GMS 2 GameMaker and YouTube Tutorials

samspade

Member
Recently I was curious about how YouTube channels focusing on GameMaker tutorials do, and what I could learn from them, so I did some research and came up with the following information: Google Sheet Link. I'm not being particularly rigorous, but I believe most of the numbers are correct (or were as of the time or recording them). I'd be curious if people spot mistakes or think of other things that might be useful to add (I considered checking into whether people had twitter or a Udemy course) or if I missed anyone.

I didn't find many take-aways, but one that seemed mostly solid, unsurprisingly, is that subscriber count was correlated to when the first GM Tutorial went up. With a few notable exceptions, channels around the five or so year mark approach 5k-10k subscribers. Interestingly, to me at least, there didn't seem to be much of a relationship between amount of viewers and subscribers or even type of tutorial and subscribers. It also didn't seem to matter to much how active the channels were, many channels that hadn't posted in a year or longer were still doing well (in terms of subscribers for a GM channel). One thing to note about that is that all the YouTubers with breakaway numbers did focus on Let's Make a Game type tutorial, but there are also many channels with more normal numbers doing the same thing. Being featured on YoYo's learn page seemed to help, but its tough to say whether they were featured because they were larger and more well known or became larger and more well known by being featured (at least at this point in time).

What was most interesting to me though (and this isn't in the chart) is that Shaun Spalding's newer less viewed tutorials get around 3k views while his most viewed recent tutorials (such as at the start of a series) get around 20k or more. The reason I find this incredibly interesting is that these are more views than pretty much all other active tutorial makers combined (this is almost true even if you include YoYo's own channel) which implies that the vast majority of GameMaker Tutorial viewers watch one, and only one, tutorial source (and its not even the official one). This seems like really unusual YouTube viewing behavior. Anecdotally, I can't think of many people I know who watch just one content creator for a subject they like. What is it about GM that makes it so the vast majority of people seeking a tutorial on GameMaker go to one, and only one source?
 

Dragonite

Member
So there are a lot of moving parts to this, but here are some of the ones you brought up.

It also didn't seem to matter to much how active the channels were, many channels that hadn't posted in a year or longer were still doing well (in terms of subscribers for a GM channel)
Unlike most of the content on YouTube - news, games, whatever's big in music culture at the time, plague - tutorials don't stop being relevant in the weeks after they're posted. In five years there will be just as many people searching for game dev help as there are today, if not more, and (for the most part) the ones made in 2015 will still be mostly useful.

Shaun Spalding's newer less viewed tutorials get around 3k views while his most viewed recent tutorials (such as at the start of a series) get around 20k or more.
This is nearly universal in content creation. Most people start at the beginning and don't jump in on Part Fifteen, and some trickle out after each episode. Think of it as an inverted pyramid.



(It's actually less pronounced in game dev tutorials than it is in stuff like Let's Plays and TV shows, because a few people will actually start in the middle if they're looking for a specific thing.)

There's also the age factor: since there's a much longer tail for these kinds of videos than there is for most other content on YouTube, older videos are inevitably going to accumulate more views than something that was posted three days ago.

which implies that the vast majority of GameMaker Tutorial viewers watch one, and only one, tutorial source (and its not even the official one). This seems like really unusual YouTube viewing behavior.
It's not so much that people prefer one source than there's one source that tends to find its way in front of a lot of eyeballs. There are two (main) parts to this, and a third that feeds back into the first two:

1. Shaun covers a lot of the things that are likely to be the first things people look for when they start using GameMaker, so the volume of search traffic consequently runs pretty close to the maximum capacity.

b. Shaun is already a very successful YouTube channel, and when a certain critical mass of engagement is reached, YouTube videos/channels gain traction in both searches themselves and video recommendations. This means he's usually the first result people see when they go looking.

iii. Shaun's videos are dang good so people keep watching after they finish the first one.

Speaking of which, you might want to put an asterisk on mine in the spreadsheet because of all the Let's Plays.
 
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samspade

Member
Unlike most of the content on YouTube - news, games, whatever's big in music culture at the time, plague - tutorials don't stop being relevant in the weeks after they're posted. In five years there will be just as many people searching for game dev help as there are today, if not more, and (for the most part) the ones made in 2015 will still be mostly useful.
There's also the age factor: since there's a much longer tail for these kinds of videos than there is for most other content on YouTube, older videos are inevitably going to accumulate more views than something that was posted three days ago.
I agree with this and notice it on my own channel as well. The tutorials I posted 9 months go are viewed as regularly as the videos I posted 1 week ago after the initial 'new video surge' has passed and that really builds up over time.

It's not so much that people prefer one source than there's one source that tends to find its way in front of a lot of eyeballs.
I don't disagree with this, but it isn't what I find surprising. It isn't surprising that Shaun's videos are watched by many people for all of the reasons you pointed out. In fact, I would assume that nearly 100% of people who watch a GM Tutorial watch a tutorial from him. They're good and he's established meaning many people already know about them and watch them and YouTube will prioritize them for new people. What is surprising is that it seems like the vast majority of people only watch GM Tutorials from him. They never go on to watch tutorials from anyone one else. This seems like a very unusual thing and contrary to how tutorial viewing normally works for other areas, even other programming areas like Godot or Unity which appear to have a much more distributed viewer base (although I'm not as familiar with those communities). Edit: Now that I've said it, maybe that's a good way to actual check how odd it is. Perhaps I'll look at that next.

Speaking of which, you might want to put an asterisk on mine in the spreadsheet because of all the Let's Plays.
I do make a note of that in the GM field. (also as a subscriber I see them when they come out :) )
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I'd bet a contributing factor to the "people only watch one source of tutorials" phenomenon is that since everyone has different base projects, code from different tutorial providers will not be compatible to each other, and the people in need of tutorials might not be good enough at coding to figure out how to cobble them together into a working whole. There's a lot of long "let's make an entire GENRE X game" series where you gradually add to a single project over several lessons where it'd basically be impossible to combine sources, but even for one-offs I can imagine all sorts of conflicts that makes it really hard to merge concepts.
 

samspade

Member
I'd bet a contributing factor to the "people only watch one source of tutorials" phenomenon is that since everyone has different base projects, code from different tutorial providers will not be compatible to each other, and the people in need of tutorials might not be good enough at coding to figure out how to cobble them together into a working whole. There's a lot of long "let's make an entire GENRE X game" series where you gradually add to a single project over several lessons where it'd basically be impossible to combine sources, but even for one-offs I can imagine all sorts of conflicts that makes it really hard to merge concepts.
That seems like it could very well be one of the factors. It makes sense that starting a tutorial in some sense locks people into those tutorials and that specific tutorial creator. It also gives some ideas for how smaller channels could attract new viewers—make things self contained (a good idea anyway), choose topics that are inherently important and in some sense separate from other systems such as shaders (Reverend's channel has done surprisingly well despite being a highly technical series probably for this reason and Pixilated Pope's camera videos are his most viewed ones), or be code agnostic (Pixilated Pope's most viewed video is The 15 Commandments of GameMaker). There's also probably value in just trying to convince people that watching tutorials from multiple sources is a good idea in general.
 

Rob

Member
Can I just say that I have a couple more subs than you're giving me credit for :p

I think SS is known as the platformer King, and what type of game will most people be trying to make? You guessed it!

I don't really know how to get more subs or views, apart from just chugging along, taking notice of comments and what people liked/disliked (they like short videos if possible!).

I know that I watched at least half a dozen different channels when I was raw, one or two that I think most haven't heard of like Jonty.

I think most people are looking for a specific thing though, and so with most people making platformers, and SS being the King of that, I don't see a way to compete unless a dude is 100% flawless in his coding, presentation, and video editing skills.

I've seen some channels with a high production value but low code quality (IMO) do just as well / better than the reverse.
 
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Slyddar

Member
I don't see a way to compete unless a dude is 100% flawless in his coding, presentation, and video editing skills.
Shucks, you're embarrassing me :p

Nice summary Sam. Timing seems the most important factor. Those guys who got in early, and did a good job, stood out for anyone coming through, and they were recommended enough to develop a really decent following. The golden age of 6+ years ago seems to be the sweet spot. Also their quality is really high, most of the time, and they targeted the basics new users would want to achieve. Of course having a series people can follow helps, but the drop off on series videos is quite noticeable, and later episodes just can't repeat the success of earlier ones, even for the big channels. Variety seems to be the other factor that helps with success.

Interesting topic though.
 

samspade

Member
Can I just say that I have a couple more subs than you're giving me credit for :p
Fixed. When I checked you had 1.14k and I recorded it wrong :)

I think most people are looking for a specific thing though, and so with most people making platformers, and SS being the King of that, I don't see a way to compete unless a dude is 100% flawless in his coding, presentation, and video editing skills.
I've seen some channels with a high production value but low code quality (IMO) do just as well / better than the reverse.
True, though I'm not too sad about this one. Good production quality makes things easier to learn because it is easier to watch, so this is something that (in my opinion) everyone teaching should strive for a minimum of at least. So while I'm not going to try and hit @matharoo levels anytime soon. I do keep trying to work on this.

Timing seems the most important factor. Those guys who got in early, and did a good job, stood out for anyone coming through, and they were recommended enough to develop a really decent following. The golden age of 6+ years ago seems to be the sweet spot. Also their quality is really high, most of the time, and they targeted the basics new users would want to achieve. Of course having a series people can follow helps, but the drop off on series videos is quite noticeable, and later episodes just can't repeat the success of earlier ones, even for the big channels. Variety seems to be the other factor that helps with success.
I agree a lot with this, mostly. It's hard because I wasn't there six years ago. But both length of time and timing seem to matter. The one exception being Friendly Cosmonaut (and possibly Gloomy Toad Studies, but his whole account is gone now). I think if she had stuck around, she'd probably be double or triple her current size. I think for here, and this is just an opinion, it was a mixture of doing a let's make a game in a category that people love but there didn't exist any for (top down farming rpg) and being a really good, and unique, teacher. I can't even point to exactly how, but watching her videos (which I did in around my second year of programming) did fundamentally shift how I viewed programming. That said, I do think we're at another point in time where it's good to be making videos. With the advent of 2.3 a lot of old tutorials now are just unusable.

One thing that I've been thinking about as well is that all the big channels do have at least one highly viewed lets make a game series and the biggest channels that are technical (such as Pixelated Pope and Let's Learn GameMaker) focus on core skills that you need to make games - such as how to use the GM IDE and Views, resolution, and cameras.

I think this points to a fundamental idea which is that everyone who uses GameMaker wants to make a game (or is an educator, using it to interest people in programming by having them make games). So anyone who watches a tutorial has to be convinced on some level that watching that tutorial will help them make a game. Let's Make a Game tutorials couldn't get at the heart of this goal any clearer and things like using the IDE and Resolution and Cameras are 'necessary evils.' More than that, I think a lot of people choose GameMaker specifically because it is easier than other options and coding is intimidating or they don't really want to code, they just want to make games and coding again is sort of a 'necessary evil'.

However, as probably everyone who makes tutorials know, being good at coding is very helpful to making games, and following a single let's make a game tutorial, isn't the best way to learn to program (or to learn how to make a game really). I think anyone who wants to make more educational and dense programming videos on some level has to do the work of convincing the average GameMaker user that their tutorials will help them achieve their goal of making a game - and keep in mind that learning how to program for the vast majority of people is a means to an end, not an end itself (which is tough because I think that most people who make programming videos fall into the category of liking programming for its own sake on some level).

Here is a highly unscientific chart, based solely on my own emotions, illustrating the point above.

Untitled Diagram (1).png

This is just an observation and may not be right.
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I can confirm the first quadrant exists.
1603023562254.png

I'm pretty firmly in the "programming is a means to an end, not something you actually can enjoy" camp, and having to deal with embedded MISRA C in my day job hasn't exactly changed my point of view. It's pretty nice to be able to just glue things together without having to care about what's happening under the hood.
 

O.Stogden

Member
Pretty much the only tutorials I've watched are by Heartbeast, PixelatedPope and Matharoo's.

As for Shaun Spaulding having the most views above the others, my 2 thoughts on it are:

1) He has a significant presence outside of Youtube, his Twitter for example has over 10,000 followers. Compared to Pixelated Pope with 2,800 and Matharoo with 1,500. He constantly tweets out his new videos and likely gets picked up and spread across social media networks.

2) If someone asks about how to do a certain something, Shaun's tutorials are often linked in the topic as "the go-to" place to learn. Kind of going back to what I said about spreading across social media, his tutorials are viewed as the starting point to begin with. Whereas I feel PixelatedPope and Matharoo deal with subjects I'm more interested in, and they dive straight into those subjects, they're more in the "intermediate" section. Shaun is in the "beginners" section for 99% of his videos, in my opinion. And there are more beginner users than intermediate.

Matharoo and Pope will make a 5-10 minute video dealing with a specific thing, which is great if you're struggling with that specific thing and need assistance. Shaun builds an entire game, you can't just pick and choose with his videos, you need to be in for the long-haul.

Videos like "Let's make the camera shake" or "Let's make a 2.5D camera", don't have a broad appeal, those things are specific, and apply to only a few games and a few developers. A tutorial promising to build an RPG will appeal to a lot of people (mostly non-developers), at first, but as they reach part 10, they might start to lose their desire to learn.

TL;DR: Shaun appeals to non-developers and new users. Other creators create random videos on certain subjects that are beneficial for those already somewhat familiar with GM that are struggling with a certain concept. Shaun also has a big reach outside of YT that means his post/content will appear all over the internet, not just on YT.
 
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samspade

Member
Pretty much the only tutorials I've watched are by Heartbeast, PixelatedPope and Matharoo's.
😢

1) He has a significant presence outside of Youtube, his Twitter for example has over 10,000 followers. Compared to Pixelated Pope with 2,800 and Matharoo with 1,500. He constantly tweets out his new videos and likely gets picked up and spread across social media networks.
This is something I may look at down the road. Part of the problem with this is its hard to know which came first. Friendly Cosmonaut (who I think was on the path to match Shaun had she kept making videos) has 5k on twitter (she's also connected to a currently active game that is being made). Also I hate twitter :). But it's a good point and certainly helps his high view counts.

2) If someone asks about how to do a certain something, Shaun's tutorials are often linked in the topic as "the go-to" place to learn. Kind of going back to what I said about spreading across social media, his tutorials are viewed as the starting point to begin with. Whereas I feel PixelatedPope and Matharoo deal with subjects I'm more interested in, and they dive straight into those subjects, they're more in the "intermediate" section. Shaun is in the "beginners" section for 99% of his videos, in my opinion. And there are more beginner users than intermediate.
The first part I don't agree with. At least not on this forum. Shaun's tutorials (while good and I do watch them) teach a very limited set of things. It's one of the most popular sets, but still a very limited set of things and many things are in the context of a game and inextricable from that. You almost can't refer anyone to him unless they want to make a platformer from scratch. The second part is definitely true though.
 

O.Stogden

Member
Possibly not, I don't delve into the Q&A section much.

I just know I've never seen Matharoo's tutorials linked in there, probably because of how specific his videos are, a question on the subjects he covers doesn't come up very often. And I have seen Shaun's linked at least twice that I can remember, or at least thrown in as a "this is a good place to start with game dev because I don't think you're ready for what you want to do" kind of thing.

And yes, sorry, I haven't looked into your tutorials yet haha. I'm fairly comfortable with most of the things you've covered that I'm aware of, and I haven't moved onto GMS 2.3 yet with my game releasing soon. I'll probably check them out to familiarize myself with 2.3 additions when the time comes. :D
 

BiTrunade

Member
Since 2010 I have watched +30 GB worth of flv Youtube videos, I reached the peak of my videos watching around 2013 when I have gotten a grip of GML and started doing 3D. One thing that kept me watching YT GM tutorials was that, I did not have a GMC account. I had to learn from multiple sources (my favorite was The Sivart for 3D and someone with a British accent), I copied/pasted most the codes (or all of them for that matter), but once I started learning the codes (and MAJORLY after learning web development, php, and filmmaking) I managed to write my own codes and learn the codes that I used to copy/paste, I then discovered the GM manual, which to this day is my only source of GML information (beside the forum and reddit, there are many answered questions there.) Those habits taught me to be self-sufficient and expanded my scope for programming.

I have not analyzed this subject thoroughly, and I am speaking strictly from personal point of view. When I started out I did not have the easy route of asking on the forum and getting the code to what I want, I rarely ask now except for few occasions (back in 2018 and once few days ago), I also don't find the new Youtube tutorials to be interesting. Again from a personal point of view, I see tutorials have grown longer and less denser, as if they want to go beyond the 10 minutes mark.

Whenever I answer a question here I try my best to actually teach the person before giving out the code, or write the code and break it down, each line and each function, along with a diagram if possible.

Recently, @matharoo channel has caught my attention, not just amazing simple to follow AND simple to learn tutorials, but there are also many gems hidden there. Easy and fun with a high production value that stands out but still lives up to the viewer's expectations. I have been mentioning matharoo'e channel lately a lot (GameMakerStation) because I want it to be discovered, and I would gladly recommend it to anyone who wants to start out.

I completely agree with @Yal opinion about programming.

And finally, thanks @Nocturne for the incredible amazing manual.
 
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samspade

Member
And yes, sorry, I haven't looked into your tutorials yet haha. I'm fairly comfortable with most of the things you've covered that I'm aware of, and I haven't moved onto GMS 2.3 yet with my game releasing soon. I'll probably check them out to familiarize myself with 2.3 additions when the time comes
No worries. My tutorials are definitely covering the basics of any given topic (although some of the topics are more advanced than others). So unless you're a serial tutorial watcher like me (I just enjoy it) they may or may not have much value.

Since 2010 I have watched +30 GB worth of flv Youtube videos, I reached the peak of my videos watching around 2013 when I have gotten a grip of GML and started doing 3D. One thing that kept me watching YT GM tutorials was that, I did not have a GMC account. I had to learn from multiple sources (my favorite was The Sivart for 3D and someone with a British accent), I copied/pasted most the codes (or all of them for that matter), but once I started learning the codes (and MAJORLY after learning web development, php, and filmmaking) I managed to write my own codes and learn the codes that I used to copy/paste, I then discovered the GM manual, which to this day is my only source of GML information (beside the forum and reddit, there are many answered questions there.) Those habits taught me to be self-sufficient and expanded my scope for programming.
I'd be curious to know what channels you watched so I could add them to my list. I didn't find The Sivart in any of my searches for example. That might be the oldest GM channel on the list.

Recently, @matharoo channel has caught my attention, not just amazing simple to follow AND simple to learn tutorials, but there are also many gems hidden there. Easy and fun with a high production value that stands out but still lives up to the viewer's expectations. I have been mentioning matharoo'e channel lately a lot (GameMakerStation) because I want it to be discovered, and I would gladly recommend it to anyone who wants to start out.
Matharoo is definitely producing the highest quality tutorials right now.
 

BiTrunade

Member
I'd be curious to know what channels you watched so I could add them to my list. I didn't find The Sivart in any of my searches for example. That might be the oldest GM channel on the list.
I will compose a list and pm you when possible, until then, here is the Sivart.

 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I will compose a list and pm you when possible, until then, here is the Sivart.

The most recent videos seem to be 3 years old, so the code presented in these might not work properly in GMS2.3 (heck, 2 in general).
 

BiTrunade

Member
The most recent videos seem to be 3 years old, so the code presented in these might not work properly in GMS2.3 (heck, 2 in general).
Yeah, I know, he's been inactive for a long time now. If you dig deeper you will also find tutorials for GameMaker 7.0
 

samspade

Member
The most recent videos seem to be 3 years old, so the code presented in these might not work properly in GMS2.3 (heck, 2 in general).
Yeah, this is more for curiosity sake than providing a list to anyone to use as a resource.

i learned a lot with youtube
I think the vast majority of hobby coders without a coding background do. Many at some point switch to other methods, but my guess would be virtually everyone who doesn't come in with coding knowledge, is watching YouTube videos at the start - unless they're learning it in school and being taught by a professor.

Saw this topic and I really wanted to share.
I like these (and just watched most of them). It's a very different way to do a GM Tutorial. It will be interesting to see how your channel grows.
 

Mert

Member
I like these (and just watched most of them). It's a very different way to do a GM Tutorial. It will be interesting to see how your channel grows.
My point is that people understand better with on screen annotations.
You learn by looking at the screen and try to understand what I've done. I also support this with on screen annotations.

You missed something, or didn't understand it?
Instead of replying back and over, just roll back to the part where you've missed and read the annotation. Easy.

Oh and.. there are no video that's longer than 10 mins in the channel ^^
 

larry12A

Member
Saw this topic and I really wanted to share. I really love what I've done in this playlist. I'm planning to add more onto this list.
Thanks for sharing. He is doing a great job in videos.
 
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