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