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An angry written letter by a frustrated teaching volunteer


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#1 Mikkelet

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 09:35 PM

Hi GMC and devs alike,

 

Every wednesday evening, I volunteer for a code teaching program at my uni. The children are between 7 and 13 years. The older children have started using Unity, while the younger are using Scratch to learn basic functions of a game engine. Now, some of these younger ones are getting bored with the limited functionality of Scratch, and have asked if they could start learning code (Scratch is Drag-n-Drop only). The other volunteers and I discussed this to figure out what to do. We decided that Unity and C# might be a tad too difficult in the beginning, so we needed an easier way to bridge this gap. 

 

I told them I had used GameMaker/GML back in 2007/8, so I suggested I could teach that. I just want to share my experience from using Gamemaker in today's class. There was 7 children, quite young, and each with their own laptop. They're not stupid or technologically impaired.. they know how to download stuff. First problem we hit was opening it. Studio apparently doesn't show as an installed application. It's instead just placed in a folder in the documents-folder. Even after installing it, I had to help most of the children finding the file they needed to open. Several of them had also installed Player, and was stuck at that instead. One child had borrowed his parents macbook, so we had to go look for the well hidden mac-installer. But, guess what, our mac-"license" had run out. It was only after a very necessary google search that we discovered the solution: download the lite version, whose button is the same color as the website's background, and also doesn't specify that this is the free version. This was done after the child had downloaded the installer 3 times.

 

Next problem: why do they need an account for using GameMaker? None of them had an account, so they of course all had to register. Two of them had borrowed the family computer, so their email was not fastily at hand. While you may ask "well how was this a problem, you need accounts for a lot of things!". Yeah, but here's the process: open up client. Click the register button.  Activate your account though e-mail (bigger problem than it seems). Attempt  login and get told you need a (FREE!!) license. Login to website (a inconvient non-clickable link was provided), click a non-obvious link to get a license. Attempt relogin, and get told you need to restart Studio. Find Studio in document folder. Login and success. While the process may be over quick for tech-savvy, english speaking people, these children do not have english as a first language, and thus need help with each step.

 

Lastly, not only does the mac version not look like the windows version, but we had a button-clicking problem. Whenever he wanted to create any element, he had to right click the folder and insert a new of whatever it was. Whenever he wanted to edit an element, he had to right click the element and press properties (he couldn't double click). At one point, the engine locked on him and he couldn't neither hit OK nor open any elements. Luckily a mac-savvy volunteer who was there today was able to help him out. I still don't know what the problem was.

We had to two hours of teaching, and with the above problems plus a few internet connection issues (which made the above problems even worse), we had less than 30 mins of actual project making.

I remember using gamemaker back in '08 and how simple and easy it was. Why can't it be that anymore? 

 

Also I apologies for bad language if there is any. It's 11pm, and I want sleep more than proof reading.

 

\\Mikkelet
 


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#2 karlos

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 09:49 PM

I was sure this was going to be a bot post, from the title.
 

I told them I had used GameMaker/GML back in 2007/8, so I suggested I could teach that. I just want to share my experience from using Gamemaker in today's class. There was 7 children, quite young, and each with their own laptop. They're not stupid or technologically impaired.. they know how to download stuff. First problem we hit was opening it. Studio apparently doesn't show as an installed application. It's instead just placed in a folder in the documents-folder. Even after installing it, I had to help most of the children finding the file they needed to open. Several of them had also installed Player, and was stuck at that instead. One child had borrowed his parents macbook, so we had to go look for the well hidden mac-installer. But, guess what, our mac-"license" had run out. It was only after a very necessary google search that we discovered the solution: download the lite version, whose button is the same color as the website's background, and also doesn't specify that this is the free version. This was done after the child had downloaded the installer 3 times.


You might want to contact YYG about the 'educational version'

Next problem: why do they need an account for using GameMaker? None of them had an account, so they of course all had to register. Two of them had borrowed the family computer, so their email was not fastily at hand. While you may ask "well how was this a problem, you need accounts for a lot of things!". Yeah, but here's the process: open up client. Click the register button.  Activate your account though e-mail (bigger problem than it seems). Attempt  login and get told you need a (FREE!!) license. Login to website (a inconvient non-clickable link was provided), click a non-obvious link to get a license. Attempt relogin, and get told you need to restart Studio. Find Studio in document folder. Login and success. While the process may be over quick for tech-savvy, english speaking people, these children do not have english as a first language, and thus need help with each step.


You might want to contact YYG about the 'educational version'

Lastly, not only does the mac version not look like the windows version, but we had a button-clicking problem. Whenever he wanted to create any element, he had to right click the folder and insert a new of whatever it was. Whenever he wanted to edit an element, he had to right click the element and press properties (he couldn't double click). At one point, the engine locked on him and he couldn't neither hit OK nor open any elements. Luckily a mac-savvy volunteer who was there today was able to help him out. I still don't know what the problem was.


There is no Mac version of GMS. So that might account for why they don't look the same.

We had to two hours of teaching, and with the above problems plus a few internet connection issues (which made the above problems even worse), we had less than 30 mins of actual project making.

I remember using gamemaker back in '08 and how simple and easy it was. Why can't it be that anymore?


You might want to contact YYG about the 'educational version'

Edited by karlos, 03 February 2016 - 09:54 PM.


#3 GameGeisha

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 10:16 PM

Lastly, not only does the mac version not look like the windows version, but we had a button-clicking problem. Whenever he wanted to create any element, he had to right click the folder and insert a new of whatever it was. Whenever he wanted to edit an element, he had to right click the element and press properties (he couldn't double click). At one point, the engine locked on him and he couldn't neither hit OK nor open any elements. Luckily a mac-savvy volunteer who was there today was able to help him out. I still don't know what the problem was.

 

First of all, the Mac version is completely out of sync with the Windows version. The current Mac version is a rather buggy port of version 7.0, while the current Windows version is Studio 1.4. You would not be teaching the same code on Mac as on Windows.

 

In the Mac version, you can create new resources using the Resources menu at the top, and edit resources by clicking once and then pressing option+enter (alt+enter).

 

GameGeisha


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#4 karlos

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 10:22 PM

Lastly, not only does the mac version not look like the windows version, but we had a button-clicking problem. Whenever he wanted to create any element, he had to right click the folder and insert a new of whatever it was. Whenever he wanted to edit an element, he had to right click the element and press properties (he couldn't double click). At one point, the engine locked on him and he couldn't neither hit OK nor open any elements. Luckily a mac-savvy volunteer who was there today was able to help him out. I still don't know what the problem was.

 
First of all, the Mac version is completely out of sync with the Windows version. The current Mac version is a rather buggy port of version 7.0, while the current Windows version is Studio 1.4. You would not be teaching the same code on Mac as on Windows.
 
In the Mac version, you can create new resources using the Resources menu at the top, and edit resources by clicking once and then pressing option+enter (alt+enter).
 
GameGeisha


As I said, two entirely different beasts.

Like comparing Windows 98 to Windows 7.

#5 TsukaYuriko

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Posted 03 February 2016 - 10:33 PM

First things first: This is not YoYo's tech support channel (that would be this), so if this is addressed to YoYo Games, it will not reach its destination.
 
 
That aside, I'll try to assist you with the issues you have mentioned as well as I can.
 

First problem we hit was opening it. Studio apparently doesn't show as an installed application. It's instead just placed in a folder in the documents-folder.

 
GM:S lets you choose where to place pseudo-shortcuts as a part of the installation routine. It defaults to a folder in the user's folder, but can be changed to anything else. Opening these pseudo-shortcuts will then open the main program (which is always installed in the user's appdata).
 
 

One child had borrowed his parents macbook, so we had to go look for the well hidden mac-installer. But, guess what, our mac-"license" had run out. It was only after a very necessary google search that we discovered the solution: download the lite version, whose button is the same color as the website's background, and also doesn't specify that this is the free version.

 
The version you downloaded is at least 6 years old and no longer in development. There is no Windows version of GameMaker: Studio 1.x. (2.x will have a Mac version, though.)
 
 

Next problem: why do they need an account for using GameMaker?

 
While I can't answer this question because I'm not the one who decided that this should be a requirement, I recommend getting in touch with YoYo Games regarding the educational version of GM:S, as karlos has mentioned: https://www.yoyogames.com/education

(Having a registration requirement for a free version is not exactly an obscure practice in the software industry, though.)


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#6 Mike.Dailly

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 07:43 PM

1) We give away a massive, fun program for FREE. Registering is required, but we aren't the only developer/tool to require this. It's not much to ask, but If you don't want to do this, feel free to use another program.

 

2) The Education version is NOT for installing on home machines, it is ONLY for purchase and installation inside a School/College/University on their equipment. While it is much simpler to install / deploy to school machines, it is not permitted to use in clubs. GameMaker is a per-user license (even the free one), and as such needs to be installed by each user. Personally, I wouldn't let a 7 year old install anything on their own as you have no idea what else they may end up installing - even a 13 year old just clicks next, and may well install stupid ad bars, etc.

 

3) Not sure how you managed to install without a menu entry... You might be able to disable that in the installer, but it certainly does add menus on normal installation.

 

4) The Mac version is a port of GameMaker 7. That is actually some 3 versions behind. The next version will be available (finally) on Mac.

 

5) As has already been said, this is not an official support forum. Sometimes we answer here, sometimes we don't.


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#7 Lukan Spellweaver

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 07:49 PM

This sounds an awful lot like you failed to do any actual research on the program you've decided to teach.


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#8 Cakey_Pi_Face

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:06 PM

I don't have a solution for you since I'm new to Game Maker myself, but I just wanted to be a sympathetic reader and say that I'm sorry you are having so much trouble.I think you're very kind for volunteering your time and I'm really excited for those children to be able to be taught some programming at such a young age. I'm 30 and just starting out ;) Wish I could join your class. Best of Luck. :) :)

 

-Cakey_Pi_Face <3


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#9 lolslayer

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:37 PM

Guide to newlings:

 

-Download Game Maker: Studio (Standard Edition) for free

-Register an account

-Log in

-Make a game and press the green play button on the top left to play it

 

What is so hard about that?


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#10 makerofthegames

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 05:49 PM

Welcome to the GameMaker Community forum, where we've got our heads too far up our asses, we can't even acknowledge all the obvious problems with the program that you ran into.
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#11 jimthegreat1012

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 12:37 AM

Have to agree with MOTG, here. Calm down, everyone. GM has a ton of niggling little problems, including the ones OP pointed out. This was a venting rant against small annoyances, not a hate crusade against our favorite development engine. You guys are all taking yourselves a little too seriously. =P


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