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.