“How do I get started making games?”
AKA “I’m really new, (I Think) I know nothing, help!”
A guide by Louisville Makes Games! Community members
We have two recommended paths for beginners one is to attend a game jam, and the other is to start with a tutorial in an existing game engine.
Path 1: Game Jams
What is a game jam?
A game jam is a (usually) weekend long event where you get a theme, form a team, and create a game based on the theme. The great thing about game jams is you can be an absolute beginner, and whether you are interested in art, code, music, story, or game design you can up your skills and pick up a lot from your team members. Even if you think you have nothing to give to the team, you can usually work with people who have made games before and help with various tasks until you are up to speed and contributing. There are 3 game jams Louisville Makes Games! does in person each year, Global Game Jam, Ludum Dare, and Kentucky Fried Pixels, check our events on meetup(link) to find out when the next one is and join in. Here is a video that explains game jams a lot better, it’s a keynote for the 2017 Global Game Jam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xfxx27HbM4
Path 2: Start with an existing engine and tutorial
What should I make games with?
This may sound daunting, but it really doesn’t matter what engine you make games with. In reality, this makes it super simple to find something that works for you! A good starting point for making games in general is Construct, a 2D game creation program that works inside your web browser. It has a huge community built up around it and tons of great tutorials to help you get started on your game making quest! With Construct you don’t have to write any code to create a game and can use some drag and drop tools and simple logic to piece together something of your own. Construct 3’s web interface has links to tutorials built right into the browser window that you can follow along with while you work.
https://www.construct.net https://www.scirra.com/tutorials/37/beginners-guide-to-construct-2 With its simple tools to build games using only drag and drop, you can have small games up and running in no time! Unfortunately, for the free version of Construct, there are limitations, such as a hard limit of 100 events (while Construct 3 is in beta, the engine is completely free with no limitations).
Construct3 comes with built-in tutorials (Visual Programming) https://www.construct.net Unity’s official site has some great tutorials (Some programming knowledge required) https://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials I’d recommend getting started with the “Roll-a-ball” tutorial!
A game engine is usually a set of tools to create games, they come in all languages and many are free, this list is sorted from easiest to get started to most difficult.
|Engine||Develop from||Language||2d/3d||Cost||Who its for|
|Twine||Web Browser, Mac, Windows, Linux||Writing and drag & drop||2d||free/open source||If you want to create interactive fiction, text adventures etc. Very low barrier to entry|
|Construct3||Web browser||Visual programming||2d||paid||If you want to go from 0 to making a game with no programming|
|RPG Maker MV||Windows, Mac||Writing and drag & drop||2d||paid||Great for RPGs or story-based games|
|Game Maker||Windows||GML/Visual programming||2d||Free or
Paid – $99
|If you want easy to use, yet powerful tools that require little to no programming knowledge|
|Godot||Windows/ Mac/ Linux||C++/C#/Visual programming||2d/3d||Free & Open Source||In active developement, promising new engine reaching it’s stride|
|Pico8||Windows/ Mac/ Linux||Lua||2d||14.99||Self-contained fantasy console with similar “hardware” limitations to the NES|
|Unreal Engine||Mac, WIndows, Linux||C++ , blueprints (visual scripting)||3d, 2d||Free until $3k then 5% per quarter/open source||If you want to make a 3D game with little programming knowledge|
|Unity||Mac, Windows, Linux||C#||3d, 2d||Free (if you aren’t making $100k a year on games)||If you want to make a multiplatform game in 2d or 3d|
|LibGDX||Mac, WIndows, Linux||Java||2d||free/open source||If you have a background and Java and love your beans.|
I want to create art and animation for a game
- Aseprite – Animation sprite editor & pixel art tool.
- Krita – Really nice digital painting
- Inkscape – Vector art
- Gimp – technically this exists
- GraphicsGale – Animation graphic editor.
- Spriter – highly recommended tool
- Sprite Lamp – Sprite Lamp is a software tool to help game developers combine 2D art with dynamic lighting effects, through the creation of hand drawn normal maps.
- AutoTileGen – AutoTileGen makes creating 2D terrain tilesets a breeze and works in Windows, Mac and Linux.
- Pyxel Edit – pixel art drawing application especially designed for working with tiles.
I want to create Music/Sound FX for a game
Sfxr – 8-bit sound generator.
I want to buy/ get free existing assets for my game
Art (2d or 3d)
- Unity Asset Store
Game Design Patterns
- Enemy Mechanics – A post on Reddit about enemy mechanics for retro styled games.
- Game Mechanic Explorer (interactive)
Keep your team organized
Game is almost done, how do I market and launch successfully?
- Indie Game Girl
- Zero Budget Marketing – Gamasutra
- Zero Budget Marketing – Unity3D
- Vlambeer Toolkit & Link Repo
- Pixel Prospector