October 2nd, 2012 | By Dominic Tarason
For better or for worse, Valve Software really do seem to be maneuvering themselves into position as a cornerstone of the indie gaming business, and now they’re getting right in on the ground floor. It’s been known for some time that Steam was going to be expanding to support commercial software soon, and now it does – the very first app on the pile? YoYo Games’ incredibly popular GameMaker Studio.
It makes sense – GameMaker has been the development software of choice for a lot of indie classics over the years, including the original version of Spelunky, Immortal Defense, freeware hits such as Iji and Hero Core and even the Cactus’ upcoming hyper-violent 80s action game Hotline Miami (coincidentally Steam-bound soon) were all developed using the package. Just about the only thing it can’t do consistently well is 3D graphics – Unity, UDK and Cryengine fill that niche, though.
What makes the Steam launch of Game Maker so important? Steam Workshop integration. Previously, games were showcased, launched and often completely lost on YoYo Games’ own showcase site. Now, games developed with Game Maker can be directly uploaded to the Steam Workshop where players can find, download, play and rate them. It effectively turns Steam into an almost Newgrounds-esque freeware hub filled, if you know where to look.
As with the regular site-bound version of GameMaker, the Steam edition comes in Free, Standard and Professional editions, and with optional upgrades to export titles as iOS, Android & HTML5 packages. Right now, there’s a 10% launch discount on all the software, and there’s even some strange Steam-specific perks, such as achievements… Yes, achievements. An amusing lot, including ones for racking up a certain number of compiler errors. Guess you’ll be able to see which of your friends suck as programming.