A page dedicated to Game Maker by Mark Overmars
Game Maker Profile:
Name Kathi Phillips
Born 1950
Home Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Web Compu-Tot Games
When and how did you discover Game Maker?
In February 2001, I was searching for computer games for my, then, eighteen month old grandson. Though he'd been on a computer since he was six months old, he had not gotten much beyond the keyboard banger stage. One of my favorite computer games is a breakout style game so I went in search of an easy to play breakout game suitable for a small child just beginning to use a mouse. I couldn't find any but did stumble across a program to make my own so I downloaded it and tried it out and now have a whole new hobby/career: developing non violent computer games for toddlers and younger computer users (ages 7 and under). Naturally, that program was Game Maker (4.0)!
Have you used any other game creation programs?
I have tried all versions of GM that I could get my hands on. I am also taking a class on using RPGtoolkit. I haven't completed the course so haven't really done much with it. I am not a fan of the RPG style of game so probably won't do much with it after the class other than for my own enjoyment.

I have also tried Stagecast Creator but haven't done much beyond playing around with it. It's a fun little program so I'll use it just for fun but not commercial games.

I've used the trial versions of several other programs that I didn't like as well. I don't recall the names though.

In addition to game making programs, I am also learning to use Visual Basic, Dark Basic, Delphi and C++. These will eventually be used in creating games and fun computer "toys".
What games or other projects have you made with (or for) Game Maker?
I currently have about 3 dozen games completed and another dozen and a half in the process. The demo versions of about 20 of them can be downloaded from my website. The others are in the testing stage and will be added within the next six months. I did receive an honorable mention from a GM competition sponsored by Mark for my AniBreakout back when version 4.0 was the newest version.

I also developed the computer version of a learn to read using phonics program for a local text publisher. Long story but that undertaking ended on a sour note. The program is being sold. It is too large (total over 500 MB) to download though there is a demo at the publisher's site. Sorry, even though I did develop the whole program, I no longer wish to be associated with it so will not give the url for that site here. I only mention it because it does speak to the potential of GM!
What are your favorite Game Maker games?
My favorite GM games (other than my own KaRP breakout, full version) are Square Puzzle by Goldfish and several of the mini games by CapnChubby (can't wait for his Corn in Space to be released).
What are your favorite games NOT made with Game Maker?
DX Ball version 1.07. I do NOT like the newer versions of this game! Alhademic Balls and the diplomat solitaire game in 1-2-3 Free Solitaire.
What advice would you give new Game Maker users or those who would like to improve?
What advice would you give new Game Maker users or those who would like to improve?

Start with something simple and work your way up to the more complicated games. It will save you having a folder full of incomplete games that are more frustrating than playable. It will also save you having to go back and change things that need to be updated 'cause you didn't know how to do something.

If you put a demo out and someone gives you negative feedback, try to not take it personally. Use is as a means to making your game more playable. Remember that in playing games fun is subjective and what might be fun for one is boring for someone else. I enjoy almost any breakout game but my husband finds them extremely boring! I also enjoy any kind of a puzzle but hubby finds them frustrating!
What elements of a game are most important to you and why?
Game play is one of the most important elements because that's why I'm playing. I don't much care what the graphics look like if the game plays well. Great graphics are nice but would not stop me from playing a fun game otherwise.

Another important element of a game is good documentation. So many of the games I check do not have any documentation and no instructions on how to play. I do not play a lot of video games (like NONE) so it isn't always obvious to me how a game should be played and I wind up deleting the game in frustration!
Why do you make games? What is your primary inspiration, motivation, or both?
My primary motivation was to make a simple to play breakout game for a two year old. My continued motivation is that it is a great deal of fun to design and develop computer games for the little guys and gals!
Do you have other artistic pursuits other than game development? If so, what?
My user name indicates one of my other artistic pursuits: POETkathi. My poetry can be seen at http://home.fuse.net/TheLordsPoet/TheLordsPoet.html

In addition to creating games and writing poems, I also write short stories, knit, sew, crochet, do needlepoint, draw, design my own greeting cards. I currently have a learn to sew book in the hands of a literary agent. I'm hoping it will be published soon.

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