How to get Started with Game Development for Beginners


Get Started With Game Development

Video games are LITERALLY everywhere! Phones, browsers, computers, consoles – video games have become widespread and available more than ever! Let’s have a look at the recent biggest titles – God of War, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Battlefield V and other popular multiplayer titles like Overwatch, Dota 2, League of Legends, CS: GO, Fortnite, PUBG and a lot more!

Sometimes, I just feel completely confused – which one to start playing NOW? All of them comes up with a HUGE player base. You’ll find plenty of tutorials, asset collections, tips and expert advice on becoming a better player in all these games.

So, what makes a game so exciting? The simple answer – the emotions. Even if you’re not a good gamer, you’ve definitely enjoyed all the possible emotions of playing a game – the excitement, the adrenaline rush, the satisfaction of victory, the wrath of being defeated, right? Be careful not to break anything if you lose (I ended up breaking my monitor after losing 5 matches in a row on LoL)!

Did you ever think of making your own game? Yes, your own game where you get to design every single character, the stages, the game mechanics and everything else?

Now, it reminds me of myself. Ever since I was a kid, I was always enthralled by video games. They were so entertaining that kept me engaged for hours to end. As I grew up, so did my world of games. Instead of games that moved things to a mouse click or simple puzzles, I started enjoying more complex and exciting games like Street Fighter, Call of Duty and others.

At the age of 15, I started a growing interest in the world of programming. It was roughly at the point when the idea crossed my mind – hey, why not getting into creating my OWN games? Naturally, without any experience or proper training, I ended up creating no game in reality. I also happened to lose my notebook somewhere in the house.

Well, that never stopped me. I thought of crazy 2D platforms, online games with insane multiplayer actions and a lot more. Well, I don’t know why but I think it’s my gamer spirit that saved me from the boredom of so much work.

Are you someone like me? Willing to design your own game? Then, it’s high time you started doing your homework. Making a game itself is challenging but creating a suitable plot and exciting mechanism is more than just a challenge. That requires innovation and a sharp, gamer’s mind.

But most of all, for creating a really good game, it’s necessary to have a good team.

Well, let’s jump into the world of game development.

What you need to Consider when Making Games

In the case of a regular application, there’s nothing so special going on. Well, how do I explain this?

Let’s take Notepad for example. It’s the default text editor on all the Windows systems.

In this case, the app will take “whatever you type” as the user input, store it into memory and show it on the screen. Simple, right?

Now, let’s look at a really popular game – Fortnite.

In this game, there are tons of things going on at the same time – players moving around, grinding resources, grabbing equipment and fighting against each other and every single interaction has to be PERFECTLY synced with the server. Pretty intense, right?

Oh, did I forget to mention about the physics, resolution, controls and 3D graphics? Well, what can I say? Games are complex programs that require a lot of things to manage. Well, let’s check out some important points that make general applications different than games.

Physics

Unless your goal is to develop a text-based game, there’s going to be the need for physics in every other case. Computers and the games need to apply the laws of physics into the virtual world so that the objects there will “behave” as if they were in a real world.

For example, colliding billiard balls, cornering dynamics in speeding cars, missile trajectories etc. are quite common interactions happening in games, right? All of them have their respective equations that explain how they should behave. Even objects in the alternate universes (cartoons, for example) have to follow the rules of physics.

What would happen without the proper implementation of physics? Well, it’s you who’ll end up laughing like crazy. Why?

It’s because whenever we go to play a game, our brain takes for granted that the interactions are meant to happen similarly to the real world. Any object in the real world comes up with a number of properties – elasticity, sound, weight, light reflection, gravity, and others. That’s why if you’re going to develop a game that will include objects like in the real world, you’ll need to apply some form of Newtonian physics to pretty much every action that occurs on the screen.

Better study physics now!

Graphics

The next important thing you have to keep in mind is the graphics of the game. It’s the visuals – how the game should appear on the screen. As you can tell, the graphics are so important that now, there is dedicated hardware just for the sake of doing all the “graphics” works – the GPU! We have to buy a suitable GPU for hundreds of bucks and plug it into the computer so that we can even RUN some of the heaviest titles!

So, the question is obvious – why is the graphics of a game is so damn IMPORTANT?

Let’s make things clear with some examples. At first, one of my most favorite games – Mustafa!

The next one for comparison is going to be Metro Exodus.

Source: Metro Exodus – Uncovered

Can you feel the difference? Of course! Metro Exodus feels so REALISTIC compared to Mustafa! Objects look so natural in Metro Exodus where Mustafa characters are just some piles of polygons.

So, with a better visual, it’s always going to deliver a better feel while playing the game.

But don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of games with simplistic graphics but the strong plot, powerful and exciting gameplay with stunning stories simply overcome the bad graphics. Minecraft or Metal Gear Solid 1, anyone? Minecraft offers exciting and intuitive, yet simplistic gameplay. Metal Gear Solid 1 is one of the legendary games in the Metal Gear series. Heck, how did I forget about Vice City?

Now, let’s have a look at God of War.

We play as Kratos – the destroyer of Olympus, the GOD OF WAR who now has set his foot on the Nordic. With his son Atreus, Kratos in on his journey to fulfill the last wish of Atreus’s mother. With a strong plot, awesome character development, solid gameplay, exciting and enjoyable fighting mechanics and stunning graphics, this game was worth being the Game of the Year in 2018.

Just like you can’t deny the need for a good plot and solid gameplay, you also can’t deny the necessity of having good graphics.

Scales on a different device

It’s another major thing to keep in mind. When you’re developing a game, you have to ensure that your game is capable of offering the same experience across all the scaling on different devices. Almost every single gaming setup in the world is different in terms of specs and performance; some devices will come up with different resolution, some with different hardware configurations and even different operating systems.

Programming

Believe it or not, every single movement in the game – even a single frame rendered with the crappiest graphics require a good amount of programming and clever coding.

For any game, it’s paramount for the developer to have a substantial skill in software engineering with specialization in other areas like simulation, audio programming, input, computer graphics, and AI etc. All these together make almost all the games in the world.

Now, for the coding part, C++ is the most popular language. With modern programming concepts like OOP (Object-oriented Programming) and the ability to control very low-level system components allow C++ programs to gain a significant performance boost over other programming languages.

For mobile games (especially Android), Java and Kotlin are used massively. Other popular language choice includes C#, Lua, Python, JavaScript, and UnrealScript (for Unreal Engine) etc.

Different Types Of Games

In the world of games, there are tons of genres that evolved over time. Each of the genres now has a wild collection of games with unique art styles, storyline, gameplay, and plot. Let’s check them out!

Note – The variety of genre is so wild that I may not be able to fit all of them here. Feel free to share your favorites in the comment below.

For our easier understanding of the genres, I’ve also added the popular games from the genre. Feel free to check them out for your next adventure!

Shooting Games

Grab a firearm and shoot down your enemies! It’s a really exciting genre that comes up with loads of popular titles.
These games are easy to play. All you need is just have a good aim with your mouse/controller. However, the real challenge is MASTERING the shooting while following the most suitable strategy to take down your enemy team.
The popularity and skill curve of shooting games has earned a permanent spot on the eSports ground.

  • First-person shooting – Battlefield V, Call of Duty series, CS:GO, Overwatch, and Doom etc.
  • 3rd-person shooting – Resident Evil 4, Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, Gears of War, Star Wars Battlefront II, and the Last of Us etc.

Hack and Slash

One of my most favorite genre! Grab a classic weapon and kill your enemies in the craziest way possible!

Example – God of War, Devil May Cry series, Darksiders series, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Prince of Persia series, The Witcher series etc.

Action-adventure

You embark on an adventure where your path is filled with serious actions. Fight your way to the ultimate victory!

Survival horror – Silent Hill, Resident Evil series etc.

Metroidvania

Another favorite genre of mine. The word “Metroidvania” is actually originated from 2 different games – Metroid and Castlevania.
The entire world is interconnected and accessible all the time as long as you’ve removed all the obstacles. The paths are dangerous with traps, powerful enemies and strong bosses. Grab all the loots and exchange them for more power to even the odds against you.

Example – Dead Cells, Ori and the Blind Forest, Death’s Gambit, Castlevania: Lord of the Shadows 2 etc.

RPG

RPG stands for “Role-playing Game”. The structure of the game is to take the role of a fictional character into the fictional world and perform actions as if you were the player. It’s a great archetype for games and the number of RPG games is, in short, HUGE!

  • Action RPG – Dark Souls series, Monster Hunter: World, Borderlands, The Legend of Zelda etc.
  • Rougelikes – Diablo
  • MMORPG – RuneScape, World of Warcraft, EVE Online, EverQuest, Tom Clancy’s The Division etc.

Adventure

Who doesn’t love adventures? Going different places, exploring the unknown, seeing the unseen and facing all the challenges on the go is what makes adventures truly entertaining.
The gaming industry has always been exploring adventures. There are too many adventure games that can take you into an enormous world of imagination, unexplored lands. Heck, even normal games are, in a sense, adventures. It’s because you have to travel from a place to another to progress forward.
Let’s check out some of the adventure games that solely focus on the “adventure” part.

  • Visual novels – Steins; Gate
  • Text adventures – Infidel
  • Real-time 3D adventures – The Walking Dead, Blade Runner

Strategy

Whenever you’re on an existence, you have to figure out things on your own, apply a suitable strategy that satisfies your style and your needs and ultimately, become the ultimate dominator of the battlefield.
Interestingly, all these actions require SKILL. Skill is paramount in strategy. Moreover, it gives the game its own tempo. You can be either aggressive or “slow and steady” but you have to achieve your goal using your SKILL.
Well, skill is a very precious thing to develop and if you’re a gamer, you already know how SATISFYING and ENERGIZING this can be! That’s why there are so many strategy games out there that gives you the JOY of being skilled.

  • Real-time Strategy (RTS) – Age of Empires series, Warhammer series, Dota 2, League of Legends etc.
  • Real-time tactics (RTT) – Total War series
  • Wargame – World of Warships, World of Tanks, World of Warplanes etc.

Sports


There are numerous types of sports worldwide that all of us enjoy all the time. Who doesn’t love all sports? Sports themselves are real-life games that can incorporate an even higher level of craze with the modern gaming systems.
Let’s check out some of the most popular titles of sports games!

Arcade – FIFA series, NBA series, and WWE series etc.

Racing – Need for Speed series, Real Racing 3, Forza series etc.

Fighting – Street Fighter series, Mortal Kobmat series, Tekken, Injustice series etc.

Do You Need To Be An Expert In Programming?

Before jumping into the discussion on the importance of programming in game development, it’s important to clear up the difference between coding and programming. Many of us jumble these 2 words and treat them as synonyms. However, things are completely different.

Programming is the process of taking a problem into account, breaking it down and solving it. It’s essentially just problem-solving. In the case of coding, it’s expressing your thoughts, you’re thinking into the language that a compiler can take and translate into the commands that your computer can understand.

Things are going to be a little bit technical here, so be patient and pay attention. Let’s say that you’re given the task to identify the length of a sentence. Now, as a programmer (noob, of course), here is the way I’ll be solving the problem –

  1. Take the sentence.
  2. Declare a variable count = 0. //used for counting the length of the sentence
  3. Start with the first character of the given sentence.
  4. Is it the end?
    • Yes
      End of program.
    • No
      The value of count is increased by 1.
      Return to step 4.
  5. Print the value of count.

Now, there’s no machine code here. Everything is plain simple. However, a machine is nowhere near understanding what I’ve written above.

Here comes the coding part. There are thousands of programming languages to use to express the above workflow. C, C++, Java, Python, Kotlin, Scala, you name it. Once it’s transcripted, the machine can finally understand the workflow and work accordingly.

Now, back to the need for programming in game development. As we’ve discussed before, developing a game can take a crazy amount of both time and skill. It’s even more important to have an effective, efficient and fairly comprehensive development team for your game.

However, with the advancement of technologies, the process of developing a game is becoming easier and easier. Thanks to the continuous hard work of the community and the industry, there are plenty of tools that can allow you to enter the world of game development without any issue. For example, Unreal Engine 4 and Unity etc. These game engines come up with a solid base and plenty of built-in functions and toolkits to help you develop your brand new game right away!

However, it’s still paramount to have a solid programming and coding background. It’s because the tools like Unreal Engine and Unity only offer a certain set of tools and functionalities. Of course, they’re going to evolve and become much more useful for less experienced programmers and coders. However, with a solid programming base, you can easily get away with a number of problems that are going to rise in the way.

Well, why not check out some really popular game engines and frameworks? If you’re an experienced programmer looking for the right place to start your game, it can be a worthy option.

Different Game Engines And Frameworks

There are literally TONS of game engines and frameworks available for the purpose of creation. However, there are only a handful of tools that have earned a solid reputation from the developer community for their incredible services – highly efficient, powerful and innovative in every possible way.

It’s time to check out the best of the best in the market!

Unreal Engine

The world of creative contents is booming like crazy. Keeping that in mind, Unreal Engine from Epic Games was developed for suiting the needs of the industry. With the latest release (Unreal Engine 4), this content creation engine has earned a huge fan base consisting of both the users and developers.

We know Epic Games mostly for their incredibly popular video game title – Fortnite. With stunning graphics, fluid gameplay filled with all the heart-throbbing moments, Fortnite is one of the best games right now.

Guess what? Fortnite is developed using the Unreal Engine 4! There are a number of other games that’s powered by the crazy features of Unreal Engine, for example, the entire Batman: Arkham series, Asura’s Wrath, BioShock Infinite, Borderlands, Super Street Fighter V, Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat X and 11, Rocket League and a lot more! That’s WAY TOO MANY games that share the same place of origin, right?

So, what makes Unreal Engine so powerful? We’ll be focusing on the features of Unreal Engine 4 because it’s the latest and most recommended version to get.

  • Free-of-charge
    This is the best feature of Unreal Engine 4. Epic Games made Unreal Engine 4 completely free to use for all sorts of purposes. It includes all the professional features and samples with ample documentation and tutorials to get started right away.
    However, for all the professional contents created with Unreal Engine, it’s mandatory to pay Epic Games a certain percentage of the income.
  • Photoreal rendering
    With top-notch physically-based rendering, screen space reflections, dynamic shadow options, Unreal Engine offers Hollywood-quality visuals right out-of-the-box.
  • Open-source

Unreal Engine uses C++ at its core for the best performance and flexibility. As we all know, C++ is the most widely used programming language for game development. Using the available source code, you can study, customize and debug the entire Unreal Engine while shipping your project without any obstruction.

  • Blueprints
    It’s always a common idea that for becoming a good developer, you have to have knowledge of coding. With Unreal Engine, it’s possible to develop your own content without any coding or even touching the source code!
    Unreal Engine offers Blueprint – visual scripting that offers rapid prototyping and shipping interactive content.
  • Contents for all platforms
    Using Unreal Engine 4, it’s possible to develop contents that will work on all the platforms – PC (Windows, Linux), laptop and even smartphones! Unreal Engine offers support for both Android and iOS. With its open nature, any company can take advantage and build robust mobile apps for all the platforms.

For checking out all the available features of Unreal Engine 4, check out the official Unreal Engine document.

Check out Unreal Engine 4.

Unity

Before the rise of the Unreal Engine, Unity was the leading engine that powered almost the games and contents. It’s also a powerful alternative to the well-known Unreal Engine. It’s another cross-platform game engine that’s developed and maintained by Unity Technologies.

Since its debut back in mid-2005, Unity has come a long way. It enables developers to work with 2D and 3D environment with other awesome features.

Unity powers some of the popular games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Hearthstone, Cuphead, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, Pokémon Go, and Temple Run 2 etc.

  • Rich, all-in-one editor
    With the powerful editor of Unity, developers are free to perform whatever action they deem to perform for the current project. With intuitive UI and easy navigation, working with Unity has never been so easy and engaging.
  • Multiplatform support
    This is one of the biggest features of Unity yet. Using Unity, it’s possible to develop cross-platform contents! With support for 25+ platforms, Unity offers the biggest versatility.
    Supported platforms include Android, iOS, Windows, Linux/Steam OS, PS4, XBOX and a lot more!
  • Engine performance
    Another powerful factor is the engine performance of Unity.
    With the advanced profiling tool, it’s possible to optimize your apps to the fullest. Check out whether your app is CPU or GPU bottlenecked and improve the condition.
    With the support for native C++ performance, Unity takes the full advantage of hardware performance with the Unity-developed backed IL2CPP scripting.
    Another important factor for today is multithreading. Processors are gaining more and more cores with better performance. Using Unity’s clever tuning, all your apps will take the full advantage of the multicore processors or even the future!

Unlike Unreal Engine 4, Unity isn’t open-source. For professional usage, it’s mandatory to purchase a professional subscription plan. However, it offers a free version for personal usage. Well, at least, you can become a prominent master before jumping into the paid solution.

Check out Unity engine now!

GameMaker Studio

Developed by YoYo Games, GameMaker is another cross-platform game engine that accommodates a custom drag-n-drop visual programming.

GameMaker Studio uses Direct3D for Microsoft platforms (Windows, Xbox, and UWP), OpenGL for macOS and Linux, OpenGL ES for iOS and Android and WebGL on HTML5. The primarily intended use case for GameMaker is for games with 2D graphics. This allows usage of raster graphics, vector graphics and 2D skeletal animations along with a large library for drawing 2D primitives and drawing graphics.

Let’s check out the features of GameMaker Studio.

  • Multiplatform support
    Using GameMaker, you can seamlessly develop apps for Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, HTML5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft UWP etc.
  • Easy management
    Using GameMaker, you can take control over your development environment without getting lost into the endless maze of all the options jumbled everywhere in the screen. With a fine-tuned docking system accompanied by unique object editor and script editor, GameMaker offers one of the most comfortable working environments for game devs.
  • Superior workflow
    Built-in drag-n-drop offers to create your entire game without even touching the code! You can also preview the code that’s being built behind the drag-n-drop. For making things easier (difficult?), GameMaker comes up with its own scripting language GML. GML is based on C, making it easy to learn and deploy in your project.

Now, for the pricing part, GameMaker Studio offers dynamic pricing based on your target platform. The price starts from $40 all the way up to $1500 (for all platform support).

Before you jump into game development with such a pricey tool, it’s important to get familiar with its environment first. You can also enjoy a trial of GameMaker Studio for free.

Getting started with game development

Are you one of the interested ones who wish to develop his career on game development?

Well, there are tons of resources on the internet to get started right away. Here, I’ve gathered a number of places you can get started right away.

Programming And Coding

Before you jump right into game development, you have to make sure that you have a good understanding of programming and all the essential programming languages. For creating a good game, C++ is the most widely used alongside C#, Java, Python, Objective C, JavaScript etc.

Now, it’s time to check out the tutorials for jumping right into game development! All these courses are from Udemy.

Complete C# Unity Developer 2D: Learn to Code Making Games

Unreal Engine C++ Developer: Learn C++ and Make Video Games

Unreal Engine 4: The Complete Beginner’s Course

Be a Game Maker with GameMaker Studio 2

The Complete GameMaker Studio 2 Game Development Course

Final thoughts

Gaming is a fast-growing industry that’s matured enough.

Remember Crysis series? At its time, there was literally no GPU powerful enough to handle it at 100%. Because it pushed the hardware so much, the GPU market advanced forward. Just one single title it took to push the GPU market forward.

Remember Pokémon Go? It moved a lot of people out in the wild. Unfortunately, people started having a bad time with all the weird locations for rare pokémons. Now, we’re enjoying the most successful craze of all – Fortnite and PUBG and others. It’s been ongoing for quite a long time now. In fact, Fortnite and PUBG are potentially the next eSports titles with the biggest player bases!

Recently, NVIDIA has also pushed out the real-time ray tracing – a major leap in terms of gaming technology. Ray tracing dramatically improves the realism of the virtual game world. Surely, the future of graphics is going to be ray tracing. There are tons of demo on the internet showing off the power.

So, it’s going to be interesting to see how the gaming industry turns out to be. But no matter what, game development will always be a dominant sector in the market with all the players and developers working in harmony. So, if you’re interested in the ever-evolving genre, maybe it’s a good time to learn game development and get involved in the vast universe of games.

Enjoy!

Rooney

I am a full-stack web developer with over 13 years of experience. I love learning new things and are passionate about JavaScript development both on the front-end and back-end.

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