The standard edition of the popular GameMaker software has just gone free, a 50$ savings. As was mentioned in this reddit post as well as this blog post if you update to the latest beta channel, you get the opportunity to upgrade to Standard from Free edition for free. However if you check out the forums a fair number of people seem to be having issues, mostly existing customers it would appear. Also, for reasons I don’t quite understand, this opportunity is currently unavailable for people using GameMaker from Steam.
If you’ve never heard of it, GameMaker is a higher level game development system aimed at the beginner segment for creating 2D games. It offers a drag and drop environment and is controlled using GML, Game Makers custom scripting language. Somewhat recently YoYo released a native compiler that massively increases GML performance, however this is not a standard feature. The primary difference between the free version and the standard version is the free version forced a splash screen on you and greatly limited the number of resources your game could use. In addition to the free release of Standard, Tizen support is also free, most likely to correspond with their Tizen contest.
If you view GameMaker as just a toy, keep in mind it has been used to create a number of very successful titles including Spelunky and Hotline Miami. On the other hand, Yoyo Games have also pulled some mind numbingly stupid mistakes. GameMaker may not be for everyone, myself included, but for many it is a great option, especially if you aren’t primarily a programmer.
So, if you want to check out GameMaker, now is a good time… just don’t do it on Steam! What’s odd is the complete lack of formal announcement from YoYo.