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how to get started
I think it would be fun to try to create my own game. The financial possibilities are there too, I just have one problem. I can't figure out how to get started. Story of my life... ha, ha. Anyone out there able to help out on this?
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Showing 1-11 of 11 comments
C0untzer0 Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:35am 
"Beginning game development for dummies"?
The Crazycatlady 03 Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:39am 
what and where is that
Gorlom[Swe] Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:08pm 
in the "for dummies" section of your local library?
The Crazycatlady 03 Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:10pm 
okay thanks
AusSkiller Feb 17, 2014 @ 12:45am 
Here are some steps for self-teaching how to make a game (IMO):

Step 1: Learn a programming language, I strongly recommend C++, but C# will do too especially if you plan to use Unity as your engine.

Step 2: Learn the constraints specific to making games. Games need to run in real time so there are a lot of things that you need to understand that are specific to games and wont be covered just by learning how to program, for C++ this includes things like not allocating memory at run time and using contiguous memory where possible to avoid cache misses. There are a lot of other best practices to learn too, is good for finding information on game development.

Step 3: Make a simple game, it's not really something you want to make but rather something to put your knowledge into practice, something like a tetris or asteroids clone is usually pretty good for this, it just needs to be something very simple so you can see first hand what is involved with doing it. If you are using an advanced engine like Unity or Unreal then a simple one gun first person shooter where you aim at targets without AI would probably be doable too since 99% of the code for a first person shooter is already done for you and the engines usually give you some default artwork to use.

Step 4: Learn to use a modelling program, these can be VERY expensive, but Blender is a very good free alternative that's almost on par with the $1000+ software. A good place to learn how to use Blender is , they have some very good video tutorials there, I'd also recommend paying for a 1 month subscription (become a citizen) as it'll give you access to some of the better video tutorials which you can download and watch whenever you like, IIRC it was only $10-$20 when I got it myself and it was well worth that, but there's plenty of good free content available too. Make sure you also check out game specific or low poly modelling tutorials, while it may not be as important in 5 years time it is still handy knowledge to have.
If you are planning to use an engine then make sure you check that there is a way to use the modelling software you choose to create models in the format the engine needs.

Step 5: Learn how to create materials for games, this includes using Photoshop (or the free alternative GIMP) to create textures and how to write shaders, it also includes learning about the pros and cons of the various texture formats in particular the different types of texture compression, and also the best practices of textures for games such as using power of 2 sized textures. If you are planning to use an engine then sometimes they provide a material library that greatly reduces the need to write your own shaders, though you will still need to create your own textures and I'd still recommend at least looking into how to write shaders anyway as they can be very powerful.

Step 6: Watch all the Extra Credits videos ( ), they are a good source of information about game design and will stop you from making many of the mistakes that other budding designers usually do. This isn't really required but it'll really help with your game design if you watch these.

Step 7: Now that you have the bare minimal skills and knowledge to create a proper game you can start to design one. IMO it's much better to save the actual design till after you have the skills and knowledge because once you know the difficulties involved you have a much better idea of what you might actually be capable of creating, most gamers think an idea would be great and easy to create when the fact is it'll be terrible and very difficult, while other things that may seem hard or might require a lot of work are actually relatively easy. Keep in mind most of what you see in the Extra Credits videos and you should do OK.

Step 8: Prepare all your project. Often you need to set up your development environment for any SDKs you are using and set up a source control solution. For source control I have been quite happy with Subvesion and the Tortoise SVN client for it, it's quite good for small to medium sized projects though I did have problems with it when I attempted move a very large commercial project from Source Safe to Subversion, but that was a very old version of Subversion and I'm not sure it would still be problematic. There's also Mercurial and a common one used in the industry is Perforce, but Perforce has a pretty hefty price tag for a small developer.

Step 9: Make the game.

Step 10: Realize you've coded a lot of stuff wrong and start again with what you've learned from your first attempt. This is very common with new developers, generally it's not until your third completed game that you'll start getting things mostly right from the outset, there's a lot of things you only pick up from experience and it's normal for your first few games to have code that you'll look back on later in your career as being atrocious.

Step 11: Play the lottery, otherwise known as release your game, making a game is a big gamble it can take years of solid work to put together a game, especially if you are doing both art and code and it's very common for even good games to do very badly in sales so don't expect to make much money. It's can take a lot of luck to make a game a financial success because you need a lot of the the right kind of attention for your game, like popular youtubers doing a reviews of it which goes a very long way to achieve that goal but it can be tricky to get that attention and most games will fail to get it and subsequently fail to generate much revenue. There is a very big risk involved in making games, there's a lot of money to be made but there's far more to be lost, be careful and only seriously commit to it if you can live with your game completely failing. For every game that makes $1,000,000+ there hundreds if not thousands that end up making nothing, and you don't want to be left with massive debt and a failed game.

Another option, and IMO a better one is to go to a school for game development, they will teach you a lot of what you need to know and in the good schools you can even gain valuable experience working in a team, it's pricey but if you afford it and can get into a good one it is worth every cent. But be aware there are a LOT of terrible "game development" schools and courses around so you really need to do your research on them. This Extra Credits video has some good info on how to pick a good one:

Hope that helps :)
Last edited by AusSkiller; Feb 17, 2014 @ 12:49am
C0untzer0 Feb 17, 2014 @ 12:49am 
Aus, I'd suggest editing to include "Or find somebody with relevant skills and experience" in a couple of those steps.Learning to code and design in a tight timeframe is gonna melt the brains of a lot of folks, whereas sticking an ad up in the local art/design college is much simpler.
Last edited by C0untzer0; Feb 17, 2014 @ 3:13am
AusSkiller Feb 17, 2014 @ 3:59am 
Originally posted by C0untzer0:
Aus, I'd suggest editing to include "Or find somebody with relevant skills and experience" in a couple of those steps.Learning to code and design in a tight timeframe is gonna melt the brains of a lot of folks, whereas sticking an ad up in the local art/design college is much simpler.
True, but I figure anyone able to read through such a wordy post might actually have the persistence to follow through with creating a game themselves, though I should probably have mentioned that I expect going through all those steps to take about 3-5 years to get right. And I'm assuming they don't have the money to pay for people to do the work so they'll need to do most of the steps anyway otherwise they wouldn't be contributing enough to the project to convince someone else to collaborate for just a profit share.
Thanks for all the info I will let my husband know he the brainatic in the house I apprecite that you took the time to explain this
The Crazycatlady 03 Feb 17, 2014 @ 10:07am 
This is the husband. Thank you, this gave me alot of information I otherwise would not have known how to find. I wanted to go to school for this but unfortunately never had the funds or opportunity. Thanx.
C0untzer0 Feb 17, 2014 @ 10:13am 
Originally posted by AusSkiller:
... And I'm assuming they don't have the money to pay for people to do the work ...
This comes back to the question "How much is your time worth?" against how long it will take them to learn the job properly. Of course no matter how much I study I'll never be a graphic artist as I'm whatever the aesthetic equivalent of "tone deaf" is. Sadly, some people are.
I'd just like them to consider the possibility before it becomes a last resort.
The Crazycatlady 03 Feb 17, 2014 @ 10:24am 
Too true, I'm half scared I'm gojng to be "tone deaf" myself

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Date Posted: Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:08am
Posts: 11