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Summary (TL;DR): You’ll only waste time learning GML Visual and very quickly drop it in favor of using GML Code.

Recommended music to listen to while reading: Cutting Crew – (I Just) Died In Your Arms

What is Gamemaker language (GML)?

If you take a look at the Gamemaker manual, you’ll notice that Gamemaker has two ways of programming games – the first one named GML Code (previously just called Gamemaker Language, or GML), and GML Visual (previously called Gamemaker Drag’n’Drop). Although both are named GML, only the former is actually a coding language, while GML Visual is only a scripting method – a way of using the language itself. In my humble opinion, the older naming explained things as they are in a better way, and the newer naming might only confuse newcomers.

But GML Visual is easy and I don't want to waste time learning code!

The things are actually the other way around – you’ll actually waste time learning GML Visual. I’ll try to explain why, from an objective perspective (of course).

The first thing to get out of the way is a more profound question to answer for anyone who’s just had a brief encounter with Gamemaker or game coding altogether: Why did you (even) go into the game development industry as a developer in the first place? If you’re trying to be a developer, then accept your fate – and that is coding and complicated brain gymnastics every day!

  • If you’re a primary/secondary school student: I’d gladly recommend to get started with one of the Gamemaker templates/tutorials, go through the tutorial at least in brief and then downloading the whole project. Adjust the values/assets and play around – it is fun to make stuff and prove your puny peers how you are the archwizard of gaming! Also, there are other even simpler tools, like Scratch.
  • If you’re an IT student/expert: What the heck are you doing avoiding coding? It seems to me like you’re a fan of the ELSE clause, instead of the IF 🙂 Your reasoning will only lead to a false! Get back to that code, soldier!
  • You are an expert in another field (e.g. musician, artist…): Why waste time doing something you have almost no knowledge of, when you could use your much developed skills instead, and let the 1-0-1 brains deal with the trouble of coding?

In all of the cases above – if you need help with learning Gamemaker, solving complicated issues, or taking the coding task away from you, or even making the whole game altogether – you can always contact us.

Programming is not for the faint of heart.

If we want to take a really objective view, it can be summed up like this: if you have to spend time to get proficient in Gamemaker, be aware that GML Visual can’t solve any problem more complicated than solving 1+1 = x. Which is the reason why you’ll end up dropping it after hours, days or if you’re very stubborn – weeks. And then never come back to it. So hopefully this post saves some life moments you could’ve spent in a better way – playing with pets or watering your plants and telling them how pretty they are. If you really disagree – write a comment!

Jokes aside, the point I’m trying to get to is already stated in the manual: GML Visual is intended for the sole purpose of being a hobby tool and for attracting newbies. Only written in some other words in the manual, maybe. Not sure. Who reads manuals anyways?

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