Developing a video game is not easy. However, if you have a million dollar idea, then it's best to start ASAP! There are more and more independent developers lately, and creating a game has never been cheaper or easier. This article will guide you through the major milestones in making a video game.
Method 1 of 7: The Basics
Step 1. Select a genre
Yes, all successful games are unique. Nevertheless, they can be ranked as one genre or another. Decide on a genre first! And the genres are as follows:
- Endless run
- First person shooter
- Tower defense
Step 2. Select a platform
The platform chosen will significantly affect the further development process, not to mention how the game will be controlled - from the keyboard, joystick or tablet screen.
- The general rule is that it's easier to develop a game by immediately imagining how and on what it will be played. There are exceptions, of course, but there are exceptions to all the rules.
- Want to make a game for the iPhone? It will need to be submitted to the AppStore from a Mac computer.
Step 3. Write a draft of the game concept
In a couple of pages, outline how to play your game. This alone can give you an idea of whether such a game will turn out to be successful.
Step 4. Create a basic philosophy for the game
It's like a motivation that will make the player play and play, this is the very essence of the game. Feel free to check if you have deviated from philosophy during the development process. Examples of game philosophy include:
- the ability to drive a car;
- the ability to test the reflexes of the player;
- the ability to simulate the economy of a space power.
Step 5. Write down all the features of your game
Features are what will set your game apart from thousands of others. Start by listing ideas and concepts, then rewrite them into meaningful sentences. Prepare 5-15 features. For example:
- Concept: building a space station.
- Feature: you can build your own space station and control it.
- Concept: damage from meteorites.
- Feature: the player tries to survive in conditions of meteor showers, flares in the sun, and so on.
- List the features now, and then it will be easier for you to insert them into the game development plan. It is better to lay all the features at the very beginning than to "mold" everything then one onto another.
- Rewrite the feature list until you understand, "This is exactly the game I want to create."
Step 6. Take a break
Hide drafts on the table for a week or two. Then take it out and take a fresh look at them. It won't hurt.
Method 2 of 7: Writing a Development Plan
Step 1. Write down everything to the smallest detail
The development plan is the backbone of your game. Everything is in it. Even so: everything is in it. Mechanics, plot, setting, design, and more. Moreover, it is not the format that is important, the essence is important, the content of this document is important.
- Development plans become especially important when you have a team under your command. The game development plan in this case is a desktop … command file. Be specific, specific and understandable in the wording describing certain aspects of the game.
- Not every game has a development plan, and no two plans are the same. This article is a general guide only, but you are free to make your own changes.
Step 2. Create a table of contents
The table of contents should list every aspect of the game. The only thing that should not be mentioned there is about the plot, unless the plot is closely related to the mechanics of the game.
- The table of contents is almost like a game guide. Start with general sections, then divide them into subsections.
- The table of contents is like a rough draft of the game. But in each of the points there should be details, a lot of details!
Step 3. Complete each item in the table of contents
Describe everything in such a detailed and understandable way that, starting work on coding and drawing, everyone and everything would be understood, and at once. Every mechanic, every feature - everything must be 5+ explained!
Step 4. Show the game development plan to other people
Depending on your approach, making a game can also be a collaborative endeavor. Other people's opinions about the game can make it better.
- Tell the person that you are going to release the game. If a person thinks that this is just an idea, the criticism may be superficial.
- If you decide to show the game development plan to your loved ones (usually shown to parents), keep in mind that their assessment may be too lenient than if the game was criticized by an avid gamer. No, this does not mean at all that you cannot show the plan to parents. You can, but do not forget to show it to those who have experience in this area.
Method 3 of 7: Getting Started with Programming
Step 1. Select an engine
The engine is the backbone of the game; it is the set of tools needed to create it. Of course, it's much easier to take a ready-made engine than to start developing your own. For individual developers, the choice of engines is wide and varied.
- The engines make it easier to work with graphics, sounds and artificial intelligence.
- Different engines - different pros and cons. Some are better suited for 2D games, some are better suited for 3D. Somewhere you need to better understand programming, somewhere you can start working without distinguishing a function from a procedure. The following engines are popular:
- GameMaker: Studio is one of the most popular 2D game engines.
- Unity is an easy-to-use 3D game engine.
- RPG Maker XV is a scripting engine for creating 2D JRPG-style RPGs.
- Unreal Development Kit is a 3D multipurpose engine.
- Source is a very popular and frequently updated 3D game engine.
- Project Shark is a 3D engine for beginners and advanced users.
Step 2. Study the features of the engine or hire a specialist for it
Depending on the choice, it may be necessary to program a lot. However, even with the simplest engines it is not so easy to figure it out. Therefore, if the task seems too strong for you, find a professional.
- This could be the start of teamwork on the game. First - a programmer, then a sound specialist and a designer, then a tester …
- There is a huge community of independent developers to work with. If people like your idea, they will be inspired to help you bring it to life!
Step 3. Make a prototype of the game
After examining the engine, make a prototype of the game. This is essentially a test of the basic functionality of the game. No graphics or sound are needed yet, only placeholders and a test area are needed.
- The prototype should be checked and reworked until it becomes fun to play. During the checks, it is necessary to identify anything that is not working correctly and make the appropriate changes. If the prototype does not excite people, then the game itself is unlikely to amaze them.
- The prototype will change more than once or twice. This is normal, because you never know in advance how this or that mechanic will behave.
Step 4. Work on the controls
Player control is the basic level of the game's functionality. At the prototype stage, it is important to make management as convenient as possible.
Bad, difficult, incomprehensible controls - a frustrated player. Good, high quality, precise control - a happy player
Method 4 of 7: Working on graphics and sound
Step 1. Think about what the project needs
Maybe your game will have enough strict geometric shapes and 16 colors? Or do you need complex drawings created by an entire design team? And the sounds? Be realistic in your estimates and hire people accordingly.
- Most individual games are created by a small team or even one person. Please note that it will take much longer to create a game alone.
- There are many free resources available for everyone. The main thing in this business is not to violate copyright.
Step 2. Draw the rough art
Start working on the visuals of the game so that the game finds the atmosphere that you saw in your dreams.
- There are many styles of graphics in games. Someone is satisfied with pixel art - and, by the way, this is the most frequent choice for individual games. This is understandable, because pixel art is the easiest and cheapest way to create graphics, not without a certain amount of charm.
- Are there strengths and means? What can you say about 3D graphics? Simple 3d models can be made by yourself, for complex ones you will need to hire outsiders. And don't forget to have textures applied on top of the models.
Step 3. Design the game world
Are there any arts for the game? You can begin to move on to creating a game and, taking into account the style, start drawing levels or game areas. If your game is in the "puzzle" style, then, accordingly, come up with puzzles.
Step 4. Improve the graphics
Depending on the chosen graphic style, different programs can come to your aid, for example:
- Blender is one of the most popular 3d editors (and it's free). The network is full of tutorials on it, so it won't be a problem to figure it out and get started quickly.
- Photoshop is very useful at the stage of creating textures, as well as for rendering 2D art in general. Yes, it is paid. If you want a free analogue - take Gimp, it has almost the same functionality.
- Paint.net, a free alternative to software like Paint Shop Pro, makes it easy to create 2D art. This program is especially useful when working on 2D pixel art.
- Use Adobe Illustrator. This program is great for vector graphics. It's not cheap, so if you're running out of money, use Inkscape, a free and open source Adobe Illustrator alternative.
Step 5. Record the sound
Sound is a very important component of the atmosphere of any game. Whether you have music, whether it is not, what sound effects are played and when, whether dialogues are voiced - all this will have a significant impact on the player's experience of the game.
- There are free and functional audio programs available on the web. If you're on a tight budget, they are a great choice.
- You can record sound from home, using improvised means.
Method 5 of 7: Putting It All Together
Step 1. Play your game as much as possible
This will help you make sure that the game remains fun and exciting. If something does not seem to be well implemented for you, either get rid of it, or rework everything inside and out. When everything is ready, play and analyze if you are interested.
Step 2. Don't forget the philosophy of the game
During the creation of the game, it is necessary to constantly check whether you have moved away from the philosophy of the game, whether you have implemented all the features, whether the game has turned into a heap of unrelated features.
Step 3. Bring everything to mind
Graphics, sound, game design - everything should be of high quality and atmospheric. The ability to quickly bring everything to mind will largely depend on what style of graphics you choose.
Method 6 of 7: Testing the Game
Step 1. Start looking for bugs
When you have a worker on hand from and to a sample of the game, you need to look for errors and bugs in it. The more bugs you find and fix, the better the game will be and the happier the player will be.
Step 2. Do what you would not normally do
Every way the player can interact with the environment needs to be tested. Make sure that the rules of the game cannot be circumvented or hacked.
Testing a game is a lengthy process. Sometimes it takes even longer than the development itself. However, the more testers you have, the faster everything will be completed and the more bugs you will find
Step 3. Prioritize bug fixing
If you have a huge list of bugs found, and there is little time to fix it, then you need to fix the most serious bugs first.
Step 4. Watch how other people play
Call your friends and give them your game. Watch how they will play, how to react to the tasks of the game. It is quite possible that they will show you something that you have never thought about.
Method 7 of 7: Publishing the game
Step 1. Check again the engine on the topic of game publishing
Each engine supports a number of platforms, and some engines require additional licenses to release the game on a different platform. For example, Game Studio makes games for Windows and Mac OS X in the standard version. To make a game for mobile platforms on this engine, you need to purchase its Pro version.
Step 2. Advertise the game
Is the release date approaching? It's time to draw the attention of the players to the game, ignite the flames of excitement around it. Screenshots and gameplay entries posted on popular forums about computer games will do just fine. You can even contact the owners of blogs dedicated to the latest in the gaming industry and order a review of your game.
Don't forget to create your own website so that fans of your game have a place to gather. And don't forget about the forum, the forum is good too! And publish news, news regularly
Step 3. Decide on a publisher
Some of the individual developers simply post the game on their website. If this is an online game, then the hosting costs and the load on it will cost you dearly. Besides, not every hosting can withstand such loads. It is, of course, good when there is an opportunity. However, there are branded stores that release independent games for PC and Mac OS X, namely:
- Humble Store
- Mobile games are distributed through a platform-specific mobile app store. The same principle applies to console games.
- Different services - different commissions for placing the game. Study this question as closely as possible.
Step 4. Maintain the game
Is the game released? Don't abandon her! Release updates, bug fixes, since these days it has become easier than ever. And bugs will appear, you can be sure, so try to release fixes as soon as possible.
- Games are created in different ways. This article is a general overview. You have the right to find the way of creating games that suits you best.
- It is unlikely that you will hit a big jackpot and become a billionaire immediately after placing the game on the network. Making games is about creativity, and money is like a bonus.
- People will question whether you can make a game. This is fine. As long as you believe in yourself, you can.
- Start with simple games. Money shouldn't be a priority. Create a game that you like. The time will come, there will be money.
- Be mindful of your audience. Are you creating a game for kids, teens or adults? You need to know this for advertising. For example, games for children should be advertised in children's programs rather than in newspapers or late night shows.
- Avoid getting into the ESRB AO (Adults Only) rating, otherwise neither sellers nor online stores will want to sell your game.
- There will certainly be problems and difficulties. But don't give up! It takes a lot of time to create a good game, but the result will justify all the efforts!
- Making a game isn't nearly as much fun as playing it. Many young gamers want to create a game just because they love to play it. Play and develop are two different things. You will have to go through the same passage of the game a hundred, or even a thousand times, and you will have to do this for years. If you are patient, go for it. Many people get bored with creating a game after a couple of months.
- Explore all the information available to see if game development is really what you want to do.