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August 23, 2017
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A Few Tips for Beginners in the Game-Developing Realm
by Connor Addis on 08/10/17 07:49:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutraís community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Even though I don’t deem myself a guru game developer, some people think otherwise. Several of them already contacted me to get a few tips on how to become a successful developer. It took me a while to come up with a list and I tried to make it as readable as possible. So I hope it helps some of you get a good start.

Figure Out Which Developer You Really Are

Game development sounds fun and exciting but many people don’t realize that it involves two major factors. Do you want to deal with the insides or design the outside? Some developers manage to do both, but in reality, you can be really good in just one of these things. Guts or design? Which one is your forte?

Clone a Game

In your dreams, you see yourself creating something like Darkest Dungeon or Fallout. In reality, copying something as simple as Pong can have you screaming with frustration. Test your skills to see what you can and can’t do. Try to make the game more complex than it already is by implementing new things that may seem unique to you. Once you manage to duplicate a simple game, you can assess your abilities and make changes to your “I’ll become a great developer in a month” plan.

Listen to What Other Developers Have to Say

Gamasutra is a great place to enjoy game developer blogs. Take advantage of other resources, such as Game Development and GameDev forum. Forums are useful for asking silly questions, which none of the veteran game developers can do without. My advice is to read the topics extensively before asking a question. Most likely your question has been answered at least a couple of times in the past. Oh, and don’t forget good old Google. You’ll be surprised how many answers it has to offer.

Find Good Tutorials

If you’ve never designed a game in your life and have no idea where to start, find a tutorial. Here are a few good ones you can take advantage of:

Start with the free ones. However, you might soon need a few paid ones as well, so be ready to spend some money.

Get Into the Tough Stuff

Once you get the hang of cloning the simple games and making a few of your own, you can take advantage of several tricks used by more experienced game developers

  • Test your game on real people as soon as possible. It can save you a lot of time. You can find a professional game tester for a fair price on Upwork, but you can have your friends test it free.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Plenty of useful services can help your game function properly without writing them from scratch. For example, email validator can help you do API email validations while xnormal can assist you with generating various maps. You can find a fantastic list of useful game development tools right here.
  • Take frequent walks. When you are stuck, turn off the computer. Mulling over a problem can only make it worse. Did you ever see a person walking down the street and talking to himself? He’s probably a game developer. Be sure, fresh air and a change of scenery can help you deal with a problem faster than drilling the monitor with red eyes.

Stream Your Game Development Process

You must know how popular live streaming is becoming nowadays. Get on the bandwagon (did I just use this terribly outdated phrase?)! Broadcast your game development process to the world. At the very least, it may help other developers learn from your mistake. In the best case, you can start earning some serious dough.

Always Have A Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”, said Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and, in my humble opinion, he was right. Artists hate planning and every game developer is partially an artist. However, planning the game is vital to good results. I’m not saying you should be printing out a 100-page plan, but you could at least scribble some notes that you can follow.


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