Can I ask as to what organisation you are from?
Hahaha, yeah sure. I’m not from any organisation. I’m a twenty two year old Swedish student who develops independent games under the alias “Cactus”. That’s about it. The most “famous” game I’ve made is Clean Asia!, but I’ve made quite a handful of others as well.

I hope that clears up things for you 🙂

How easy is it to make technically proficient games using game authoring software such as Game Maker / Game Builder? Would you recommend the use of such programming tools?
Game Maker is an excellent tool for making two dimensional games. It’s relatively easy to make a game that looks good and plays well, since you can focus your attention on those two areas, rather than going about the usual business of setting up collision checking and writing scripts for “trivial” stuff like that. I’d easily recommend Game Maker for amateurs that want to make games that aren’t too advanced. Once you’ve mastered GML (short for Game Maker Language, the language that you use when you write code), you can easily make a smaller game within a day.

Game Maker has a lot of limitations, though. Especially when it comes to speed. You can forget many of the fancy graphical effects seen in games developed in a more raw and powerful language than GML, as they most likely won’t be able to be presented while keeping a decent fps. And while 3D is supported, it’s not really an option, unless you’ll settle for something very lowkey and minimalistic.

Overall, I think GM could be a perfect tool for those who want to make smaller, or at least relatively unflashy games. It’d also serve as a great means for making prototypes easily and without much pain when you want to try out a new concept.

Given that you work in a solo capacity, is it possible to be able to make enduring works of art which can stand the test of time?
I hope so, but I guess that is really upto the audience that plays the game. I’m not really too keen on calling my games “art”, as I feel that a lot of art lacks value. In my opinion, art is a form of entertainment, yet most art doesn’t entertain or interest me. I don’t have any artistic ambitions aside from making something that I myself find interesting as well as looks good, plays well and sounds great. The same thing that I look for when I read a book, listen to music, look at a painting or watch a movie.

Would one be able to make a game that is as good as Ikaruga using standard development tools?
Depends on what you mean by “standard development tools”. I’ve heard that XNA is free to use, and that it can produce things on that level of quality. But if you’re talking about Game Maker or applications on that level, then I’d have to say no. At least not the graphics. You can however make a game that is more fun to play, more interesting to look at or more interesting to listen to, but the one who plays the game is always the one who is going to decide wether one game is better than another or not.

How easy would it be to develop for an existing console platform and have you ever tried approaching any of the big three?
For me it wouldn’t be very easy, since I’d have to re-learn the basics of programming, plus learn how to do basic things that I’ve never had to do before. It does sound tempting, though, since there seems to be a big market for it, and it also seems fairly accessible even if you don’t have the resources that are normally required for creating a console game.

I haven’t given it a try yet, but I hope that I’ll get to that point someday.

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