UPDATE 2/14/2009 12:41 PM: Version 1.01 released with minor bug fixes.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been studiously figuring out how to build games in Game Maker, a pretty powerful game creation system with an object-oriented programming language (comfortable for me coming in from ZZT). Initially, I started following the invaluable tutorials of the brilliant Derek Yu of TIG Source and one of my all-time favorite indie games, Eternal Daughter. The tutorial guided me along the making of a basic, scrolling space shmup. But my heart’s always belonged to platformers, so I soon began work on a side-scrolling engine that I built from scratch.

Just one week ago, I was having difficulty keeping my little red ball from jumping in midair or getting stuck in the floor. But as I progressed, the game world objects I haphazardly created began to reveal a way in which they could synthesize into a cohesive game experience. Thus, About a Ball came to be.

It’s still a very simple game with just one level. You move a red ball around a factory of sorts, littered with spikes and triangle enemies. The goal is to reach the portal in the shortest amount of time possible.

I’ve also made the game fairly difficult. Since it’s so short, I figured I’d thrown in a kind of old-school challenge.

Jumps are of a fixed height (unlike Mario and Mega Man games), and the level was constructed around this idea. If I make any sort of upgrade or sequel to this game, that may change, but unless some bugs are discovered, this will probably be the final form/release of About a Ball. There’s no audio.

Download About a Ball Version 1.01 (1.3 MB)

System requirements for Game Maker games:

  • Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • DirectX 8 or later with compatible sound card and graphics card with at least 32MB of video memory
  • Pentium or equivalent processor
  • 128 MB of memory or greater
  • 800×600 or greater screen resolution with 16-bit or 32-bit colors

Please feel free to give feedback or report bugs (it has not been beta tested).

Starting tomorrow, I begin development on a larger, more ambitious project.

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