When you think of video games, acclaimed titles like Final Fantasy or Silent Hill may come to mind. These are complex from every angle – storytelling, development, graphics and soundtrack.
However, there are many basic video games that anyone can create. In this article, we’ll share a pragmatic roadmap to start your adventure as a game developer.
Idea that hooks: the cornerstone of video game success
More than other applications, video games are often as successful as their ideas. As soon as you have the concept, technology follows. Ultimately, if the idea behind the gameplay is boring and doesn’t excite end users, it doesn’t matter how smart your codebase is.
While this guide doesn’t focus on the creative part of game development, here’s a quick rundown of the ways and tools creators use for brainstorming:
- Look at the outside world. It’s a good idea to always be on the lookout for interesting concepts and stories, and to write down whatever intrigues you.
- Consume creative work. To be successful at a title, you have to be an avid gamer yourself. As you play through other people’s stories, do it smart, pointing out the things you would like to improve and the things you would like to implement in your projects.
- Define creative constraints. The world of video games is vast – it’s easy to get lost if you have no direction. That’s why entry-level game developers should focus on a specific genre and explore what it has to offer.
Technology: choose the programming language in which you are confident (or eager to learn)
Once you understand the genre and the plot of the game, it’s time to think about the technology. Most financially successful titles are built in C #. While this is a flagship technology for game development, it is by no means an easy language to learn.
Fortunately, if you are bored of C #, there are some alternative ways.
- There are a few game-oriented Go libraries and links.
- C ++ is also adopted by major game studios and comes with an impressive set of tools (eg Unreal).
- Java is a great choice for game development because it is cross-platform and beginner-friendly. There are many resources you can use to get started – some game developers learn java on CodeGym (https://codegym.cc) by making simple games like Hungry Snake or 2048.
- If you’re targeting iOS users, Swift is a must-have tech.
Before locking in your choice, do some research on how to learn to play Java as a beginner (or a different programming language) codegym.cc/java-game-programming-for-beginners-where-to-start. It’s a good idea to explore what the developers on Reddit, Stack Overflow, and professional blogs have to say about game development technologies and tools.
Resources: Know how you learn and make the most of it
There are different ways of approaching the development of learning games. You can pick up a few theory books to understand high-level concepts first or dive right into construction projects and take Youtube tutorials. While some learners like to be supervised, others prefer independence.
Before you start looking for tutors, exploring online courses or books, determine your learning style and commit.
In the meantime, here’s a handy little resource set for all types of learners:
Books on game development theory
Youtube channels on game development
Best Reddit Threads For Game Developers
While it’s tempting to use a ton of resources, you could risk chaos and confusion. That’s why it’s best to stick with 1 or 2 choices per category (e.g. 2 books, 2 YouTube channels, and 2 niche Reddit threads) to stay focused.
The Halo effect: keep your ambitions under control
Even if you want to pull off an RPG on the first try, that probably won’t happen. If you want to have a full game rather than a great but half-baked idea, you better keep it simple.
To understand what types of games you can make on a shoestring, take some time to explore indie titles. Here are some simple but awesome ideas:
Although simple by design, a lot of these games can get complex if you decide to use AI. So, don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the concept and stick to the independent concepts until you are confident in your coding skills and persistence.
Game development is highly praised and has a competitive job market. That’s why newbie developers often see game development as a distant dream and find a ton of excuses not to explore it.
The truth is, game development becomes simple and “doable” once you study the theory and put your skills into practice. Don’t worry if, halfway through, you realize that you have no idea what you’re doing – in this area, no one really knows.