“…a package with something good to offer now, but some way to go before it becomes quite as comprehensive as it perceives itself to be.
Game Guru is a self-published game maker title from developers The Game Creators. Claiming to offer the friendliest, easiest and yet most comprehensive game-creation package on the market for non-programmers, we at Invision were keen to take a look at what exactly was on offer here. I was eager to jump in and explore for myself, bearing in mind of course that the software is still in its Early Access days and has improvements which are yet to come. Here is what I found…
I began by trying out some pre-made levels as the game suggested to me that this was a sensible first step. There was a mixture of multiplayer and single player options available, covering a number of different genres. Over the course of an hour or so I collected coins in a hauntingly bright and happy cartoon world, despatched a number of enemies on my way down a valley to a river, and shot some zombies. After this, I already felt like I had a good idea about the limitations of the game, and both surprisingly and sadly there appeared to be quite a few.
First off, don’t expect to be creating graphical and mechanical masterpieces with Game Guru. The pre-made levels and anything I could put together myself looked as though they were somewhere between late PlayStation 2 and early Xbox 360 graphics, with the mechanics of the game very much fitting with the first of those two periods. The textures, the way that people moved, and most specifically every time somebody fired a weapon, it didn’t quite pass the checkpoint of being “real enough” to let it slide.
The second limitation I noticed was the fact that while it is true that you have the freedom to create your game in any setting you wish, the only model of play on offer was an FPS-style one, or at the very least one where you had some sort of weapon. I couldn’t go ahead and create a racing game, or a strategy game for example. Perhaps this is amongst Game Guru’s future plans for the package, as a part of their paid extras or something, but the base package does not allow you the absolute freedom that the marketing for the title might suggest.
That last point is the other limitation, and indeed bug bear, which I have with this title. The base package is paid, and is somewhat limited considering this. For many features, such as character or object models, you have to pay extra in the Game Guru store. The game does allow for the use of the Steam Workshop however, so this should be duly noted alongside this criticism, as that does mean you can create your own elements to add to the game if you want to as well. But generally speaking, the paid extras model feels just a little bit cheeky on the developers part, especially as each item is priced individually too.
When it comes to actually editing or creating a game or at least a level, Game Guru is actually very open and very easy to use. It is lacking in in-game tutorials, but video tutorials are available online if you need them. Alongside the editorial features you would expect such as sliders, checkpoint markers, and dragging and dropping of objects into place, you can also mould the landscape in a pretty fine-tuned way, add dialogue and manage difficulty as well. As was mentioned in passing before, you can also create both single and multiplayer games here too, which is a further positive.
One of the very nice features of Game Guru is that when you have created a game or a level, you can export it and share it with your friends with no boundaries to this. You are even free to sell your game if you so wish, meaning that Game Guru is indeed a genuine alternative to programming if you want to build your own title. The ability to share your creations in whatever way you see fit is a very strong point of the Game Guru package, as it offers you freedom, the ability to get feedback from others, and it does not trap you in the clutches of the developers as some other titles might.
Game Guru then may not be top of the range, at least not in this stage of its development, and it may not give you the ultimate freedom of creation that programming a game of your own would. There are limits to what you can create as the package stands at present, and it does not offer the high-end glamour which you might be used to. It does however give you an easy-to-use interface which allows you to create before your very eyes and share what you have made with others without any strings attached. It is perhaps not a long-term solution if you wish to be a game creator then, but in terms of getting you used to the process, Game Guru has a lot to offer. Oh, and if you ever dreamed of making your own classic Goldeneye arenas, then this is almost definitely the game creator you have been waiting for. As a whole, it is a package with something good to offer now, but some way to go before it becomes quite as comprehensive as it perceives itself to be.