I was very sensitive to this issue, and decided that this time we are going to work on it until we really get it right. Between the first rough mockup and the current version, we had seven full revisions and countless minor tweaks. Fourth attempt. We ditched the confusing energy meter and decided to indicate it in the game itself with the fourth attempt. We also made icon slots retractable, to only take enough space to fit spells known by the player’s character. It looked much better and Lurk did amazing job on the panels. I’m considering leaving this GUI setup as an option but I wasn’t really that satisfied with it so I went back to the drawing board.

First attempt at realizing the design mockup. We didn’t like how it looked and quickly decided to ditch it in favor of something milder and more fitting to the game.

The second attempt looked much better and Lurk (our artist) put some amazing details into these panels. However, at this point, being able to finally test the game with a proper HUD, we realized it’s way to clunky and that it has large areas that aren’t really necessary and could confuse players.

I realized we were never going to get a non-clunky, clear look with any form of panels. I also had another issue; the rest of the game had a modern 'lite' interface which clashed with the stone panels. In the current version everything is contextual — lines, tooltips, the queue, and slots are only shown when necessary. When you begin you are presented with the healthbars and four basic icons only, the rest appears and disappears in response to your actions. It should help a lot with teaching the control mechanics smoothly, and that was always an issue with the original game. Of course, nothing is set in stone yet, so who knows what you will see in the released version.

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The current HUD is far more minimalist with much less decoration. The spell icons below are place holders. — Timoi

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As this screenshot shows, ArcMagi is set to feature some of the most stunningly detailed and well realised graphics of any Game Maker game ever. Even in the wider indie scene, it is rare to find games of this high visual quality. — Timoi

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ArcMagi looks amazing in still screenshots, but TeeGee assures me that "it’s way better in motion". I personally can not wait for the final game in all its polished glory. — Timoi If you buy the first Magi now, you'll get a 50% discount on ArcMagi when it is released. It is available to purchase from www.getmagi.com.

You can follow the progress of ArcMagi on the Magi forums (through getmagi.com) or via twitter: twitter.com/TomGrochowiak
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Is it really possible to harness all the skills and talents of the GMC to create a single brilliant game? Timoi talks to the people leading a project hoping to do just that.

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Grimmjow
(Leader & Founder)

What is the GMCG? The Game Maker Community Game (commonly abbreviated as the GMCG) is a huge project that allows any GMC member to participate in the creation of a unique game whatever their skill level or age. We welcome absolutely everyone whether you can sprite, program, compose, organize, write, advertise, market, sketch, design, voice act, share your critique or thoughts, give ideas or even just watch the GMCG progress is entirely up to you, we have no limit to team members. My vision is to construct a beautifully woven game built entirely by the GMC, so we can boast about it in the future...not really! It is so we can look back at the community game and stare in awe of what we have built knowing that we have helped in making this community game. Additionally I hope the GMCG will help educate novice members in creating teams/games in the future and game making as a whole. Lots of people have made suggestions

for a large-scale community game before but they've generally been shouted down and the topics closed quickly, were you surprised when you realised that it is was actually going to happen? I was shell-shocked, when I received the go ahead to make the community game. It was just an idea (not knowing other people have been shouted down with the same idea) and I never intended for someone like me to lead it. Actually I still think there are a lot of members out there who could lead the GMCG better than me. Though I do not mind the responsibility and the challenge although it can be difficult at times. Did you have any hesitations about being the leader? At first no, however just after the launch of the GMCG I had my doubts. Tensions grew and there were a few early suspicions that

the GMCG would become a disaster. In spite of this, hope came when Chronic saved the GMCG and me from catastrophe, Chronic sorted out the sub-forums and the result: A newborn GMCG. This fresh start boosted the moral of users, however even now it is recovering from its previous calamity. What is the structure of the GMCG team? The structure of the GMCG is simple:

The Leader and Co-leader lead the project followed by four additional leaders to accompany each department of the game; graphics, programming, design and sound and music. These leaders now called directors are in charge of their own artists, composers, designers and programmers and organize the aspects of the game they are in charge of. Some departments will have assistants to help directors in leading each department. The community members can work in any
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department.

Continued: A Sense Of Community
How long do you think it will be until the game is playable? It’s a difficult question as this is a large-scale game with a very large team and I can’t set a definite deadline in this stage of production. Nevertheless I can take a rough estimate to when we will expect the GMCG to enter alpha development; late 2009 in December. Though this might change due to several factors/problems we may face in the future. ——————————————————————— GMCG sub-forums nice and clean and also a friendly place much like the rest of the GMC. over the FAQ their next step is to check out the GMCG’s Terms and Conditions just to make sure they understand and accept them. After they have completed both these steps and are more then sure that they understand what they are doing, they are then able to submit any and every piece of work that they want. Also I must tell everyone, the GMCG sub-forums are still a part of the GMC, therefore you still must follow any and every rule and or regulations the GMC has, any violations of these rules and the GMC staff will deal with you accordingly. If someone is still unsure in what to do, or even if they have a questions about the GMCG, don't be afraid to send grimmjow or myself a PM, I will reply fairly quickly to your PM with an answer that will hopefully solve most problems or concerns a member may have.

What role do you play as co-leader? As co-leader, I am given the responsibility of keeping this project running smoothly and efficiently on a day to day basis. In the possible chance of grimmjow ever being absent for a short period of time I am to take up his role and temporarily take lead of the GMCG until the inevitable event in which grimmjow returns back to the GMC from his absence.

(Co-leader)

Sn1per809

How do the project leaders stay in contact with each other to have discussions? Starting from the 6th of June (which has obviously been and gone) the GMCG Leaders have organized a meeting each Saturday, at these meetings we discuss a variety of topics that are related to the GMCG Project and even talk about new GMCG Group modifications such as candidates for leaders and what-not. All these meetings take place on Instant Messenger such as yahoo and MSN.

Is there a hidden forum on the GMC you use? Yes there is, this area is used as a staging area for new topics. We also use this forum to get each leader’s thoughts and concerns about certain events that are happening throughout the GMCG, such as the finalization of the Terms and Conditions. If someone would like to contribute to the GMCG but aren't sure how, what should they do? First of all, before submitting anything to the GMCG, I would highly recommend that they are fully aware about what this project is about (storyline, design aspects etc). They can do this from a variety of topics but my suggestion is to drop into the “Game Maker Community Game FAQ”. After they have read

Keeping the GMCG project running smoothly consists of many different tasks. These tasks include certain jobs like; organizing the Terms and Conditions and many other important topics, answering many questions from members about the GMCG and keeping the
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Who will be making the actual game content? Graphics, sounds, scripts, anything that goes into this Game Maker Community project will always be created by the Game Maker Community, whether they are a GMC member or administrator, everyone is welcome to help create this project and become a part of an exciting, friendly team. I have said it many times but I will be more then happy to say it again. This is a community game and will be created by any and everyone interested from the community.

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Continued: A Sense Of Community
except with more enemy paths, destructible terrain, some simple artificial intelligence, etc. After getting bored with the free version of Game Editor I decided to search for another software program. I found Game (Director of Design) Maker, and started using it, but it was not until many months later that I joined the What previous experience have you had GMC. I got involved with many projects, and I'm still involved with many today. Making the of designing games? I have been designing transition from paper games to computer games for about 5 years games was a simple task and was only a now. Of course, until about a year matter of adjusting my mind set, the way I ago, my creation program of choice was a view games, not to mention incorporating pencil. I have been designing games on paper other aspects such as programming and music. for a number of years. Back then I wanted to break into the game industry, I still do, but I had no knowledge of programming, spriting, The description of Eve says it will be a or composing, therefore my designs often free-roaming, open-ended, adventure never left the comfort of a four sided sheet. RPG, with two huge worlds. Do you think this was a wise choice for a first game? When I was designing paper games, I was also big on writing. I wrote many short Yes and no. On the one side; Eve took the stories, and many half-way-done novels. hearts of so many members, and working on Writing has in the past contributed a large a game that your interested in is much easier. amount of depth to my game design, but On the other side; this is a very aggressive unfortunately my novels and stories died with and ambitious project to chose. It will be my Windows 95. difficult to design the game in such a way that we achieve the free-roaming and openAfter a couple years I really began to aspire ended style we are aspiring too, while to get involved with developing games, and I maintaining a solid game structure that we turned to, now one of my greatest friends, need. It will be difficult, but we have great Google. I searched and searched, and staff and dedicated contributors, which is key eventually found a piece of software called for any game's success. Game Editor. After about a year of pure frustration of trying to use that software, I What style of game will you be going created my first computer game, Galactic for? Galaxies. It was sort of like Space Invaders, Through the game I want to deliver freedom, sorrow, joy, anger, etc. Graphics wise I would ———————————————————————

LarsonCreativity

like to see a semi-realistic approach. This delivers more realistic detail, while still being very comfortable to players. The game will be meant to carry a more serious tone due to the themes carried by the plot, but I also want to be able to deliver smaller doses of themes delivered through character relationships like creepy, mischievous, and comical just to name a few. I want the game's world to have their own way of life. I don't just want the player to play the game, I want them to live the game, and to achieve satisfaction from doing so. With so many people wanting to have their opinion heard about the design of the game, how are you going to control the discussions? Very carefully. I will need to be strict when it comes to the design discussions, and I will need to set up the topics in such a way that it tells people what the discussion is, how you contribute to the discussion, why this discussion is needed, how it will be implemented into the game, etc. As long as

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Continued: A Sense Of Community
we're clear, concise, and to the point in the discussion topics, there should be no problem. ——————————————————————— find our footing. This is mostly due to the learning curve and organization associated with a large scale project, as well as any other problems which may occur. Finding the best way to do something is always a time sink, in anything people do. Overall I think progress has been good.

Chronic

CHARACTER DESIGN

BE PART OF THE GMCG

Lots of people have made suggestions for a large scale community game before but they've generally had the topics closed quickly. What made you decide to give the idea a go this time? With past requests of this sort people have always replied with negative comments saying that it would never work, and generally weren't behind the idea of such a project. I've always thought this not to be the case believing that the success or failure of a project is down to the people who are part of it. In other words, if people are willing to work on the project it will succeed regardless of the quality of the end product. I guess my reasoning for supporting this request could be compared to being poked over and over. Eventually its going to wear you down, and you'll react to it. In this case, I was annoyed by people's negative comments and reacted to it. How well do you think it has been going so far? So far things have been going slow while we
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(GMC Administrator)

How much responsibility are you going to give the leaders and will you be playing much of a role in determining the direction of the project? The GMCG leaders are in full control of the project and direction its taking. My role so far has been one of support, giving help where I can.

Get involved with discussing the game characters that hold major, supporting, and minor roles throughout the course of the game. Put forward your ideas for characters personality traits, actions, background, and how the character fits into the game itself. Find Out More

EVE - DISCUSSION: WORLDS

What has the reaction of the other moderating staff been like? So far the staffs reaction has been good, some of them even contributing to the project. There were some initial concerns regarding what moderation privileges the GMCG group has, and if it will impact the rest of the forum.

Join in the discussions about the world/environment in Eve. SilentxxBunny (the author of Eve) describes Eden as a "mysterious dream world" and the real world is a modern realm of darkness. This is your chance to expand on that and put forward your suggestions on the landscape, culture, geography, history, wildlife and people of the two worlds. Find Out More

PROGRAMMING - MOVEMENT ENGINE
If you believe you have programming skills then you can begin to work on the first programming task of the project - to create a 3/4 view, 8 directional movement engine. There are a few guidelines that you need to follow, so before you get carried away make sure you get to terms with the rules. Find Out More

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WORTH A LOOK

StarFoxRox tells us about his particle designer

L

ithium Particle Designer (2.0) is a particle designer used for Game Maker, made by Game Maker. It allows the user to alter particles in real time, making it much quicker and easier to get a desired effect. Unlike other GM particle designers, Lithium Particle Designer works primarily for those using a global particle system. It can also export code for global particle emitters. This method allows roughly one particle system for all particles, and the emitters generate them similar to GM’s built in particle emitters. The major benefit of this system means the user doesn’t have to delete particle systems, emitters, etc every time he or she uses them. Many over look their deletions and it eventually slows down and crashes the game. With a global particle system, you don’t have to. Using part_particles_create(), Lithium Particle Designer exports emitters that can make more than just points, and lets the user see their output in real time. To use the program, simply go under “window” and open the desired window. Changing the settings changes the particle/emitter attributes. File>Copy Particle to Clipboard copies the particle and original particle system code into the clipboard. Putting this code into the creation event of an object (preferably a control object if using a
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global particle system) will allow you to use it in your games. File>Copy Emitter to Clipboard will copy the code to the clipboard needed to generate the particles. Simply put this code into the desired event for when and where you want to generate the particles. File>Save/Load Particle will allow you to save and load particles into Lithium Particle Designer for later alterations. I originally made this program for me, as I’m constantly making particle effects for my games. I released it to the GMC to help people, but the program was still primarily made for me. While its original creation was to make particle creation faster (and it has, now that it’s completed), the creation of the program took longer than expected. I’m still glad I did it, though, and it definitely taught me a great deal on how close GM can create a program similar to many other mainstream programs. Download Get In Touch Have you made a new Game Maker related website, forum, or even a useful application, and want to write about it in this column? Then get in touch with us by posting on our forum.
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BE PART OF GMT
JOIN THE TEAM
Becoming a part of the GMTech team is easy. You just need to be a good writer and competent with GM. Simply make a topic in the Join The Team forum and we'll set you a little a test. Once accepted, you can be proud of the fact that you're part of the longest running Game Maker magazine. Join The Team

LEGAL STUFF
CORRECTIONS
GMTech Magazine is happy to correct any published errors. If you spot any mistakes and would like to alert the editors to it, send a message to gmtech.magazine@gmail.com outlining the error, including the correct information. We will endeavour to correct any published errors as quickly as possible. Thanks

COPYRIGHT

The Game Maker Technology Magazine is licensed under Creative Commons license. This means you are free to copy, distribute and transmit the work. This work is for NonCommercial use only. You are NOT allowed to alter, modify or build upon the work contained in the magazine.

FREELANCE

You don't have to be a staff member to get your writings into GMTech. You just need to post that you have written an article for us on the GMT forums, then we'll get in touch with you. As long as it's of a high quality we'll put it into the next issue. This is a great way to contribute without having to commit to the team or if you have less time to spend writing. Submit An Article

CLOSING

I've had the pleasure of doing many interviews and contacting lots of people while at GMTech and, without exception, everyone has been extremely kind and willing to help in anyway they can. I am frequently surprised by the depth of answers I recieve to questions I have asked. This month was no exception. I am grateful to TeeGee for preparing such brilliant material to make the ArcMagi article one of the best I think we've ever done. I am also grateful to the GMCG team for taking the time out from the project to take part in the interviews, I hope it gives people a better idea about what the GMCG is and how it will achieve what it hopes to do. Tim (aka Timoi) Assistant Editor

WEBSITE

You can download and read all of our issues from our website, as well as find out more information about GMTech. News about GMTech is always posted there first. www.gamemakertech.info

ISSUE 18
COMING SOON...

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ISSUE 17 - SEPT EMBER 2009