GameMaker, a 2D game engine that allows you to easily create games for multiple platforms, is now free for non-commercial use! That’s right, you can make your own games without paying a dime, as long as you don’t make money from them. In an industry rocked by crazy new-fangled pricing schemes (I’m looking at you Unity), this is incredibly refreshing. With Opera’s acquisition of GameMaker, it seems that they are lowering the bar to access their engine, with the idea that more games will be made available on their GX.Games platform and beyond.
To create paid games, or games that earn you income, there is now a simple one-time license fee of $99. The payment-of-the-month club is now a thing of the past for most users, unless you need to publish to the big game consoles, then it is $80 per month. Overall, that is still an incredibly low fee and no royalties required at any level. The most interesting thing here is this is all on the honor system at the moment, with no forced splash screens, analytics, or really any sort of license enforcement.
Additionally, all their in-house asset packs have been made free as well. All of these freebees require the creation of a free Opera account to tie the licensing to.
I first used GameMaker 7 when I was a child, creating absolutely awful games and emailing executables daily to my parents for them to play and cheer me on. 15 years later and GameMaker has continued to evolve, pushing into game consoles, an upcoming new runtime environment with lots of performance improvements, and even some cool 3D stuff that I don’t quite understand how they do yet.
I am not one to start shouting at the moon, but there is definitely concern on social media and in the community about the parent company of Opera and GameMaker being a foreign entity. From what I have seen however, there is little basis to these concerns and it might be time to loosen the tinfoil hats for the time being. YoYoGames and Opera seem to be bound by GDPR, which requires privacy and data removal as a mandatory consideration for customers.
GameMaker is a powerful and easy-to-use game engine that supports both drag-and-drop and coding. You can create games for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, HTML5, PlayStation, Xbox, and more. You can also use the built-in asset store to find graphics, sounds, and scripts for your games. And you can learn from the tutorials and community forums that are full of helpful tips and tricks.
If you want some inspiration for your games, check out some of the popular games made with GameMaker. You might have heard of: Hyper Light Drifter, Undertale, Hotline Miami, Risk of Rain, or Nuclear Throne.