How to Create Your First Game

I received an email from one of you readers, telling about a situation that must be familiar for many players. There’s people who simply love playing games, and would like to know how to actually make them. I got the following post from a player asking where to start.


I dont know how you can help me but all my life i have loved playing games but now i feel like i would like to start to make games but i dont realy UNDERSTAND how to make them i read your e-book it was intresting but i dont know if i need a certen program but i dont realy understad the websights to much but i just would like to make a game with my mates but we dont know were to start pleas help.

(He was referring to my free game production cookbook)

I believe there are some fundamental elements one needs, in order to create games. While passion is necessary, there’s lots of more than having a great idea. Which brings me to my first point:

Game idea alone won’t help you
I’ve had lots of great game ideas (at least I thought they were great). I’ve had game ideas about RPGs where players would develop their character in a massive free world, bases on the choices they would make. I’ve had ideas about ants digging complex caves while preparing for flood. While these ideas were really fun to come up with, that’s as far as I got with them. Just to the idea level.

Ideas alone won’t get you very far. You need to do something to get to the next level.

You need to start doing
Okay, the next level is to realize that planning alone won’t do much good. There’s many people who would like to get started, if only they would know how. I’ve mentioned in the past, and I say again that you need to learn to program (or join with somebody who knows to program if you are more into art). There are lots of books and online resources about programming, so it might be a good idea to google for a programming resource or buy a book about programming games.

I’ve used Blitz3D, and it’s really easy & simple tool for beginners. If you don’t know much about programming, reading the manual and asking in the forums will help you far in getting your game done. There are lots of other tools, so just google for “simple 2D engine” or “3D engine” and find some suitable tool for you. Remember to check out DevMaster: it’s a website that contains lots of nice resources.

Besides DevMaster, don’t forget to check out tools & game engines listed on this blog – you’ll might find some pointers that could help you to get started.

The basic idea is to find some suitable tool for you, and simply get moving.

Prototype or create a mini-game
When you’ve picked your engine, learned a bit about programming you can start making your own mini game or a game prototype. I really recommend starting with a simple Pong project or something “easy” in the beginning – that will get you idea on how much work making games really is. My box stacking mini game was in production for about 21 hours, and it sure was fun break. I recommend doing something similar.

For prototyping, check out blogs such as Kloonigames (Petri does a great job making small free games monthly). Other resource to take a look at is: ExperimentalGamePlay.

Bottom line
To summarize everything: learn to program, get the right tools, prototype. That’s perhaps one of the fastest ways to get started.

Update: After getting thousands of visitors into this one post, I wrote an another one which gives a list of game making resources.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I would love to make my own game it wiil be called Dead master

  2. Hello everyone I’m very new to all this and have been a lot of research, reading trying to comprehend the art of game programming and design. I start college in spring taking up my cgvc a.k.a associate of science degree. I wanted to know if there were any tips I can get before the long run and what I should focus on if I am to start a project of my own, how should I go about it? And what are the best programs for a beginner to start with before schooling? Much love to the gaming community.

  3. Great Article, really informative. I’m currently studying Game Design and Development at College, and I program outside of it, currently fluent in PHP and C++, C++ is my priority, naturally. So this article really gave me a stand point on readying to develop my project, which I hope to start soon as I locate a team with the correct presquisites to do it.

    Thanks for this,
    Good starting location for anyone who isn’t quite sure where to go with games development process.

  4. I’m not sure if I understand the question. Basically, client should have pretty much all the code (except the server code), assets (art etc) and whatnot.

    server could be dummy, just taking inputs… calculating results… and then sending outputs to clients (in server-client model).

    so, briefly put networking goes: (when game is running)
    – client send “pressing key move forward”
    – server receives and processes data, sets player X current action to “move forward”
    – server send data “player X: location, action
    – client receives data and updates the world
    (naturally you also want to make predictions to smoothen up things)

    there’s more into it… search my blog for “network” or “multiplayer” and you find quite a bit of articles on this

  5. my project is to run a game in server and the client should send requests & responses i.e his actions on the game.i planned to download some game files on to the client so it can run without any interruption.what basic files i have to import on to client so that they run without any interruption…

  6. ok ty for the tips very helpful but one little problem i have created rpgs before so i know a bit bout putting games togather i just like the fun small stuff but i realized quickly this is a bit more of a project than just an 2drpg that’s when i discovered the tes construction set can be used as a game design program only problem i couldn’t modify or create my own objects i didn’t have the correct programs to do so. then i found blender its a bit of a beginners tool but now I’m learning that. my only fear is that i havn’t got the resorces to create this game i mean it’s a full blow free rome rpg. i have to say the elder scrolls games inspired me to come up with the idea. my only problem is bringing it to life most scripting i know is self taught. im a hischool graduate and games have always been my passion. first game i ever played was digimon world 2 and i still play it till this day. but i needed more i wanted to see my own ideas come to life. thats when i started teaching myself scripting and it worked for 2d rpgs and i got my general ideas out but i know i needed more for this project and idk if i can with the littal knowledge i have shore i can make games like golden sun but for this, this would be my lifes work bascly i can learn all the movement scrips and activation scrips but i need to know how do i create my objects to import into the game.

  7. I am in college studying to be a teacher. I would love to create an education video game on the subject materials I need to teach: to make learning fun, interesting and memorable. I have occasionally teach children with learning disabilities that get frustrated with all that remedial, repetitive work – I would like to make learning more interesting and less tedious for those who have shorter memory spans.

    Any advice you have to give me would be welcome. Presently I substitute teach during the day and attend college at night.
    I would like to learn how to do it the fast and quick way, because of time impairment teaching, I would also like to know any of the materials or programs you would sugges and I would like to learn the long way too for those summer months when I want really build something from scratch. Teachers are given such a small budget for a class of 33 children. That’s 33 times the price of a software we need to buy. We can’t buy one software and put it on all 33 computers – that’s illegal. Half the time all the county can afford is to share 2 computers and the teacher’s computer. That’s 3 computers with 33 students. Those children will go into jobs in 20 years, that will require knowledge of the use of a computer and how to run programs. Half can’t afford a computer at home to practice on. This slows down learning for some. Teachers only get 1 minute a piece with a child in a 30 minute period class and usually there are between 30 -33 students in that class. The computer & programs maximize learning and act as if each child got more time than that. What I hope to do, is create games out of their subject matter to help them practice their algebra skills and other subject skills. There are things in the curricula that we have to teach, that aren’t even in educational software yet, I’m being equipped with educational technology that I could use and put to practice in creating an educational game. Any advice you think would be helpful, I’d like to hear. You can email me at (email removed: it’s not recommended to share email address in public, so please use the forums to discuss)

    Thank you for your website

  8. hi i would just like to ask if i had a great idea for a game and it was i mean real good in terms of the idea plot story and orignality could u submit it in to a guy like your self depending on how goo it is mabey get a job out of it

  9. thank’s for the help but in more of a art person and i dont know any1 who knows how 2 code or anything im just starting from skrach.

  10. Chaim: Covered that already ;) “(or join with somebody who knows to program if you are more into art)” Anyway – nice to hear that it works!

  11. May I suggest another alternative? Find a buddy that already knows how to program.

    That is what my partner did. He loves designing games, and is good at it. However, he doesn’t code. Not that he can’t. He doesn’t really want to. So he partnered with me, as I love to code.

    If you want to learn how to code as well, watch and learn from your coding monkey, err, coding partner. :-)

  12. I just started having Java classes, and we have to develop a Tetris .. Holy hell.. such a simple game… soo complicated..

    well.. everyday ahead i feel further away from big game producing… o well

  13. Google “Game Maker” for a simple but effecient 2D game making tool. It has a big following and allows for rapid prototyping too.

    Dark Basic Pro is an option if you want to start a 3D game. So is Blitz3D.

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