If you’re a gamer that has ever wondered what it would be like to create your own games, then there’s a few things you’ll want to know and a few steps you’ll need to follow.
Step 1. Picking A Game Engine
If you don’t know what a game engine is, it’s essentially the software that developers use to create the virtual world the game will exist in. It calculates things like physics, space, and other rules that are necessary for games to run properly. There are many engines out there to choose from and they each have their unique features. However, there are a couple that really stand out to first time developers due to their ease of use, and overall quality. They also have the added benefit of being used by major game studios, so they’re obviously very good.
The Unity3D game engine is known as the most widely used game engine in the world and for good reason. If you’ve ever played “Hearthstone” “Battlestar Galactica Online”, or more recently “Pokemon GO!”, then you’ve played a game made with unity. The unity engine has an enormous amount of documentation, tutorials, and a community that is dedicated to helping each other create outstanding content. It is said to be the easiest to learn for beginners and will get you started immediately creating your own works of art in the industry.
The UnrealEngine is another choice that has great potential. While not as well-known as Unity, and slightly more difficult to master, the Unreal Engine is indisputably one of the best in the industry. There are even some features that it has that are better than the Unity equivalent making it a consistent contender. However, its steep learning curve is what keeps it from surpassing Unity as the most popular in the world. That hasn’t stopped developers from making amazing titles such as “Bioshock”, the “Batman Arkham” series, or the “Gears of War” series. There isn’t as large of a community to learn from but there is still a vast amount of material that can help you become a seasoned game designer.
Step 2. Learn
After you pick an engine you’ll want to immediately load up the software and get working. That’s natural. However, once you’re looking at the editor, it can seem very daunting. You’ve just realized that you know literally nothing about what you’re doing. Here are some great sites that can help you get around that.
Surprisingly, YouTube is probably the absolute best website that you can learn game development from. It’s not all random cat videos if you can believe it. Where YouTube shines is that you’re not only getting a description of what to do but you’re also getting a visual representation of what to do and how it should work. Seeing as 65% of the population are visual learners you can’t find a better resource than this.
Similar to YouTube, Udemy is all about online video courses specifically structured like scholastic lessons. It is definitely the more structured option between itself and YouTube but what makes it less appealing is that each course must be paid for. Some are relatively cheap at around $5 while other courses can shoot into the $100+ range. Despite that, the quality of the information is absolutely top notch, sometimes more so than what you’ll find on free sites like YouTube. It’s good practice to keep both tools ready at all times.
Step 3. Start Small
If you’re just starting out, do not go into this new experience expecting to make the next Halo. It just isn’t going to happen. In fact, more than likely, your first 10 games or so are probably going to be terrible. But it’s a process. With each game you make you’ll get a little better, a little more familiar with how things work, and your craft will naturally increase.
So start small. Work on simple projects and easy games to get a few victories under your belt before tackling a huge project. It’s hard to do when you’re so excited about that big idea that you have, but if you start off with more than you can handle, you’re going to get burnt out quickly. Once that happens the game will never get finished. Don’t do that to yourself. Build up your skills and work at it every day, and eventually you’ll be running your own studio with adoring fans clamoring for your next title.