Ark Tribe choice of Game Maker Studio

in #arktribe3 years ago (edited)

Fairytale of a Kingdom (RPG Novel game prototype)

Ark Tribe & its prototype

Note: The channel has a lot of newcomers, so if you aren't new with Ark Tribe's concepts, you can skip this section. There are a few changes with the initial concept, but nothing very major so far.

Ark tribe has 3 major goals:

  • Create an online e-library with as many games, ebooks, music, arts, and other e-media as possible, that people can borrow or buy easily.
  • Create Community Centers (real buildings) all around the globe so that artists can expose their art worldwide directly from only a few clicks and easy forms.
  • Create a Game Center for virtual reality games, with our own MMORPG as a phare.

Each of those is a step that we need to go over to access the next one and is comprised of several sub-steps too. Fairytale of a Kingdom is our first prototype for the first step "Create an e-library online" and we are putting all of our efforts into including as many of the final features we can at its release date.

So what are those features, and will they be implemented right ahead?
NB: I will explain later each of those features, and link them to Game Maker capacity.

  • [x] Dynamic Story Mechanism,
  • [ ] Mass Economic Ecosystem Mechanic,
  • [x] Evolutive After Story Mode,
  • [ ] Artificial Intelligence Difficulty Management,
  • [ ] Core Engine based on a blockchain,
  • [ ] Multiplayer Mode.

Dynamic Story Mechanism & Game Maker's suitability

FoaK will be a 2D game pertaining to the RPG Novel, which is a Visual Novel with RPG elements) category. In our case, the main story will be presented as a Visual Novel, and the RPG elements will be the map, battle system, Inventory and Character sheet.

The Dynamic Story Mechanism is a pool of possible variation for each chapter of the story so that even if players replay the story, they never exactly have the exact same story, thus each variation must be written so that it can fit at any point of the story, and leads to any following module.

Also, the modules will be chosen every time from those you haven't played already (a counter will indicate you how many times you can replay the game and get a different story). This will avoid the story to feel like already-seen, or intro videos to be boring from the number of time you have already seen them.

Regarding that point, our choice to use Game Maker Studio comes from its scripting language, which is close to C#, and the capacity it has to accept dlls and all kind of extensions which aren't coded in its native language.

It's true that Unity 3D also has these features, but Game Maker has the following advantages over it:

  • It's more beginner-friendly ( it has a softer self-learning curve),
  • Their Discord Server has mentors who give their best to tutor the new players and dedicate some of their time to help them do things properly,
  • (Personal Opinion) Its community seems more friendly and approachable for beginners and is very active,
  • It works as standalone, without having to install something as heavy as Visual Studio,
  • It's not as difficult to get into as Unity, to code, debug, and test applications,

The biggest disadvantage was that Game Maker doesn't have yet any implementation of cryptocurrencies dll while unity has at least a bitcoin implementation, and some more language through NBitcoin, it's something we are going to implement.

For a long time, Ark Tribe has been lacking enough programmers to continue the project properly but Game Maker has given us back a breather and allowed this project to go on forward nonetheless. We are going to release FoaK as a complete game, and with the money we earn from it, we intend to hire a programmer to make the dll of the cryptocurrencies we are going to use (Ark, Steem, and Ethereum (once it can shard)), so that we can continue implementing our features, until we have implemented them all.

Regarding the advantages we have announced above, let us develop a bit more. First off, our claim that it is more beginner-friendly. We base this on several functionalities of Game Maker Studio. The first and foremost is its two mode: Drag'n Drop, and GML scripting.

The Drag'n Drop allows you to make the most simple games with only drag'n drops elements. You only have to bring on the arts or use those that you can find around for free on the internet, and it allows you to directly create something like a simple scrolling shooter or platformer game.

For Ark Tribe, it allows illustrators and others to implement the basics of the visual novel part: the arts, without them having to learn anything tremendous. It suffices that we show them how to put an asset on the game (which is as simple as dragging it from your computer's explorer to the asset folder on Game Maker Studio's explorer.

Then with a few clicks, they can set an object for the new asset so that it's shown as they intended it to be. After that, the dev of Ark Tribe can use the Scripting Mode to implement the game mechanism, add advanced shaders, effects, and the logic.

This was tried to Unity, but its 2D features weren't as clear and as easy to understand for us as Game Maker, which made us prefer Game Maker over it.

Mass Economic System Mechanic

This mechanism is the natural spread and distribution of resource of a game. Whenever you come to a shop, you don't just see the standard equipment, but also all that the other players, in their own parties (since it's a solo game) have sold to this shop.

After a battle, you can pick up on the ground what other players who have died here (but that hasn't been looted already by someone else) left behind them along with the stuff you got from the mobs themselves. This will allow for coherent loot (wolves can't use/swallow swords, but it makes sense to pick it from the cadavers of the guys those wolves killed already).

Texts on the game will be less bland, for example, the villager can tell you that this wolf has killed 10, 10000 or 1M people based on how many players have actually died against the wolves.

This part can be done in both Game Maker and Unity, none has an over-advantage over the other, except for the pricing, the one-time payment in Game Maker is lower than that of Unity, and you can find it on steam, with which it has a very good integration. As such, Game Maker was better for Ark Tribe than Unity. We intend to do an automatic publishing tool for our game so that we have a better/easier way to publish on Steam, which is basically a pain for now.

Evolutive After Story Mode

The Evolutive After Story Mode will be implemented through DLC, this will allow players who reached a certain ending, to continue the story from the endings they have unlocked to make them evolve. For FoaK, which is a visual novel, this entails:

  • Breaking the relationship you have currently to go with another character without redoing the game, which allows the story to continue from your previous relationship to the new one instead of erasing it,
  • Evolving different endings of the main story, as while you can continue the last ending you have unlocked, you can replay the game to unlock different endings/relationships.
  • Introduce new character, who will propose you new challenges, make your current/new relationship evolve, help you build a bigger base, etc...

For this, I wouldn't say that Game Maker has any advantage over Unity, nor disadvantages, I may be mistaken on this but this wasn't where our choice of Game Maker vs Unity had any chance in favor or disfavor of one or the other.

Artificial Intelligence Difficulty Management Mode

This point wasn't influenced by Game Maker or Unity, as the AI program will be done externally. It consists of 2 AI: one light which will be on the player's computer, which will take some gameplay decisions and submit anonymous data to the Main AI which will then spread the player's actions to the other player's game.

So what does that mean?

The AI on the player's computer will be using the player's own data to adjust his experience. If he really can't beat boss X, then it will look at the mode set by the player (Difficult, Normal, Easy).

If the Difficult is selected, it will slightly adjust the stats of the boss so that he's only "difficult to beat" and not "impossible for you", if it's on normal, it will do that and even suppress the attacks that you never manage to go through and replace it by attacks you know how to counter well. As for the easy mode, it will suppress them without replacing them.

It will also be responsible for adjusting the settings of the game to avoid excessive lag, depending on how fluid the game is, it will either decrease or increase the settings so that you have the most optimal experience with your own computer's spec.

This AI, we're still thinking about whether it should be on the player's computer, or on the cloud, and we think it should mostly depend on the player's computer's specs. There's a legal problem there too, and we are going to make polls when we'll be around that part, which will allow the players to give us their opinion on this feature, and how much they would be accepting of it. So far, we've led a lot of polls and the answers are that this feature is a very anticipated one, so that people can have pleasure and challenge without banging their head on the ground due to the inability to pass time on a level without seeing any improvements.

This user-level AI will be common to all of our games at the exception of MMORPG which have their own implemented AI. It is so that some adjustments are made right from the first time you play a new game of ours and so that the games are always adapted to your own preferences as a player.

Then there's the global AI, this one will be in charge of the Mass Economic System Mechanism, and take decisions for the game such as changing the stats of a weapon sold to a shop to adapt the level of the place you are. The players who buy such weapons will see the stats of the weapon grow as they level / change zone,


Other reasons, unrelate to FoaK specifically that made us chose it.



Ark Tribe isn't the only one who has chosen Game Maker Studio over unity, after discussion on the discord's official canal, and in private, the drag-and-drop options which allow you to make games without knowing how to code at first, and slowly understand how to code the tiny bits who are not possible in drag-and-drops, also made them chose this tool over unity.

Indeed, there are lots of tutorials for both software, but Game Maker has this advantage for non-native to have an extensive textual with screenshot/photo library of a useful guide. The native documentation is also very good, and Yoyogames has a good idea to listen to the community who spots the outdated content/problem with it.

Their blog has also lots of useful, beginner-friendly tutorials.

My only bit of worry was that slight tendency for video tutorials, which are way more difficult to translate for foreigners trying to get the subject right, but the discord canal and forum are massive resources that you can rely on when you can't find a more classical textual with picture explanation to what you are looking for!

Have fun people, this was a quick introduction to yet another tool that Ark Tribe use!

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