I’ve tried every game engine and tool I can afford to, but I always come back to Game Maker: Studio. The breadth of projects created with it is probably only matched by Unity, which has it’s obvious advantages to professional-level devs, and it’s obvious disadvantages being that there can be quite a steep learning curve for newcomers.
One factor that reduces that barrier has been the Unity asset store, with it’s range of pre-made projects, models and extensions.
Game Maker has never had an official asset store, however community forums and hobbyist sites have filled a similar role, offering not only project examples, shaders and extensions, but also an open stream of communication and support for anyone who asked politely.
Which is why I see the (beta) launch of the YoYo Marketplace as something of a double-edged sword. Yes, the ability to quickly find pre-made projects for prototyping, or to group all the possible shaders you could ever want into one page, will make life easier, but it comes at a price.
99% of these assets and extensions have been available for free through forums and sites, some for nearly a decade. I’m not complaining about people making money (most of the assets on the marketplace are, at present, very reasonably priced in comparison to the Unity store), I’m just worried about the effect this may have on the strong community of sharing that Game Maker has built over the years. I worry that this system of profiting from small parts of your own work may discourage people from simply offering help and advice to newcomers.
So like I said, its a double edged sword. By removing the biggest advantage Unity has over GM for new devs (asset store), they may have simultaneously removed their greatest achievement: the friendliest, most welcoming online community I have ever seen.
But hey, it’s early days 🙂