What is the Best Way to Learn Game Development?

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Ah the age-old question. You’ve decided that you have an idea, but you don’t know the best way to learn game development. You have the will, but lack the tools to get the job done. Your desire is true but…

I’ve gotten carried away. Learning Game Development may just be a skill in and of itself. It takes many different forms depending on the platform you wish to work with. Designing a board game is significantly different from building an iOS game for example. For the purposes of this post though, I will be sticking to computer games and apps, as I lack any sort of experience with the board game design process.

The Best Way to Learn Game Development

Many professions share a similar saying. You learn by doing. This is as true for game design as it is for pole vaulting and car racing. You just have to do it.

That doesn’t mean close this window, and immediately boot up Unity and start your dream project. Actually, it’ll likely be a long while before you build your dream project if you’re just starting out. What it does mean though is that you need to make games. Depending on your fluency, and what platform you wish to use, you may have built your first game by the time you go to bed tonight. 

If you’re just starting out, you seriously need to consider using a Framework. The Unreal Engine is extremely popular and brings with it the kind of name recognition that you’d expect from a framework that powers many of today’s AAA games. The Unity Engine is an excellent engine as well, perhaps slightly less powerful but even more user-friendly. Lastly, for my recommendations today anyhow, if you’re not into using a framework that may end in you paying a royalty or fee, then you may consider using the Godot Engine for it’s open-source and free-to-use features!

No matter which engine you choose, the path ahead of you is difficult and you will encounter some stumbling blocks along the way.

What Goes Into Game Development

There are a few key aspects to games when you break them down. There is the visual aspect, the audio aspect, the gameplay aspect, and the story aspect. Obviously, it’s possible to have a game that lacks a story, or a story that lacks any kind of gameplay, but in general, these are the basic parts of the game you’re going to build.

For the visual aspect, you will need to design or acquire assets that you can use to display your vision. These assets can be made in 2D or 3D so long as it fits your motif. If you have these skills that are fantastic, however, don’t be upset if you don’t. Many developers either spend years honing these skills, make do with what they have, or purchase assets from the Unity/Unreal asset stores or even hire freelancers to build assets for them.

Largely the same philosophy is going to apply to the audio portion of your game. You’re going to need to have sound effects unless you are intentionally designing a silent world. It can be something as simple as you recording yourself dropping a rock on your phone, or as intricate as a symphony built entirely in Garage Band or Audacity. It’s entirely up to you!

For the story portion, well, this is where you decide how your game will play out. When you decide you want to know the best way to learn game development it’s likely because you have a story to tell. You want to capture the end user’s attention. You don’t want them to turn your game on for five minutes and then be done. You’ve got to get them attached to your world. Try reading some good short stories, or playing other games and piece together how they are drawing you in. This will give you a great idea as to how to build your game’s story.

Lastly, the gameplay. You don’t want your user confused or having difficulty playing your game. You want it to be intuitive, and you want the end-user to have fun. Try and think about how other games have designed their controls and layouts and then modify that to suit your game.

All that to Say

You’ll need to program your game, or use a framework that allows you to avoid it. Sounds will need to be recorded/Acquired, and you’ll need to string it all together. You’ll likely get discouraged at times but keep going it will be worth it in the end!

Do you all have anything to add?

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