Have you always wanted to make your own computer game? With the resources available today it has never been easier!
INTRODUCTION by Craig MORRISON
I'm a veteran game designer who has always had a soft spot for helping others make their way in game design.
I started teaching Game Design a few years ago as a side project (I lecture at the University of California here in Irvine, California as part of their Computer Game Science program). In doing so I'm often exposed to the question 'How do I get into Game Design?' or other questions about starting out in the industry. Over the years of answering that question many hundreds, if not thousands of times, I started to compile helpful links and advice on my personal blog.
Now, as more people have reached out and asked, and I collect more links, I have decided to create this site. The intention is that it is a simple, one-stop, shop for some sound advice for starting out making games. It's just a way to help you explore whether you want to try making games for a living.
It is not intended as any kind of a commercial venture, or training program. It's just some advice, and a collection of helpful links to materials that already exist, scattered across the winds of the wonderful world wide web.
It's honestly never been easier to start making games, and this site is just designed to help nudge you in the right direction!
Before we start ...
... there is something we need to talk about first.
Making games takes practice. It's just like any other skill. You will get better at it the more you do it. However, it is a discipline. Just having played a lot of games does not necessarily mean that you'll be good at designing or making them. Think of it this way, just because you can drive a car, it doesn't mean you are a mechanic.
Playing and enjoying games gives you a fantastic context for becoming a game developer, but you do need to realize that game design is a skill, and it requires the type of logical problem solving that goes above and beyond the types of challenges you faced when playing games. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazingly rewarding and enjoyable skill to develop, but there are no short cuts. There is work you have to do!
The idea of these pages is to provide you with some resources to take the first steps towards becoming a game developer!
It's a lot of fun, and I honestly believe that it's easier to start now than it ever has been in the past!
So that said, how do we start?
When people ask what is the best way to get into game development, my answer is always the same ...
... Make Games ...
... seriously, there is honestly not that much more to it as a starting point.
It sounds obvious, but there is nothing quite like diving in and actually making something.
It's never been easier to become a game developer. Seriously, the sheer amount of tools, resources, tutorials, and communities out there make taking the plunge easier than it has ever been. In fact it might be more than a little overwhelming to decide where to start.
The problem many find is that they end up having ambitious plans and grand ideas. The best approach is often to start small and learn as you go. Game development involves a lot of different skills, and like any other skill the only thing that improves them is practice! You aren't going to make Skyrim your first time out. Do you think you could make a version of Pong? Start there and see how easy or hard you find it.
On the plus side you have lots of options now.
So make games. Follow your passion.
Make games, test them, make them better
Make games. Have someone else test them, learn how to handle feedback.
Make games, iterate on your ideas and figure out how to be flexible with your ideas.
Each subsequent effort will be better than the last in some way as you learn more about game development.
Nothing quite beats the lessons you learn as you try to take an idea and give it form. The questions you have to answer and the problems you have to solve will all start to inform your game design instincts, and start to mold your design style. That's always been the most important part to me. Game design theory is great, but, nothing beats the lessons you learn from solving actual problems with an actual design.
It isn’t as intimidating as you think. It’s possible to start nice and small, and move on from there.
With that in mind, I figured that since I'm advocating that you should just dive in and make something, I should really point you in the direction of some of the resources available to get you going.