About this site
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a collection of things I've answered elsewhere, but could do with being gathered in one place.
Updated 29 July 2021.
1. Can I use the music in your games for something?
Please ask the composers, found in the credits in the manual for each game (sometimes inside the game itself).
2. Why do some of your games run slowly or not at all on my computer?
Most of the games here were compiled in Game Maker 5.3A and 7.0; if one version doesn't work, please try the other. Game Maker in general has issues with compatibility with different versions of Windows, but having two EXEs compiled in different versions increases the chances that one of them will work on your system.
3. Why convert to Game Maker 7.0 and not GM Studio? The latter can compile to all sorts of platforms rather than just Windows/Mac.
This is an outdated question nowadays, but there are differences between different versions of Game Maker that makes conversion very difficult. I'll break it down, but due to the many differences I'll only go into the details that concern my games and this question:
GM5.3A: What most of my games are made in. Runs on DirectDraw. Some computers don't like the way it draws lines, polygons and alpha blended sprites, slowing down heavily. This is why I stopped using those after Iji, or in the case of Hero Core's "motion blur", makes the game turn alpha off if it detects slowdown. However, the games can still slow down on some systems.
GM6.1: Runs on Direct3D and thus allows for 3D, rotation of sprites, advanced blending, surfaces etc. A lot of functions are renamed, have differing number of arguments, or are removed or replaced. Sound handling is much worse and quite buggy, no longer allowing for realtime pitched sound or specifying the number of instances per sound file. Most modern systems have GM6 games fail to boot, so they have to be closed from the Task Manager.
GM7.0: Most of the above things are not fixed/changed, and you can no longer overload functions. On the upside, compatibility and performance are a lot better. Appears to run fine on most Windows versions. A Mac version exists, letting you compile to Mac, though this requires a bit of work depending on the game.
GM Studio: This program is very different from the rest. The "treat uninitialized variables as zero" functionality was removed, since it didn't allow GML to be properly compiled. This leads to the upside: you can now compile to many different platforms, though back when I tried it, it lacked a lot of basic features that made it worse than GM7.0.
GM Studio 2: As far as I know, this is a completely different program and has little to do with Game Maker besides the name. I haven't tried it myself yet.
For the purpose of the type of games I make, 5.3A and 7.0 are preferred, but I should check out GMS2 soon. Starting with Hyper Princess Pitch I code my games so they can be compiled in both 5.3A and 7.0 for compatibility's sake. This however requires me to stay away from GM5-specific things like pitching sound effects.
Back to the original question - why GM7.0 and not GM Studio? For my hobby work, I really don't need to compile to anything else, and the loss of the "treat uninitialized variables as zero" functionality makes all my previous games an even bigger chore to convert, since I used it in all of them.
4. Follow-up: Will you convert Iji to Mac?
Now that Iji 1.7 runs in Game Maker 7.0, it may be possible to compile it to Mac, but it depends on how buggy the Mac version of GM7.0 is.
5. Follow-up: Will you port some of your other games to Mac?
I'll try to get around to it (and when I say that, I usually mean that I'll forget about it later or didn't have the time). Music is always an issue when converting to Mac though.
6. Why not use a "real" programming language instead of Game Maker?
GM is a scripting language with C-like syntax (with optional drag-and-drop coding for beginners), and while the graphics and sound handling isn't coded from scratch, the games themselves are. I've coded some in other languages before, but it's much faster for me to work in GM. So far I've not had an idea I'd like to implement that wasn't possible in Game Maker, so it's powerful and versatile enough for my hobby work.
7. Can I have the graphics/sound/voices from Iji?
It's all in the downloadable source code on the Resources page, which you can open in Game Maker. From there you can export any resource you want (though you need the registered Game Maker 5.3A to actually compile and run the game, and I can't help you with that). There's also a sprite dump on the Resources page.
8. Can I have the original 3D character models from Iji?
You can get the models on the Resources page, but be aware that they look really odd due to the way they were used in the game.
9. You've said you're unhappy with Iji's graphics and cut scenes. Why not remake them?
Iji has a lot of graphics - about 20.7 megapixels if you don't count the transparent pixels around the sprites. I've never found the motivation for remaking all of it, and I don't even want to. Version 1.7 at least updated the most embarrasing of the cutscene images...
10. Follow-up: Will Iji get more versions beyond 1.8? What about an HD version? A 3D version? A level editor? Online co-op mode? Smell-o-Vision VR support for the Atari 2600? etc.
There have been all kinds of suggestions since Iji was first released, but I don't want to spend several years of my spare time on something I don't want to do. There are many other things and projects I would much rather do instead. Every version of Iji was made because I wanted to, and it'll only be updated for bugfixing and tiny changes now.
11. Will you ever make Iji 2?
12. Follow-up: How about sequels to your other games?
It depends on if I want to make them.
13. What do you do for a living?
The games and stuff on this homepage are just a hobby, I work at Ludosity Interactive as a game designer / all-around type person. I do game design documents, story, items, 2D graphics, 3D modeling, 2D and 3D animation, levels, scripting, lyrics, sound editing, and I wrote level editors for some of our games. In fact, nearly everyone at Ludosity multi-classes as a programmer, artist and/or musician, and code their own games or tools in their spare time.
I write some more about getting into the game making business in question 31.
14. Why won't you sell your games?
1. I have a full-time job already; I don't need another.
2. I want everyone to enjoy them, including those who can't pay online.
3. I want the games to be available in the future without people having to pirate them.
4. Getting things published is a troublesome process.
5. I'm not obligated to patch or support the games (I do it anyway, but still).
6. I can do anything with my games and release the source code.
7. They are unbound by companies and contracts.
8. I have no deadlines.
9. It would not feel right asking for money for something that is and will always be free here on my homepage.
Some people say "you would have made a lot of money if you sold them". But:
1. Barely anyone would've known the games existed had they not been free.
2. I make more on my job than I ever would had I sold my games.
3. I don't need more money than I already earn.
15. Follow-up: But I would throw money at the games if I could.
People have been saying this, and I used to point them to the donations page I had between 2010-2021, yet on average I only received around $USD 5 per month in donations. The average was greatly increased by a small handful of very nice people who donated over $100 each! But to be perfectly honest I spent the majority of the donations on charity, since my day job gets me by and I'm happy with it.
16. Follow-up: But Garden Gnome Carnage is being sold for multiple platforms, isn't it?
Yes, at Ludosity we've been porting and selling some games me and Joel made previously, like Garden Gnome Carnage and Really Shooter / Clean House. But this was done as a company, and the originals will always be free and available on my homepage, no matter what. As for Iji, see the next question.
17. Follow-up: What about selling Iji and/or porting it to a console?
No-one, not even myself, is ever allowed to make money on Iji (the original game). Ever. It will not be ported to any console nor get any sort of remake.
18. Follow-up: But Steam has a section for free games, doesn't it?
You can already share/torrent/whatever my games and their source code for free, or add them as "non-Steam games" to your Steam library if you want. If you'd like more people to know about my games, please feel free to spread the word - I doubt more people would know about them if they were on Steam considering the ocean of games they have on there nowadays. It also wouldn't be fair to put too many free games on there, or any other platform, to compete with the developers who do require sales to make a living. As for itch.io and GoG, they are much more likely places for me to upload my games to, but I haven't had the time to take a closer look yet.
19. Do you still make Dance Dance Revolution Simfiles?
No, but maybe my interest will return someday. I played a lot of DDR until I felt that I hit my skill limit without bar (I prefer not to use one), and my focus turned to other things.
20. What is FK/Ultimortal? Will it ever be publicly visible again?
It's a long story - brace yourselves for some self-indulgence as I try to remember it all...
Sometime in 1996 I made a silly top-down shooter in Klik'n'Play called Fanatic Killer (yes, really). It was inspired by Operation: Carnage and later got two sequels, titled Fanatic Killer (wait, a reboot of a series with only one entry?) and FK2 (the third game - makes sense).
FK0 / FK / FK2 screenshots
The games spawned an equally silly comic titled FK, starring the series' protagonist "Killer Roy". As in the games, Roy was one of the hostile intergalactic invaders revolting against his own in order to save the Earth. This in turn inspired the plans for a untitled fourth game, which was never made since it was supposed to be in 3D, and a new comic titled FK: Planetfall. This was around 1999. The series was still fairly self-aware and oddball in tone, and included videogame conventions even in the comics, such as visible hit points.
Around 2002, FK: Planetfall was rewritten into Ultimortal, a webcomic that ran from April 2003 until October 2004 with a schedule of two pages a week, and later three pages a week. The style was considerably darker than before, again featuring Killer Roy (under his real name, Zaia Kataiser) slowly going insane from killing off his own race in order to save the Earth. Bottom line: don't let an impressionable teenager read a bunch of Spawn and re-imagine their own goofy video games. :p
Ultimortal - a bad day for everyone involved
Anyway, the comic grew to 135 pages, which was halfway through the planned script, until I suddenly burned out and was unable to draw anymore. For maybe half a year I felt physical disgust for putting pen to paper. Looking back at the comic, I also realized how terrible it was.
I started focusing more on programming, as even before the end of Ultimortal, the idea for Iji had started forming. In late 2004, work on that game got off the ground and carried on the FK spirit, but this time mixing some of the old Tyrian-style goofiness in with the seriousness. For the few who read Ultimortal, and to remind myself not to repeat my mistakes, I included a lot of references back to it, such as Iji's surname and Dan's FK logo necklace.
Iji was also a sequel to the tongue-in-cheek Killman, one of the games found in Scrap Pack 2. Very few people played the original version, which revealed that Killman is in fact a woman with long brown hair, as an homage to the original Metroid. This was later taken out since the portrait looked bad, but was retained in Iji's visual design, and is far from the only Killman reference in Iji.
Proto-Iji from the Killman beta - we're in deep trivia territory here
Come to think of it, the FK logo is also found as a secret powerup in Hero. My nickname on several sites is also "Ultimortal", eventhough I don't like the name anymore. So it's been a dear thing to me, but in retrospect I'm glad I didn't finish that webcomic and waste any more time on it.
I doubt I'll ever want to show the whole of Ultimortal publicly again - it's quite embarrasing. The same goes for all three FK games, not that they run on modern systems anyway. But better make something you'll be ashamed of later than never making anything.
So without Operation: Carnage, Iji would not exist. It's not a fluke that Hyper Princess Pitch is a remake of the game that started the whole FK/Iji thing.
21. Follow-up: what does Ultimortal mean?
"My name is Ozymandias", basically. It was a nickname for two of the characters in the comic, the protagonist being one of them. No matter how skilled or respected they were, they still died in the end.
22. Are you an X / do you belong to group X?
There are many things you could call me, but none I'd like to be judged by - I generally don't associate myself with larger groups even though I share a common like / belief / motivation / idea with one. Groups are great for getting a sense of belonging, especially oppressed minorities, but outsiders keep forgetting that they're made up of individuals. If one person of group Y (or claiming to represent group Y) does something bad, every rational person in group Y will be stigmatized for it. Having a strong relation to a group can also make you one-track. It's only if I feel strongly for something I'll be vocal about it. Too often I see people saying bad things about an imaginary, extreme version of a group they've constructed in their head, rather than talking to them and learning something about them instead of jumping to conclusions. That's not saying there aren't some really bad people out there of course. Do your own research, and make it thorough instead of going by initial reactions, is what I'm saying.
23. Why do you occasionally remove pictures from the pics section without notice?
I don't want them there anymore, usually because they're too old and embarassing, though I still have pics from around 2000 up that weren't completely bad.
There was an incident where someone had previously saved a joke picture I made for my friends, and displayed it on a forum after Iji was released without any context, in order to cast my drawing skills in a bad light (as if that was necessary). This was long after the picture was removed from my site. To this day I don't understand what the deal with that was.
24. Why do you take so long to respond to mails?
Although I removed my adress from this site since I received so many mails, I still get a few now and then. I try to respond to every mail within two weeks, but I can't guarantee it.
25. Is there any connection between you and the character Dan in Iji?
No, but since Chris Geehan calls me "Dan" it all got a bit confusing during the game's release. I didn't even make the connection during development, since here in Sweden I've never heard "Daniel" being shortened to "Dan".
26. Who is Yukabacera?
He's a character in Iji, a secret boss holding the Scrambler, and in-universe geek who wrote the Iji pre-release teaser pages. Another character in the game confirms that Yukabacera created Hero and Hero Core, which itself contains a reference to Iji.
27. Who is reallyjoel (and reallyjoel's dad)?
reallyjoel is the nickname of Joel, a friend and co-founder of Ludosity. He was the first to comment on my Maximum Charge Tor video, saying that his dad could beat it on an even higher difficulty setting. This soon turned into the well-hidden "reallyjoel's dad" difficulty in Iji, and later Hero Core, Hyper Princess Pitch, Muri and a few others.
28. What is No More Sweden?
A lighthearted Swedish summer game jam I usually participate in. Me and reallyjoel often collaborate and made Bear Miner, Really Shooter and Baad Gringos together. I later made Bromancing Saga 2 and Hype Snake at NMS as well.
29. When did you start making games?
I started with QBasic as a kid, as my brother had an interest in programming, though I was never any good at it. I got Klik'n'Play around 1994 and made a whole bunch of nonsense in it. I later discovered Game Maker in 2003 or 2004, and though I know some C and AS3, I much prefer Game Maker due to how fast it is to develop in (and how lazy you can be with the code).
30. What game are you most proud of?
Though I'm glad I finished Iji back in 2008, and I do look back on it sometimes and think it turned out alright after all the updates, I think Hero Core is a better game. I'm also happy with how Hyper Princess Pitch turned out. I got in touch with Patrick Maidorn, the programmer of Operation: Carnage (the 1996 DOS game on which HPP was based) and he liked it a lot. Yay! :)
31. How do I get into the game making business?
I only have some general advice, based on my own experiences, but hopefully it'll do.
1. Even if you're attending a game making course or similar, make stuff in your spare time constantly.
2. Always strive to improve and challenge yourself.
3. Ask for feedback and know how to take criticism. Not all criticism needs to be considered, but on the other hand people may give you the wrong reasons why they didn't like something - find out the right reasons through discussion.
4. Be passionate about your work when you're creating it, but separate yourself from it when you're taking criticism. People are critiquing your work, not you as a person (most of the time). Taking breaks and coming back to your stuff with a fresh mind really helps in finding faults in it yourself.
5. Make contacts everywhere! The only jobs I've ever gotten in game making were thanks to friends and teachers who saw my hobby work and remembered me when they were hiring for their companies later. I've never gotten a job by applying for it myself.
6. In my experience, pure programmers, artists and sound/music makers are always in demand. The concept of a "designer" is pretty fuzzy, and all I can tell you is that it's difficult finding work as one. Smaller companies very rarely go out looking for these; you have to be assertive.
7. Having skills in multiple areas is a plus. At my job everyone knows how to program, for example. This also helps you understand what other peoples' job is like and how long it can take.
8. Even if a job is stated to require years of industry experience, apply anyway and show them your portfolio. Just be prepared to be turned down a lot.
9. If you don't know the tools, but you're a creative person, you will learn the tools. A good employer knows this.
10. If you don't see many people like yourself in the industry, don't think that you don't belong there.
32. What are your hobbies besides game making?
It's mostly cooking, baking and swimming nowadays.
33. How do you keep from feeling discouraged during a long project?
There's nothing you can do about such feelings. I just take a break when I'm feeling down, as I know motivation will return once I'm feeling up again, even if it takes months. I also rarely work on only one project, it's fun to switch things up.
When motivation is down on a project we're doing at work though, I just grind through it, taking many tiny breaks during the day, either for having a snack or chatting with the others. Someone who tries to work constantly 8 hours a day without breaks won't be more productive, only more stressed and grumpy. I got severely depressed at a job where I had to stay in my room all day and only come out for lunch.
34. Can I publish or otherwise sell your games?
No, but see the next question.
35. Follow-up: Can I remake or port the games to other platforms?
Of course, as long as no-one makes any money on it and the porting/remake project is open source like the original. I and Ludosity Interactive reserve the right to sell ports, remakes and sequels (see question 16). But again, in practice only Ludosity as a company does this; I have no personal interest in selling my stuff.
36. What's the story behind Strawberry Jam?
It began as a test in 2009, then in 2012 I said I would finish it within a year at a No More Sweden presentation. But it wasn't until 2014-2016 that I actually put any serious effort into it. The first chapter was finally done and released in August 2016, much to my own amazement and relief, after about a year of full-time work in total. It's very unlikely that I'll make the remaining chapters due to how exhausting it was to make the first one - many years were spent agonizing over when (or even how) it would finally be done, as I was feeling increasingly stressed about how long it had been since I last released a proper game on my homepage. This was of course silly since by then I had a full-time job at Ludosity, and it wasn't possible to spend all my time and energy making hobby games anymore.
37. Can I make mods of your games using the source code, and distribute the mods?
Yes, as long as you give credit to the original authors and don't make money on it. You don't need to ask for permission.
38. Can I make fangames?
Of course, and you can sell them too as long as they don't include material taken straight from the original game (as in literally the exact same graphics and music etc). You should probably note that it's a fangame, too. But note that there's a difference between my games and Ludosity's games - you might have to ask Ludosity for permission before selling such fan games.
39. Why not abandon Game Maker 5.3A/7.0 for a more modern environment like Unity, Godot, etc.?
Trust me, I've been asking myself this for over ten years now. Game Maker 5.3A was outdated even back when Iji was completed in 2008, and for years I've been dreading the day when Windows (specifically DirectX) drops support for the code Game Maker games use to run, and nobody will be able to play my games anymore - not without significant effort involving Linux+WINE or virtual machines. It's a real source of anxiety, but I still struggle to do anything about it.
It really comes down to laziness in learning a new language, and the comfort in using a tool that I work quickly and effortlessly with. Being an old program, Game Maker never changes. It's not like Unity that breaks what you've built with each update, which is painful when dealing with console ports since those require the most up-to-date Unity versions to be released. I think it's happened at least four times that I've had to redo all the particle effects in a game we were making at Ludosity because we were forced to switch Unity versions.
Sooner or later I'll really have to move on to a new game development tool, and when the day finally comes when old Game Maker games stop working... we'll see if I'll have the motivation to port them to a modern environment, or if anyone cares about them anymore besides me.