Product FAQ

Thanks for your interest in Game Builders Academy's Home Learning Series! Here you'll find some additional information and common questions we receive from our customers. If you have any other questions or comments at all, please don't hesitate to contact us using our Contact page in the menu above.

What is it, and how does it work?

Game Builders Academy's Home Learning Series in Video Game Development offers kids, teens, and curious adults the opportunity to create their very own video games, for real! Using our vast experience teaching these courses in the classroom, we took our tried and true curriculum, and made it accessible for everyone to experience in a fully narrated, interactive, hands-on video course!

Here's how it works. Once you sign up, you'll have access to a series of videos on this site that guide the user through making a complete 2D computer game from start to finish using the free Game Maker software. These videos are designed so that the user can follow the lesson, and actually perform the instructed steps in the software at the same time.

Also integrated into every chapter of the video course are important discussions that give the user the knowledge, skills, and open-mindedness to retain and apply what they're learning beyond the curriculum, rather than just simply moving from one step to the next. To compliment this methodology, there are also many interactive features, like the step navigation buttons and table of contents, that make it easy for the user to jump to, or repeat a step if needed.

All of this allows the user to move completely at their own pace, as you can start and stop whenever you'd like.


What kind of experience do I need?

As long as you can use a computer (which by the looks of it, you can!), you're pretty much all set! This course is designed to teach you how to create your first video game, from start to finish. While the Game Maker software itself has the capability to handle complex coding, we'll start out using a more basic programming interface, that while easier to grasp, does not fall short on the core concepts and logic that are essential to game programming.


What if I need help?

One of the greatest advantages of having this course in video form is that you can clearly see exactly what the narrator is doing in the software at all times, with the ability to easily go back and repeat specific steps when needed. To take it a step further, every video is built in with interactive troubleshooting sections that cover all the common pitfalls and trouble spots you might encounter.

Of course, if you ever need any additional support, you can always contact us using our Contact page in the menu above, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.


How much does it cost?

You can Purchase the full product for $39.95

This is a one time purchase that gives you full access to the entire video course, forever. No monthly subscription is needed, and the content will never be taken away or turned off after a certain amount of time or usage. All updates to the product are free, including brand new bonus lessons which are added periodically. Also included in the purchase is a special set of game art called Puggy Sprites which contains over 40 original sprites and backgrounds for you to use in your games however you'd like.

Still not convinced? Then try out the first few chapters for yourself in our Free Demo!


Does it get sent to me on a CD, or is it really all online?

There are no physical discs needed for our Home Learning Series. It is conveniently provided fully online, so it can be used from any computer in any location with internet access.


What software is used?

The game development software used is called Game Maker from YoYoGames. There is a paid version of Game Maker with additional features, but these videos are designed to work perfectly with the free Lite Edition of the software, so there is no need for any additional purchases.

One of the reasons we love teaching with Game Maker is its versatility. While Game Maker has the capability to handle complex coding, it also features a more basic programming interface, that while easier to grasp, does not fall short on the core concepts and logic that are essential to game programming. This allows users to get up and running quickly, while at the same time offers a serious platform to develop highly polished professional games.

The first chapter in the video course includes all the information needed on how to download and install Game Maker. The only other software needed is Adobe Flash player, which can be found here.


What technical requirements does my computer need?

The technical requirements are minimal. The software and video course run on both PC and Mac, in most current operating systems. Internet access is required to view the video course, as well as to download the software. Adobe Flash player is also required to view the video course. You can update to the latest version here. Below are the technical requirements for the Game Maker software.

  • Game Maker Requirements for Windows:
    • Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
    • DirectX 8-compatible graphics card with at least 32MB of video memory
    • Pentium or equivalent processor
    • DirectX 8-compatible sound card
    • 156MB of memory or greater
    • 800x600 or greater screen resolution with 16-bit or 32-bit colors
       
  • Game Maker Requirements for Mac:
    • Intel Mac, running Mac OS Leopard v10.5 or Snow Leopard v10.6.


What can users do with their completed game?

Once completed, the game is turned into a fully working computer game file (PC or Mac*), which can be played on any other computer. These games can burned onto a CD, emailed to share with friends and family members, or even posted on the internet for the world to see! Of course, users can also continue working on their games as much as they would like, or start a brand new one!

*The Mac version of the Game Maker software has limitations on creating executables which are covered in the question below.


Is the Home Learning Series available for Mac users?

Yes! Both the Home Learning Series and Game Maker software are available for Mac and Windows. While the video course is recorded in Windows, there are very few differences between the two versions. Additionally, the few times that they do differ, the user is notified with popup notifications and additional information.

One important difference however is the exclusion of creating executables in the free version of Game Maker for Mac. Creating executables lets the user save their game in a special format that allows other Mac users to play without having to install Game Maker on their computer. There is a paid Standard Edition of Game Maker for Mac that enables this feature if needed, but remember that aside from creating executables, this video course was designed to work with free Lite Edition just as well. 

Game Maker files are also cross-platform, allowing you to take a game made in Windows, and load it onto a Mac, and vice versa.


What else do students gain from the Home Learning Series?

Students gain many things through the Home Learning Series. Along with the absolute fun and joy of creating their own games, students learn the fundamentals of game creation in general, providing an excellent foundation and platform for growth. This can be used for the fun of creating more advanced games, and also as a wonderful starting point for the pursuit of a career in the constantly growing field of game design.

Students also gain a greater understanding and appreciation of math, science, and other skills required in game design. Students strengthen their logic and problem-solving skills, as well as expand on their creativity and imagination. A huge amount of fun, combined with 21st century skills and education are gained through the Home Learning Series!