The free version is sufficient to create games that will get full credit for this course. If you desire, you can upgrade to the licensed version, which has some extra features, for $40. The licensed version is also installed on the computers in the instructional lab in LL 304.
Your game project is due at the time set for the final exam period. That period will be used for game demos. You will have about 5 minutes to demo your game.
On that day, bring your game in GameMaker form (*.gm81). You can bring it on a flash drive or use an online service such as Dropbox. (Be aware that game files are often too large for email.) If you use an online service, please arrive early so that you can put it onto the podium PC's desktop ahead of time. At the end of the demos, I will collect all the GameMaker files from the podium PC for grading purposes.
To help me keep track of all the game projects, please name your GameMaker file something containing your own name. For example, Jane Smith's game titled ``Weird Waldo'' might be named smith-weird-waldo.gm81.
If your game requires licensed version features in order to run, you must also bring the game in executable (*.exe) form for the demo, since we will be running the unlicensed free version of GameMaker on the podium PC. I will still need the *.gm81 file as well.
Your game should include a help screen (F1 and/or a start page) that gives a complete description of the game controls. It can also have some back story or narrative if that helps. The help screen should also provide acknowledgements for any assets (sprites, sounds, etc.) that are not your own creations or part of the GameMaker resources. The acknowledgements need not be detailed: for instance, a statement like ``all sprites and sounds were found at spriters-resource.com'' would suffice.
Assets do not need to be of professional quality. A homemade look is just fine.
There is no requirement for how many levels your game should contain. It is perfectly OK to have a well designed and executed game with only one level. You are expected to put an appropriate amount of work into the project, but there are no extra points for elaborateness.
The peer reviews on demo day will rate your game based on five factors: originality of concept, challenge, feedback system, storytelling or theme, and fun. My own evaluation of your game will include those factors as well as adequacy of effort, help system, good game design principles, and correct and clean implementation.
I will be looking more for an original, balanced, and fun game than for fancy effects, polished graphics, or laboriously built environments.