Game Creation Tools Classification

Game-Maker (RSD Game-Maker, RSD GameMaker, Captain GameMaker, Create Your Own Games With GameMaker!) Gregory Andrew Stone (U.S.A.), Recreational Software Designs (U.S.A.), 1991  




Create new autonomous games :
  • Initial state (levels...)
  • import (text file...)
  • select in library
  • visual editor
  • Input methods
  • keyboard
  • mouse
  • Rules of the game
  • configure parameters
  • visual editor
  • Output (graphics, sounds...)
  • import (images, sounds...)
  • select in library
  • visual editor
  • 2D display

Targeted genres :
Platform / Shooter / Adventure & Role / Misc. genre

Behind the scenes of PPP Team's Twinnbee Land, in RSD Game-Maker Game-Maker (aka RSD Game-Maker) is a DOS-based suite of game design tools produced between 1991 and 1995 by the Amherst, New Hampshire based Recreational Software Designs and sold through direct mail in the US by KD Software. Game-Maker is notable as one of the first complete game design packages for DOS-based PCs, for its fully mouse-driven graphical interface, and for its early support for VGA graphics, Sound Blaster sound, and full-screen four-way scrolling.

The software consists of a text-mode wrapper, tying together a collection of WYSIWYG design tools. The tools produce proprietary resources that are compiled together and parsed with RSD's custom XFERPLAY game engine.

There is no scripting language; all design tools use a mouse-driven 320x200 VGA display with a common theme. Users draw background tiles pixel by pixel in an enlarged window, and can pull tiles from the palette to arrange in a "sandbox" area. A further menu allows users to set physical properties -- solidity, gravity, animation, various counter values -- for each block. The user draws maps by pulling blocks from the palette and painting with them using simple paintbrush, line, shape, and fill tools.

Characters can have up to 15 keyboard commands, plus idle, death, and injury animations. They can hold an inventory and money, earn score, gain and lose hit points and lives, and track several counters -- often used for keys and similar functions. Monsters have simple animations and movements, and can also change behavior in response to the player.

Playable games can be exported complete with a portable version of the XFERPLAY engine, sound drivers, and configuration files. All games record high scores and (in later versions) attract mode replays. All games also feature instant save and load, and support standard PC joysticks.

In later versions of the software, games also can incorporate several outside formats including ASCII text data, CompuServe .GIF files, and Autodesk Animator .FLI animations into multimedia presentations during menus and between levels. Although Game-Maker includes no tools for developing these files, the formats are standardized enough to allow the user a choice of standalone utilities. In addition, image data produced with outside programs such as Deluxe Paint is easily imported and split into background tiles or sprites.

One of the challenges and points of continued interest for experienced users is finding new ways to subvert or play along with Game-Maker's properties to achieve effects, mechanisms, and even genres unaccounted for in the engine's basic features. With some imagination and lateral thinking, users have hacked together extensive in-engine cutscenes, boss sequences, AM2-style sprite scalers, RPG style battles, parallax scrolling, shooting galleries, and destructible terrain.

Distribution : Retail - Commercial
Platform(s) of the tool : PC (Dos) - PC (Windows)
Platform(s) of the games created : PC (Dos)