Game makers toolkit

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Game Maker's Toolkit

Who is Mark Brown?

Mark Brown is the creator of Game Maker’s Toolkit: a highly regarded YouTube series about game design, with over 30 million views, and half a million subscribers.

The show is intended for game design students, new creators, indie studios, and gamers who just want to learn more about their favourite hobby. 

Mark is also a games journalist, and has contributed to publications like EDGE Magazine, Medium, Polygon, Wired, Eurogamer, and Pocket Gamer. Plus, he’s done a small amount of game consultation.

Want to have Mark speak at your university, studio, or event?


Mark regularly gives talks and guest lectures at events around the globe. For example, he’s spoken at Electronic Arts in Vancouver, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Manchester University, GameeCon in Prague, and London College of Communication, AdventureX and TechShare Pro in London.

If you want to have Mark come talk at your event, studio, university, college, or school, then please get in touch at [email protected] Hosts will need to provide transport, accommodation for places outside of the UK, and a small speaking fee.

Mark can talk about his analysis process, do a live version of any of his videos, or speak about accessibility design.


4 tips from Game Maker's Toolkit to help you evaluate community feedback

"As a designer at some point you just have to be brave. You can't shy away from making any major changes just because a subset of players may dislike it, or you will never ship anything interesting and your game will become stale." -David Bocek, Respawn Entertainment

Processing video game feedback can be like plugging into the X-Men's Cerebro. A thousand voices pop into your head all at once, and you're trying to filter them all out to find the voice you're looking for. 

If you're working with a great community management or playtest team, then you likely have a great process for evaluating and filtering all that player feedback. But if you don't, Mark Brown's latest entry in the Game Maker's Toolkit series is worth your time. 

Brown's gone out of his way to highlight a number of practical tips developers can use to process feedback on their game, including a number of unique quotes from experienced developers who've solved feedback-driven problems on their own games. 

You should watch the full video above, but for a quick overview, here are Brown's four tips you can implement right away. 

  1. Don't listen to a vocal minority. (Your most vocal players' experiences may not match the data reflecting your broader playerbase.)
  2. Identify problems, not solutions. (Players are great at identifying problems, but can't always conceive of solutions.)
  3. Don't let changes lead to a boring game. (See the quote above.)
  4. Create a conversation between developers and players. (If your players know why features are the way they are, they can improve their feedback.)

As a bonus, Brown's video makes for a great explainer to players about how their feedback is best processed by developers. 

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Game Maker's Toolkit

Game Maker's Toolkit (GMTK) is a video game analysis series created and presented by Mark Brown, a British video game journalist. The show examines and explains various aspects of video game design and is supposed to help viewers consider the design of games that they play and to encourage developers to improve their craft. There are also more focused stems of the series, discussing issues of accessibility in video games or level design.[2][3][4] The first GMTK video was published in 2014. The series is hosted on a YouTube channel of the same name and it is funded by viewers via Patreon.

Since 2017, Mark Brown also hosts an annual GMTKgame jam on Each jam has a different theme – a design challenge – and contestants have 48 hours to design and create a video game fitting that theme.


Before starting Game Maker's Toolkit, Mark Brown was a video game journalist. As a freelance writer he wrote for GamesRadar,[5]Wired[6] and The Escapist,[7] among others. In 2010 and 2011 he was a contributor at Eurogamer and wrote video game reviews.[8] Brown joined Pocket Gamer, a British publication about mobile games, in August 2012 as news editor and later as features editor. He left his position as editor-at-large in January 2017 to focus on Game Maker's Toolkit.[9][10] Since then Brown has written occasionally as a freelancer, and he publishes game reviews on his Patreon page for supporters of Game Maker's Toolkit.

Game Maker's Toolkit's first episode, "Adaptive Soundtracks" was published in November 2014.[11] Early episodes were released irregularly, every three to five weeks. Each video discusses a certain issue in video game design and its implementation in specific games. In 2016 and 2017 GMTK episodes became longer, often with a runtime over 10 minutes, and they were published more frequently – there was about three weeks between new videos. Since 2018 Brown has published on average two videos per month.

Brown launched a crowdfunding profile on Patreon in 2015, enabling viewers to support GMTK with small contributions of money every month. In December 2016 he announced that thanks to his backers on Patreon he would be quitting his job at Pocket Gamer and in 2017 he would start working full-time on Game Maker's Toolkit.[12]

In 2016 Brown started a new side-show on his YouTube channel, called Boss Keys. This series explores the layout and design of dungeons in The Legend of Zelda franchise. Each video covers a single game in The Legend of Zelda series. Brown developed a mapping system to describe layouts of the dungeons.[3] In the second season of Boss Keys, which began in July 2018, Brown discusses the layout of game worlds in the metroidvania genre, such as those in the Metroid series.

A second side-show on GMTK channel, Designing for Disability, launched in July 2018. This series explores accessibility in video games, describes obstacles which may prevent some people from enjoying specific games and presents guidelines and practices that make video games more welcoming for players with disabilities.[13][14][15] In November 2019 he continued the series with a review of accessibility in games in 2019.[16]


Brown's Game Maker's Toolkit videos were covered by video game websites, such as Gamasutra, Kotaku and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Designing for Disability series is included in Polygon's summary of "The best video essays of 2018" and its writer names Brown "one of the most measured and meticulous people" in video game criticism.[2]The Telegraph mentions Brown as one of "20 gaming YouTubers you should be following", describing GMTK as "an intelligent look into the design philosophy behind popular games".[17] An arts magazine Hyperallergic includes GMTK video "The Challenge of Cameras" in its roundup of web documentaries.[4]

Game Maker's Toolkit was also referenced by some video game developers. Nicolae Berbece, designer of Move or Die, recommended Brown's channel during his talk at Game Developers Conference Europe 2016.[18]Riot Games includes GMTK in their list of game design resources.[19]

Game Maker's Toolkit Game Jam[edit]

Game Maker's Toolkit hosts an annual game jam on since 2017. Competing developers have 48 hours to design and create a video game fitting a theme unveiled at the beginning of the jam. The themes are design challenges.

The first Game Maker's Toolkit Game Jam took place 14–17 July 2017. Its theme was "Downwell's Dual Purpose Design". 2,857 developers joined and submitted 731 games.[20]

Game Maker's Toolkit Game Jam 2018 ran from 31 August 2018 to 2 September 2018. The theme for the second jam was "genre without mechanic", inspired by Snake Pass, a platforming game in which the player cannot jump.[21] There were 1,029 submissions from 3,313 creators, who joined.[22]

Game Maker's Toolkit Game Jam 2019 happened 2–4 August 2019. The theme for 2019 edition was "only one". 7,590 creators joined and submitted 2,648 games.[23]

Game Maker's Toolkit Game Jam 2020 took place 10–12 July 2020, with the theme being "out of control". 18,326 game developers joined and 5,477 games were submitted, making it the biggest online-only game jam at the time.[24]

Game Maker's Toolkit Game Jam 2021 took place 11–13 June 2021, with the theme being "joined together". 21,967 people signed up to take part in the Game Jam and 5,817 games were submitted, making it the biggest Game Maker's Toolkit Game Jam to date. 150,077 ratings were given across all entries.[25][26]


  1. ^ ab"About Game Maker's Toolkit". YouTube.
  2. ^ abSchindel, David (28 December 2018). "The best video essays of 2018". Polygon. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  3. ^ abGeller, Jacob (10 July 2018). "The New Vid Economy: Making A Living From Crowdfunded Game Analysis". Game Informer. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  4. ^ abSchindel, Dan (14 May 2019). "A Roundup of Web Documentaries on Joan Miró, Stunt Work, and More". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  5. ^Brown, Mark (5 October 2009). "The Top 7… weirdest music games ever". GamesRadar. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  6. ^"Mark Brown | WIRED UK". Wired. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  7. ^Brown, Mark (8 December 2009). "The Littlest, Biggest Gift of All". The Escapist. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  8. ^"Mark Brown • Contributor". Eurogamer. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  9. ^Reed, Kristan (23 August 2012). "Mark Brown steps up to take over the reins from PG's Will Wilson". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  10. ^James, Chris (3 January 2017). "Mark Brown steps down as Pocket Gamer's Editor at Large". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  11. ^Brown, Mark (6 November 2014). "Adaptive Soundtracks". Game Maker's Toolkit. Retrieved 6 August 2019 – via YouTube.
  12. ^Brown, Mark (14 December 2019). "2017". Game Maker's Toolkit. Retrieved 6 August 2019 – via Patreon.
  13. ^Khan, Imran (16 July 2018). "YouTube Channel Game Maker's Toolkit Debuts Series About Accessibility". Game Informer. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  14. ^Kidwell, Emma (16 July 2019). "Game Maker's Toolkit debuts new series on designing for accessibility". Gamasutra. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  15. ^Kuchera, Ben (16 July 2018). "How to design your game for the hard of hearing". Polygon. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  16. ^Brown, Mark (22 November 2019). "How Accessible Were This Year's Games?". YouTube. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  17. ^Yarwood, Jack (2 October 2017). "20 gaming YouTubers you should be following". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  18. ^Berbece, Nicolae (2016). "This is a Talk About Tutorials, Press "A" to Skip". GDC Vault. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  19. ^"Game Design". Riot Games. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  20. ^"Game Maker's Toolkit Jam". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  21. ^Tarason, Dominic (3 September 2018). "Hundreds of free games with only a few bits missing from the GMTK 2018 game jam". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  22. ^"Game Maker's Toolkit Jam 2018". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  23. ^"GMTK Game Jam 2019". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  24. ^"GMTK Game Jam 2020". Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  25. ^"GMTK Game Jam 2021". Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  26. ^"The Best Games from GMTK Game Jam 2021". Retrieved 25 June 2021.

External links[edit]


This is a 48 hour game making marathon, focused on design, mechanics, and clever ideas. The jam runs from June 11th, at 7PM UK time, to June 13th, at 7PM UK time.

The theme for 2021 is Joined Together.

Here's what you need to know:

Who can enter? Anyone, of any age, from anywhere. You can work alone or in teams.

When does the jam begin? The jam starts at June 11th, at 7PM UK time. And it ends at June 13th, at 7PM UK time.

What is the theme? The theme is Joined Together!

What can I make my game in? Anything, provided you can upload a file that runs on Windows or browsers.

What assets can I use? The game should be developed during the jam, but you may use some pre-existing code and can use whatever art and audio assets you have the legal right to use.

Who will judge the games? Games will be judged by the public. Mark will then play the Top 100 games and pick his favourite 20. All of the results will be revealed when this process is over.

What will the games be judged on? Games will be ranked against the following criteria: fun, originality, and presentation.

Is there a Discord I can join? Yes! It will be made available to all jammers on June 1st. For now, click here to gain access.

Further rules:

- Full rules can be found at

Legal bit:

- Anything you make during the GMTK Game Jam is your property. GMTK claims no rights or ownership of your game. 
- Any game submitted to the GMTK Game Jam may show up in a GMTK YouTube video without your express permission.

Want to see past winners? Check them out here.


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