Sep 8, 2012
Game Maker is one of the best tools available for non-programmers to make videogames. But boy, is it hard to download.
If you're downloading Game Maker on OS X, you only have two options: Game Maker 7 for Mac Free and Game Maker 7 for Mac Pro.
Games made with Game Maker 7 for Mac Free will run on OS X, and can be ported to Windows. If you have Game Maker 7 Free or Pro for Windows, all you have to do is open up the
.gmk and create a new executable (under File > Create Executable…).
If you make a game with Game Maker 7 for Mac Pro, which costs $20, you can open it again in Game Maker 7 (or greater) Pro for Windows. Game Maker 7 (or greater) Free for Windows won't open it. The paid versions of Game Maker: Studio™ might open it, I'm not sure.
If you buy Game Maker 7 Pro for Mac, you do not automatically own a license to Game Maker 7 (or whatever) Pro for Windows. You have to buy a separate license for Game Maker 8 Pro for Windows, or find someone with a working Game Maker 7 Pro for Windows license.
If you're downloading Game Maker on Windows, things get a whole lot more confusing.
Game Maker 7 Free
This can no longer be downloaded from YoYo Games, but you can download Game Maker 7 Free at AfterDawn, a site I've never heard of but Patrick found on Google. AVG didn't find a virus in it, so maybe it's safe. In case AfterDawn goes down or stops hosting it, I've mirrored Game Maker 7 Free for Windows on this site.
Game Maker 7 Pro
You can't buy this any more, but if you already have a license key, you can enter it into Game Maker 7 to unlock Pro features. If you create a game with this, you'll have to buy a license to Game Maker 7 Pro for Mac to port it to OS X.
Game Maker 8.0 Free
This version of Game Maker doesn't put a watermark on your games.
If you create a game in Game Maker 8 or greater, you can't open it in Game Maker 7 for Mac, so you'll have to wait until Game Maker 9's release if you want to port it to OS X. And at that point, it probably will put a watermark on your game.
YoYo Games no longer hosts it, but you can download Game Maker 8 Free at Auntie Pixelante, Anna Anthropy's site, at the bottom of the second paragraph. This post is a tribute to her post.
Game Maker 8.1 Free
This version does put a watermark on your games. Download it here.
Game Maker 8.1 Pro
This version doesn't put a watermark on your games. You can buy it for $40. If you want to port a game made with it to OS X, you'll have to wait a year or so and pay another $40 for Game Maker 9 Pro for Mac, when it's released.
Game Maker: Studio™
It only runs on Windows and there's a billion versions.
The free version has weird limitations, which no other version of Game Maker has. At least it doesn't put a watermark on your games.
You can port a game to OS X, but you can't use one machine with Boot Camp — you actually need two physically separate computers, and a Wi-Fi connection between them.
So which one should you download?
Get Game Maker 7 Free for Mac. You can port your games to Windows by opening the
.gmk file in a Windows version of Game Maker.
Decide what's important to you:
|Watermark?||Cost||Mac port||Download||Weird limits?|
|Game Maker 7 Free||
||AfterDawn or sjsugamedev.com|
|Game Maker 7 Pro||no longer available||buy Game Maker 7 Pro for Mac for
|Game Maker 8.0 Free||buy Game Maker 9 Pro for Mac in
|Game Maker 8.1 Free||buy Game Maker 9 Pro for Mac in
||YoYo Games (official site)|
|Game Maker 8.1 Pro||buy Game Maker 9 Pro for Mac in
||YoYo Games (official site)|
|Game Maker: Studio™||YoYo Games (official site)|
Personally, I recommend that you download Game Maker 7 Free from sjsugamedev.com.