This article is a step-by-step guide on how to get started with the free GameMaker ("GM") licence - registering for your account, logging-in to GameMaker itself, what restrictions a free licence has compared to subscriptions, and what options are available to you in future should you wish to subscribe.
If you already have a YoYo Account, you can simply sign-in to the accounts website and move on to Step Two.
Step One: Sign Up For A YoYo Account
To get started you will first have to create an account at accounts.yoyogames.com. This website is where you complete the sign-up process and get granted a free licence (paid subscriptions are available) and is also your gateway to other GameMaker features, such as the Marketplace.
As part of creating your account you will be sent a confirmation email asking you to activate the account, and once you have clicked the activation link you will be automatically granted a free licence to use GameMaker.
Now you can sign-in on the website (if you're not already) and move on to Step Two.
If you require further guidance on how to create and configure your account, please see this article here: Creating A YoYo Account.
Step Two: Getting The GameMaker Installer
Once you have signed-in to your account, you need to go to the Downloads section (from the user menu on the left).
This will present you with the page that contains download links for the current versions of the GameMaker IDE.
Download the correct installer for your operating system now. Then double-click the download to start the installation process.
Step Three: Login To GameMaker Itself
Once you have downloaded GameMaker and installed it, you will have to log-in to the product using the username and password details that you supplied when you created your account earlier in this guide.
Ensure you're still connected to the internet, then start GameMaker.
You will then be shown the login screen shortly after GameMaker appears:
Fill in your details and click Login to continue.
The GameMaker installer comes with all the required build tools for a free licence and suitable for your machine, so you can now start using GameMaker right away!
Free Licence Limitations
A free licence is designed to let you explore the IDE, learn how to use GameMaker and additionally share your games on the GX.games platform through the "Opera GX" target. However, whilst it gives you a nearly fully-functional version of GameMaker to use, it does have the following limitations:
- It does not permit you to create shareable executable copies of your game through targets other than "Opera GX"
- It does not permit you to test using the higher-performance YoYo Compiler ("YYC")
- You must always be on the current/newest public version of GameMaker in order to use your licence, so you may be required to periodically update your install in order to continue using GameMaker (Note: there may be a short "feedback" period after each major release when this is perhaps not enforced immediately, but you should still prepare to update when requested.)
Other than those restrictions, the free licence grants you full access to GameMaker, with no limits on how many assets you can create within your projects. You can also upload and publish your games to the GX.games platform for free.
This means that if you have any old GameMaker: Studio 1.4 game projects you can import them into GameMaker to try them out. Please refer to our Porting A GMS 1.4 Game To GameMaker article for further information. Note that projects made with versions of GameMaker older than GM: S 1.4 are not able to be imported at all.
For information on upgrading your licence whenever you're ready to start sharing or selling your games, please see How To Upgrade Your GameMaker Licence
IMPORTANT: For users of Education "seat" accounts, if your admin/manager has not assigned a paid licence to your seat, your free licence is different in that it does have certain restrictions on the number of assets you can create in a single project and there is some GameMaker functionality you cannot use. For full details, please see the following article: Education User Free Licence Limitations