A page dedicated to Mark Overmars'
Where do you live?
I live in Sweden. Yes, the small-to-medium-sized country in northern Europe. If you look at the very south-east "corner" of Sweden, you will find the city Karlskrona (Yep. "Carl's Crown". Suits me well. ;) ). And, a few kilometres east of Karlskrona, Jämjö is situated. That is a small village where I have lived most of my life. If you want to pronounce it, make "ä" sound like the "e" in "well" and "ö" sound something like "a" in "an" (but more like "eu" in French "bleu").
In 2001 I and my wife (married since 1997) bought my grandparents small farm, "Björkdala" (birchdale), hence the name of my web site. We have one daughter (born 2000) and are expecting a newly spawned child process some time in the middle of december 2003. Oops, this got lengthy. Sorry, use what you want to use of it and throw away the rest. ;)
When and how did you discover Game Maker?
I first found it in the fall of 2001 when I was surfing around on my job since I had nothing better to do. I worked at a consultant company and there simply were no projects needing me at that time.
I do not remember how I found it. Nope...
Have you used any other game creation programs?
Yes. Have tried Dark Basic a little. Also some program somewhat similar to Game Maker, but I have forgotten what it was called. It was really NOT as flexible as GM.
What games or other projects have you made with (or for) Game Maker?
I have only made ONE SINGLE complete game with Game Maker: DogFight. It can be downloaded both as a stand-alone game and as an editable game file from my web site. I made the game just in time for a competition that was held on GM's official web page (by Mark Overmars), and it actually finished as "best of the rest", which means I shared the "fourth place" with four other games. The game is a two-player game that can be played either on the same computer or across some kind of network (LAN, Internet, Modem).
All other things I have done with Game Maker are examples and tutorials (like my Beginner's Guide) and I have tried to answer as many questions as I can from other game developers, either on the forum or by email.
What are your favorite Game Maker games?
Sorry, I do not recall any special favourite game. I have not had the time to play others' GM games that much...
What are your favorite games NOT made with Game Maker?
My favourite games include Outcast, Deus Ex, Wing Commander series, Independence War (I-War), Wasteland (Old, old RPG), Day of the Tentacle, Zak McKracken....
What advice would you give new Game Maker users or those who would like to improve?
To not be over-ambitious on the first projects. Use your first projects to learn about Game Maker. Follow any tutorials you can find.
Then, when you feel that you have the grasp on how things work out, you can raise your goals.
FIRST read the manual and other help files, THEN ask questions at the forum or by email to known helpful people.
Finally, strive to make things you have not done before. That is the only way I know of improving.
What elements of a game are most important to you and why?
Game play. That might mean a lot of things, but what I am thinking about is swift and balanced control. A well thought-out interface.
Secondly, I admire games with good graphics. :)
Another important ingredient in a game is "immersion". That is, how involved the player gets in the game. An exciting story helps out a lot here.
Why do you make games? What is your primary inspiration, motivation, or both?
Because I think it is fun. I like to try and see if I can manage to do hard things. I also very much like the appreciation of other people. ;)
Do you have other artistic pursuits other than game development? If so, what?
I am very interested in 3D graphics, although I do not have very much to display. The applications I use the most for this are Blender (http://www.blender.org) and POV-Ray (http://www.povray.org), which both are freeware. Blender is even open source (don't remember if POV-Ray is). All the graphics in DogFight (my game, see above) was made by me, using POVRay, except for the explosion, which was taken from the Game Maker resources. Here is a little futuristic tank I made in POVRay: http://www.birchdale.net/gm/images/TankIsometric.png And the bomb from DogFight: http://www.birchdale.net/gm/images/bombanim2.gif
Any other comments?
Good luck to all you game makers out there!
PS. I will give one year of free GM support to anyone buying this for me: http://www.saitek.com/uk/prod/x45.htm ;) ;) (j/k) DS.