A page dedicated to Mark Overmars'
When and how did you discover Game Maker?
I was looking for game making programs for ages. None really worked for me though. I think I actually tried and gave up using Game Maker twice before I really figured out how good it was.
Have you used any other game creation programs?
I've tried all sorts of things, but never finished with any of them. I used RPG Maker 2000 for awhile (and 95 before that) before I really understood that they were pretty limited and not very legal.
What games or other projects have you made with (or for) Game Maker?
I made FlapFlapFlap and you can download it from here: (http://www.ironshanks.hullotoys.com/FlapFlapFlap.zip) as long as my friend generously puts up with my bandwidth draining (he has lots I think). Its my first and only released game at the moment. I did it for a University design project called "Where Did I Come From" as a tribute to the arcade games that shaped my childhood experiences (although it was a bit of a stretch to fit it into the assignment). I've also done two unreleased and unfinished games before it. One was a sideview scroller game called "Forest Coccoon" which was really very minimal, but complete. The other was called Markholm and Fisk and I intended it to be a top-down shmup with a mouse-aimed cannon. That has a pretty solid start and I might go back to it some day.
What are your favorite Game Maker games?
Well, there's always Seiklus by Tapeworm. For arcade fury I love Ambush in Sector 9 by Pug Fugly. Valence by Jeph is a real experience, and I love it. Speaking of Jeph, I also love Joust 3, Electric YoYo, and LockOn by him, as well as loads of strange little experiments he showed me. Darthlupi's Legend of Shadow is a great time too.
What are your favorite games NOT made with Game Maker?
Well Beyond Good and Evil really captivated me when I played it. Star Control was me and my brother's favourite PC Game. Loom was really important to me growing up. Morrowind (and its prequel Daggerfall) absorbed a lot of my time. There's too many freeware games to name, but I love all of the ABA shooters like Parsec47 and nois2. I find I keep going back to this strange "microcosm" called Crystal Pixels. Sometimes I'll fire it up just to explore and bring back bounty to my home pixel. Usually in the early hours of the morning when I can hardly tell if I'm awake or dreaming.
What advice would you give new Game Maker users or those who would like to improve?
Play. Just playing around with things is crucial. Do some proof of concepts before you try to make a game. See what you can do and what you can learn to do. Do NOT release your first game unless its really really good. Do what you can. We're mostly freeware developers out here, so we don't need to bind ourselves to the same rules as commercial game makers do, don't forget that. Make something weird, pointless, and fun.
What elements of a game are most important to you and why?
A sense of imagination and wonder. These are hard aspects to define. I think gameplay is very important, and I know many people who prefer simple arcade games which are really well balanced and designed, but for me, if something doesn't capture my imagination, sense of wonder, and desire to explore - well, I'll put it down within minutes. I really want to see projects which bend the boundaries of what a "game" is.
Why do you make games? What is your primary inspiration, motivation, or both?
I make games because not many people are making the kind of games I want to play. Also, if you're a hobbyist you can do crazy stuff that just couldn't get away with if you were trying to run a business. You can make silly, obscure things that will never sell, but may capture the attention of someone out there who's just like you. What really motivates and inspires me? Getting to the point in a project where I can play it and stop thinking of it as something I've made, and start looking at it as this THING which I'm just exploring.
Do you have other artistic pursuits other than game development? If so, what?
I love to draw, although I don't do it as much as I should. I really should put some stuff online, but most of my sketchbooks I feel are too personal to share. I'm just getting into music tracking because of my brother, who's being curiously inventive with it. Mostly I have a vast array of artistic venture which I /haven't/ done.
Any other comments?
You Do what You Can is the expression.