This article is a step-by-step guide on how to get started with the free GameMaker Studio 2 ("GMS2") licence - registering for your account, logging-in to GameMaker itself, what restrictions a free licence has compared to paid licences, and what options are available to you in future should you wish to buy the platform licences.
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 (other paid licences 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 Studio 2.
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 GMS2 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 Studio 2 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 Studio 2 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 GMS2.
You will then be shown the login screen shortly after GMS2 appears:
Fill in your details and click Login to continue.
The GMS2 installer comes with all the required build tools for a free licence and suitable for your machine, so you can now start using GameMaker Studio 2 right away!
Free Licence Limitations
A free licence is designed to let you explore the IDE and learn how to use GMS2, permitting you to make test projects and prototypes as well as learn how the program works. However, whilst it gives you a nearly fully-functional version of GameMaker Studio 2 to use, it does have the following limitations:
- It does not permit you to create shareable executable copies of your game
- 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 GMS2 in order to use your licence, so you may be required to periodically update your install in order to continue using GMS2. (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 Studio 2, with no limits on how many assets you can create within your projects.
This means that if you have any old GameMaker: Studio 1.4 game projects you can import them into GameMaker Studio 2 to try them out. Please refer to our Porting A GMS 1.4 Game To GameMaker Studio 2 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 Studio 2 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 GMS2 functionality you cannot use. For full details, please see the following article: Education User Free Licence Limitations