Game Maker Games at GDC08


Last Thursday, I was finally able to take off from work a few hours early and head over to San Francisco to check out GDC08!

My only prior exposure to GDC was the heavy media coverage through sites like IGN and Joystiq, and even though they usually deliver a pretty comprehensive record of the event, it’s a completely different experience to actually be there. It was positively overwhelming, in all the right ways.

By now if you’ve followed GDC08 at all, you’ve probably already read about most of the crazy stuff there, like the headset that (theoretically) allows you to control games via thought power, the various presentations of motion capture software and hardware, and of course, all the game announcements. So I won’t write too much about that stuff. What I do want to share is the acclaim two Game Maker games had achieved via the Independent Games Festival.

Clean Asia Battleships Forever Crazy Motorized Driving Game Setup

Walking around the expo floor, completely amazed at all the awesome technological wizardry around me, I eventually found myself standing in front of the huge Independent Games Festival display. Massive pillars towered before me, each containing a computer dedicated to a single game, with a huge title banner above and crowd of people below. I’d seen the IGF logo before, as it looked familiar to me, but it took me a few seconds of weaving my way through the crowd to remember where I’d heard about it, and why it was interesting to me. I stared at the pillar directly in front of me, and read the title of the game it featured: Clean Asia. A quick look around the other pillars yielded another familiar name: Battleships Forever. I’d heard about both titles making it somewhat far in the latest IGF competition, but I still found it really refreshing to see two games that I knew had been constructed in Game Maker to be featured alongside other amazing games on the show floor.

It really is an exciting thing, on many levels. At the very base of the whole thing, it’s great to see two independent game designers (from a community many of us are part of) see this sort of recognition. It’s also great to see games made with Game Maker be taken seriously by the indie community, and the larger game development community in general. It just goes to show you how silly all the naysayers and hyper-critical people within the Game Maker circle really are.

Just being at the expo lent me a re-alignment of my compass within game development, but seeing these two games in the show was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

Overall, I had a great time walking around two of the expo floors at GDC08, taking in all the sights and sounds, and feeling even more connected to the global body of Game Developers. I only wish I would have had more time to look at everything!

Before I forget, I’d like to say thanks to Suzanne Forest from ECD Systems / Indie Game Showcase, who was able to offer many people in the area a free ticket to GDC08. I appreciate all the work ECD has done with the Indie Game Showcase, and I hope to have a new game to enter into a future contest sometime.

Thanks for reading, hope everyone had a good weekend!


  1. xot - Over a year ago

    Great read, Marty, really enjoyed it. It’s nice to get the human angle after so much “just-the-facts, ma’am” coverage. Did you get a chance to play any of the IGF games? I’ve really got my eyes on Ookibloks and Fez. I don’t quite “get” AudioSurf from the video I’ve seen, but everyone says it’s great, so I need to check it out, too.

  2. FredFredrickson - Over a year ago

    I didn’t play any of the IGF games while at the expo, as I was in a slight hurry to look at everything (I live in Sacramento about 2 hours and 30 minutes away, and it was a Thursday night, so I didn’t want to get home super late). I did take some time to stop and look at a few of the games while others played them though.

    I really liked Fez, the 2D / 3D-ish platform game, and I also spotted AudioSurf being played (it seemed to be one of the more popular games there). I guess you get to kind of ride out the waveform generated by music in Audiosurf… the game creates a race track from the song, or something like that. It looked neat, but oddly enough, both games looked as if they could have been created fairly easily in Game Maker. Imagine that! :D

  3. xythop3 - Over a year ago

    Great read, Can’t wait to see more quality GM titles dominating the indie dev scene.

  4. Leif902 - Over a year ago

    Great read!

    Heh, my game Conway’s Soldiers was supposed to be at the expo, but I didn’t ever send in the contract so I’m assuming it wasn’t… oops.

    Great to see some game maker games getting a bit of publicity!

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