A page dedicated to Mark Overmars'
When and how did you discover Game Maker?
Well, I got a new PC a year or so and wanted to get back into game making. My wife knew this and went off looking for me! When she told me she'd found something really good I checked it out - it was Game Maker. I've got to be honest, when I checked out the demos that came with it, I was a little dubious but as soon as I got into the scripting I was hooked. It's like real programming, but it takes care of all the boring stuff!
Have you used any other game creation programs?
Not for ages. I used AMOS on the Amiga, that was basically a high level games programming language. I made a lot of games, got a few published by some kind of shareware thing, made about £20 in total! My first taste of 'success' was getting a Spectrum game published in one of those listing magazines. For anybody who has a Spectrum emulator and a few minutes with no plans, you can download it here:
I was actually sad enough to type it into a Spectrum emulator a few years ago!
What games or other projects have you made with (or for) Game Maker?
All can be downloaded from my site. Of all my games, Ambush in Sector 9 is by far the most popular. My games tend to be very hard, and action packed. However, my next game is a joint project with a friend of mine, and it'll be something totally different!
What are your favorite Game Maker games?
I'm always impressed with darthlupi's output. He seems to capture that 16 bit feel more than anyone, something I like about his games. I tend to download quite a few, but it's rare I play them for very long and tend to forget about them. A few I've gone back to now and again are Seiklus, Jumper 2 and FlapFlapFlap.
What are your favorite games NOT made with Game Maker?
Favourite game of the last few years has been GTA3 on PS2. A bit shoddily put together, but a blast. Nothing has matched it for fun for me, ever. Currently playing a lot of Pro Evolution Soccer 4 on XBox live - if anyone fancies a game, my tag is PugFug1y
What advice would you give new Game Maker users or those who would like to improve?
Well, the biggest problem I have with many of the people starting out is rushing their games to completion, and not having an original idea to start with. So:
1) An original idea - it doesn't have to be much, it can be the tiniest little thing, just enough for somebody to say "I haven't seen that before!". Coming up with a whole new idea is asking a lot - I haven't done it myself - but you'll be surprised how easy it is to come up with just one little thing to set your game apart from the endless stream of Jumper rip offs.
2) Polish - don't rush! Take some time, try to put in a few nice little touches here, and there, it makes all the difference. For example, explosions. Many of these games don't even have explosions, it makes all the difference.
3) Sound - possibly the worst element of many GM games. I can understand it though, you need to be really into music to make something good, and quality sound effects are difficult to get hold of. If you search around the net though, you'll find a few and you can gradually build up a collection.
What elements of a game are most important to you and why?
Gameplay is obviously the key, especially for developers like us who haven't got the time and the budget for all the fancy stuff. But I like games where there is a lot going on. If you've played my games you'll see that they all share that trait - there is always plenty going on. Adding things like debris from explosions is extremely simple, yet adds to the excitement and really makes you feel like part of a battle to save the Earth or whatever.
Why do you make games? What is your primary inspiration, motivation, or both?
Firstly I enjoy it. It's a creative outlet and that's essential for me. Another of my creative outlets is music. I spend most of my spare time doing one or the other, although I am prone to playing videogames for hours at a time... XBOx Live is taking up too much of my time at the moment!
Do you have other artistic pursuits other than game development? If so, what?
Music, although my output hasn't amounted to much more than a bunch of songs that I wouldn't play anybody else, and a few tunes that I've put into my games. All the music in my games is original - some of it just built using samples I've collected, some of it is live recording of guitar parts.