Take this with a grain of salt of course as I am new to this. I compiled some thoughts on using Game Maker to make a platformer. Another point to note, I have been using Construct 2 for over a year now. So my skill level of understanding these simpler IDEs is above average. I have a game headed to iOS and Android markets now, along with applications in the WP Market for almost 2 years now. Lastly, I’m a C# developer with over 10 years experience. So I felt pretty good going into this.
Things I noticed right away are listed here. Curious what others think.
- Export functionality seems pretty robust. The ease of creating exported items is very customize and easy to navigate.
- If you have any game making experience, the concepts are pretty simple to understand.
- Forums are pretty nice and seem to have some good information.
- The tool set is robust enough to handle almost anything you can throw at it, shaders, time lines, scripts, pathing, particles, etc.
- API documentation is decent and easily navigated.
The not so great
- The “Room” concept is not very intuitive. When I work in a “room”, what others would call a screen or field or whatever, I would expect it to act more like a canvas to paint on, but I found the UI a little complicated and limited. Instead of draging and dropping objects into the room, you have to use this strange UI. Clicking the room will paste an object instead of selecting.
- As far as I can tell, there is no easy way to manage the depths or visibility of objects in the editor. So lets say I have 50 large objects all stacked on each other, there is no really easy way to show/hide them in the editor and there no easy way to move them in the depth order. Yes there is a way to change it of course, but I don’t think it plays nicely with the concept of a room editor.
- Lack of very basic common game functions such as PAUSE or entire sets of platformer functionality. You still need to roll your own. That was a great feature of C2, I could get a fully working platformer running in about 60 seconds with built in behaviors.
That’s it, I think the main editor, the part you the spend the most time in, is not the best as far as UX goes and frankly could be totally redone. But other than that, so far this as good as it gets. The only more advanced would be Unity3D with a 2D platformer template. That’s saying a lot.