GML Book?

MaGicBush

Member
I wasn't sure if I should post this here, or in "programming," but that section seems more about specific code questions so I went with posting it here.

I am looking for a more recent GML book similar to the old one(Game Maker's Apprentice). I unfortunately lost mine, but it wouldn't apply anymore anyways I don't think as it's changed a ton since like 15 years ago when I used GM 5.1 or so back in high school. I recently started getting bored with my hobbies, and wanted to try and pick up GMS and learn GML again. Back then I didn't get to far, and only made a few basic arcade games. I have a bit more drive and patience now being older though, so maybe this time :D.

I realize I could use youtube, but I honestly do not like youtube and would rather find a book I can lay in my bed and read at my own pace, and lookup things I don't fully understand or need explained differently. I plan to buy GMS 2 sometime soon, and actually already own 1.4 as I got it really cheap on humble right before 2.0 released. I will probably just use that for now, but if I get into it enough I may upgrade.

Could anyone recommend me a book I could order online(if any even exist)?
 

curato

Member
I feel you about the youtube videos. I hate to have to look anything up on youtube. They trying too hard to be a celebrity and end up with half a video of fluff. No one came to listen to your 2 min intro or hear about what you did last week. Just facts in facts out thanks lol.
 

MaGicBush

Member
EvanSki said:
Oh that looks handy. I will read through it, but it looks to be explaining things in a boring way lol. I Guess I will deal with it if there is nothing better. I liked the books approach as it walked you through making a few games and put the code into practice. I was hoping for something like that, and that maybe went into more advanced things than that book did as well.

I feel you about the youtube videos. I hate to have to look anything up on youtube. They trying too hard to be a celebrity and end up with half a video of fluff. No one came to listen to your 2 min intro or hear about what you did last week. Just facts in facts out thanks lol.
Yea I have never been a fan of youtube other than to learn about something honestly. My son swears by it, but watching people talk about playing games is boring to me lol. I just go play them instead. Also I prefer reading to watching and learn better that way at my own pace instead of having to cater to whoever I am listening to. People on those videos tend to skip some details as well that a good book would cover, or talk to fast, or are hard to understand, etc.

I did find this book, https://www.amazon.com/GameMaker-Language-InDepth-Guide-Cover/dp/1329419561/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=gml&qid=1566180637&s=gateway&sr=8-1

But it is from 2015 and GML1.x I think. Does GML change a bunch between studio 1 and 2? I did see a few books/kindle on amazon that specifically mentions GMS 2. But they do not have any reviews, and the one that does have one review is a bad one.

Thanks for the help guys, and if anyone else knows of a better resource or knows of a book on amazon or something let me know!
 
Last edited:

curato

Member
If you are already familiar with GMS1 there are new instance create functions and layers in the room and new ways to deal with views and cameras and such, but by and large it is pretty backwards compatible.
 

chance

predictably random
Forum Staff
Moderator
I plan to buy GMS 2 sometime soon, and actually already own 1.4 as I got it really cheap on humble right before 2.0 released. I will probably just use that for now, but if I get into it enough I may upgrade.
Using GMS 1.4 is fine. But if you plan to use Studio for any length of time, upgrading to GMS 2 is a better idea. At the very least, you can install the free version of GMS 2 for a test drive. (It won't affect your GMS 1.4 installation.)

As for learning resources, it depends on your background. If you already understand basic programming concepts like variable assignments, conditionals, loops, program flow, etc., then learning GMS 1.4 / 2 from the manual is straightforward.

But if you are totally new to programming, reading reference manuals can be confusing and frustrating. Beginner's books or online courses may be better choices. Once you learn basic concepts that apply to all languages, picking up GMS from the manual is easier.

I won't recommend any online courses, because I haven't used any. But there's plenty of free self-paced courses for beginners. And many provide downloadable PDF docs you can print.
 

MaGicBush

Member
Using GMS 1.4 is fine. But if you plan to use Studio for any length of time, upgrading to GMS 2 is a better idea. At the very least, you can install the free version of GMS 2 for a test drive. (It won't affect your GMS 1.4 installation.)

As for learning resources, it depends on your background. If you already understand basic programming concepts like variable assignments, conditionals, loops, program flow, etc., then learning GMS 1.4 / 2 from the manual is straightforward.

But if you are totally new to programming, reading reference manuals can be confusing and frustrating. Beginner's books or online courses may be better choices. Once you learn basic concepts that apply to all languages, picking up GMS from the manual is easier.

I won't recommend any online courses, because I haven't used any. But there's plenty of free self-paced courses for beginners. And many provide downloadable PDF docs you can print.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I actually learned JavaScript a year ago, but I have only used it here and there since occasionally and have forgotten some of it. So I would say I have the basics down, and do know how variables, conditionals, and loops, etc all work. I even remember some of the syntax that GML uses from way back when I did use it. I was just mostly curious to find a good book that would be a fun way to refresh and keep me interested like the Game Maker's Apprentice did. I will use the manual as well so thanks!

Has anyone checked the link I posted earlier or looked at the GMS2 books and could recommend one?
 

ParodyKnaveBob

The Laughing Rogue
You have access to a "book" you can read on screen: GM:S 1.4 has tutorials you can download from the YYG website and install to use from within the IDE; GMS 2.x has tutorials you can download and use from within the IDE (skipping an extra trip to the website). In general, they're pretty great. (Gotta say, though, I only used GMS2 for a short while more than a year ago. The tutorials could be terrible now, but if @Nocturne's still on 'em, I expect they're still fun and straightforward read-do-experiment.)

I hope this helps!
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
Last time I checked (last week), the GMS2 manual still feels a bit barebones in terms of big chunks of text per clickable headline, so GMS1 is worth having around for the manual alone (on top of still outnumbering GMS2 in terms of working assets and online tutorials, except that probably will change sooner or later).

Video tutorial tip: check out (former GMC staff member) Shaun Spalding's stuff, ignore HearthBeast's stuff - it promotes a bunch of bad practices that to this day keeps a steady flow of newbies having issues with the physics engine.
 

Taataru

Member
I wasn't sure if I should post this here, or in "programming," but that section seems more about specific code questions so I went with posting it here.

I am looking for a more recent GML book similar to the old one(Game Maker's Apprentice). I unfortunately lost mine, but it wouldn't apply anymore anyways I don't think as it's changed a ton since like 15 years ago when I used GM 5.1 or so back in high school. I recently started getting bored with my hobbies, and wanted to try and pick up GMS and learn GML again. Back then I didn't get to far, and only made a few basic arcade games. I have a bit more drive and patience now being older though, so maybe this time :D.

I realize I could use youtube, but I honestly do not like youtube and would rather find a book I can lay in my bed and read at my own pace, and lookup things I don't fully understand or need explained differently. I plan to buy GMS 2 sometime soon, and actually already own 1.4 as I got it really cheap on humble right before 2.0 released. I will probably just use that for now, but if I get into it enough I may upgrade.

Could anyone recommend me a book I could order online(if any even exist)?
Hi! Actually a new book about GMS2 focusing on GML is out. It's actually similar to The Game Maker 's Apprentice book. It teaches how to create 6 game projects with GML from start to finish and also features some game design specific sections.
The book is called "Game Development with GameMaker Studio 2" published by Apress.
This is not a GML-only book (so don't expect a detailed manual on the language covering all aspects of GML), but a beginner/intermediate game development/design book which uses GML and GameMaker Studio 2 to teach how to build video games and some useful game programming patters.
Hope it can help!
 

Lonewolff

Member
Hi! Actually a new book about GMS2 focusing on GML is out. It's actually similar to The Game Maker 's Apprentice book. It teaches how to create 6 game projects with GML from start to finish and also features some game design specific sections.
The book is called "Game Development with GameMaker Studio 2" published by Apress.
This is not a GML-only book (so don't expect a detailed manual on the language covering all aspects of GML), but a beginner/intermediate game development/design book which uses GML and GameMaker Studio 2 to teach how to build video games and some useful game programming patters.
Hope it can help!

Looks like a 'must have'

 
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I haven't read the book, but I am skeptical of the soundness of Yongpeng's review due to a particular strong statement it contains:

"offer(s) no help for your programming skill."
I don't know, I'd believe it based on the first couple of pages available for preview. The author seems to really like fluffing up word count while saying nothing of substance. Grammar isn't the best either.
Game Development with GameMaker Studio 2 said:
Gaming is something that I always did with an inquisitive mind. I always played games (and I still do it now) asking myself questions like "How is this made?" "How does it work?" "Is this fun? Why?" "Why is it not fun?" and most importantly "How can this be funnier?" Only much later I realized that what I was doing all my life they called it Game Design.
If that's indicative of the quality of the rest of the book, I'd think new users -- the target audience of the book -- would legitimately be better served with YouTube tutorials.
 

Calvert

Member
I don't know, I'd believe it based on the first couple of pages available for preview. The author seems to really like fluffing up word count while saying nothing of substance. Grammar isn't the best either.

If that's indicative of the quality of the rest of the book, I'd think new users -- the target audience of the book -- would legitimately be better served with YouTube tutorials.
I would not be surprised if there are more YouTube tutorials for Gamemaker Studio 2 then there are words in that book. I concur that new users would be better served with Youtube tutorials, but being served does not equal retaining information. Some new users say they learn information better from books rather than videos. If I am going to take them at their word, I would say that this specific group of new users would be better off purchasing a book to learn from. (Not necessarily the book we are discussing.)

I would say that the passage you quoted from the book contains substance. It is a book about Game Development, and the author managed to describe what people call Game Design. I see no reason to disagree with you regarding the author fluffing up word count though, I haven't read enough of the book to form an opinion on that.
 
I would say that the passage you quoted from the book contains substance. It is a book about Game Development, and the author managed to describe what people call Game Design. I see no reason to disagree with you regarding the author fluffing up word count though, I haven't read enough of the book to form an opinion on that.
I agree with you there; I wasn't saying that the quoted excerpt had no substance. Only that the tangential personal experience fluff added no substance.

Then again, I'm of the mind that books on general "game design" are generally worthless and contain very little substantial information. I do think the author is right on the kind of mindset you should have, though. "Why is this fun/not fun?" and "How/why does this work?" are great questions to ask. They questions only help within the context of specific games, however. I will always recommend books deep-diving into specific games over ones on general-purpose game design. Books like Boss Fight Books' Spelunky by the game's own developer, Derek Yu and Game Design Companion: A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4 are beyond compare at conveying the reasoning behind specific game design decisions and how they impacted the player experience.

I also am far past the point of needing or desiring a book specific to GameMaker, so maybe I'm not the best to ask about GML book recommendations. I do believe a book that teaches how to use GameMaker Studio would be far more valuable than a book that teaches "game design" using GameMaker Studio.
 

Taataru

Member
The book I linked does cover GameMaker Studio 2, as well as game design and development using GML. The "fluffying" is not to increase the word-count, but to try to engage the reader into a learning process, instead of just listing instructions as many tutorials and YT videos do. It's a matter of taste, personally I prefer those books then YT tutorials. The difference between a tutorial and a book, is that a book should create a context around the concepts explained that help you master the topic; while tutorials just tell you how to do something.
This book, in particular, covers different projects explaining how to design them (explaining all the design decisions) and how to implement them (explaining all the programming decisions). Of course it's not a perfect book, but if you judge a book from a single bad review of a guy that thought he bought a GML reference book and mocks game design, I think you're being unfair.
If you're interested in game development, I think that this book can be a good starter to introduce you both to design and programming. It covers some interesting game design topics (like boss fight design, level design, etc) and help you to understand basic game programming by creating some popular genre like card games, platformers and shoot em ups. I don't think there are many better books about GMS2/GML. That's why the thread was created.
 

lemonhead

Member
Personally, I have watched tons of YT tutorials and occasionally find hidden gems that do not contain the keywords Gamemaker or GMS or GMS2 in them. This said, I can truly say that I have found that I retain and learn a heck of a lot more by reading. The tech blogs are a wonderful resource. Currently reading the "Secrets of the GYU Layer" by Mike Dailly. A lot of good reading out there. Also don't automatically dismiss the books just because they are not specifically for GMS2. Most of the content in all of the GMS1 books applies to GMS2 as well. Not to mention you will get a lot of best practice stuff and different views on accomplishing similar tasks. All of this will help your brain start developing your problem solving abilities within GMS2. Sorry to ramble. But read everything! Just my 2 cents.
 

FrostyCat

Member
Rather than a book, I'm wondering if item-by-item guides would be more appropriate for a novice audience. Something the size of a book all at once might get you lost rather than building a working foundation.

I'm over a decade too experienced to put myself in the shoes of a coding beginner again, but I can still relate to being a beginner from recently taking up Japanese Chess. Here are 2 of the related YouTube channels I subscribed to on this topic:
Both channels helped me immensely, but for this discussion I want to emphasize the difference in their approaches. The first one followed a format similar to mainstream GML tutorials and books, and is intended for an adult audience. The second one had a fine-grain single-topic-single-exercise format not found in mainstream GML education (perhaps only present in the Manual), and is intended for a younger audience.

Both channels took a similar approach to how the pieces move, so no comparison there (though in GML I'm sick of people forcing through not knowing how its "pieces" move). But it's the lessons on tactics that these two channels diverged. Here are the ones on building castles (defensive layouts):
I only had use for volume 4 and some of volume 3 from the second channel at this point, as it has been a while since I started and I already know all the rules. But the teaching format fascinated me in its simplicity. Single skill, single example, single on-theme exercise. No one can reasonably get lost with this. It's supposed to go with a textbook and meant for children, but absent both of these factors I still got a lot off the channel. The first channel got me lost with castles even after several re-watches (totalling at least 4 hours), but the second one got me comfortable with the 4 basic ones in less than an hour. The second one got me playing believable openings for once, albeit several months too late.

Would anyone be interested in a series on GML based on this same "bite-sized" teaching principle? Let me know and I'll pilot something simple. I'm unfortunately occupied until the beginning of December with a library release and GMC Jam prep, but for the rest of December I can commit to something more substantial.
 

lemonhead

Member
You know....@MaGicBush I was thinking. A good way to learn that I had a lot of luck with and still would do well with I think is the books that present challenge programming assignments you are meant to figure out on your own but there are answers also where it describes how they did what they did. It is like being in a class almost. Here is one I found pretty useful:

https://www.amazon.com/GameMaker-Studio-100-Programming-Challenges/dp/1484226437
 

Toque

Member
Rather than a book, I'm wondering if item-by-item guides would be more appropriate for a novice audience. Something the size of a book all at once might get you lost rather than building a working foundation.

I'm over a decade too experienced to put myself in the shoes of a coding beginner again, but I can still relate to being a beginner from recently taking up Japanese Chess. Here are 2 of the related YouTube channels I subscribed to on this topic:
Both channels helped me immensely, but for this discussion I want to emphasize the difference in their approaches. The first one followed a format similar to mainstream GML tutorials and books, and is intended for an adult audience. The second one had a fine-grain single-topic-single-exercise format not found in mainstream GML education (perhaps only present in the Manual), and is intended for a younger audience.

Both channels took a similar approach to how the pieces move, so no comparison there (though in GML I'm sick of people forcing through not knowing how its "pieces" move). But it's the lessons on tactics that these two channels diverged. Here are the ones on building castles (defensive layouts):
I only had use for volume 4 and some of volume 3 from the second channel at this point, as it has been a while since I started and I already know all the rules. But the teaching format fascinated me in its simplicity. Single skill, single example, single on-theme exercise. No one can reasonably get lost with this. It's supposed to go with a textbook and meant for children, but absent both of these factors I still got a lot off the channel. The first channel got me lost with castles even after several re-watches (totalling at least 4 hours), but the second one got me comfortable with the 4 basic ones in less than an hour. The second one got me playing believable openings for once, albeit several months too late.

Would anyone be interested in a series on GML based on this same "bite-sized" teaching principle? Let me know and I'll pilot something simple. I'm unfortunately occupied until the beginning of December with a library release and GMC Jam prep, but for the rest of December I can commit to something more substantial.

Japanese chess looks interesting. This discussion probably deserves its own posting for people to appreciate and give input.

My apology for going off topic OP.

I’m trying to visualize what “bite sized” would look like.

I thought this fellow broke a lot of things down into small sections.


Enjoyed them and his style.
 

Rob

Member
Japanese chess looks interesting. This discussion probably deserves its own posting for people to appreciate and give input.

My apology for going off topic OP.

I’m trying to visualize what “bite sized” would look like.

I thought this fellow broke a lot of things down into small sections.


Enjoyed them and his style.
Yeah I liked his style too iirc. Jonti also had a decent delivery but I can't find him at all now. I know he stopped doing tutorials years ago (pre 2.0 definitely) and his channel seems to have dropped off the face of the earth!
 

MaGicBush

Member
Thanks for the tips everyone! I have not had much time to get to involved since I made this post(life stuff), but I definitely intend to very soon when I have time. Hopefully around Christmas when I take some time off, and get settled into my new job. I am hoping there is a sale for GMS2 around Christmas ;).
 

samspade

Member
Rather than a book, I'm wondering if item-by-item guides would be more appropriate for a novice audience. Something the size of a book all at once might get you lost rather than building a working foundation. . . . Would anyone be interested in a series on GML based on this same "bite-sized" teaching principle? Let me know and I'll pilot something simple. I'm unfortunately occupied until the beginning of December with a library release and GMC Jam prep, but for the rest of December I can commit to something more substantial.
While I'm probably also at least a little beyond novice at this point, I would say that as someone who is still learning other languages, and is a novice in those, the small less than ten minute format is my preferred method of learning. It naturally subdivides information into specific and focused parts which makes them easier to learn, remember, review, and use as a reference later. Also as someone who can only spend a few hours a week programming, often broken up into less than hour sections, smaller chunks makes it something I can do whenever.

A thing I would love is a series of sub ten minutes videos on the basics of programming using GML and the Basics of GML structures. For example, and in no particular order, and not always in their smallest chunks:
  • Variables and Data Types
  • Scope
  • Basic Operators
  • Operator Precedence
  • If / Else Statements
  • Switch Statements
  • General Boolean Logic
  • Functions
  • Scripts
  • Loops and Iteration
  • Data Structures
  • Objects in General
  • Events in General
  • Common Events
  • Inheritance in GML
This isn't meant to be a todo list for you - but just to say that these are topics I have wished had GML specific videos for both for myself at times and especially for answering questions in the forums. And they're the types of videos that basically don't get made for GML.
 
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