Setting Out to Create a New Game

Since I graduated from VFS, my usual day schedule mostly consisted of: a) searching for open job positions and sending out resumes; b) playing games; c) experimenting with different tools (but nothing concrete). And while the schedule still will have those three things in it for a while, today I woke up with a thought, ‘It is time to make a game!’ There was only one question: what game? It had to be in scope, I don’t want to start making the ‘Game of the Century’ right now… And then I remembered the back side of my business card, which has a very cool depiction of a warrior fighting a dragon.

Business Card

Every time I look at that picture, I’m thinking to myself, ‘It would be cool to actually play this…’ And it’s settled. I’m going to make a game based on a business card picture which originally was created just to look cool. I did a quick mock-up of what the game would look like (the dragon would, of course, be a boss). The game is developed in Unity, I’m already working on a prototype to get a feel of how it would play.

Game Mock-up

So… that’s it for this post. It is more of an announcement to keep me motivated and busy. If you’re interested, keep a lookout for updates! And for the moment, I’ll let your imagination run wild on how this action/platformer could play out… If you have any ideas you’d like to share – feel free to post them in the comments!

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Posted on April 4, 2012, in Blog, Game Design. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. rollingwaffle

    hey i have a question for you. I’m a 15 year old kid in high school and i’m contemplating whether i should get into game design. I love playing games and i’m even more interested in making my own games. How did you start out and what led you to become a game designer. Oh and what coding language do you think i should start out in i started messing with Java but i’m not sure.

    • Hello. Nice to meet you 🙂

      There was this one time, when I was 9 years old, when I played a game (a Russian RPG called Evil Islands) and said to myself ‘Holy shit. I want to make awesome games like that too’. So I did. Well, actually, at first everything I’d make was total crap… But, that’s the point. Just start doing. You’ll get experience and will get better.

      Here’s a suggestion of a ‘ladder’ that you can follow.
      1. Start out with Map Editors for games. If you have Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, I’d actually recommend starting with that, it still has a very active fan community (at aok.heavengames.com) and in my opinion that’s one of the easiest editors to learn, and pretty versatile too (people make RPG levels with it, including turn-based, puzzles, adventures, tons of stuff). Then, out of more modern stuff, there’s StarCraft II, it’s got a VERY awesome editor (VERY versatile) and, of course, an active community. Also try Unreal Development Kit, it’s free. Basically, everything that has an editor – try it out. All these kind of map editors are pretty easy to learn. They also have scripting stuff, but it’s very basic.

      2. Then get into Modding. It’s trickier than just creating maps, because you have to change resources and most likely learn a scripting language or two. Find a game you like, start changing graphics, stats, features, everything you can. If you’ve ever had a feeling ‘Hey, this game is awesome, but I’d do this and this differently’, that’s a good starting point, do that ‘this and this’. Google is your friend – 60% of the games out there have a modding community. Join them.

      3. Then start making little games of your own. The simplest languages to learn, I’d say, are Lua and Python. Then ActionScript 3 and JavaScript. Then C++ and other stuff. The awesome thing about programming languages, is that it will take long time to learn only the first one – the basic structure and logic is the same for every language out there. So, as long as you get to know one, it will be easy to learn other languages. Engines, it’s important to pick an engine, it will be easier that way than writing absolutely everything from scratch 🙂 Try starting out with Flash and then getting into Unity (that’s how we did at VFS, and I think that’s a pretty good progression). Flash uses ActionScript 3, Unity – C#/JavaScript/Boo (I have never used Boo myself, though). Again, Google is your friend.

      4. I guess this is kind of optional, but also very important. After all this, if you can apply to any Game Design institution – do it. In my case it was Vancouver Film School (it has a Game Design program), but there are some others, depending on the country where you live (or, well, if you don’t have any of those in your country, you can always go abroad). These institutions are very good for one thing: networking. Getting to know people from the industry is very important, because it’s a very small industry. Everybody knows everybody, one could say. Although, all that doesn’t mean that you’ll get a job instantly (I, for example, am still searching for one), but it would help immensely.

      Unnumbered Step. Throughout all this, just read articles from Game Development professionals and talk with them. Good starting points are:
      gamasutra.com
      gamedev.net
      But there are many other resources that are useful. Information is key.

      Also, never be afraid to ask for feedback, either in the map/modding communities you’ll be in or in professional communities. Because getting feedback from others is one of the most important learning tools out there.

      And, I’ll repeat the most important part of them all: do stuff. Create levels. Create mods. Create games. Read Game Development resources. Talk with people. Set yourself a goal – I want to make this, and then try to find a way to do it. As is every other creative profession, Game Design is not easy and requires a lot of hard work. But it’s also incredibly fun and rewarding.

      I hope this helps. This is very condensed information, so if you’ve got any other questions: feel free to ask them, I’ll be happy to help! 🙂

      • Oh, and almost forgot: conventions. GDC, PAX, D.I.C.E summits, and all the different expos… They’re good source of information (a lot of interesting talks and presentations), networking, and opportunities to show your own stuff when you get experienced enough.

  2. Thank you very much for the information that really helped me find a way to start learning, which i just couldn’t figure out where i should start out but you really showed me and ill try and stick with it. Thanks for the advice!

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