Setting Up For macOS

GameMaker Studio 2 Desktop comes with three export platforms: Windows, Mac and Ubuntu (Linux). In this article we give the required steps to get the macOS platform up and running. Note that we assume you already have an Apple Developer Account.

NOTE: If you are new to Mac development and/or do not have a Developer Account with Apple, then the following link will take you to a tutorial that explains everything related to getting your developer licence and creating certifcates etc...

General Information

To target macOS from the IDE, you use the Target Manager, which is located in the top-right of the main GameMaker Studio 2 workspace:

For the macOS target platform you can see that there are two output options:

  • VM - This will build your game using interpreted code. 
  • YYC - This will build you game using compiled native code.

The VM option will build your game and use interpreted code within a special YoYo Runner. The performance of this target is less optimised than YYC, but it is faster to compile and offers the ability to run in debug mode (when using YYC the debugger will not start). The YYC target however, gives a much greater optimisation (and corresponding performance boost) especially with logic-heavy games, but large projects can take some time to compile.

To compile your game using either the VM or YYC however, you will first need to set up your Devices so that GameMaker Studio 2 can communicate with your Mac machine.

NOTE: GameMaker Studio 2 requires a physical Mac computer to be able to test or compile your projects, and although you can run macOS in a virtual machine, this is not supported and you should own a mac computer before targeting it with your games.

Setup macOS

This article is targeted at users with the latest OS version for Mac, macOS Sierra. However, if you are using an older version of macOS (GameMaker Studio 2 supports from El Capitan onwards) then you can still test and compile your games, although some steps may be slightly different.

Before going any further, you will first need to download and install Xcode which is what GameMaker Studio will use to build your projects. You can get the latest copy of Xcode here:

Setup Xcode

Once you have downloaded and installed Xcode, you need to link it with your Apple Developer account so that it can use the required certificates to build your projects. For that you need to follow these steps:

  • Go to Xcode > Preferences.
  • At the top of the window, click the Accounts button.
  • In the lower-left corner, click the Add button (+) .
  • Choose Add Apple ID from the pop-up menu. 

In the dialog that appears, enter your Apple Developer ID and password, and click Sign In. You difefrent certificates will now be retrieved and you should verify that they are visible to Xcode by going to XcodePreferencesAccounts. Here you select the Apple ID to look at and then on the right of the window click the Team Name and then the button Show Details. This should show all the different signing identity certificates that you have:

With that done, you now need to set up your Mac to permit remote login and file sharing to and from your PC, which is done by going to the System Preferences, and then clicking Sharing. Now follow these steps:

  • Select the Remote Login checkbox first then the File Sharing checkbox. In File sharing, click Options.
  • Select "Share files and folders using SMB."
  • Select the checkbox next to the user account that will be used to share files with Windows users, enter the password for that user, then click OK.


  • Click Done.
  • Open Network preferences (choose View > Network), select your active connection, then click Advanced.
  • Click the WINS tab, then enter the workgroup name used by the Windows computer.
  • If you don’t know the workgroup name, on the Windows computer open Control Panel > System and Security > System. (Windows computers normally use either WORKGROUP or MSHOME.)
  • Click OK, then click Apply.

You can close these windows now, as you are almost ready to start building projects for Mac, however we still need to set up GameMaker Studio 2.

Setup GameMaker Studio 2 Devices

Back to your GameMaker Studio 2 machine, and in the Targets Window you can see that there is a section marked Devices with a small "pencil" icon beside it:

Clicking this will open up the macOS Device Manager where you can add one or more Mac OS machines to target when running and building your projects for the macOS platform. Here you should click the Add New Device button to create a new Device and then fill out the details (below you can see an example of what information is expected):

The top field, Display Name is simply a name that you can give to the device so that it is easy to identify in the devices list. After filling that out you need to give the Host Name - the IP address or Device Name of the Mac system on the network that is to host the game - and the User Name and Password of the Mac user account that will be used for testing/creating your game. To get the IP address of the Mac system you simply have to go to System Preferences then click on the Network icon and you can see the IP address there. If you wish to use an actual name to address the Mac, then this will require you to enable the option on the Mac as part of the network connection settings. Note that you can also change the default path for where GameMaker Studio 2 will install the files required to build your games on the development Mac.

When that is setup, you can then click the Test Connection button, and if you have installed all the required packages and the Mac machine is visible over the network then it should say "Connection Successful!":

With that done, you need to open the GameMaker Studio 2 Preferences (from the File menu at the top of the IDE) and under Platform Settings >macOS you need to specify the Team ID which is what GameMaker Studio 2 will use to identify you and create signing certificates, etc...

NOTE: You can find your Team ID from the "Membership" section of your Apple Developer Account.

Test Your Project

You are now ready to test your project. Regardless of whether you are using the VM or YYC output, you can simply click the "Play" button at the top of the IDE and the game will quickly build and then be sent to your Mac device. If all has gone correctly your project should now run (although with the YYC output compile time may be longer than for the VM so be patient) and if you use the YYC it will have gained a performance boost as well.

Note that you can also test play your game using the "Debug" option at the top of the IDE. When clicked using the VM output it will run the game and enable the Debug Module to run too (this may require some extra permissions from the OS). This module permits you to see in detail how your game is performing as well as set breakpoints and check for issues or bugs. For more information, see the manual.

When you are ready to publish your macOS app, you will want to compile a final executable package. This is explained in the following article:




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