Getting Started in Game Development

I'm going to write outside of the normal purview of this blog for this article, because this is the most important article that will be written in this whole blog, and I want to make sure that I can help as many people as possible with it.

Starting is the most important step in game development. Starting is also one of the most intimidating steps. The difference between a game developer and someone with a dream is getting started. This is going to sound harsh, but great, amazing ideas are a dime a dozen, and in the end, aren't worth anything. The only way to turn those ideas into something that has value to someone who isn't you, is to develop those ideas into finished games.

So, how do you start? Well, in the rare wise words of a not very wise man, "Start". If you're writing either a tabletop RPG or a board game, take the rules and mechanics you have in your head, and write them down. You can worry about the math, balance, and components later. The first step is to get it on paper, or in a digital document. Get it carved into stone if you have to, but WRITE. IT. DOWN.

A similar concept is a decent way to start developing a video game. Write down what you want to make, and how you want the game to work. Start deciding what kind of game it will be, and what tools and programs will be used to make the game. None of this has to be set in stone, but having it written down is the best way to get it started. I will link some game development tools at the end of this article for when your design is done.

While you are developing your game, it is vital to remember to keep playing games! Not just your favorite games, but all sorts of games. Study games, and learn what each game does well and how each game could be improved. Don't sugar coat anything, every game could have done something better, and every bad game has something it can teach you, even if it's what not to do. 

A couple of final notes:

  • Dream big! This is your idea, and you can make it whatever you want it. 
  • Don't be afraid of change. No good game finishes development looking how it did when it started
  • Be realistic. You are one person, and you can only do so much. 
  • Be excited! This is your game! If you don't make it, nobody else will. You are making something that wouldn't exist without you!

One last time, if you take nothing else from this article: GET STARTED! Your idea is worth nothing until you start it. Write it down, tell people about it, be excited, but most importantly, start!

Free game development tools:

Tabletop RPGs and board games: google drive and google docs
When just writing things down, google docs is a great cloud storage word processor for writing down ideas. It's very simple to use and format, and makes collaboration a breeze.

Video games:
Unity is well known in the gaming industry. Unity is very versatile, capable of making both 3D and 2D games. Unity has a huge community, with lots of official and unofficial tutorials. Unity is free, easy to learn, and a very professional tool.