Making Scalable Views for Mobile (DevLog 1)

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on a method within GameMaker to scale my game to any screen size/ratio. I started by reading this article by V-Play, titled “How to create mobile games for different resolutions and screen sizes”. The article presented this useful image below:


Essentially if you create your entire game to fit within a 3:2 ratio, then it will be able to run on any device. All of the visual assets necessary to having your game function properly must be within the 3:2 ratio, everything else is just filler to avoid having black lines:


It sounded easy enough, but getting this to work within GameMaker proved to be difficult. There didn’t seem to be any tutorials online highlighting how to do this within GameMaker, so I was forced to look through different online forums in an attempt to find a solution. Eventually I found what I was looking for buried in a GameMaker forum, a post from someone who works for the company. They posted an example file which used surfaces, so I downloaded the file and dissected the code in effort to create what I needed.

With a lot of trial and error, I created a way to change my camera view based on the screen ratio, and then scale my view to the size of the device. For example, if a device is 960×640, then it has a 3:2 ratio. The camera in the level will then adjust to a 3:2 ratio (480×320), and then stretch the surface to match the device (960×640) by doubling it.

Here are a few screen captures of some different aspect ratios: [3:2, 16:9, and 4:3]

In addition to scaling, I wanted to create a way to flip the screen from landscape to portrait mode for a feature in the game. To do this I used the view angle function within GameMaker to flip the screen so that the game can then be played in portrait mode. Here’s what that looks like:


These two features, scaling and flipping the view, were important to being able to continue the game as planned. Without being able to scale the views, I wouldn’t be able to design this game for mobile devices, and without being able to flip the view, I wouldn’t be able to go forward with a key gameplay feature in the game.

With these two technical hurdles taken care of, I should be able to create everything else I have planned for the game.


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