Fancy developing your own video game? It’s not impossible to do it even without formal training or the relevant experiences. You can build a game from scratch or by piecing together existing resources. Here’s how to develop a video game. All you need are some resourcefulness, the enthusiasm to learn, and the patience to ceaselessly do trial and errors.
How to Develop a Video Game – 4 Things to Consider
It’s not going to be easy, but it shouldn’t be too difficult if you put your mind to it. The following steps and pointers should help you get going.
1. Learn the basics and start small.
Adopting as a mindset the cliche “great things start from small beginnings” should help you build the confidence to start. Everything starts small and the mundane act of getting acquainted with the basics. This means doing some reading and research. There are many types of video games and tools for developing one. You have to familiarize with them so you can pick the type and tools you would deem most suitable for you.
The following are the common types of video games you can start without any training or experience:
- Simple strategy game. These are games that involve more critical thinking than action. Good examples of which are chess, Bomberman, Monopoly, and puzzles,
- Real-time strategy (RTS). These games usually entail a lot of action. Players need to exercise critical thinking while seeing moving characters and elements on the screen. War simulation games such as StarCraft and Warcraft are good examples of this game type. However, you wouldn’t be aiming to create something as advanced as these titles. Instead, what you can do is a highly simplified version that looks like the pixelated family computer games from the ‘80s.
- Adventure games. In this type of game, players go through challenges in a linear fashion or solve puzzles to advance to the next levels. Adventure games usually follow a plotline that takes the game character to different settings and encounters with different opponents.
- Combat games. This type covers the so-called “arcade games” made popular by the “versus” games such as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. It entails one-on-one fights in a first-person or third-person perspective.
- Shooter games. As the name suggests, it’s a game where a player has to shoot enemies. It is an umbrella term that includes first-person-shooter (FPS) games such as Call of Duty and Counter Strike.
- Sports games. You can’t be too ambitious to develop games similar to FIFA or NBA Live, but you can try building a simple tennis, pool, bowling, track racing, horse racing, or golf game.
- Educational/mind games. Mind-stimulating games such as word games, quizzes, rebuses, riddles, and even language translation and learning games are easier to make than most other games, especially sophisticated action games, but are equally engaging.
When it comes to game development tools, consider learning the following to make it easier to learn how to develop a video game:
- A free web-based tool, Twine lets you create a video game through you web browser. It has an intuitive WYSIWYG interface that lets you build interactive stories for an adventure game, images, texts, and links to connect scenes to other parts of the game.
- Gamefroot. Designed to prep learners for a video game development career, Gamefroot is a simple game development tool that comes with loads of free graphics so you don’t have to create or source your own.
- Construct. Create games straightforwardly with this tool’s drag-and-drop interface. It employs event sheets instead of having the user go through the usual programming routines.
- Game Maker. This versatile video game development tool specializes in 2D games. It’s a simple but powerful tool that allows you to publish games for common platforms including gaming consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox.
- Even though this is regarded as tool useful for newbies in game development, Unity has a reputation of being widely used by professionals. It features an intuitive interface with powerful scripting functions and the ability to design and organize projects through drag-and-drop tools.
- Unreal Engine. This is another professional video game development tool that can also be good for beginners. It offers a simple way of creating top of the line games.
Decide on the kind of game you want to build and find and learn how to use the right tools for it. Learning everything is not going to be easy, but it’s also not extremely difficult. You just need to exert the time and effort for it.
2. Come up with a doable and viable concept.
Once you have equipped yourself with the knowledge, you can start drafting your video game concept. Build your characters, environments, and other elements of the game. Organize all of your ideas and thresh out the unnecessary and improbably attainable details. Examine and reexamine the specifics you have and decide which ones should go to the final draft.
It would help how to develop a video game efficiently if you produce a game design document (GDD) especially if you are working with several other people such as artists, designers, and programmers. This document usually contains diagrams, images, texts, concept art, and other media that help illustrate design choices and decisions. It also indicates the game engine that will be used for the game. There is no standard form for a GDD. What’s important is that it comprehensively presents everything related to the development of a video game.
While you are deciding on a viable concept, you may also want to assemble a team to help you with the different aspects of the game development process. If you are not skilled in drawing or working with graphics, for example, look for someone to handle it for you. You can organize a team to create collaboratively the video game you have in mind. However, if you want to do everything on your own, you may have to stick with the simple concepts on how to develop a video game – basic graphics, audios, unsophisticated animations, and plotline.
Additionally, at this stage, decide on how you can monetize your video game. Are you going to offer it to players for a price or will use the freemium model? Or do you want to make it a free game but with ads in it? Of course, you wouldn’t be creating something for nothing. Yes, it can be gratifying to experience the process of building a video game, but ultimately you need a logical reason for doing it. Making money out of it couldn’t be more logical.
3. Use the best possible hardware and software you can access, and be resourceful.
As you start with the video game production process, make sure you are using quality hardware and software. You need a dependable system with above average processing power especially when it’s time to test the game you have created. The level of sophistication of the game you produce depends on your concept, skills, and the capabilities of the computer (hardware and software) you use. If you aim to make an arcade type versus game, for example, you can’t do it with a netbook or an old computer with 2GB of RAM and a core duo processor.
Maximize your creativity and resourcefulness to make the most of what you have. Professional video game developers see to it that they use the best possible machines and software for the job. They need advanced computers (with specs slightly higher than those of average gaming PCs), particularly when creating complex games with a lot of graphics, animations, sophisticated gameplay, and multiplayer support. If you are a newbie game creator, however, as mentioned, you can start small and just upgrade your hardware and software once you have mastered the basics of doing small-scale games.
For amateur game development, the best software are not necessarily expensive or something you have to purchase. You don’t have to shell out funds for the software, in particular. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can use freeware alternatives such as GIMP. For 3D modeling, you can turn to Maya or Blender. For the game development tools, there are free options in the tools mentioned earlier.
4. Test your game.
Getting tips above on how to develop a video game, once your game is ready, it’s time to do some testing. It is advisable to ask somebody else to try it so you can get an objective assessment. You can test the game by yourself to look for bugs or features that don’t function as expected. However, when it comes to evaluating the game for the aesthetics and intuitiveness, it’s better to ask somebody else.
You may not be able to properly assess the “user-friendliness” of the game interface or the graphics and game design because you have been working on the game for a long time. It’s either you have grown tired of the way it looks (that you want to implement unnecessary changes) or your slight narcissism is clouding your ability to see that the game you created could use some aesthetic and interface improvements.
BONUS: Promote your game and localize it for foreign gamers.
What’s the use of a game if nobody plays it? Promote your game to players and beam with pride as players appreciate your work or take it as a challenge to improve your skills as players criticize it. Also, localize your amateur video game to be enjoyed by friends or acquaintances in another country. A localized video game has more opportunities to expand internationally.
Comparing the Process of Developing a Video Game to Video Game Development for Monetization
The steps and tips on how to develop a video game described above are comparable to what you would do if you want to produce a monetized video game for PC, consoles, or mobile devices. The first step is to gain the knowledge you need on creating the game and offering it to potential players. You can’t just randomly enter the monetized video game business – be prepared for it. Once you know enough, you can proceed to conceptualizing a game and materializing it. Form a team to develop the actual game, then thoroughly test it before making it available to players.
You can’t do a so-so job with video game development. Invest time, effort, and resources for the undertaking. If you don’t have enough resources, be creative and resourceful to come up with something good or enticing even if you don’t have the equipment and big budget to produce something like Warcraft or Battlefield. What’s important is to offer something different, interesting, and engaging.
Moreover, you need to pay attention to your marketing and distribution. There are many free channels for promoting and offering your video game. Set up a website and social media page for the game. Have it listed in directories or reviewed and ranked by gaming sites and blogs. If it’s for mobile devices, you have to make sure it gets listed in the official app stores. Also, consider localizing your video game to target lucrative markets for video games in countries that speak different languages or have different cultures.
TRIVIA: Many of the world’s popular video games didn’t become a hit in their country of origin, but turned out to be massive successes in other countries. Don’t limit your game’s potential for monetization by having it restricted geographically. If you are not confident with your localization efforts, there are many a gaming translation company eager to serve your needs.
We Will Show You the Best Localization Solutions for Your Video Games – Contact Us!
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of localization for businesses. If you want to broaden your market reach, you need to make your products more appealing to users who have different languages and cultures. We at Day Translations, Inc. are confident in our ability to deliver the most accurate and contextually-precise localization solutions for video games and other products bound to be introduced to foreign markets.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-969-6853. You may also send us an email at Contact us. We are open 24/7 to accommodate your inquiries and to arrange the language service you need regardless of your location.