Guide to develop low resolution 2D platformers with smooth movement and pixel perfect collisions in GameMaker Studio 2 (with slopes)

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This guide explores the ins and outs of making low resolution 2D Platformers with both pixel perfect, precise collisions (with slopes) and sub-pixel, smooth sprite movements. Turns out you CAN have smooth low res graphics.

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Sprites with different images dimensions in GameMaker Studio 2

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When you try to import multiple images into a single sprite in GameMaker Studio 2, you could end up with unexpected results. Specifically, if the images have different sizes (width and height), the sprite size will be equal to that of the largest image, but all the other images will be imported stretched to fill the canvas (effectively ruining the sprite).

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Advanced Animation Control in GameMaker Studio 2 – Method 1

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Let’s say that you have a sprite with a complex animation (i.e. variable frame rate). As you can see from the following image, each frame will play at a specific time (I use a simple Photoshop script to export the frames, I’ll write an article about it later).

This is the folder’s content, exported from Photoshop. File naming scheme is important.

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Scale 2D pixel art games using surfaces to avoid pixel decimation in GameMaker Studio 2

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Much has been written about resolution scaling in pixel art games. It usually comes down to this simplistic rule: always resize 2D games by integer values (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, etc) so pixel art will always look correct.

I wrote that myself; to make a good looking low-res pixel art game on modern monitors, you should stick with a 384×216 resolution and scale it up 5 times to get a perfect 1920×1080 (1080p) game.

That’s still true-ish. But the problem I was trying to address wasn’t pixel distortion. It was pixel decimation. Let’s see how to solve it using any resolution you want to use.

Read moreScale 2D pixel art games using surfaces to avoid pixel decimation in GameMaker Studio 2