The good thing about this is that games don’t have to be the best looking title, or give you endless customisation, just as long as they’re fun and easy to play. I’ve always wanted to make my own game and with this is definitely a step in the right direction.
The Gamer Maker’s Companion is the second book, with the first one being The Game Maker’s Apprentice. Unfortunately, I haven’t read the first book, so sinking my teeth into the second book was a bit tricky as it assumes you’ve already read the first.
Each book does come with a disc which is full of resources that you’ll need to go through the book including Game Maker 8.0 which is the programme you will need to use to complete the chapters in the book.
Saying that though, the more you progress through the book, the more you will pick things up, and I found it really interesting to see the kind of things you need to do to create games. From sprites to variables and even how to integrate a decent story into a game. I already had an idea of what to expect from my time at university, but this book makes it quite enjoyable.
When I was at university, one of the things I hated most was writing code as I found it to be really dull and I preferred the more artistic side of things. But going through this book doesn’t seem like a chore and it’s great to see the results appearing in front of you along the way. The reason being is that everything is laid out for you, and a few changes to the names etc and you’re away.
By the end of the first chapter, you’ll have created a small platform game and learn how to implement code and how it works. By the second chapter you’ll start recreating the old skool classic game Zool, and by the end of chapter 6 you’ll have a fully working version of Zool, which is great fun.
The fact that this book will really throw you into games development is great. Sure it’s tricky but by the end of it all, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment as it’s something that you’ve created, albeit with the aide of a book. Regardless of this, it gives you the hunger to drive onwards and try to create your own ideas and to make things bigger and better. The later chapters will help you with storytelling which I found one of the more interesting parts of the book.
Overall I enjoyed, going through The Game Maker’s Companion but I would have liked to have started off with The Game Maker’s Apprentice as to get me into the swing of things. The fact that you get to actually create full working games is fantastic. They’re not the greatest looking games, but you’ll feel like they are after you’ve added all the code to make the game function as it should.
So if you fancy delving into the world of games development then a book like this will be great to try out to see if it’s something you’d enjoy.
4 out of 5
Danny ‘Ender’ Martin has been part of the Zath team from pretty much the very beginning since he met Zath himself at Leeds Met University whilst studying Business IT. He’s an avid gamer and a big film buff. Danny graduated from the University of Bradford with a degree in Computer Animation and SFX and now currently works at one of the biggest UK games developers, which will hopefully see some of his ideas hit the gaming world.