OFFICIAL GameMaker Studio 2 Tutorial Survey

FrostyCat

Member
While this survey shows a YoYo that is receptive to client input, there is also a dark side to it. Results from this survey will likely reflect what novices want, but not what novices need to be competent. As a Q&A responder nearing my breaking point, I can say with absolute certainty that kowtowing to novice wants is absolutely dangerous.

If YoYo doesn't get any of my other points, I hope they get this: You can't foster novice success only by teaching what novices think they need. If novices knew what they actually needed, they weren't novices to begin with. You have to also make tutorials that teach what novices don't know they need, which YouTube authors typically avoid for SEO reasons. Otherwise you are not really helping anyone, you are just making more of the same clueless, slap-dash rookies that responders like Nidoking and I clean after daily to the point of burnout. Whenever you see a responder flip out on a novice, you know it's not because there was a shortage of material for cloning a platformer or some pre-1990s arcade game. It's because the novice was doing stupid things that could have been avoided by not taking a Goldilocks or infinite-monkey approach to the craft.

Rather than repeating my points, I will let my responses to the survey do most of the talking:
Do you prefer to see tutorials focused on DnD, GML or a mix of project types?

Mix of both

(Reason: While I agree that GML is what will be used at production capacity, there is a remarkable deficit of DnD tutorials and community support for it. YoYo should either think about bolstering support for it to capture part of the no-code development market, or drop it going forward if they aren't going to help people trying to use it.)

Do you prefer written tutorials, video tutorials or a mixture of both?

Written tutorials

(Reason: There are enough video tutorials on YouTube already, no need for YoYo to spend resources adding to it. In addition, since GMS 2 is now available in many languages, localization becomes a priority, and written tutorials are easier to localize and update than video tutorials. And given that there is a simplified Chinese localization but none for traditional Chinese, it tells me YoYo is going for Mainland China --- so why is YoYo still hosting the videos only on YouTube?)

Do you prefer tutorials that cover the entire creation of a game type or tutorials that are more focused on a specific lessons/outcomes?

Specific lessons/outcomes

(Reason: There are already enough "let's make a game" tutorials out there, no need for YoYo to make more. In addition, I think tutorials that cover the entire creation of a game give an unrealistic view of how actual development progresses, and foster a copy-and-paste attitude to programming. Samspade has a video warning about this for a good reason.)

Do you prefer tutorials that focus more on technical concepts or design concepts?

Technical concepts

(Reason: Again there are already enough sources for design concepts online, and because they are language-neutral, YoYo does not have a distinct role in teaching them that others cannot fulfill. However, as the first point of contact, YoYo does have a distinct role in teaching GMS 2 that other sources cannot replace. In addition, my experience on Q&A shows that most novices already have a lot of design ideas, their main problems are mental discipline and technical competency. YoYo can't help with mental discipline, but they can and should help with technical competency.)

What type of game genres would you like to see covered in future tutorials?

I want to see more slower, non-action genres such as hidden-object, match-3, card games, board games, or graphical novels/point-and-click adventures. These genres are chronically underrepresented in currently available teaching materials for GMS 2, and consequently also in products made using GMS 2. In my opinion, these genres are better at covering data-driven competencies (e.g. data modelling with structs and arrays, separation of model and presentation, etc.) and general code-level competencies (e.g. variables, events, execution flow, etc.), which I see a chronic deficit of among novices. The slower pace of these genres also allow more time for reusable concepts to sink in, and remove the most of the dependence on reflexes and excitement that often distract from learning.

What are some lessons or concepts you’d like to learn about in future tutorials?

- Searching for and reading Manual entries
- Source control usage
- Debugging
- Process of expression evaluation and execution flow (especially value tables)
- Variable scoping
- Translating design elements to code
- Data modelling
- Making effective use of tutorials
- Extension development
- 3D graphics and vector geometry
- Modular design and project management in post-2.3 GMS
- Colour arithmetic and shaders
- Physics system
- Playing videos

What specific sections or features of GameMaker Studio 2 would you like to see covered in future tutorials?

General competencies:

- How to use the Manual effectively
- Basic events
- Basic GML statements (e.g. for, with, while and do-until, etc.)
- Reading error messages
- Instance handling
- Post-2.3 structs and arrays
- OOP patterns in post-2.3 GML
- Integrating with other programming languages via extensions or networking
- Asset package development
- Test automation
- Build automation

Specific competencies:
- Responsive UI layout and view scaling, especially on mobile and HTML5
- The "variables" dropdown in object properties
- Layer management
- Auto-tiling
- Implementing ads, IAPs and analytics
- App store compliance
- Asynchronous functions (e.g. concept of checking async_load[? "id"], waiting for output in a different event, etc.)
- How file systems work and their limits on different platforms
- Managing the garbage controller
- Post-processing effects (e.g. room transitions, irregularly shaped split views, full-screen effects, etc.)
- Managing multiple views
- Colour arithmetic and shaders
- 3D graphics (e.g. camera view, drawing primitives and models, basic collision checks, etc.)
- Physics (e.g. basic terminology, fixtures, forces and impulses, joints, etc.)
- Playing videos (either an extension or future built-in function)

How do you feel about the recent tutorials we have released for GameMaker Studio 2 (Little Town, Fire Jump & upcoming Hero’s Trail)?

They are a massive duplication of effort for "let's make a game" tutorials that are already dominant and overrepresented in other sources, particularly YouTube and Udemy. They have made zero difference in reducing the amount of blind, slap-dash code on the Q&A section. Please instead make tutorials that target unmet needs and avoid fostering a copy-and-paste attitude to programming.

Any further comments about GameMaker Studio 2 tutorials?

There is too much focus on what novices want, and not enough focus on what novices need. Please listen more to Q&A responders on what kinds of problems they see a lot on novices, and help create and popularize tutorials addressing those. A constructive tutorial ecosystem should work towards lessening the need for hand-holding, not feeding it.
 

samspade

Member
I have so many thoughts! Is there a deadline for this poll? I would like to go through some of the written tutorials on YoYo's site before answering.

One thing I would point out, is that while I agree completely with @FrostyCat about the need for tutorials that aren't just some form of "let's make a game", YoYo is actually the best for this type of tutorial. The Little Town tutorial for example is easily the best version of this type of tutorial currently out there. And while there are a number of YouTube creators who have done good jobs (the biggest being Shaun Spalding and Friendly Cosmonaut) Friendly Cosmonaut never finished hers (a real issue in the YouTube World) and Shaun's most recent one is at least partially out of date and doesn't take full advantage of all the new features (unsurprisingly since it was started years ago).

What Little Town shows is that the ability to pay (one hopes) an actual professor to do one gives you a product that really rivals everything else out there. So I would actually love it if YoYo did another one. My only request (and this will go in the poll) is please not another platformer, top down rpg, or arcade game. Visual Novel, Point and Click Adventure Game, or even Mobile Idle Game would be much preferred.
 

8BitWarrior

Member
Visual Novel, Point and Click Adventure Game, or even Mobile Idle Game would be much preferred.
For what it's worth, I'd like to second this.
Something like a Point and Click Adventure Game could be a healthy addition.
Such a tutorial could sidestep to various puzzles (mini-games), each focusing on a specific coding goal and how they can tie back into the main gameplay. It could showcase how well-suited GameMaker is for rapid development of versatile designs.
 
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Submitted as well. Wish to see intermediate to advance tutorials, i.e. vertex, array, datastructures, surface, shaders, particles, etc. Can be in form of specific tutorial on the subject or as part of themed 'lets make a game'.
 
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