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2 | WELCOME

CONTENTS
FEATURES
3 COMMUNITY NEWS
4 LESS SCHERZINGER, MORE SCHEHERAZADE
7 SEQUELS
9 THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTIVE
11 A QUICK LOOK AT GAME WRITING
——————————————————————
REVIEWS
14 COILFIGHTER

WELCOME READERS!
15 VIRUSXVIRUS
16 XPLODE

I t is that time of the year
again, just a few months
after our previous release
bit has been happening with GM,
two GM8 Betas were released
within a month, we have also
17 GMTECH HIDDEN GEMS
——————————————————————
there is another issue for you seen YoYo Games extend the EXTRAS
to make your way through. threshold for free upgrades to
GM8 to anyone who registered 19 DEVELOPMENT OF: INNOQUOUS 3
As we are well known for (at least GM7 Pro this year - surprisingly 21 GAME MAKER 8 BETA
I think we are) we have put there are still people complaining
together another great issue, the on the YYG Glog. Development on 22 INSIGHT INTO: ARCMAGI [EXCLUSIVE]
stand out feature being the the GMCG appears to continue to 29 GAME MAKER COMMUNITY GAME
massive exclusive we have be growing strong, we have got
conducted on 'ArcMagi', the some great interviews with the 33 WORTH A LOOK - LITHIUM PARTICLE DESIGNER
sequel to TeeGee's successful leaders of the project that you
magical strategy game 'Magi'. should take a look at. 34 CLOSING
Make sure you have a look
through some of the mouth Plus there is a lot more, take a
watering screenshots as well as look at the contents to the right
get an in depth look at the early and have a read through
development of ArcMagi. whatever suits your fancy.

Over the last few months quite a KAY (GMTECH OWNER)

WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
3 | WELCOME
TEAM GMTECH
COMMUNITY NEWS
Editors
GM 8: SOFTWRAP FREE! GAME MAKER FOR MAC Kay
Last month two beta versions of Game Maker A third beta version of Game Maker for Mac, Timoi
8 were released to the public at the first to be released publicly, has been
http://gm8.yoyogames.com/ for testing made available via the YYG Glog. Sandy has
purposes. Game Maker creator Mark also revealed that YoYo Games do not plan to Writers
Overmars and YoYo Games CEO Sandy asked
for bug reports to be submitted online and
synchronise the Mac and PC versions
meaning we could see Game Maker 8 for PC
David McClure
over 500 issues were logged for the first released prior to Game Maker 7 for Mac. Evilspud
release. A summary of a few of the key
features can be seen in our GM8 image on GMTECH MAGAZINE UPDATES Mike Alfus
page 21. Once November 29th rolls round it will

The Softwrap DRM protection that caused
officially be three years since our first
release. We are one of the longest running Reviewers
problems for some users will not be used in magazines and we would have never made it Broxter
Game Maker 8 however an online registration
system will still be used.
this far if it wasn't for the support of all the
readers and writers, so thank you to everyone
NAL
who has ever been involved in GMTech one Scoz
FREE UPGRADES TO GM 8 way or another. However, all good things
Anyone who purchases or has already must come to an end and following a decline
purchased the Pro version of Game Maker 7 in the amount of members who are able to Special Thanks To
this year will automatically receive an devote a few days a month to work on some
upgrade to the Pro version of Game Maker 8 content for the magazine we will see a AdilFaQah
free of charge. Previously free upgrades were decline in the amount of issues we release Philip Gamble
only going to be available to users who had
upgraded to Game Maker 7 Pro after June 1st
over the next year.
StarFoxRox
2009. We aim to put together another small issue TeeGee
NEW GAME MAKER BOOK
before the end of the year, so, if you wish to
help out and submit ideas or content visit the
The GMCG Team
In July a new book introducing programming GMTech forum, register and post all your
with Game Maker was released. Getting comments on the forum.
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.

WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
4 | FEATURES

LESS SCHERZINGER, MORE SCHEHERAZADE
By David McClure

C omputer games have come a long
way since their inception. Graphics
have improved, genres have come and
and accomplishments; and she was pleasant
and polite, wise and witty, well read and well
bred”.
It also features a character named
Scheherazade; this Scheherazade is a blonde
nymphette who sports a beret and
gone and AI has improved in leaps and impractical armour which has been designed
bounds. Unfortunately, even in 2009, Scheherazade tricks the king out of executing to accentuate the female form. This would be
one area in games remains sorely and her by telling him enthralling stories, each of sex symbol is closer to Nicole Scherzinger of
unnecessarily stuck in the past; the which she promises will be followed by one The Pussycat Dolls than the Scheherazade of
depiction of women. yet more wondrous. The particularly clever One Thousand and One Nights. Immediately,
ruse that she employs is to begin telling each a disturbing gulf between the two can be
The oldest extant manuscript of the collection story just as their allotted time for the night is seen, a yawning gulf which widens when we
of stories collectively referred to as One running out; if the King wants to know how compare literary female figures to the female
Thousand and One Nights, better known to the story ends then he will have to spare her figures in games. Women in fiction fall into
English speakers as The 1,001 Arabian life. A thousand and one days pass and many categories of character, with many
Nights, dates from the 14th century. Some Scheherazade has borne the King three sons, different roles within the story, many different
scholars believe that the collection originated as well as educating him in morality and appearances and many different
much earlier than this, in the 9th century. The kindness and becoming his Queen. The oldest personalities. Women in games may take on a
collection of stories is framed by the tale of extant disc containing a copy of the game few different roles but they are nearly all
Scheherazade, the daughter of the vizier, Soul Calibur IV dates from the early 21st designed to appear attractive and alluring. In
who volunteers to spend a night with the century. the rare cases where they are not, they
King, who each day has married a new virgin nearly always take the role of the villain or
and had the previous wife executed, leading the mother figure. Further, women are still
to the deaths of 3,000 women. Scheherazade commonly used to represent the final prize in
is portrayed as being virtuous, wise, well a game, with players having to rescue them
educated, cunning, creative and kind; to from nefarious villains and the like. Who is to
quote the translation by the acclaimed 19th blame for this sorry state of affairs and what
century scholar of the Arabic world Richard can be done to cause change?
Burton, “[Shahrazad] had perused the books,
annals and legends of preceding Kings, and THE CONSUMER
the stories, examples and instances of by Gamers vociferously protest many affairs but
gone men and things; indeed it was said that few seem to be perturbed by this problem. In
she had collected a thousand books of fact, a small minority of them seem to like
histories relating to antique races and the current state of affairs and make creepy
departed rulers. She had perused the works forum comments and fan videos about the
of the poets and knew them by heart; she women portrayed in games. Ultimately, it
had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts seems unlikely that change will be lead by
SCHEHERAZADE

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5 | FEATURES
Continued: Less Scherzinger, More Scheherazade

consumers; a boycott or other form of protest designers from which to make up images of
campaign seems unlikely to occur, given the the various characters. Once the character
general apathy towards the topic and the fact designs are finalised, orthographic drawings
that nearly any game which features a are made and these will be used by the 3D
woman will be objectifying without any modellers who actual create the character
controversy over the matter. models. Several members of the
development team are involved in the
THE PUBLISHER creation of each character, with responsibility
At the end of the day it is the publisher’s job lost at each stage of the process. To return to
to make money. Given that games are the character of Scheherezade in Soul Calibur
currently proving to be one of the most IV, the design of this character is credited to
successful and profitable entertainment Yutaka Izubuchi, a Japanese illustrator, anime
industries it seems unlikely that publishers designer and director. I am not familiar with
will want to change their winning formula too Mr Izubuchi’s other works but I would assume
much. However, if your intention is to make that in order for him to have been invited to
money then why alienate half of the potential work on such a project they would not be as
audience? Both genders watch films and insipid as this character is. However, a brief
television, listen to the radio and read books. review of his works reveals that they revolve
If both genders are willing to spend money on around trite wish fulfilment imagery such as
leisure activities, why potentially cause one teenage boys who control giant robots, so it
of them to exclude themselves? Indeed, if is quite probable that they actually are.
women do not currently buy as many Perhaps this is what is popular with many
computer games as men perhaps there is a members of the public, but surely any
reason behind this beyond cultural norms and designer or artist who wishes to retain
perhaps this reason is that many games integrity should not just pander to the lowest
seem to be aimed at immature teenage boys common denominator and try to churn out ILLUSTRATION/NOMURA TETSUYA
who enjoy ogling scantily clad females and the same saleable concepts repeatedly.
dream of being muscular chainsaw bayonet History teaches us that the desperate chase to envisage every women in a given project
wielding supermen. of public attention at the expense of this as being an opportunity to include titillation
integrity is a fool’s errand; Jack Vettriano may or ‘sex appeal’. It should be noted that this
THE DEVELOPER have enjoyed great success in his life time does not mean including a highly attractive
Ultimately, the way in which a game takes but he is no Van Gogh. woman who is incredibly clever and a
shape is down to its development team. The firearms expert or making a heroine who
developers decide the way the game will Of course, designers and concept artists can encompasses all the traditional aspects of the
play, who the characters will be and what quite easily avoid repeating the mistakes of action lead. Instead it means creating
form they will take. Generally speaking, a the past; all that is necessary is to insert characters with strengths and weaknesses,
concept artist will be given guidelines by the atypical female characters and to choose not characters with less than perfect looks and

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- SEPT - AUS 2009
EMBER
6 | FEATURES
Continued: Less Scherzinger, More Scheherazade

with builds and clothing appropriate to their male characters are usually muscular, good
activities and abilities. looking, courageous and individualistic,
generally considered to be strongly male
Of course, to create a rounded viewpoint of traits. Where their outer appearance varies it
women in games we have to consider the will still normally remain within the limits of
portrayal of men in games and the fact that what the society that produced the game
media products do not exist in a cultural deems acceptable or attractive. Men in
vacuum. Generally speaking, men do not get games are not objectified as much as women
a particularly good deal out of games either; 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.

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
LARA CROFT - TOMB RAIDER Scheherazade.

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7 | FEATURES

SEQUELS
By Mike Alfus

A s gamers, we love to see a good
concept continue, or amazing
characters revisited, or traveling back to
before. Taking a look at reviews and
comments of a previous game in a series can
be a great step towards the needed
places that invoke the fondest gaming improvements. Ultimately, you’re making a
memories. In short, we like sequels. game that is going to be played by the
general public, so to ignore those voices that
But there’s a catch. The sequels have to are giving direct feedback would be a huge
work. There has to be something more to mistake. The changes can be big or small, it
bring the player back into the fold. depends on the scope of the game, and how
it was initially received. One example that
So how do you make a good sequel? What comes to mind is in GTA San Andreas, when
calls to gamers for another go through? Take your character finally took some swimming
a look at some of the biggest hits in gaming lessons, and wouldn’t drown if he tripped in a
from last year, and you’ll notice that many of puddle. The addition of swimming in a game
them were sequels. Fallout 3, Metal Gear world as big as GTA is definitely not a ground
Solid 4, Grand Theft Auto 4 and Gears of War breaking change, but it made a difference on ANOTHER DAY IN THE LIFE OF BOB
2 all proved that gamers love a good gamers, and was well received.
continuation. the sequel is the perfect time to do that. Just
Adding new features isn’t the only way to because ideas were cut the first time doesn’t
But what makes them good? What makes tweak the gameplay either. Going back and mean they should be forgotten forever.
them worth playing? So many times in movie revamping original ideas is a great way to
franchises, you’ll hear fans say “Man, I really bring gamers back to your franchise. If the sequel is carrying along on the plot
wish they just would have let it be after the Whether it’s changing some features of an from a previous game, like the God of War
first one,” and for good reason, because if online game mode, or tweaking how the games, then plot and character development
you don’t question it, then you end up with character moves from cover to cover in a are paramount in considering what to have in
Rocky XII: Final Round. shooter, gamers always like to see old the sequel. If the game was planned as a
concepts get a bit of a facelift and a revamp, franchise all along, and not just one game,
There are a few key things that need to making them better than they were before. then the end of the first installment should
happen for sequels to be a success. Another way to enhance the gameplay is to wrap up most of the plot threads, while
go back to ideas that were originally going to introducing one or two new ones that will
Gameplay is a huge factor when considering be implemented in the first game, but were lead gamers into a sequel. When a game has
whether or not a sequel will be a success cut out for some reason, and see how they a truly involved storyline, then gamers
over its predecessors. Not only does the can be worked into the new game. You develop a bond with the characters in that
gameplay need to match that of the original, always read developer interviews where they world. By continuing that story, you need to
but it needs to exceed it, while at the same say ‘We really wish we could have done…’ so give players new challenges and conflicts
time adding in new features that were absent

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8 | FEATURES
Continued: Sequels
KAROSHI 2.0

that the characters face, while at the same memories come flooding back. Audio
time acknowledging events that happened flashbacks occur as you go through different
previously. Tying them back into the story areas, with the camera angles matching the
that came before while at the same time very same ones in the original game. It was
propelling them forward on a new adventure such a fitting way to bring Solid Snake’s story
is tricky, but necessary if you want to truly full circle, and make gamers feel that much
engage the player and make them feel like more connected to the events in his life. Not
they have a stake in what’s going on. only was it amazing to travel back to Shadow
Moses again, it also served the plot extremely
One game that did this beautifully is Metal well, and ended in one of the most satisfying
Gear Solid 4. When you travel back to sequences in the game: taking control of
Shadow Moses Island late in the game, a Metal Gear Rex.
wave of nostalgia washes over anyone who’s
ever played Metal Gear Solid before, and the 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 engine every time a sequel is made, but since
games are connected. For instance, in every the developers have had more time to work
Final Fantasy game, there’s a character with the software; gamers expect certain
named Cid. You don’t always get him as a enhancements as the series moves forward.
playable character, but he’s always there, Increasing draw distances, decreasing frame
and when you see the name Cid, you know rate hitches and working on things like anti
it’s Final Fantasy. Or in the case of the Call of aliasing and high dynamic range lighting
Duty franchise, you expect to lock and load, effects are things that can and should be
have bullets and explosions flying all around done with new installments in a gaming saga.
you and go through some of the coolest
scripted sequences gaming has to offer. To put it simply, to have a successful sequel,
Keeping similar traits and features in a game you need to improve what players loved
can be just as important as the characters in about the first games in a series, and add in
it. Because really, what’s Gears of War features and new gameplay elements that
without sticky cover and chainsaw machine will entice them to come back to the same
guns? I’m not sure, but it’s not Gears. universe with an evolving story and
characters. So go on developers, check those
Even though it may seem a bit obvious, we message boards, get those idea wheels
gamers like things to get a bit prettier as time turning and get those graphics tweaked to
passes. With that in mind, graphical breathtaking realism.
upgrades are a must for any sequel. The
ILLUSTRATION/NOMURA TETSUYA games don’t need to be rebuilt on a new We’re hungry for more.

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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

I n the 1996 Star Wars classic Jedi
Knight: Dark Forces II, players were
given a choice. After tailing an enemy
slaughtering thousands of lives, but game
worlds are now vividly and eerily realistic,
long, smart narratives are now expected in
through a galaxy full of alien thugs and most genres (even some sports games), and
imperial troopers so that you could players are beginning to play intelligently,
bring vigilante justice to the man who treating games like fine literature. This means
killed your father, players finally found that when putting together a new universe,
him, holding your pilot and friend adding a moral backbone is capable of
captive. It’s a very typical plot set-up, building an emotional connection between
and certainly still used in many games, the player and the game that will strengthen HALF LIFE
but this was different. The cut scene the story, and provide new and unique So let’s add some sympathy. The difference
played out, and then, you were given a options for game play and pacing, as long as between doing this and the color you have
choice; would you kill your friend, or it doesn’t take over your game. already added is like comparing a portrait to
spare her life? Depending on your path, a film. The portrait is beautiful, but the story
you would either join the light side or A world touched with humor, personality and can’t be told without progression. It’s a
the dark side of the force (in other fair dose of originality will keep the player different process, and one I recommend you
words, players got to choose between interested, but as far as motivation and story take your time on. There’s multiple ways to
healing powers, or shooting lightning progression go, they do nothing to build a connection between the player and
bolts out of their hands). compliment the game play. For example, let’s this baker. The most straightforward way
say you come across an incredibly eccentric would be making the baker not only helpful,
Although the game had its’ flaws, putting baker who dabbles in Voodoo. That’s an NPC but likeable. Perhaps he compliments the
moral choices in games is becoming more that would certainly stand out in a crowd, but player on his clothes, or helps him out in a
and more common. So far, the process has then the story line progresses. In the middle tough situation. It might not work on every
hardly differed from what DFII offered, of the night, there’s a shatter of glass and a player, but it’s a start. A less obtrusive way
players get different endings, minor group of thieves, dressed in black come would be letting the player think he has
alterations in game play, and little perks and sprinting out of the bakery, carrying sacks stumbled into this relationship on his own.
aesthetic changes. If anything, morality has filled with potions and spells. The player goes When first entering the town, he sees a local
become a gimmick to extend the lives of their after them certainly, but without an pastor condemning the poor man for his
titles, guaranteeing that the only way players emotional connection, it’s just a new setting sorcery. As long you ensure the player notices
will see everything in the game is by playing to play the game in. Adding a sense of moral is, I can almost guarantee that they’ll
it over and over. obligation means giving the player a sense of investigate the ruckus. Here’s your first
responsibility, and more importantly, choice, taking sides, do you defend a man
The players never really needed to reflect on sympathy for the baker, and for an innocent who has quite obviously has been publicly
the conscious reasons that they were village unjustly plundered. humiliated enough, or do you join the crowd

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Continued: The Conscientious Objective

in scorning him. Either way, the player create a game play breaking gun that fire one
immediately associates this first visit to the hit kill projectiles at long range, but you need
town with the baker, and it’s an easy way to to become psychopathically manipulative if
justify the locals becoming aware of your you want to continue using it, by luring its
presence. This encounter will allow you to power source, innocent children, away so you
build up to the robbery, and create a better can use their hearts to build ammunition. I’m
connection to the cause, it’s emotional and not going to go into detail, but if you want to
you’ve obviously created a response from the avoid making the morality come off as a
village. Feel free to go into it as detailed as gimmick, leave it entirely up to the player. If
you like. What’s important is that a simple act you do it right, the player should feel not only
of stealing is now intertwined with the emotionally conflicted (or at peace), but
player’s relationship with the town! Where should be thinking about his actions long
you want to take this is up to you, working after playing. Simple touches that disturb or
these moments in so that they play a role in enlighten (an otherwise typical gun that IJI
the overall growth of the player and the slowly saps the vitality of the setting
narrative as a whole depends on the game whenever it’s used, or a spell that makes kids enjoying this art and making one of the most
you have in mind, and as always, practice giggle uncontrollably, but is a potent truth rewarding and involved processes in the
and implement as you see fit. serum for adults). I recommend making these world feel like work. When you add an
affects purely aesthetic, that way, the only emotional touch to your game, it’s going to
But what if you’re striving for a minimalist issue the player would have using these take time and a lot of effort to get it right,
narrative? Well, you can always surprise the would be based off his emotional connection and because of that, I recommend keeping it
player with some added touches to the game to the game. How far you take these simple. Because it’s such and involved part of
play. The extremes are pretty obvious, you examples is completely up to you, but as I’ve the stories progression, it can’t be thrown in
said many times, every little touch makes haphazardly, in the sense of more is better,
your game that much more immersive, and if instead the more occurrences, the more you
this is done right, then it’s gonna stick with a put into the occurrences you CAN add are
lot of people. what’s important.

Now ask yourself, are you trying to make an Once you have finished your game,
artistic statement with your game? Is it congratulations! You have created a game
themed? Try to ignore the answer, because with mature themes and ideas! As long as it’s
you should let critics worry about the answer. coherent and fits into the game you have in
I believe game development should be a mind, the relationship you’ve built between
learning experience and I’m completely the player and the game is going to be
against forcing down a certain style. The deeper than any movie or book could create.
difference between intrinsically designing the However, keep in mind making a good game
game you want to make and wanting to make is never as important as the game you want
TEAM FORTRESS 2 a game good is the difference between to make.

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A QUICK LOOK AT GAME WRITING
By Mike Alfus

T here are only so many stories to be
told in this world. There's the
underdog story, the fate of the world
saves the world. Sound like any games
you've played recently?

story, the long lost love story and so on. Don't use time travel as a way to explain a
These stories are the backbone to plot twist or ending in a game. Just don't.
literature around the world, and they Now hang on, before you start screaming
also find their way into the realm of "But Chrono Trigger did it!" at me, let me
games. The key in telling stories like explain myself. I love Chrono Trigger as much
these is to find a spark of originality to as the next gamer, and it's even one of my
make it your own. Why then, in games, favorite games of all time. But here's the
do we constantly see the same story thing; Chrono Trigger was built around the
structures represented, and have idea of time travel. It was prominent in the
characters that can be slapped into whole game, so it made sense in that
stereotypical molds? In my eyes, the universe. But other games, games that don't
story and character of a game can make revolve around time travel, should never use
or break the experience, so I've decided it to try and explain the plot. I just recently
to come up with some basic do's and finished a game that pulled time travel out CAVEMAN CRAIG
don'ts for video game writing. towards the end, where you find out that the of the quickest ways to turn someone off to
last boss you faced was actually you who had your story, or possibly even your game as a
Here are a few things that should be avoided travelled back in time to do... honestly I don't whole. The story should be the backbone to
when considering the story for a game... know what. I won't say what game it was, the entire game, the rails upon which the
but I will say that it was a very recent title, roller coaster rides, so to speak. So why
Don't let the entire fate of the world rest on one that I did not expect time travel to factor would you want to throw bland characters
the shoulders of a 14 year old farm hand. into at all. In the end, it's a total cop out, and into the mix? You know them better than you
We've all seen Star Wars, and countless other lets writers and developers get away with might think: The Grizzled Soldier, The Fat
movies and games that follow this formula totally inane plot twists that can ruin an Boisterous Friend, The Cool Renegade, The
and I think it's time to give it a rest. This plot otherwise good (or even just decent) Witty Thief, the list goes on. It's fine to use
thread mainly pops up in RPG's, where the storyline. If you're thinking about time travel those character types as general guidelines,
main character, who most of the time is very in your next game, you better be ready to but any memorable character in a game
young, becomes wrapped up in an adventure base the entire game around it, or else you needs to have a good back story and some
with world ending stakes. The story pretty run the risk of having some pretty peeved depth. Take Solid Snake for example. He's
much tells itself from there: young one is players on your hands. definitely build off the 'Grizzled Soldier'
excited at first, then becomes frightened, is template, but he has a rich history that gives
bolstered by those around them, doubts their Don't let your characters fall into his character the depth that makes him such
abilities, eventually grows to the task and conventional stereotypes, because that is one an icon in today's gaming world. Each

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Continued: A Quick Look At Game Writing

character doesn't have to have a novel length for growth and development, you're starting players along, other than enjoying the actual
background, but some extra details and to head towards the 'little man has the fate of gameplay. Plot twists are important, but you
intriguing information never hurt. the world in his hands' scenario. Having a need to have the questions laid down fairly
more mature and older main character gives early in the game in order for players to begin
you a chance to develop a rich and deep to piece together the answers as they go.
back story, have their views on life already One game that does this very well is Mass
set, which can then be challenged later in the Effect, which plants several questions in the
game. Any time you have a character that players mind early in the game, and then
begins questioning what they once stood by leaves them to explore the galaxy in the
can be a very dramatic shift, and make for a order they wish to find out. It's a great plot
great piece of story. device, and a good way to keep gamers
gaming.
Give the player options to curve the story in a
different way. A few issues ago, I tackled the So I hope this helps. I'm not trying to stand
idea of moral choices in gaming, and said on a soapbox either, and I don't want it to
that having the ability to make them gives look like I'm talking down to all the game
the player a much bigger stake in the story writers and story developers out there. Like I
and the characters overall. By allowing the said, there's always room for improvement,
player to have input on how the story in the and I hope you can take something away
game progresses, they feel like they have a from the little list I put together. And
ANOTHER DAY IN THE LIFE OF BOB bigger role in the world or scenario you've remember, no time travel!
created, and it becomes a much more
Now I can see how you might draw the enjoyable experience. You don't even need
conclusion that I think all games, besides a to create an entire open ended experience
select few, have horrible stories and cliché either, but merely giving the player a few
characters. No worries, because I don't feel choices as to how to advance the story along
that way. That doesn't mean there isn't room the way will help create a more immersive
for improvement though. If you're even stuck experience.
in writing or developing your characters or
story for a game, keep the next few things in Another way to have gamer’s eager to work
mind, because they might help you steer their way through your stories is to lead them
away from the pack. on with unanswered questions. You need to
have a few mysteries up your sleeve in order
Have a mature main character. I cannot to entice players along. Whether its details
stress this enough. If you let yourself think about a characters past, or some secret as to
that having a younger character will be better the actual origins or motives of an enemy, it's
for the story because it gives you more room the answers to these questions that drive

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13 | ADVERTISEMENT

WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
14 | REVIEWS

COILFIGHTER
Download
Developer : Chickenfeed
Reviewer : Scoz however the sluggish choice
Type : Completed tends to be a bit overpowered.

R
The difficulty curve is fairly steep,
but those who’ve played a lot of
egardless of the number screen filling action. To be fair, these curtain shmups will find it
of shooters created on this mechanic is far from quite simplistic.
the GMC, truly enjoyable uncharted territory, however
shmups are few and far Coilfighter is compelling because Coilfighter certainly has an
between. Understandably, of its level of polish, not its aesthetic presence. The graphical
when a decent shmup does innovation. The diversity of boss proficiency permeates most some subtle bangs and bops to
arise from the swamps of weapons means that some aspects of the game. Bullets coincide with the emanation of a
reskinned tutorials it beautiful and challenging bullet shine with a colourful new bullet wave; however I was
deserves to be recognised. patterns emerge, and the luminescence as they speed thankful to see that boss
Thankfully, Chickenfeed has segmented nature of the enemies towards you, and your bullets explosions were not ignored in
recently satiated our hunger creates dynamic battles that spray out of your coil with this respect.
with their newest offering change as more sections get startling ferocity. However, there
Coilfighter. destroyed. The player is given the are some choices that don’t quite Coilfighter is an enjoyable romp,
choice of three ships which range sit right. The game centres on though it’s unsure whether it has
Coilfighter is a boss based bullet from bulky and strong to nimble circular geometry, so it is done enough to remain in our
hell shmup. Players must fight and frail, and for the most part somewhat jarring that the memories. It does not seek to
their way through 11 levels of these choices are balanced, background is a shifting square revolutionise the genre, rather it
field. Similarly, the player’s coil merely reinvigorates our taste for
has an inner glow, giving the unit it. It’s a fair chunk of game as
a stronger feeling of form; well, with a lot of content to be
however this is not carried over had. Whilst the visuals aren’t
to the bosses. perfect they are of a very high
standard and should be
Newgrounds Audio Portal music is applauded. If you’re willing to
used to good effect, with song give Coilfighter a chance, you’ll
changes reinforcing jumps in find a solid, enjoyable shmup that
difficulty. The style of the song is challenging and engrossing.
matches the visual style, and the
tempo matches the pace of the Gameplay: 8/10
gameplay. However, the aural
aspects of Coilfighter are
Graphics: 7/10
somewhat let down by the lack of Sound: 7/10
SFX. This game could really use Originality: 5/10
WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
15 | REVIEWS

VIRUSXVIRUS
without shooting it. Every 20

Download
Developer : NessXX
Reviewer : NAL seconds or so (I wasn't able to tell
Type : Completed exactly, every time I looked at the

T
time elapsed, the sod shot me in
the face) the screen fades out
here have been plenty of widespread popularity". and the enemy is replaced with a
entries into the "bullet VirusXVirus is like a simplified bigger, more armed one. Without
hell" category in Game Maker version of Clean Asia!, which in the shooting to remove some of
games, a subgenre of "arcade some ways isn't really a bad the guns and alleviate the
shooter" which generally thing. For a start the controls are amount you have to avoid, this
revolves around having to easy - directional buttons to mode gets difficult fast.
avoid hundreds, or move. That's all. Shooting is done
thousands, of bullets while automatically for you, except in Graphically, the game is simple
shooting the enemy or survival mode where you can't but satisfactory. Only shades of
enemies creating them. shoot (more on that later). white, green and black are ever Since the creator of the game's
Unfortunately, most bullet visible, and sprites are, for the mother tongue isn't English
hell games end up being In the main mode of the game most part, geometric shapes with though, I'm not going to keep
rubbish. VirusXVirus, you are attacked by increasingly perhaps a little inner decoration. going on about them. They're
thankfully, isn't one of these. complex creatures. Each one has They fit together well though. minor errors and never hinder
a number of points which shoot at One thing I did like was the in- your understanding of what they
The game is based on such other you in a variety of ways (the way game background, a scrolling grid mean. The game itself didn't
bullet hell games as the excellent they shoot depends on the shape, with the occasional 3D block. contain any glitches I found.
Clean Asia!, also known as "the for instance the square shoots
game that shot Cactus into up/down/left/right, the circle Within the game I found about The game overall was very
shoots all of those and diagonally four different sound effects. As addictive, helped out by online
too). To complete the wave and with the graphics, they were highscores reminding you that
move onto the next enemy you simple but fit. To be honest, I you're not the best in the world at
have to shoot all of these points don't think any extra sounds Survival mode... yet. Although
off. The points are connected by would've helped the game in this some expansion of the idea would
inanimate lines that can be shot aspect. Same with the music improve the game, in its current
but don't need to be. Weirdly, great choice of tune. state it's fine. Definitely one of
when the enemy is defeated any the better bullet hells.
of the remaining connectors stay A few faults were present in the
floating on the spot. game in terms of spelling and Gameplay: 7.5/10
Survival mode is slightly different,
grammar errors, for example the
killing of an enemy in the main
Graphics: 7/10
in that instead of having to kill mode resulting in "Level Succes!". Sound: 6.5/10
the enemy, you have to survive Originality: 4/10
WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
16 | REVIEWS

XPLODE
Download
Developer : Dark Aura
Reviewer : NAL
Type : Completed

O ne type of game has,
within the last couple of
years, become pretty popular
shaped enemies, or anything
else. Down to the core gameplay,
that was it. Yet, somehow, for me
in Game Maker. The weird it didn't matter.
game. The ones that show no
sign of realism, are full of What truly "makes" the game is
bizarre but good looking how much effort has been put
graphical effects, and are into the graphics. Killing an
usually shoot-em-ups. Xplode enemy explodes it into little
is exactly the kind of people I swirly lines. The background is
expect about a third of all made up of constantly flashing
players to hate. I like it. strips of red and white. The game
also appears to make use of
I'll get the gameplay factor over surfaces - your bullets leave long screen is constantly shaking. in the way that gives me the
and done with. Xplode's trails as they zip across the Don't play this game if you're nagging thought I've been
gameplay is unbelievably simple. screen (this may be my own poor epileptic. hypnotised into liking it. The
You're a circle. You shoot squares judgment though - only bullets simplicity of the game, mixed
with lines. Squares sometimes and the swirly lines left trails, and As for sound, the music was really with the bizarreness of the
shoot back. That's it. I didn't see thre are other ways of achieving fitting to the game - loud, beaty, graphics, and dashed with the
any hint of powerups, other the effect). On top of all that, the just the thing with which to fill pure beatiness of the music, are a
your head before the game winning combination. Having said
"xplodes" it. Sound effects are that, I'm sure there will be a lot of
minimal, which doesn't matter. people who hate it. I can't judge if
They're not the focus of attention. you will or not. If, after five
seconds of playing you're laying
The game, I believe, does on the floor shaking and gurgling,
manage to maintain a level of you're probably a "not".
originality, as do most "weird
games" (yeah, I need a better Gameplay: 4.5/10
name for it), despite all deriving
from similar ideas.
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 7.5/10
Overall, I did enjoy this game, but Originality: 8/10
WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
17 | REVIEWS

HIDDEN GEMS
Broxter unearths the games you may have overlooked

ROLL BY MICHAEL PW fairly good, gaining difficulty at vs YS lies in the clever level
Physics games have been appropriate speed and with fresh design and wide range of
released aplenty in recent times features to keep it interesting. enemies to beat. The levels are
and here’s another to grace our The controls are suitably simple quite long in length even though
monitors. Including 44 levels with as well. they’re one-screen (Alexitrón has
rising difficulty, this should keep cunningly incorporated
you addicted for quite a while. The presentation of the game is checkpoints to lower potential
rather lacklustre, with frustration). The player must
The aim of the game is very unimaginative whites and blacks navigate through a number of
straightforward – get the ball used much too often and an doors in each level, with some are some snazzy effects when the
from the start to the red circle at overuse of the font, ‘Calibri’. The usually unlocked by killing a player or an enemy dies; they
the end of each level. This is done main menu is probably the worst certain bunch of baddies. almost clash with the way of the
through the player drawing a line, aspect – I’ve never seen such a game, but the creator keeps them
which the ball rolls on after being plain, boring, unattractive Visually, it’s consistent; the same simple enough not to. However, I
released at the click of the right opening to a game. Fortunately, style is employed throughout the felt that the menu could do with
mouse button. The ball must roll the gameplay makes up for the adventure. The sprites are very some serious improvement; its
through all the rotating triangles, disappointing presentation. well animated and make the dull-looking appearance will be
while avoiding the somewhat experience feel more alive, if you the first thing the players see,
annoying square blocks - they kill Now, normally I’d write about the know what I mean. The choice of and it’s not exactly going to
on impact. The game runs fairly audio qualities of a game here. colours is good, with each impress.
smoothly, even with the irritating But… well, there isn’t any. complimenting another and there
transitions; glitches are far and There’s no background music, but
few between. Level design is Download there are a number of sound
effects that are frequent enough
to compensate for the lack of a
BLASTERMAN VS running tune. Moreover, the
YELLOWSKULL BY absence builds up tension and
ALEXITRÓN atmosphere, to an extent.
Alexitrón has brought us another Whether or not this is a good
fun, action-packed platformer, yet thing probably depends on the
this one seems not to have player’s preferences.
reached such a grand notice.
Technically, the game is very Download
simple, but the real meat of BM

WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
18 | REVIEWS
Continued: Hidden Gems

MINDHUNTER BY
AMIDOS The graphics carry quite a
MindHunter is a puzzle platformer definitive style, helping with
with quite a clear core feature – consistency. However, for some
the ability to control other objects reason, the HUD doesn’t tone
in order to open a door to the with this cartoony style and
next level. Pretty much every detracts from what could have
level involves moving through been a very polished looking
‘teleporters’ after switching them game. The menu attracts players
on; while this is a good way of with its polish and easy-to-
increasing the challenge, the navigate layout, but
overuse of the idea makes it feel unfortunately I found another
quite repetitive after a fairly short exception to the otherwise
time. The biggest problem with consistent visual treat – the game SNOWBALL BY professionalism of the
MindHunter is quite apparent – uses the default GameMaker N-ORGANISM presentation, with glossy
the controls are awfully game information text box to Snowball is a very linear arcade information boxes and fitting
implemented, leading to show the ‘Help’ information. This game with an extremely simple effects that wrap up the game
otherwise unneeded lengthy is something I never really like to objective. The player must launch nicely. Most of the graphics work
explanations of them. Not see from any game; it the sticky snowball character well together, with a nice range
something you really want to considerably reduces quality. upwards from each spinning of colours. I was pleased to see
read in a small freeware game. wooden wheel, gaining points for more realistic visuals than the
The upbeat audio felt apt and every jump. The real challenge is gimmicky retro-styled sprites that
matched the cartoony style of the judging the timing, as one slight are increasingly common in
game. While it did get a bit misjudgement can ruin your GameMaker games of late.
cyclical after a while, I found progress completely. There’s little
myself nodding my head to the replayability, since there are no The music is also very nice.
catchy rhythm. As expected in a new features at all, although the Fitting well with the game’s
good game, appropriate and inclusion of online high scores in atmosphere and style, it’s a joy to
fitting sound effects are also the downloadable version should listen to and makes the game
present. tempt the player to keep trying to flow slickly. The sound effects
Download get the top score, even if it may also compliment Snowball,
bore the impatient. making it feel relatively
professional.
As always, in games by n-
organism, the graphics really do Download
excel. Especially in the

WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
19 | EXTRAS

DEVELOPMENT OF: INNOQUOUS 3 Download
By NAL

A round mid-last year, I noticed the
existence of a fair few platformers
using changing the direction of gravity
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
randomly selected most of the other colours.
Light, pastelly colours were used to give the
game a calming aesthetic.
as their gimmick. None of them were administrators noticed and enjoyed it, and
very smooth in play though - they were featured it. Its popularity then shot up very After the graphics were done, I began on level
glitchy, transitions between gravity quickly - it was featured on numerous gaming design. I aimed for around 30 levels - plenty
directions were dodgy, and the games in blogs and got into UK magazine "EDGE". to play but not so many the game became
general really weren't that fun to play. repetitive - and managed that many. All the
I'd recently learnt about the I was still unhappy though, so a few months way throughout level design, which was
functionality of view_angle while making after I released a sequel. I added harmful about half of Innoquous 3's development
another (cancelled) game, and obstacles, which gave me more ideas. I made time, I maintained a GMC topic and kept
wondered if it could be applied to 18 new levels for the game then released it. updating with builds. I also asked for new
gravity switching. After an hour or so, It never matched the popularity, though it obstacles, many of which made the game
the beginning of Innoquous had formed. wasn't THAT bad - it recently got its 1,000th (including switches and conveyor-like
Then, it was just level design. play on YoYo Games. "movers"). With several obstacle additions, I
was able to reach 30 levels without too many
After making ten levels for this game, I ran Despite this, I remained unhappy. I felt there "out of ideas" points. I then ordered the levels
out of ideas. I'd named the game Innoquous was way more that could be done with the based on testers' comments.
after the word "innocuous", meaning concept. So, a couple of months ago, I began
"harmless". I did this as there were no on making a third game. This time, though, I Early in development I'd decided to include a
harmful obstacles in levels other than falling didn't just want more levels. I wanted to level selection, so I started the menu system.
make the game BIG. Loads of levels, loads of I used a similar system to Ne Touchez Pas 3's
game modes, loads of everything. I wasn't level select, but refined it to make it better.
sure if my attention span would allow me to For instance, the inability to play levels until
make something so big, but I went for it you'd beaten all the previous ones meant I
anyway. could store progress in one variable, not one
per level. I also decided while making the
Before doing anything else, the first thing I menu that it would carry a "page"-style
did was added colour to the game. I wanted interface, where every page represented a
Innoquous 3 to feel different to the other game mode. After a few ideas on how I'd go
games in as many ways as possible, and about this, I decided to make the eight page
colour was the easiest difference I could titles rotate around a point and have the user
make. I kept some of the graphical features "flip" them in a style (and engine) similar to
intact, though, including the effect where the the gravity flipping in the game. This ended
ball "joins" to walls (achieved by drawing all up working really well - the menu runs very
the outlines with a very deep object). I went smoothly and is easy to use.
for the logical "blue sky, grassy floors" and

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20 | EXTRAS
Continued: Innoquous 3

Another aspect I'd decided early on were the completion status, so the player didn't have
game modes available (excluding speedruns). to keep returning to the menu to check what
I'd had an idea for a mode like "Fiery Floors" they had to do.
as early as mid-Innoquous 2 so I made it for
3. The mode was incredibly easy to create - Once this was done, I moved onto making the
the menu uses a global variable to work out speedrun modes. This brought up one of the
what page it was most recently viewing. The most tedious parts of making the game -
lethalised floors then see if that variable importing the levels from Innoquous 1 and 2
matches the Fiery Floors option - if it doesn't, and replacing all the old objects with I3's
they delete themselves. The levels were equivalents. This basically meant remaking
tested in this mode for difficulty, tweaked and all 28 levels. I split one of Innoquous 2's
finalised. Excluding Standard (normal) mode, levels into two part-levels as it was big and online GML skill, "Unknown Gamer". I asked
the other main option is Conditional. This was laggy, and added an extra level, to bring the him if he'd be able to make something for
one of a few ideas I'd had for modes - I ended level count to 60. I named the two speedrun uploading scores online and having them
up choosing it as, although it would take a modes INQS 30 (speedrun of I3) and INQS 60 displayed - he said yes. He completed most of
little work, it would mean the mode had (speedrun of all three) respectively. I then the online work around the same point I
variety (each level has its own objective - made the engine for the initial countdown completed the offline part. He took the
although about 50% are simply "Complete and post-speedrun editable and added the needed code, and it
the level in a set time", each one requires congratulations/commiserations, which worked fine. He also added things such as
thought on how to meet the objective). I wasn't too much effort. global ranking of completion percentages and
added an additional part to the HUD for fastest speedrun times.
Conditional displaying the level objective and Trophies/achievements are popular
nowadays, so I felt I had to include some. I Even though Innoquous 3 is technically
decided on ten trophies which were then complete, it's getting bigger. Unknown Gamer
sprited quickly - I found a royalty-free picture is working on individual signature cards,
of a trophy, then added text/images for each images which show people your stats and can
one. They got their own page on the main be placed in forum signatures, on websites
menu and were able to cross themselves out etc. Another user is working on a level editor
if not obtained. During this part, I also added for the game. If this is completed, Unknown
a Percentage Complete variable. The rest of Gamer will then work on the ability to upload
the offline stuff was just cleaning up - making levels to a community of I3 players. I will also
the title image, filling gaps on menu pages work on integrating the creator and player
with relevant (or irrelevant) information, into the game.
adding the row of buttons for functional stuff
like saving, loading and quitting, etc. I hope this has given you an idea as to how
Innoquous 3 has been made, and will
Throughout development, I'd been in contact continue to be.
with someone with a fair amount of PHP and

WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
21 | EXTRAS

GM8 BETA Download
Information on YoYo Games' latest GM8 Beta

WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009
GMTECH EXCLU
22 | EXTRAS

ARCMAGI SIVE
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.

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? rebalanced, or otherwise improved.
Well, quite frankly everything is different and there is also someone
yet it's a similar game. You know, it's kinda When do you expect the game to be with the title
like what Quake was to Doom. There's a huge released? programmer. Do you
difference between the two, but they share I don't know. I hope for somewhere in the both write code for
the same core idea and gameplay. That's why next year. It's a large game and we want to the game, and if so
it's not called MAGI 2. It's not a sequel — take our time to polish it. Being indie, we how do you control
more like the same concept redone from don't have real deadlines, and we want to how all the code is
scratch to be a much better overall game. take advantage of that. put together?
Yes, we both write code
From obvious stuff: there's the new art, a Commercially, was the original Magi a for the game. It took us
move into sideways perspective, changed success for you? some time to learn how
character development system, tons of new It sold enough to allow me to fund ArcMagi to keep everything clear,
spells and abilities, and overall a much higher without selling a kidney. That's a huge modular and well
level of polish of all the game elements. But success for a first commercial game! documented, but it
it's really more subtle that that. Virtually definitely was worth it.
every part of the game was reworked, The team list shows that as well as you, We have different areas

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23 | EXTRAS
Continued: ArcMagi

of expertise though, and it helps a bit. I focus good, fun and strategically challenging game. THE TEAM
on visual aspect of the game, gameplay There's also some meaning of what the TeeGee is keen to stress that ArcMagi is very
balance, AI, and user experience. Marius is characters and events in the game actually much a team effort. From left to right there's
more "technical". He coded the engine, the represent, but I don't want to impose it. If Thomas Grochowiak (aka TeeGee), who is the
underlying mechanics, editors, and other someone wants to dig deeper to get our team leader, Rob Westwood, the music
stuff needing a better grasp of complex message, that's cool. But if someone prefers composer, Marius Utheim, the programmer,
maths than I have. to just focus on throwing fireballs and Kate Kluge, character designer and Lurk, the
watching them explode in pretty colors, that's artist.
We had a few problems with overwritten code great too.
and misunderstood feature requests, as GM
isn't really designed for multiple coder During the entire production of the
projects, but nothing major. Frequent game from start to finish, which part is
communication and documenting everything the most time consuming/requires the
you do seems to be the key. most effort?
Also, being good mates and trusting each Hmm. It's pretty even in ArcMagi. Each one of
other is very important as well. us puts lots of time and effort into what he or
she does. The graphical content and
What is the main focus of ArcMagi? character animations definitely take tons of
To have some fun smashing wizards with effort to create. So does gameplay balance,
meteors, ha ha. I really just want it to be a 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.

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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24 | EXTRAS

THE SOUND OF ARCMAGI
TeeGee writes about ArcMagi's music recording sessions CONCEPT ART

T
This is a character design done by Kate
“Dormouse” Kluge – our concept artist. It
hese are few pictures Rob (our represent one summoned creature – the
composer) took during live recording djinnie.
session for two of the game’s musical
pieces – Fear Her and Morricone Mages. Our goal was to design the characters so that
they escape the beaten to death fantasy
We are all very dedicated to this project cliches and are much more modern and
(that’s probably why it’s moving forward even stylish in their look.
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.

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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25 | EXTRAS

GUI EVOLUTION 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
TeeGee explains the steps taken to create the GUI

A
removing something and limiting areas that weren’t necessary all
the time.
rcMagi’s GUI (Graphical User Interface) has had the
largest amount of total reworks of all the game’s
elements so far.

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
First attempt at realizing the design mockup. We didn’t like how it made icon slots retractable, to only take enough space to fit spells
looked and quickly decided to ditch it in favor of something milder known by the player’s character. It looked much better and Lurk did
and more fitting to the game. 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.

The second attempt looked much better and Lurk (our artist) put
some amazing details into these panels. However, at this point, I realized we were never going to get a non-clunky, clear look with
being able to finally test the game with a proper HUD, we realized any form of panels. I also had another issue; the rest of the game had
it’s way to clunky and that it has large areas that aren’t really a modern 'lite' interface which clashed with the stone panels.
necessary and could confuse players.
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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29 | EXTRAS

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
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.

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 for a large-scale community game the GMCG would become a disaster. In spite
member to participate in the creation of before but they've generally been of this, hope came when Chronic saved the
a unique game whatever their skill level or shouted down and the topics closed GMCG and me from catastrophe, Chronic
age. We welcome absolutely everyone - quickly, were you surprised when you sorted out the sub-forums and the result: A
whether you can sprite, program, compose, realised that it is was actually going to newborn GMCG. This fresh start boosted the
organize, write, advertise, market, sketch, happen? moral of users, however even now it is
design, voice act, share your critique or I was shell-shocked, when I received the go recovering from its previous calamity.
thoughts, give ideas or even just watch the ahead to make the community game. It was
GMCG progress is entirely up to you, we have just an idea (not knowing other people have What is the structure of the GMCG
no limit to team members. My vision is to been shouted down with the same idea) and I team?
construct a beautifully woven game built never intended for someone like me to lead The structure of the GMCG is simple:
entirely by the GMC, so we can boast about it it. Actually I still think there are a lot of
in the future...not really! It is so we can look members out there who could lead the GMCG The Leader and Co-leader lead the project
back at the community game and stare in better than me. Though I do not mind the followed by four additional leaders to
awe of what we have built knowing that we responsibility and the challenge although it accompany each department of the game;
have helped in making this community game. can be difficult at times. graphics, programming, design and sound
Additionally I hope the GMCG will help and music. These leaders now called directors
educate novice members in creating Did you have any hesitations about are in charge of their own artists, composers,
teams/games in the future and game making being the leader? designers and programmers and organize the
as a whole. At first no, however just after the launch of aspects of the game they are in charge of.
the GMCG I had my doubts. Tensions grew Some departments will have assistants to
Lots of people have made suggestions and there were a few early suspicions that help directors in leading each department.
The community members can work in any

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SEPT EMBER 2009
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Continued: A Sense Of Community

department. GMCG sub-forums nice and clean and also a over the FAQ their next step is to check out
friendly place much like the rest of the GMC. the GMCG’s Terms and Conditions just to
How long do you think it will be until the make sure they understand and accept them.
game is playable? How do the project leaders stay in
It’s a difficult question as this is a large-scale contact with each other to have After they have completed both these steps
game with a very large team and I can’t set a discussions? and are more then sure that they understand
definite deadline in this stage of production. Starting from the 6th of June (which has what they are doing, they are then able to
Nevertheless I can take a rough estimate to obviously been and gone) the GMCG Leaders submit any and every piece of work that they
when we will expect the GMCG to enter alpha have organized a meeting each Saturday, at want. Also I must tell everyone, the GMCG
development; late 2009 in December. Though these meetings we discuss a variety of topics sub-forums are still a part of the GMC,
this might change due to several that are related to the GMCG Project and therefore you still must follow any and every
factors/problems we may face in the future. even talk about new GMCG Group rule and or regulations the GMC has, any
——————————————————————— modifications such as candidates for leaders violations of these rules and the GMC staff
and what-not. will deal with you accordingly.

Sn1per809 All these meetings take place on Instant If someone is still unsure in what to do, or
(Co-leader) Messenger such as yahoo and MSN. even if they have a questions about the
GMCG, don't be afraid to send grimmjow or
What role do you play as Is there a hidden forum on the GMC you myself a PM, I will reply fairly quickly to your
co-leader? use? PM with an answer that will hopefully solve
As co-leader, I am given the Yes there is, this area is used as a staging most problems or concerns a member may
responsibility of keeping this area for new topics. We also use this forum to have.
project running smoothly and get each leader’s thoughts and concerns
efficiently on a day to day basis. In the about certain events that are happening Who will be making the actual game
possible chance of grimmjow ever being throughout the GMCG, such as the finalization content?
absent for a short period of time I am to take of the Terms and Conditions. Graphics, sounds, scripts, anything that goes
up his role and temporarily take lead of the into this Game Maker Community project will
GMCG until the inevitable event in which If someone would like to contribute to always be created by the Game Maker
grimmjow returns back to the GMC from his the GMCG but aren't sure how, what Community, whether they are a GMC member
absence. should they do? or administrator, everyone is welcome to help
First of all, before submitting anything to the create this project and become a part of an
Keeping the GMCG project running smoothly GMCG, I would highly recommend that they exciting, friendly team.
consists of many different tasks. These tasks are fully aware about what this project is
include certain jobs like; organizing the Terms about (storyline, design aspects etc). They I have said it many times but I will be more
and Conditions and many other important can do this from a variety of topics but my then happy to say it again. This is a
topics, answering many questions from suggestion is to drop into the “Game Maker community game and will be created by any
members about the GMCG and keeping the Community Game FAQ”. After they have read 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,
LarsonCreativity 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
What previous until many months later that I joined the
experience have you had GMC. I got involved with many projects, and
of designing games? I'm still involved with many today. Making the
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 like to see a semi-realistic approach. This
ago, my creation program of choice was a view games, not to mention incorporating delivers more realistic detail, while still being
pencil. I have been designing games on paper other aspects such as programming and very comfortable to players. The game will be
for a number of years. Back then I wanted to music. meant to carry a more serious tone due to
break into the game industry, I still do, but I the themes carried by the plot, but I also
had no knowledge of programming, spriting, The description of Eve says it will be a want to be able to deliver smaller doses of
or composing, therefore my designs often free-roaming, open-ended, adventure themes delivered through character
never left the comfort of a four sided sheet. RPG, with two huge worlds. Do you think relationships like creepy, mischievous, and
When I was designing paper games, I was this was a wise choice for a first game? comical just to name a few. I want the game's
also big on writing. I wrote many short Yes and no. On the one side; Eve took the world to have their own way of life. I don't
stories, and many half-way-done novels. hearts of so many members, and working on just want the player to play the game, I want
Writing has in the past contributed a large a game that your interested in is much easier. them to live the game, and to achieve
amount of depth to my game design, but On the other side; this is a very aggressive satisfaction from doing so.
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 With so many people wanting to have
that we achieve the free-roaming and open- their opinion heard about the design of
After a couple years I really began to aspire ended style we are aspiring too, while the game, how are you going to control
to get involved with developing games, and I maintaining a solid game structure that we the discussions?
turned to, now one of my greatest friends, need. It will be difficult, but we have great Very carefully. I will need to be strict when it
Google. I searched and searched, and staff and dedicated contributors, which is key comes to the design discussions, and I will
eventually found a piece of software called for any game's success. need to set up the topics in such a way that it
Game Editor. After about a year of pure tells people what the discussion is, how you
frustration of trying to use that software, I What style of game will you be going contribute to the discussion, why this
created my first computer game, Galactic for? discussion is needed, how it will be
Galaxies. It was sort of like Space Invaders, Through the game I want to deliver freedom, implemented into the game, etc. As long as
sorrow, joy, anger, etc. Graphics wise I would

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32 | EXTRAS
Continued: A Sense Of Community

we're clear, concise, and to the point in the
discussion topics, there should be no
find our footing. This is mostly due to the
learning curve and organization associated BE PART OF THE GMCG
problem. with a large scale project, as well as any
——————————————————————— other problems which may occur. Finding the CHARACTER DESIGN

Chronic
best way to do something is always a time Get involved with discussing the game
sink, in anything people do. Overall I think characters that hold major, supporting, and
(GMC Administrator) progress has been good. minor roles throughout the course of the
game. Put forward your ideas for characters
Lots of people have How much responsibility are you going personality traits, actions, background, and
made suggestions for a to give the leaders and will you be how the character fits into the game itself.
large scale community playing much of a role in determining
game before but they've the direction of the project? Find Out More
generally had the topics The GMCG leaders are in full control of the
closed quickly. What project and direction its taking. My role so far EVE - DISCUSSION: WORLDS
made you decide to give has been one of support, giving help where I Join in the discussions about the
the idea a go this time? can. world/environment in Eve. SilentxxBunny (the
With past requests of this sort people have author of Eve) describes Eden as a
always replied with negative comments What has the reaction of the other "mysterious dream world" and the real world
saying that it would never work, and moderating staff been like? is a modern realm of darkness. This is your
generally weren't behind the idea of such a So far the staffs reaction has been good, chance to expand on that and put forward
project. I've always thought this not to be the some of them even contributing to the your suggestions on the landscape, culture,
case believing that the success or failure of a project. There were some initial concerns geography, history, wildlife and people of the
project is down to the people who are part of regarding what moderation privileges the two worlds.
it. In other words, if people are willing to work GMCG group has, and if it will impact the rest
on the project it will succeed regardless of the of the forum. Find Out More
quality of the end product.

I guess my reasoning for supporting this PROGRAMMING - MOVEMENT ENGINE
request could be compared to being poked If you believe you have programming skills
over and over. Eventually its going to wear then you can begin to work on the first
you down, and you'll react to it. In this case, I programming task of the project - to create a
was annoyed by people's negative comments 3/4 view, 8 directional movement engine.
and reacted to it. There are a few guidelines that you need to
follow, so before you get carried away make
How well do you think it has been going sure you get to terms with the rules.
so far?
So far things have been going slow while we Find Out More

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33 | EXTRAS

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

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34 | EXTRAS

BE PART OF GMT LEGAL STUFF COPYRIGHT
The Game Maker Technology Magazine is
CORRECTIONS licensed under Creative Commons license.
JOIN THE TEAM GMTech Magazine is happy to correct any This means you are free to copy, distribute
Becoming a part of the GMTech team is easy. published errors. If you spot any mistakes and and transmit the work. This work is for Non-
You just need to be a good writer and would like to alert the editors to it, send a Commercial use only. You are NOT allowed to
competent with GM. Simply make a topic in message to gmtech.magazine@gmail.com alter, modify or build upon the work
the Join The Team forum and we'll set you a outlining the error, including the correct contained in the magazine.
little a test. Once accepted, you can be proud information.
of the fact that you're part of the longest
running Game Maker magazine. We will endeavour to correct any published
errors as quickly as possible.
Join The Team
Thanks
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 CLOSING
the GMT forums, then we'll get in touch with I've had the pleasure of doing many
you. As long as it's of a high quality we'll put interviews and contacting lots of people while
it into the next issue. This is a great way to at GMTech and, without exception, everyone
contribute without having to commit to the has been extremely kind and willing to help in
team or if you have less time to spend anyway they can. I am frequently surprised

ISSUE 18
writing. by the depth of answers I recieve to
questions I have asked.
Submit An Article
This month was no exception. I am grateful to
TeeGee for preparing such brilliant material to
WEBSITE make the ArcMagi article one of the best I COMING SOON...
You can download and read all of our issues think we've ever done. I am also grateful to
from our website, as well as find out more the GMCG team for taking the time out from
information about GMTech. News about the project to take part in the interviews, I
GMTech is always posted there first. hope it gives people a better idea about what
the GMCG is and how it will achieve what it
www.gamemakertech.info hopes to do.

Tim (aka Timoi)
Assistant Editor

WWW.GAMEMAKERTECH.INFO ISSUE 17 - SEPTEMBER 2009