The art alone in a 3d game can be a hassle to those who haven't dealt with models before and placing correct textures on them. If you plan to make a decent 3d game and you want nice graphics then you shouldn't waste time, practice using a modeling program and find a tutorial on how to import them into game maker if you don't know how to already. Game Maker isn't the best 3d gamedev program for it's main intentions were to be a 2d program with 3d capability. It's not a full fledged 3d utility that will bring you the next COD5. Mainly because of speed issues. 2d games don't lag nearly as much as 3d games do. The use of low poly models and efficient coding in all areas is a must for you should always consider what Game Maker's limitations are.
Game Maker isn't too limited though. You can make a nice 3d game as long as you know what you're doing. Are you prepared to make all the models for your game? Every person, plant, building, object, etc... and then provide textures for each and every part of those models, as well as maintain a fluid frame rate while calculating the x,y,z positions, collisions, angles, and their actions/reactions to these variables? Are you prepared to design it all and actually make this dream of yours appear before your screen? Game Maker is as good as you are so the question is whether you are really ready for such a hard task. Being able to do it all can be quite annoying if you're lacking skills in a particular area that is crucial to your game.
I mentioned comfort zone earlier. Go with what you know best. If you are a type of person who can make amazing 2d artwork and you know how to program in 2d efficiently then experimenting with 3d graphics and programming may be a challenge you're seeking to improve yourself. But honestly, if you're new to programming with game maker I would suggest that you learn as much as you can about 2d programming first. 3d does not make a game better than a 2d game, just because of the perspective. There are plenty of 2d games that have more success then a crappy thrown together 3d game. If you want to make a great game, go with what you know and slowly work your way up.
To be honest, I prefer seeing a 2d game created with this program because I know this program excels in 2d support and there are numerous experts on GML who stick with a 2d perspective because they can create wonderful works of art and provide an enjoyable gaming experience with quality. But like the experts of 2d manipulation and programming, they never jumped ahead of themselves. Learn the material. I say this because, I've seen countless people post in areas such as the 3d techniques forum (not just in the GMC) and they mention that they're new to gamemaker and not very good with GML. It's good that people want to learn it, but there's required knowledge, prepare yourself otherwise your project will just fail. You'll give up and say it's too difficult.
So if you're new to game maker, or at least fairly new and you haven't explored all the capabilities of 2d programming, I'd suggest that you play around with it some more and look at what others have done. Test yourself and see if you can accomplish the same tasks. As for the users who feel that they're qualified to move onto 3d game design, let's talk about the things you should be concerned about.
The problems with many 3d games created with gamemaker all fall under speed issues, lack of creativity, and the math involved with the third dimension now in use. 3d will test your math skills alot when it comes to models and manipulating them. I recommend a math skill at a Trigonometry level or higher simply because you're going to use of trig functions. Knowing your math very well is key to programming, even in 2d programming. Programming in general challenges your skills in math all the time. It should be a priority to learn all you can in mathematics so you can apply your knowledge to your games. And for those of you who feel all high and mighty and know your math skills, you're probably saying "eh, I can write a 100 line physics script easily." It's true that physics, collisions, and other various coding may take alot of space, but in 3d programming speed is an issue. You can't afford to have hundreds of lines of code running all the time. Can you efficiently accomplish a task with the least amount of code needed? If not you're going to have some trouble. Read up on new scripts or techniques that people have come up with and use them to save your game from lagging.
Think about this. In a 2d game, you're either looking down or to the side. In a 3d world, you're capable of looking up, down, left, right, behind you, over there, and there, and there, etc.... Try looking up, down, and side to side at the same time, while trying to focus on objects in each of those directions. Confusing and probably painful for your head isn't it? That's exactly what happens when you can't manage your game. In a 2d game you can see everything unless you implement the use of views, which still nothing compared to 3d where you have to worry about objects in front of your camera, behind your camera and everywhere else because they calculate dimensions for their models at all times opposed to 2d games using a simple sprite. Math is everything when it comes to 3d. If you can't control it, nothing will function properly. So make sure you know your mathematics.
I know I'm not going into great detail about 3d game design and it's areas of concerns, but I'm briefly going over a comparison between 2d and 3d targeted to people looking to start programming in 3d. This article was put into simple terms in order to simply get to the point and attempt to give some ideas of what gamedevs are getting themselves into when it comes to 3d games. No one was born to make a 3d game, you have to make yourself capable of dealing with the tasks involved with 3d game design. Your effort in learning all that you can is what will make you succeed. Make use of the time you have and build your skills where it really matters. If there's anything that you would like to add to give some ideas for new 3d game designers to think about, feel free to voice your opinions on the topic. We're not trying to scare people, but at least educate them on the difficulty that comes with it.
Edited by Glen, 23 April 2009 - 07:46 PM.