How do I get started making games?

How do I get started making games?

“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:

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. 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) Unity’s official site has some great tutorials (Some programming knowledge required) I’d recommend getting started with the “Roll-a-ball” tutorial!

Unreal Engine Make a platformer in Phaser (JavaScript)

Game Engines

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.


Develop from




Who its for


Web Browser, Mac, Windows, Linux

Writing and drag & drop


free/open source

If you want to create interactive fiction, text adventures etc. Very low barrier to entry


Web browser

Visual programming



If you want to go from 0 to making a game with no programming

RPG Maker MV

Windows, Mac

Writing and drag & drop



Great for RPGs or story-based games

Game Maker


GML/Visual programming


Free or

Paid – $99

If you want easy to use, yet powerful tools that require little to no programming knowledge

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


Mac, Windows, Linux

C#, JavaScript

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


Mac, WIndows, Linux



free/open source

If you are familiar with web development and JavaScript


Mac, WIndows, Linux



free/open source

If you have a background and Java and love your beans.

SplatJS (local!)

Mac, WIndows, Linux


2d, 3d

free/open source

If you are interested in working on a local Open Source project

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
  • Photoshop
  • 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


*Free Music Archive *

Sound Effects


Art (2d or 3d)


  • Unity Asset Store


Game Design Patterns

Game Mechanics

Keep your team organized



  • Trello – boards, lists, and cards
  • – Free chat room site.

Game is almost done, how do I market and launch successfully?

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