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How To Make Video Games - How to Make Video Games: A Primer - Free Video Game Design Programs, Professional Possibilities for Making Video Games

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Whatever your motive for wanting to make video games, you face a complex task which can be approached from anything from a hobbyist perspective to a potential career.

For some, making a video game is more of a creative fancy than a career option. Many lovers of games enjoy the idea of making their own little gadget to play with, made all the more fun because it was their hands that crafted it. Others approach the question of how to make video games from the perspective of professional possibility, familiarizing themselves with the overall process so that they can carve a niche for themselves.

Free Video Game Design Programs

Game-making first-timers can cut their teeth on video game design using a variety of free programs, each of which toys with different parts of game design.

Making a video game is a complex task, requiring many different skills. Even simple, text-based games explored by typing commands like “north” and “look” require a surprising amount of expertise to construct. In the case of text-based games (now only programmed by hobbyists and amateurs), a would-be developer needs writing ability, storyboard logic, computer programming, and a substantial amount of time to put together a playable product. TADS, the “Text Adventure Development System, is a good starting point for those primarily interested in developing their writing and programming skills.

More complex games bring in other skills, particularly visual design. Modern games like Call of Duty or World of Warcraft are sculpted by legions of artists who specialize in things like character and world design, texturing, animation, and more. Additionally, artistic supervisors must stitch these designs together into coherent and esthetically pleasing wholes. Hobbyists wanting to toy with such design concerns can begin with simple, side-scrolling games like those made by Game Editor, a robust program that can make games for computers or cell phones. Genesis 3D provides a more complex 3D environment like the kinds used in first person shooting games.

Note that it takes hours of effort to craft even a simple game, and that there is no limit to their complexity.

Professional Possibilities for Making Video Games

If your hobby experiences prove thrilling, or if you simply want to leap into making video games head first, there are many options for pursuing a degree in game design. From online degrees to tech schools to major universities, the avenues for pursuing game design are as varied as in any other field. Degrees in game design are designed to develop and challenge the artistic and technical abilities of students, helping them discover their preferred niche while familiarizing themselves with the contributions of their fellow designers.

Some gaming companies offer internships to students of game design, giving them a chance for valuable behind-the-scenes experience and networking opportunities at well-known companies. Internships are excellent resume boosters, and in such a competitive field, you will need all the help you can get.

A degree in game design is not the only way to break into the field, however. With so many tasks required to make a modern, marketable video game, experts from other disciplines can sidestep into the game design aspect of their discipline with personal study or careful job searching. Historical fiction games like Age of Empires or Assassin’s Creed employ numerous writers and researchers to create an accurate, educational representation of its source material, while other interactive games now hire voice actors, models, fashion designers, and choreographers to create characters that look, feel, and sound as realistic as possible.

The Next Step in Video Game Publishing

This has been a very broad look at a very broad subject. Next, you will need to focus your search and decide where in the spectrum of game design you wish to be. Playing with small game design programs can be a good introduction for some, but others might prefer a traditional classroom setting or one of the many books which have been written on the subject of game design.

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