GameMaker: A Game Creation Toolkit for Beginners and Professionals

If you’re interested in game development, you’ve probably heard of GameMaker, the popular 2D game creation toolkit. GameMaker has been used to create a wide range of games, from indie gems like “Chicory: A Colorful Tale” and “Gunpoint” to the original freeware hit “Spelunky”. What sets GameMaker apart is its accessibility, making it a great choice for beginners, kids, and students. In this article, we’ll explore the recent changes to GameMaker’s pricing model and how they benefit game developers.

The Evolution of GameMaker’s Pricing

GameMaker’s pricing model has evolved over the years, adapting to the changing needs of the game development community. In the past, GameMaker required a one-time purchase for commercial use. However, with the latest changes, GameMaker is now free for non-commercial purposes on all non-console platforms, such as PC. This means that aspiring game developers can now use GameMaker without any financial barriers, allowing them to explore their creativity and learn the ropes of game development.

The shift towards a free non-commercial license is a significant step towards democratizing game development. It opens up opportunities for hobbyists, students, and independent developers to create and share their games without worrying about upfront costs. This move aligns with GameMaker’s goal of making game development accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial resources.

Introducing the New Commercial License

Alongside the free non-commercial license, GameMaker has introduced a new “one-time fee” commercial license. This license, priced at $100, enables developers to produce and sell games on PC, mobile, and browser platforms. It’s a cost-effective solution for indie developers and small studios looking to monetize their creations. By offering a one-time fee instead of a subscription model, GameMaker provides developers with more flexibility and control over their expenses.

However, if you’re planning to release a game on console platforms, there’s an additional requirement. In order to publish your game on consoles, you’ll need to subscribe to a monthly plan priced at $80. While this might seem like an extra cost, it’s important to consider the potential reach and marketability that console platforms offer. The console market can be highly lucrative for game developers, and the subscription fee can be seen as an investment in accessing a larger audience.

Game Asset Bundles: A Valuable Addition

In addition to the changes in licensing, GameMaker has made all its game asset bundles free. Game assets are essential components of game development, including sprites, sounds, and music. By providing these assets for free, GameMaker further reduces the barriers to entry for aspiring developers.

Access to high-quality game assets can significantly enhance the visual and auditory experience of a game. By including these assets in the GameMaker package, developers can focus more on the creative aspects of game development and spend less time searching for or creating their own assets. This is particularly beneficial for beginners and those with limited art or sound design skills.

The GameMaker Community: A Supportive Hub

One of the strengths of GameMaker is its thriving community. Game developers of all skill levels can find support, resources, and inspiration from fellow creators. The GameMaker community is known for its helpfulness and willingness to share knowledge. Whether you’re stuck on a coding problem or need feedback on your game design, there’s always someone ready to lend a hand.

The GameMaker community extends beyond online forums and social media groups. GameMaker hosts regular events, such as game jams and conferences, where developers can showcase their work, learn from industry professionals, and network with like-minded individuals. Being part of a supportive community can greatly enhance the game development journey and provide valuable opportunities for collaboration and growth.

A Brief History of GameMaker

To better understand GameMaker’s impact and evolution, let’s take a brief look at its history. GameMaker was initially developed in the late 1990s by Mark Overmars, a computer science professor. Overmars created GameMaker as a tool for his students to learn game development concepts and programming.

The software gained popularity among hobbyists and indie developers due to its simplicity and versatility. In 2007, YoYo Games acquired GameMaker, leading to further improvements and expansions of the software. YoYo Games recognized the potential of GameMaker as a tool for both beginners and professionals and invested in its development accordingly.

In 2015, YoYo Games was acquired by an online gambling company, and later in 2017, it was acquired by Opera, a fintech/browser company. These acquisitions brought new resources and expertise to GameMaker, enabling the development team to continue refining the software and expanding its capabilities.

A Positive Contrast to Other Pricing Models

The recent changes in GameMaker’s pricing model have received positive feedback from the game development community. The decision to offer a free non-commercial license and a one-time fee commercial license stands in contrast to the pricing changes implemented by other game development platforms.

GameMaker’s announcement even took a playful jab at other platforms, stating, “We have seen other platforms making awkward moves with their pricing and terms, so we thought, what if we did the opposite, something that could actually be good for developers?” This statement highlights GameMaker’s commitment to putting developers first and creating a pricing structure that benefits the community.

Getting Started with GameMaker

If you’re eager to get started with GameMaker, there are a few key steps to take. First, head to the official GameMaker website and download the software. Once installed, you can explore the various tutorials, documentation, and resources available to help you learn the basics of game development with GameMaker.

GameMaker’s drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create games without extensive coding knowledge. However, if you’re interested in diving deeper into game development, GameMaker also offers a scripting language called GML (GameMaker Language). GML allows for more advanced coding and customization, empowering developers to create complex and unique game mechanics.


GameMaker’s recent changes in pricing and licensing have made game development more accessible and affordable for aspiring developers. The combination of a free non-commercial license, a one-time fee commercial license, and free game asset bundles provides a comprehensive package for developers of all skill levels.

Whether you’re a beginner exploring the world of game development or an experienced professional looking for a versatile and user-friendly tool, GameMaker offers a wealth of opportunities. With its supportive community and ongoing development, GameMaker continues to be a go-to choice for creating 2D games on various platforms.

So, why wait? Dive into the exciting world of game development with GameMaker and unleash your creativity!

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