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Tutorial - 'Making the Jump to Game Maker' by Kuro

An item about Gamemaker posted on


An article on making the jump from rm2k to the more advanced Game Maker



Most GW users still use Rm2k as their Rpg Engine. While Rm2k is easy to understand and use, quite often most programmers get sick of their games less than halfway through their game and give up on the idea. Rm2k does have limits as well. No true programming language, a DBS that is frowned upon by some users, and no compatibility with some newer file types (mp3, 16bit+ color, etc) make this game engine old and quite useless in some cases, especially games with CBSs that require hours of coding and patience. This is where Game Maker comes in. Its easy to use, supports many file types, and so much more. So with that, lets get down to business!

Making the Jump to Game Maker, Lesson 1: Objects

Objects are the basis of Game Maker. They contain events that respond to either system-generated actions or user-related events (keyboard, joystick, mouse). To understand what an object can do, lets look at the following situation:

Lets say you’ve created an object and named it ‘Hero’. You’ve added an event that activates whenever the Left Arrow is pressed and/or held. Inside the event, you have an action that will move the object ‘Hero’ five units to the left.

Okay, did you get that? You should at least understand what I’m getting at. Every event in Game Maker is built similar to the above situation. You won’t have to understand how to make objects just yet, so don’t worry. Just keep this stuff in the back of your head for now. Lets move one to Lesson 2.

Making the Jump to Game Maker, Lesson 2: Sprites

I’m going to assume that the reader (you) have worked with Rm2k before and you know what a sprite is. The goal of this lesson is to take Rm2k formatted sprites (256color png/bmp images) and get them into Game Maker. It’s a relatively simple process so don’t worry. Let’s begin.

First, if you don’t have Game Maker open, open it and make sure you have a blank slate open. Now make sure you have a ready to go Character Set with you, any RTP set will do. Now right-click on the sprites folder and choose ‘Add Sprite’. Familiarize yourself with this new window. Check the tabs as well. When your ready, make sure you’re on the standard tab and choose ‘edit’.

The Sprite Editor allows you to create and manipulate your sprites. For now, click on File, and choose ‘Create from Strip’. Now navigate to your character set and choose ‘Open’. This is the screen that we’ll manipulate the character set with. First, we’re going to get your sprites forward walk animation. But first we’re gonna take a quick math lesson.

Making the Jump to Game Maker, Lesson 2.5: Math?!

Any Rm2k’er should know how any character sprite is. I’m talking about just one single sprite image. If you still don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, just know this: A single sprite image is 24x32 pixels. A complete character animation (up,down,left,right) is 72x128 pixels. (24 * 3 walk poses) x (32 * 4 directions). Okay do you get it?! Okay! Let’s continue the Lesson

Making the Jump to Game Maker, Lesson: 2.75: Sprites

Okay, now that we know math, we’re going to select the Forward Walk animation of your Character Set. Assuming the animation is in the upper left of your Character Sheet please enter the following into the text boxes:

1. Number of images: 3
2. Images per row: 3
3. Image width: 24 (see!)
4. Image height: 32 (aha!)
5. Horiz. Cell offset: 0
6. Vert. Cell offset: 2
7. Everything else should be 0.

If done correctly, you should see three bounding boxes around the forward animations of your sprite. What you just did was simple:

· You chose 3 images to be selected (#1).
· You chose 3 images per row (#2).
· Each sprite image is 24px wide (#3).
· Each sprite image is 32px long (#4).
· The Horiz. Offset controls how many cells (width x height) your starting point is moved horizontally. It was selected to 0 so there’s no offset.
· The Vert. Offset does the same thing but it moves the cells vertically. You inputted three so you’ve moved the cells downward.

Do you get it? I sure hope so. If not, just check the Game Maker help file. It will explain all of this just as well. Now press ok to get your result.

The Sprite Editor will appear once more but with your new sprite in place. Rejoice later, because you’re not done yet. You need to fix up the sprite so it will look nice. We will start by learning two new tools that will become your newest friends. Meet ‘Mr. Shift Image Left’ and ‘Uncle Shift Image Right’. Ok so the names aren’t very original, but they’ll do. The guys I’m talking about are the arrows on the main toolbar. These babies can shift the selected image(s) left or right; depending on which one you press. First, click the second image (your forward standing image) and shift if left. Now you’ll need to copy it (CTRL-C or use the copy button on the toolbar) and click the final image on the right and paste it (CTRL-V or the paste button on the toolbar). Now select the ‘Show Preview’ checkbox and check out your animation! God he’s FAST! We need to slow him down! To do so, click ‘animation’ and choose ‘stretch’. We’re going to stretch out the animation to 16 frames so enter 16 in the text box and press enter. Now look and view the resulting animation in the preview panel. Looks slightly fast, but we’re not running at a full 30 frames yet. The Game Maker engine tries to run games at 30fps to ensure smooth game play, so to see it at thirty fps, input 30 in the speed text box. There is a slight change in the walk now and it looks pretty good. Click the green check to save the changes. Now it is time to name the sprite. I suggest you use this format to ensure your sprites stay ordered.
“Spritename – Direction Facing”

Not too hard eh? Okay now to get the other animations just do the steps over again, by making a new sprite, and following the same rules. You should have it by now, and again, its simple. Once you’re done, save the file as mjgL1.gmd (if you want because the rest of my tutorials will feed off of this one). You have just completed Chapter 1. Now rejoice! Eat, drink, and get wasted! (not for you underage kids though.)