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Rin's Room #41: How To Make A Video Game. Presented by Saljack Enterprises. Gaming. Animation. Media. Entertainment. Woman Owned.

If you’re reading this, then you probably want to know what a whole bunch of other people also want to know: how can I design a game? There are plenty of things to think about, many factors to consider–sometimes, just daydreaming about it can be overwhelming! After all, huge mega-corporations like Ubisoft, EA, and Blizzard have millions of dollars to spend to create games that make history. “What about me?”, you might ask. “Is there really anything little old me can do?”

Here’s the thing: everyone has to start somewhere. And it doesn’t matter if you can’t create the game of the century. That’s not what your focus should be–trying to create THE PERFECT GAME that changes the industry forever is definitely unrealistic. Instead, focus on balancing complexity with practicality. Here are a few steps to making a video game, plus a few things to think about.

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#1 Practice seeing the world as a video game

Writers are often told to imagine themselves writing about everyday experiences. Getting a cup of coffee? Waiting in line for the bus? Any simple experience can become a story. And any simple experience can also turn into the plot of a video game. In fact, some of the most exciting games and stories have plots that seem entirely ordinary. The magic lies in turning those boring plotlines into fun stories.


#2 Smush ideas together

As a newbie developer or game designer, you might still feel stuck. In that case, try listing a few ideas and combining them randomly. For example: what if you created a fun, modern twist on an indie game? Brainstorm the type of game you want to make: an RPG? A shooter? A platformer like Mario? Don’t try to overreach here–make a game that you can realistically finish.


#3 Plan out the nitty-gritty details

Here are a few questions you should answer once you’ve got your idea for the game.

  • What console will I be releasing it for? Maybe you just want to make a simple mobile game. Or perhaps you want to make a retro-style RPG with lots of text and compelling characters.
  • How many people will I need to create this game? (The answer might be one–just you!).
  • What software or programming language will I be using to make this game?

For example: if you wanted to make a super-simple text-based game, or you’re a student who likes thinking of great plots but has no programming chops, you could try creating a game with an app called Twine. It’s a new and free program that lets you make choose your own adventure games which can then be exported as an HTML file. Or you could try using the very famous RPG Maker, which is another video game engine that lets you create 2D, sprite-based RPGs.


#4 Design, design, design

Build characters and environments. Even if you’re making a text-based game, chances are you’ll have a setting and some characters. Now it’s time to plot them out. This may take quite a long time, so be careful! You can create 2D sprites in Gimp or make 3D models by using programs like Maya and Blender. Start doodling rudimentary designs before choosing the ones you like best and fleshing them out further. You can also start thinking about soundtracks and video game sounds you want to use in your game. There are plenty of free assets like Freesound.org and OpenGameArt.org.


#5 Find some guinea pigs

Now, here’s the painful part: Ask someone (preferably someone who is brave enough to give some helpful criticism) to play your game. After all, you’ve spent quite a while with this game, and you probably see it from a very subjective standpoint. Of course–after all, it’s your baby!

It’s important that you find someone objective to play through your game. That way, you can find out what’s working and what isn’t. That’s why even large companies like to run beta tests–hopefully, players can spot issues or problems that can be rectified before the initial launch.

bottom_tech_border. Presented by Saljack Enterprises. Gaming. Animation. Media. Entertainment.

All in all, most of the game-making is about accepting the risk that you’ll make a mistake. No game is perfect, and you could theoretically spend your entire life improving a single game. But that’s not realistic or fun. Don’t be afraid to try things, include new features, and be wrong. Finish your game, and make another one. Do your research and keep up on game design news. Try new things, even if they’re scary or you seem lost entirely! There are so many resources out there nowadays for newbie game developers and designers, and with a little bit of effort (okay, maybe a lot) you can publish your very own game.


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DISCLAIMER: THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE SOLELY THOSE OF THE AUTHOR. THESE VIEWS AND OPINIONS DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THOSE OF SALJACK ENTERPRISES, AND IT’S STAFF, AND ANY/ALL CONTRIBUTORS TO THE SALJACK ENTERPRISES WEBSITES. SALJACK ENTERPRISES MAKES NO WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION REGARDING, DOES NOT ENDORSE, IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH AND IS NOT IN ANY WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LINKED WEBSITES OR ANY CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON IT. IF YOU DECIDE TO VISIT ANY LINKED WEBSITE, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK, AND IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO REVIEW THE TERMS OF USE OF THE RELEVANT LINKED WEBSITE.

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20 thoughts on “Rin’s Room #41: How To Make A Video Game

  1. I think when making a video game, it’s important to test your ideas with the right audience set for your game. And not just anyone should be your guinea pig but people who could represent the voice of a lot of gamers. This is important to see if your ideas on your game will work or not!

    Like

  2. Making a video game is all about imagination and thinking ahead. I guess you need to know what the consumers want in to be able to sell it to them once your video game is done.

    Like

  3. The concept and design are very important things to consider when creating a video game. it must be relatable and unique.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. valine13 says:

    I honestly want to be a game designer. Looks like it is always somehow related with drawing skills as well.

    Like

  5. darkkvader says:

    Concept and right storyboard is always a helpful thing in making one. Good to have tons of ideas different from the common games nowadays.

    Like

  6. Mau says:

    I think the problem is most people don’t know the first step in making a video game. I agree with checking out Twine (haven’t tried RPG Maker) as starters. It could give ideas to those who want to try creating video games.

    Like

  7. numberpardox says:

    Take additional effort in designing your game. The concept and gameplay will all be put into drain if the graphics is disaster.

    Like

  8. haroldmac says:

    I really wanted to be a video game developer.i just don’t know how to start and I don’t have the tools to get started.

    Like

  9. miabatoy says:

    I’d recommend this blog to my friend. He really wants to be a video game developer but doesn’t have any idea.

    Like

  10. saviourv says:

    A few years ago, I came across a few images taken from “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”, by Scott McCloud. They did mention something about levels of abstraction with regards to comics and other media, such as novels and movies. And just now, I came across this URL:

    http://www.popmatters.com/post/110740-applying-understanding-comics-to-video-games/

    From what I understand from skimming through it, it boils down to the skill of the maker of the game to communicate the emotions and expected actions across to the player. If you think about it, some games distill this to an on-screen prompt like “Press W to move forward”, but some other games weave that same command into the narrative more subtly.

    In some cases, a graphic illustration of your character being mauled to death for not reacting in time will suffice, but at other times, an implied version of failure, such as this excerpt from the following URL here:

    …shows that losing a battle can lead to a fate much worse than Death. (Privately, I DETEST spiders.)

    I guess that if you want to really make a great video game, you might need to have a good story, good gameplay mechanics, good graphics, and a good idea of how the flow of it should go. And a good team of both designers and playtesters helps, too.

    Even something as simple-looking as Super Mario Bros 2 had challenging level design, and at times, it was difficult to hold onto the Fire Flower long enough to reach the end of later stages leading to Bowser proper.

    At the end of the day, though, games represent the thoughts and ideas of the one(s) who make them, and the more effort and passion you put in to perfecting it, the better it might become. Forget about the profit.

    Make a game that you and others would love to play, even with its flaws. That’s probably the essence of making video games, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nazra njeri says:

    I think that in order to make a successful video game one has to be really creative. Most importantly you also have to be aware who your target audience is. In that way your video game will be successful

    Like

  12. lirpaeed says:

    My son wants to be a gamer and looks up to game developers. Will definitely tell him about this article.

    Like

  13. Sairam Chitra says:

    I love video games from my childhood.I had a dream of developing my own games as per my imagination .This blog gives me a detailed information about the prerequisites to develop a video game.Very useful information .Thank you !

    Like

  14. mchesk16 says:

    Great insight on how to get started. I think in general you’ll get a better result if you work collaboratively opposed to making the game yourself. Additional input and spreading out each task will make the job easier and more creative.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. sansnomph says:

    I really loved this article! Good thing I’ve been following your posts. This will come in handy when I start developing my own games. Good tips especially with designing!

    Like

  16. Maria Makiling says:

    I want to know if this site offers software to create simple games? Do I have to be a pro or some knowledge about graphics is fine? I have some idea of the game I want to make. Hope you can help me.

    Like

    1. Hi Maria, there are some good software mentioned in the article to create simple games. Twine is one and RPG Maker is the other one. Also you don’t have to be a pro in graphics to make a simple or small game, but you do need to have some knowledge. If you’d like help or some one on one with one of our graphics experts, or you have questions about game development, please contact us at info@saljackenterprises.com and we’ll be more than happy to do what we can to help you out. I hope this answer helps.

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      1. saviourv says:

        What about Game Maker? Some interesting games have come out of this, notably Another Metroid 2 Remake (or “AM2R”) by DoctorM64, and “Iji” by Daniel Remar a.k.a. Ultimortal (there’s also his other hits like “Garden Gnome Carnage”, “Hero Core”, and “Hyper Princess Pitch”, too)

        Just curious.

        Like

  17. thevoiceofpeople says:

    One of the most important qualities that a game designer should have is creativity and the enthusiasm to bring out the awesomeness in the form of a game. Like you said an idea can come at any moment like when u are standing in a queue for a coffee or riding a bus but how can you make that into something interesting, so the people will like it and that is what matters the most. Plus the game has to be simple and infotainment where the players should enjoy playing it as well as gain some knowledge or learn something to develop their skill through playing that game. Visuals, graphics, sound effects, navigation, levels are the most important. You have mentioned some really good sites and apps for game developing. Will definitely give it a try. Wonderful article. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  18. Chatingale says:

    I am imagining that someday I will be able to create video games with a purpose. Like video games for the elderly that they would enjoy and at the same time would help keep the brains active to prevent alzheimer.

    Like

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