How to make a Video Game is what we all want to do to recreate our childood memories of small garden games. Designing a video game is no small task and it is too good not to make it. There is no better time than now, let’s get started.
Creating a game has never been easier or cheaper with the widespread growth of independent development. Follow the guide to start designing and creating the game of dreams, and share it with the world around you.
How to Make a Video Game : Laying the Foundations
Pick the genre. While successful game is unique and almost fit into a particular genre. Decide on the kind of game to create, and look at what games in the same genre have and created for the people. Common genres include:
- Arcade games
- Endless runners
- First-person shooters
- Third person shooters
- Story/Manga driven JRPG
- Visual novels
- Tower Defense
Pick the platform. The platform to develop game will significantly impact the way it is developed. The platform dictates the way to control the game. Smartphone games are typically touch-and-tilt-based. PC games generally use a keyboard and mouse, and console games use gamepads. Make an iPhone game. Submit it to the Apple store. Exception to it is the Godot Engine which permits to create for iPhone on Linux . Therefore, it is useful have a Mac.
Write the preliminary design. This should be at least one page and the heart of the gameplay experience it creates. It consists of the fundamental concepts of the game. It will permit to see if the idea is viable for a video game.
Start with a core philosophy. The statement will serve as the motivating force behind the game. It is very simple statement that goes to the heart of the game. Revisit it often to ensure it is still meeting its basic criteria. The example core philosophies, which are :
- Simulating a space station economy
- Letting you play as a living car
- Testing the player’s reflexes
Write down the features. The features sets the game apart from others in the particular genre. Start by enlisting ideas and concepts. Turn them into action-driven sentences. Writing down features to allow to flesh out in the design document. Having features enlisted in the starting allows to focus and prevent “feature-creep”. No new ideas gets added later on in the process. Continue to revise features till the satisfaction to represent the game that you wish to make. For example:
- Concept: station construction.
- Feature: Build and manage station.
- Concept: Damage from enemy
- Feature: Struggle and survive against hazards
Take a break. Put the basic design in a drawer. Try to avoid thinking about it for next two weeks. Do not go back till you have a fresh perspective to help determine whether the project is worth pursuing, or needs to drawing board again.
How to Make a Video Game : Writing the Design Document
Get down to the details. The design document is the backbone of video game. It consists of detailed descriptions of game’s mechanics, setting, plot, aesthetic design. The format of the document is also important But the content has a upper edge. Design documents are important to manage a team of programmers and artists. Ensure a document is geared toward them, and not towards the consumer. Avoid vague concepts and get great detailing on how the game’s mechanics must work.
Formulate the table of contents. Every single aspect of the game requires addressing in the table of contents. The only thing that doesn’t required to be included is the story fundamentally connected to the mechanics. Table of contents must be approached in the same way as given in a game manual. Start with broad sections, like Character Creation, Combat, and Main Interface, and flesh sections out with subsections.
Fill out each section of document. After the table is laid out, start expanding on the mechanics. Take the time to go into detail. There should be no confusion to start programming. Each mechanic must be fully explained. There is no confusion to come with time to implement it.
Run it by someone else or team. Game design can be collaborative process depending on the approach. Insight from others can keep game focused, and can point out areas that are not thought out. Ensure the person to whom you are showing it knows the plan of releasing it.
How to Make a Video Game : Starting to Program
Decide on an engine. The engine is the important base of the game containing a host of development tools to ease its creation. It is time-efficient and less complex to create a game with an existing engine to create a new one from scratch. Popular independent development engines include:
- 3D engine popular
- ease of use and portability
- supports 2D game development.
- Unreal Engine
- adapted to a wide range of uses.
- many AAA games used using the engine.
- consists of Visual Scripting called Blueprints by default.
- Godot Engine
- Free and Open Source Engine
- More features added by contributors on every release.
- Has Visual Scripting
- supports multiple programming languages
- 2D and 3D developer.
- GameMaker : Studio
- most popular 2D game engines.
- RPG Maker Series
- scripting engine designed for 2D
- traditional JRPG style.
- very popular 3D engine
- consistently updated and modified.
- Project Spark
- optimized 3D engine
- addresses the average user.
Learn engine or find who knows it. You may get a significant amount of programming depending on the engine chosen. Most basic engines will need time to understand how to manipulate them. When programming is beyond capabilities, you will require to learn it or hire someone.
Build a prototype. After getting familiar with the engine chosen, build a prototype of the game. The prototype will serve as a ground test of the core functionality of the game. No need of graphics or audio for the prototype. Just simple placeholders like a cube or a stick figure and a small test area. Test and refine the prototype to ensure it is fun to play. Make note of all the errors and that does not work or feel right. Readdress the mechanics involved. Final game probably will only look perfect if these steps are taken care of.
Refine the controls. The most basic functionality of the game is the player interacting with the game and control input. Use the prototype to ensure the controls are perfect. Games with poorly-implemented controls will frustrate players. Games with perfectly executed controls will be rewarding to a player’s skill.
How to Make a Video Game : Creating Assets
Consider project’s needs. Art needs may vary significantly depending on the scope of project. Games are built using simple shapes and colors, while other games feature complex worlds created by vast teams of artists and sound designers. Be realistic with goals for the assets in game to hire. Most independent games are created by small teams. Doing the entire project yourself, expect it to take a good amount of time to create the assets yourself.
Create a rough draft of art. In order to get a feel for the visual aesthetic, you will require to start implementing art into the prototype, and begin expanding prototype into the game proper. A variety of styles can be followed and used. Pixel art is the most common styles to be employed by developers as pixel art is generally the fastest and least-expensive art to produce for giving results and making a “good looking” game.
Design the world, or structure, of the game. Once you have some art to use, you can start constructing the game itself. Depending on the style of game you are making, you may need to create levels or playing areas. If you are making a puzzle game, then you can start designing your puzzles.
Develop art assets. Depending on art style, there are various programs used to create art assets. Some of the more popular programs include:
Blender – Open-source program is the most popular 3D modeling solutions around.
Photoshop – It is essential in the texturing process and creating most 2D art. It is expensive. Consider GIMP when money is a concern for a open-source which is a free alternative to Photoshop and has same functionality.
Paint.net – Open-source alternative to Paint Shop Pro and allow you to create 2D art with ease for free. It is especially useful for creating 2D pixel art graphics.
Use Adobe Illustrator – It is good for Vector art but expensive. Consider Inkscape , if money is a concern. It is open-source, free alternative to Illustrator.
Record audio assets. Sound design plays an key role in the immersion when playing a game. Whether or not to have music, when and how you use sound effects, and spoken dialogue connects with the game. You can find powerful and free online audio recordings and music creation software.
How to Make a Video Game : Putting it All Together
Play game fully possible. To build each aspect of the game, play it to ensure it remains cohesive and fun. If an area or idea feels poorly implemented, refine or eliminate it. Levels or puzzles or play areas after completion, play through it to ensure it is fun from beginning to end.
Stay focused on core philosophy. All through the development process, keep constantly checking the game to attain the philosophy. Ensure to sticking to feature list, and not getting bogged down by more additions and inclusions.
Polish, polish, polish. Constantly go back over art, sound, and game design to smooth rough edges and bring game’s distinct style. The ability to quickly polish will be heavily dependent on the art style chosen to use.
How to Make a Video Game : Testing the Game
Start bug hunting. After working game from start to finish, start looking for ways to break it. Find the bugs in the game and squash them whenever needed. Ensure as many people can play it as possible.
Perform actions not normally tried. Every conceivable way to interact with the game needs to be accounted for. Ensure game rules can’t be bypassed or broken by attacking rules. Bug testing needs a significant amount of time, like the game took to create. The more people get to help with testing, the more problems to be found and fixed.
Prioritize the repair bugs. When having large list of bugs, and limited time to fix the game, ensure to deal with serious, game-breaking bugs.
Watch people play. Get friends to try out the game. Watch how they approach challenges, and interact with the game world. Chances to try to do things never even thought by you that someone would do.
How to Make a Video Game : Releasing Work
Check the engine on the rules to release compiled programs. Each engine supports specific platforms, and need various licenses to release on various platforms.
Hype the game. Release screenshots and video clips of the game in action on popular gaming platforms. Contact gaming sites and give news and let them know the game will be releasing soon and ensure to include how to get it, costs, and a summary of the game. Create a company website during production to start building followers. Hosting a platform is a great way to get fans talking to each other, and regularly update the site to draw more attention.
Decide on a distribution service. Independent developers will host the game on their website. The demand of costs will be a significant amount in hosting fees. Few hosts can’t support the load that a successful game needs. Various services will take various cuts on the sale of the game. Research every one to see which is right for you. Most services have pines on sale and representatives speak to you directly as a developer.
Support the game. After the game is released, support it financially with bug fixes and latest content. The age of digital distribution gives games to get updated quicker than ever before.
There are bound to be bugs which may appear as the population at large has access to the game. But keep fixing these as soon as possible and relax back and enjoy the fruits of your hard work.