The excellent GameMaker Studio 2 has a version that can now be installed free for schools. This is great news for schools looking to deliver games design and programming classes that will interest the students. The free version has some limits, but these are generous to allow you to use the software in school to start delivering games design lessons and get a feel for Gamemaker Studio. If you later choose to purchase a licence then the licencing options are very flexible.
GameMaker Studio is a full games design environment complete with graphics editor, code editor, built in help and so much more.
GameMaker Studio has a shallow learning curve so it is suitable for introduction to programming from an early age, but it is also suitable for any level of student. None of your students will be able to outgrow GameMaker because, as well as being suitable for younger learners, it has a second side to it, with thousands of commands available for advanced programmers, as well as professional features which students normally only learn on university games courses, such as Shaders, Spine Animation, Haptic Feedback etc.
Applying For An Account
To get GameMaker Studio 2 for your school, you first have to apply to YoYo Games through the following link.
After following step 1, and YoYo Games have checked that the application is from a school, your school will gain approval (step 2) and you will be given log in details for you to download the software.
For the school version of GameMaker you don’t download the software from the front page of the website, instead you log in to your account on the YoYo Games website (step 3) after getting your authorised account, and download the installer from within your account. This is a copy of the educational version of GameMaker which has been registered to your school.
When you run the software, you will not be creating a game at first, instead you are asked to create ‘Seats’ you will create one for each computer. You also need to create one for the teachers too.
Only when you have created seats for each computer (and for the teachers), can you then log in to Gamemaker on each computer using the seat credentials, and start programming.
Full details of how to set up seats in GameMaker Studio can be found here:
When you install the trial version of GameMaker, you will face some restrictions on game assets and features (unless you purchase some accounts to lift the limits), one of these limitations is 15 Objects. I have heard many teachers saying that you can only have say:- one player, one bullet and 13 aliens, and you will have reached your 15 object limit. In reality these comments are from people who have not used GameMaker, and who don’t understand the difference between Objects and Instances. If you make an alien Object then you can put hundreds of Instances of aliens in your game but you have still only used one Object. Create a bullet Object and you can have thousands of bullets flying round the screen, but you have only used two Objects so far (one for the aliens, one for the bullets). The restrictions of the trial account in the educational version of Gamemaker are not prohibitive, and are actually a good way to keep students projects within a defined scope until you decide you want to purchase licences to make games of unlimited size.
I have also heard teachers saying that the word ‘Trial’ means the software stops working after 30 days. The Education Version reverts to a Trial version after 30 days. This allows you to still use the software, but with certain limits on the size of games that can be created. This allows you to still use the software within the size limites until you choose to unlock the size limits on games produced by purchasing a licence.
Although GameMaker has a shallow learning curve, it is still a product that requires the teacher to be trained properly to use it effectively.
Our GameMaker course is written and delivered by David Batty, David has been using GameMaker in education since 2007. David was the trainer on the GameMaker CPD course for the AQA, he designed the GameMaker in-school course for Code College. David runs four weeks of Gamemaker games design courses for 8 to 17 year olds in Techcamp each August, he has worked on stands at educational shows in England and Scotland for YoYo Games, and was a beta tester for GameMaker Studio 2 for a year prior to its release.
If you would like a Gamemaker CPD delivered in your school then please visit:-