Getting started in Game Development

Interest is game development is increasing. More and more people are eager not only to participate in games, but to create them for themselves. Although there are many components to creating a successful game, there are some simple steps you can take and some easily available resources you can use, to get you started on your game development journey.

Getting Started

A simple way to start understanding how game development works is to choose a game (e.g. Tetris or Flappy Bird) and attempt to recreate it yourself using tutorials. This is a great way to get you into the game developer mindset and to start to familiarize yourself with all the components that you will need later on to create your own game, including learning your way around an engine editor.

Having a basic understanding of computer programming also helps. If you’re not sure which programming language to go for, then BASIC is a good bet. It tends to be the most popular and most commonly used, when it comes to games development. The key is to start small and keep to the basics.

When you’re itching to try more sophisticated features, the language C++ will let you test this out when you are more experienced.

Use A Known, Popular Game Engine

A game engine will provide you with lots of different functionalities, like 2D and 3D graphics rendering, animation, AI, audio support and so on.

The AppGameKit engine lets you easily code graphics that load quickly when a user launches your game. There is also extensive, almost exhaustive, support in the forums and guides for when you need that extra bit of help or support (although the language is very easy to use). You can try AppGameKit on a free trial. Or, if you are an educator, you can access the software with tutorials and lessons plans for free.

If you have already progressed to C++, AppGameKit also offers C++-specific Tier 2 software. It is a bit more difficult to use than Tier 1, but again it comes with an extensive usage guide.

Using Game Design Patterns

Game design patterns are essentially a generalised code module that you can re-use to solve a problem that occurs frequently during your game. There are some templates available, so you can use an existing solution, rather than having to come up with one yourself. You can start to experiment and apply them to some of your initial small games to see how they work, and which will be most useful for your own game development.

UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT GAME COMPONENTS

The Story and Characters

The first element is the story itself. You can choose to either create a linear story structure, which can be quite simple, or a non-linear structure, in which the plot is affected depending on the actions of the character. Either way, you need to ensure that the main plot is interesting enough to attract players.

The same is also true of your characters. Characters are fundamental to all video games. You should have an interesting and varied group of characters that players will be eager to play.

Levels

The difficulty should increase as your game goes on. Depending on the type of game you are designing, this can be reflected in levels according multiple floors, different locations or increasing difficulty depending on path combinations taken by players.

Art and Audio

“Game art is probably the most important aspect of game development,” says Darrell Nesbitt, a tech writer at Australia2write.com and Nextcoursework.com. “Everything from lighting to textures and characters needs to be carefully considered. The beauty of using an existing engine is that most of them provide great graphics and art either for free or for pretty low prices. You can also import art into your project view and then render it. Just start off with simple things first.”

A good soundtrack and use of sound effects is crucial in creating a believable video game. You can either use what is freely available on your game engine or try to create something new yourself and import it into your editor.

Conclusion

It’s simple to get started experimenting with game development straight away. If you use the right tools and take some time to learn the basics, you’ll find that the skills you learn along the way can become useful in other areas too. Start with an easy game to practice with and just get building.

Michael Dehoyos is a professional web developer at PhdKingdom and AcademicBrits websites. He works closely with a range of companies, helping them to develop and improve their marketing strategy concepts. Michael is also a writer, contributing regularly to numerous websites and publications including OriginWriting, the academic service.