How Can I Create My Own Video Games?

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When you think of the creativity and imagination that goes into making video games, it’s natural to assume the process is unbelievably hard, but it may be easier than you think if you have a knack for programming, coding and design. If you’ve never tried to develop any of those skills before, you might be surprised at your undiscovered talent.

The resources and tools you need to test your skills and start making your own games are more accessible than ever before, and some options are completely free. First, make sure you have a good computer with some processing power and the right software. After that, let your creative juices flow to navigate from great idea to killer game. Still uncertain? Check out these tips to help you get started.

Brainstorm Ideas

Before you start thinking about the technical elements, you need to take some time to think about the type of game you want to make. Do you want to create a 2D role-playing game, a 3D action-adventure game or some sort of puzzle or strategy game? Think about what you want your game to look like and how you want it to feel as you play. This gives you a good starting point for outlining your game and creating a design document — a critical device for organizing all the details of the game.

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Once you have a good visual of the basic concept, do some research to determine the skills needed to create the game you envision. Depending on your goals, you might need to take a course to master computer skills that you need to complete the job. For example, many options are available — both paid and free — to teach you skills like C# programming and the processes for creating 2D and 3D design elements.

Evaluate Your Need for a Computer Upgrade

Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the computing power needed to create video games. If you’re just starting out and learning the ropes, using the computer you already have is probably fine for creating simple games, especially if it’s the computer you use for gaming. In general, experts recommend using a computer with integrated graphics and a Core i5 or better central processing unit (CPU). Keep in mind, faster CPUs mean faster compile and render times.

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Additionally, at least 8 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM) is necessary to ensure your system can handle the necessary multitasking that goes with game creation. In terms of storage capacity, a computer with a solid-state drive (SSD) with at least 1 terabyte of space is ideal.

If you decide to upgrade — now or in the future — consider investing in a computer that’s recognized as a good choice for graphic design and game design. A few of the top contenders include Apple iMac Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio, Acer Aspire All-in-One (AIO) and HP Pavilion Gaming PCs.

Consider Game Design Software

Depending on your skill level and the complexity of the game you want to create, you may need software to help you do the job. If you’re creating a very simple mobile game, you might be able to successfully complete it using a compiler and a code editor, but if you’re interested in creating a more detailed, advanced game, you will probably need game design tools to help you through the process.

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Some of the best game design tools are completely free, including GameMaker Studio 2, which gives you the power of game development combined with the ease and speed of a drag and drop system — no coding needed. Other popular options include Unity, a tool you can use for two-dimensional and three-dimensional game creation.

Some game design and development software can be expensive, so be sure to keep your budget in mind when you’re browsing for the option that will work best for you. Additionally, game design software may have computer RAM and processor requirements of its own, so keep your computer’s specifications in mind when choosing software to make sure you pick one that is compatible with the computer you have.

Just Press Start

Once you’ve done the groundwork to prepare for tackling the challenge of game creation, you’re ready to take the next step and start coding the game. Once you complete that phase, you will need to test your game thoroughly. You can expect to find bugs and glitches, especially on your first attempt, that must be removed or corrected. This phase can take as many hours as the original creation of the game.

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After eliminating all the bugs, the final version of the game is ready to play. If all you ever wanted was your own game for yourself and your friends, then your job is done. If you want to market the game to others, then you will need to develop a marketing plan that focuses on the best ways to get the word out to lots of gamers. Creating your own website where people can download it is one obvious option, but if the game is a mobile game, your best chance of success is to list it on Google Play and Apple’s App Store and then actively promote it.