GameMaker Studio by YoYo Games has long been a popular tool for creating 2D games. But for years it came with a price tag, leaving many developers wondering – is GameMaker free to use?
The good news is, yes! As of 2021, GameMaker offers a completely free version available for anyone to download and use. This article will cover all the details you need to know about the free GameMaker options in 2023.
GameMaker Recently Went Free in 2021
Up until August 2021, all versions of GameMaker required purchasing a license. There was a free trial available, but it was limited. If you wanted to actually release a game, you had to buy GameMaker Studio Standard or Pro.
However, YoYo Games announced they were changing their licensing model. Now there is a new GameMaker Studio 2 Creator version that is completely free with no commercial limitations!
This gives you access to the full GameMaker engine and all the core features needed to develop and publish games. The only catch is that some platforms require an additional export license if you want to publish there.
So if you already owned an older paid version like GameMaker Studio 1.x, you can still download that. But new users can now get started with GameMaker at no cost.
What Can You Do with Free GameMaker?
The GameMaker Studio 2 Creator free license allows full use of the engine to develop your games. There are no restrictions on commercial or monetized releases.
You can export and publish your games for free on these platforms:
- Android (optionally)
To export to consoles like Playstation, Switch, Xbox, or mobile platforms like iOS, you would need to purchase an additional export module. But for launching on desktop platforms, the free GameMaker is fully capable.
This means you can use GameMaker Studio 2 Creator to develop, launch, and sell games on platforms like Steam without ever paying a dime! The creator takes home 100% of the profits with no revenue share to YoYo Games.
GameMaker is Beginner Friendly with Visual Scripting
One major advantage of GameMaker is it‘s very beginner friendly compared to other game engines like Unity or Unreal. The drag-and-drop interface allows you to build games with minimal coding required.
There are also plenty of pre-built behaviors and assets to help new users hit the ground running. Just drag and drop objects, set events/actions, and you can have a simple prototype game up and running very quickly.
While more complex games will require coding, the visual interface gets beginners over the initial learning curve. And moving from visual scripting to pure GML code is a gradual process.
Popular Games Made with GameMaker
Here are just a few examples of popular indie games created using GameMaker:
- Hyper Light Drifter
- Hotline Miami
GameMaker is very capable technology powering hit games with millions of sales. And now anyone can use the same engine those developers did entirely free!
GameMaker Offers Great Value for Beginner Game Devs
In summary, the new free GameMaker Studio 2 Creator license is an amazing value for aspiring game developers. You get full access to a powerful 2D game engine used by professional studios around the world.
GameMaker‘s easy to learn visual scripting and built-in beginner resources let you quickly build gaming experience. And you can launch games commercially on desktop platforms completely free of charge.
For beginners looking to break into indie game dev, it‘s now possible to get started with no monetary investment. And GameMaker remains a top notch engine to grow your skills before potentially moving to something like Unity.
So if you‘ve been curious or on the fence about trying GameMaker, now is a great time to dive in with the free version!