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Tech

Introducing The GameMaker: Player

Posted by Mark Alexander on 21 November 2014

 

 

The latest Beta Update to GameMaker: Studio (as well as the current Early Access version) now come bundled with the new YoYo Games app, the GameMaker: Player. This app is a place for all GameMaker: Studio users to share their games with the world, although you don't need to own or use GameMaker to get access to the Player and play the games -  the app is a standalone and can be downloaded from the YoYo Games website by anyone.

If you have downloaded the stand-alone installer then you simply need to double-click the exe and follow the on-screen instructions to install it on your PC. However if you have GameMaker: Studio, the Player is now included as part of the update package and will be installed along with GameMaker. In the near future there should also be Mac OSX and Ubuntu (Linux) versions of the Player so that you can install it on those platforms too, and developers will be able to choose whether or not to have their games on those platforms.

Playing Games

Before you can play any games on the Player, you must first create a user account or log in. You can create your Player user account directly from the GameMaker: Player when you first run it, as you will be presented with a login screen like that shown below:

If you are a GameMaker: Marketplace user, then you can supply your Marketplace account email and password and then login, which will create a Player account from your Marketplace details. If you are not a marketplace user, then you should click the "Register" button, and follow the link to fill in your account details. You can find full details on how to register and create a user account from the Knowledge Base article here: Player - Setting Up An Account.

Once registered, you can now begin to browse, play and develop games! The interface is simple to navigate with various filter options along the top, as well as buttons for the games in your library and - if you are a developer - those games you have uploaded. Clicking on any of the available games will open a new window showing the game details and giving you the option to download it (if it is Free) or to purchase it (if it is Paid).

Clicking the button at the bottom will initiate the download of the game files, and when finished you can then click it again to play the game. At this point the Player interface will minimise and the game will be run. Games are stored in the %localappdata% folder, but you can delete all local content from your computer through the player interface itself from the game options (click the cog shaped Options icon).

Note that currently the Beta version does not permit you to purchase any games, although as a developer you can still upload paid content and have it displayed for people to view and mark for future reference. For full details on how to download and play games on the Player, please see this article from the Knowledge Base: Downloading And Purchasing Games.

Rating And Flagging Games

An important part of any developers life is getting feedback from players about their games. To help with that, the Player has a Ratings System, whereby you can rate games from 0 to 5 stars, and optionally leave a comment. Once you have played a game, please take a moment to rate it and if you liked it let the developer know! The same goes if you didn't like it or found a bug, as this type of feedback is only going to improve the final product. Remember, you can re-rate again at any time, so if a developer pushes out an update for the game, you can play again and reconsider your original comments and rating.

The Player also has a system for flagging games. There are a number of reasons why you would want to flag a game, and you will be given a selection of options when you click the flag icon, with the main reasons being:

  • Misleading Content - the advertised content is not what is contained in the game
  • Offensive Content - the content is inappropriate for the given age rating, or simply inappropriate regardless of the age rating given
  • Copyright Breach - the content is not original to the author or breaks the copyright of a third party
  • Wrong Category - the content is not appropriate to the category to which it has been uploaded

Please don't think "someone else will flag that" or just ignore the flag button if you find anything you think is an issue, as we want the Player to be the best GameMaker platform there can be and for that we need the collaboration of the community. You can find out more about what is and what isn't considered acceptable content from the Knowledge Base article: Player- Submission Rules And Guidlines.

Developing Games For The Player

As a developer, the GameMaker: Player offers you an exciting opportunity to get your games out there for everyone to play. All games uploaded to the Player can be shared through social media and also have a URL link that can be shared through other means, and we expect the number of Player users to grow rapidly when the beta period finishes and the other platforms become available. This means that the player has a large potential audience for your work, so why not make the most of it?

Uploading a game to the player is easily achieved through GameMaker: Studio, as you will now see that amongst your target platforms (from the drop-down menu at the top of the IDE) you now have the target "GameMaker. Player" as well as a new menu item "Player Beta". 

The Player Beta menu permits you to log into your Player user account where you will have to create a separate Developer Account. If you have used the Marketplace, then you will be familiar with this as it's the same as your Publisher Accounts, but if not then suffice to say that the developer account is the where you give the details for all games that you wish to publish as well as a developer name to publish them under. The developer name can be different to your user name, and you can also have several different developer accounts. You can find out more about setting up the Developer Account from this Knowledge base article: Player - Setting Up A Developer Account.

With an account set up, you can now start to list and upload games onto the Player. You need to first outline the games listing details on the GameMaker: Player developer account pages (see here: Player - Creating, Editing, And Removing A Game Listing), and then you are almost ready to upload your games to the Player.

We say "almost ready" because before you do you should make sure that it conforms to the YoYo Games Syle Guidlines, as we want users to have a single, unified experience when using the Player and for that to happen certain keys and actions should be present and do the same thing in all games. The most important things to note are:

  • Use <Escape> consistently - Escape should exit the game on the main menu, and in all other screens work like a "back" button on mobile devices to return to a previous menu or game state.
  • Start the game in fullscreen - The default setting for the Player id fullscreen, and it should be for your games too, although your games should also have a "toggle" to permit the player to switch from windowed to fullscreen and back, or at least support <alt>+<enter>.
  • Sound and music should have controls - your game should provide some method of switching on and off both the sound effects and the in-game music.

We strongly urge you to follow the style guide as it will certainly help you when your game is commented on, and at the very least it provides a single Player experience for the end user.

You should also make sure that you have read and followed the Submission Rules And Guidlines, as YoYo Games do not want games uploaded that infringe copyright or contain references to gambling etc... There is also an age rating system in place, which you can check when you create your game listing, and this should be adhered to strictly so that users always know what to expect from a game.

Uploading Games

Once you have adapted your games for the Player and have set up the game listing in the developer portal, you can upload it for everyone to play. This is done through an upload wizard when you select the "GameMaker: Player" target platform and click the Create Executable button. The wizard will ask you to select a package ID and version then permit you to upload (you can find full details of the upload process from the Knowledge Base article here: Create An Executable).

Now that you have created and uploaded the executable to the Player, you need to go to the Developer Console in your browser and publish the game. Note that after uploading, your game needs to be processed and so it may require a few minutes before it is visible in the Developer Console, or before you can publish it even if it is visible (the Status message should show "processing" in this case).

It is worth noting that your games cannot use dll's currently and that the GameMaker: Player target does not use the YYC to compile your final executable. these things should be taken into account when preparing your game for upload.

Summary

That's it for our overview of the new GameMaker: Player. As a gamer, you now have access to a huge library of games of all styles and genres and we are sure that no matter what your tastes, you will find something to play and enjoy. As a developer you now have a unique platform to launch games on with a large and diverse user base, which also gives you the opportunity to monetise your hard work. We hope that the number of quality titles that are on the Player grows with the community of users and that between us we can make the GameMaker: Player a great place for games! 

 

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