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Game Development: Where To Start

by Connor Addis on 01/15/18 11:35:00 am

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

 

If you are an avid video game player, a game developer is probably your dream job. Whenever you choose the desired icon, put on your headphones, and click “play”, a journey into a new world begins. But doesn’t it look awfully complicated?

When I first started playing video games, it seemed as if it took thousands of people to build my favorite realms. Game development looked like something out of a fantasy book.

After doing loads of research, I realized that game development is not as crazy as it seems. All you have to do is start. So where do you start? I’ll tell you what I did and maybe you’d want to follow.

1.    Ask The Right Questions

It usually takes several people to develop a high-profile computer game. An all-in-one game developer has to have the following skills:

  • Design – Come up with the story and make sure it’s possible to implement.
  • Animation  - Animate the graphics and draw the characters.
  • Programming – Do the actual coding to make the game work.

Can you do all three? With the right tools, you may. Especially, if you are not planning to create anything complicated. Just don’t be surprised when you need to learn a bunch of new stuff.

2.    Learn How to Program

What? Really? You’ve never used to a programing language to write “Hello World” before? You are in for some exciting learning. In order to create a game, even a simple one, you need to learn how to code. There is nothing special about game programming; it’s coding – pure and simple. But it’s coding just the same.  The first thing you need to do before you proceed further is to learn basic programming. The below programs can help you do it.

Consider learning Lua. It’s one of the simplest programming languages to learn and it can be very useful on your game development path. Some people think you can do it under an hour. I concur.

3.    Start Fast, Start Simple

Another important thing about creating a game is to start doing it. As soon as you grasp the coding basics, start using them fast. Jump in. I hope you understand that the first game you’ll make will not be Fallout 6. It will be something utterly simple. Allow yourself to practice and make mistakes. That’s the only way you’ll actually learn something.

Set the right goals. Your main goal is to finish a game. Your first game will not be much better than Pong. If you don’t stop halfway and end up creating a game, even a simple one, you’ll do better than 90% of amateur game developers.

4.    Use The Right Tools

Knowing which tools to use when you are developing your first game, can help you reach your small (I hope you realize that they should be doable) goals.

  • RPGMaker VX – This tool is 10 years old but it’s still an amazing way to create an RPG game without too many coding skills. However, it’s not free, but it has a trial version.
  • Scratch – This tool can help you learn coding. It was designed for high school kids but went way beyond a kiddie exerciser. If all you know about game development is that it’s your dream, this program can help make it a reality.
  • CraftStudio -  If you think you can handle a challenge, this program can help you design interesting games. The level is more intermediate than beginner.
  • Quest – Can help you develop text adventure games. This can be a good place to start if you want quick results.

More advanced tools:

  • Wrike – Helps you keep all the work in one place and coordinate the team effort.
  • Visual Studio – Can help you develop any kind of application/service.
  • Verification Software (phone and address validators) can help you protect your game realm from unwanted users.
  • Game Maker Studio – Advance game-making studio for high-profile games.

5.    Find Graphics And Sounds

If you are not a professional designer and animator, you’ll need to search the internet for some graphics and sounds for your new game. It’s sort of tough due to the copyright issue. So you need to find some freebies or pay for the copyright.

A few websites to get good game graphics:

You can find a good list of animation and graphics libraries right here.

6.    Test Your Creation

Any game developer should have a testing team. It can be your mom, your kid, your uncle or your best friend. You’ll never see some of your mistakes until someone points them out for you. A good testing team should consist of at least two people. By watching them play and hearing their feedback, you can improve your creation.

If you can’t find anyone to do it for you, consider choosing a few game developing forums, where fellow developers (like me) can give you a helping hand. Check out a few of them below:

In fact, reading such forums should be an integral part of your game development process. Many of the questions can be answered there. Register on a couple today and make a few posts in order to look more respectable when you need to ask tough questions in the future.

7.    Don’t Stop

If you’ve finished at least one game, you are on the right track. If you like it, don’t stop. The amazing game realm has a lot of fun stuff to offer. Good luck!

 


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