I'm just curious about a few things between this version and the last one. Namely: Aside from multiplatform support built-in, are there significant changes in the GML scripting system between 8.1 and Studio? I ask because I am shopping around for a good intro to programming (that is preferrably also fun, I'm an artist and I don't come from a code junkie background) and I have used 8.1 before, but am unwilling to put up with the bogus limitations of Studio. (Seriously, why are they there? 8.1 didn't have them)
I was also looking at LateralGM http://lateralgm.org/
as a potentially free alternative. I am not sure if it's just meant to be a companion to GM or if it just works like it and you can use it separately, but its appeal to me was that it's completely free (unlike any version of GM) so I thought I would ask about it.
Would like some constructive opinions and advice from people who have used at least two of these before.
If anyone is curious about why I am asking about GM as an option to learn basic programming practice: Because it's visual and easy to test, not to mention I can really have fun with the sprites if I get bored. (No proper language is easy to draw images on a screen.)