Using Inkscape to prepare game screenshots for iTunes

Setting up store pages is one of the most tedious tasks of game development and iTunes is infamous for all the burning hoops one must jump through to get things right. Creating screenshots for your iOS game release can be very frustrating if you, like me, don’t even have an iPhone to take them on. So, we must resort to cheating.

While you can do resize and crop with any image editing application, I have all my art and overlays in Inkscape, so here’s a little guide how to adjust and export screenshots from it.


Images can’t contain alpha channels or transparencies

Let’s get this likely annoyance out of the way first by adjusting Inkscape document properties to have a solid color background instead of default transparent one.

Border snapping

For easier aligning of objects enable corner snapping in the sidebar. Optionally, you might want center, grid or guideline snapping too.

Snapping options


Hope you got the best quality screenshots you can, because dimension requirements can get quite steep for the latest gens of devices and upscaling isn’t ideal.

Drag and drop image files to Inkscape project, select the screenshot, lock the proportions and enter the required dimension. Whenever you focus on width or height depends on orientation of your game and UI layout, so have upcoming crop in mind if it’s going to be needed. This is also where I align multiple screenshots either vertically or horizontally, select all of them and resize in one go.


This is the part where you slap all those eye-catching overlays and high quality game art to hide the fact that screenshots you took aren’t that exiting. For the sake of tutorial I’ll add a huge vector pig. To prepare for simpler clipping, group image and overlays together.

Next, draw a rectangle and set its size to the required dimensions for the screenshot, drag it on top of the group created in the previous step, select them together, press right mouse button and select “Set clip” from the context menu. This option is one of my favorites and can be used to a lot of cool things, like creating icons or complex patterns from groups of game art elements.

This should result in nicely cropped out screenshot, which we can select and export as PNG (File->Export PNG Image) and upload to iTunes. Double check the dimensions in the export dialog, since sometimes Inkscape has the mind of its own.

Hope this basic tutorial was still useful to some!


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“Unknown issue with Google Play Services” using GameMaker extension

If you’re trying to use Google Play Service extension from GameMaker’s marketplace you might meet a mysterious error “Unknown issue with Google Play services” in your path.


I had no success with Google results, but good people in the extension review section pointed to the solution – enabling Google Drive API in Google Console. Don’t forget to choose the right project in the top bar of the page, go to “Overview”, click “Drive API” and then “Enable” button. Error should go away after clean restart of the application.

Hopefully this helps and maybe YoYo will add a note to the description of extension about this.

Thanks for Atilla & Felipe for the solution!

Damian Komorowski (@Threef) pointed me an actual solution in this tweet.
Looking in the code of (line 97) you can find this block commented in a very weird way:

To fix it, just uncomment the brackets. Enabling Google Drive API is easier (especially if you have multiple projects) but this is more straightforward. Hopefully YoYoGames will fix this soon with next extension update.

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Confetti particle effect in GameMaker

Since Ben was interested, here’s the confetti particle effect I used in Bunny Goes Boom. Nothing magical, just some colorful and wiggly rectangles.

Here’s a sprite I used for this particular demo.


Here’s the final result. Added another almost identical confetti effect (don’t forget that you can do that and it can make a world of difference) and a ripple. Everything is in the demo project below.


GameMaker:Studio project ZIP:

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My Sweet 2014: first year with game development

This is a draft post. I will finish it one day.

Well, this is awkward. I planned this blog post from the December, but writing it never got a higher priority over whatever procrastinate-ish activity I was up to. But time to act has finally come, so here’s a plate of scrambled memories from the year I nosedived in to the  waters of game development.

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Making GIFs of your game

As wise men say, “A good GIF of your game speaks louder than hundreds of screenshots” and, while dealing with audiences with short attention spans, you need strong visual hook to punch a viewer in the face with all the awesomeness your game has. With free tools available there’s no reason not to make your promotional material stand out during “Screenshot Saturday” and even if you don’t like to share, GIFs are great for documenting the progress of your development. Let’s make some!

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GameMaker 1.3+ and low Android performance

I have started using GameMaker:Studio this year and, since my primary mobile target is Android, transition from 1.2 to 1.3 wasn’t the most pleasant experience. To be honest, it was probably the worst. I do like those 60FPS in my simple 2D games and watching them halve after running APK built with 1.3 was devastating.

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Reddit’s 10% guideline – a shadowban trap for excited gamedevs

In my previous post about self-promotion on Reddit I made a mistake of not taking some site-wide rules in account. To be honest, I didn’t really know about 10% guideline then and ignoring that very gray area, after a couple recent stir ups in certain subreddits, seems to be a really risky thing to do.

If you haven’t already, read all site-wide self-promo guidelines of Reddit. There are a couple of important points I failed to mention before. My bad. I will update my original article, but I’d like to shine more light on that 10% thing, since there are quite a few aspects of it, which worry me and should worry you a lot.

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TAGJam14 aftermath

So, this thing called The Arbitrary Gamejam 14 happened a couple of days ago and, thanks to a weird drive and rescue game, I happened to be a host of it. That sounds like good enough reason to blow dust off my attention-deprived blog and play some keyboard chords resonating to this event. Even more so, I need to announce a host for 15th TAG, so he or she could be as nervous as I was.

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Twitter, meet Reddit

Important edit: read my post about Reddit’s 10% content variety rule to keep you safe from getting banned and know site-wide self-promotion rules before entering the world of Reddit.

Have you ever wanted to promote your game on Reddit, but just couldn’t make it work? Did you post a nice personal development story and Reddit only hurt you for that? Did it crushed your fragile hopes and dreams that your KickStarter URL in /r/gaming could reach front page and skyrocket your project to the moon? Or maybe you just can’t get over the fear of millions of people judging you for not choosing the right type of post in the right subreddit?

Take my hand, #gamedev. I have zero experience in marketing as well as no idea what am I writing about, but I’m going to show your way to the magical place of opportunities, which is, but usually isn’t, Reddit. I hope that was enough of a disclaimer for you to realize that everything you’re going to read should be taken with a grain of salt.

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How to train your Bacon

As I was testing new, just out of the oven of Tiled, Crisp Bacon level, one pretty basic and, honestly, quite boring looking part of the map made me stop, think and count. So I stopped, thought about it and counted the different ways my piggly character can use actions, environment and power ups to get through that part. And since my main intention always was to put as much freedom in the linearity of 2D runner, the results made me quite happy about the existing (and not yet final!) set of mechanics.

Let’s do gifs, shall we?

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