Hello there. A lot of people are interested in game development, but often they fail before even getting their game off the ground. There are two reasons for these:
1) Too high expectations [ newcomers to game development trying to start off with the next-gen Call-of-Duty or AOE]
2) Poor experience
3) Improper tools / software
I can’t help with the first two, but I can get you started with the tools.
Let’s assume that you have this game idea in mind. It’s really cool, and you’re sure it’s gonna be the next big thing. Well, what’re you going to use to make it?
Firstly, keep in mind that Game Development is one serious business. Developers like Infinity Ward spend years and millions of dollars building the tools and technology for their games: COD Black Ops, for instance, had a development budget of $52 million. As independent game developers, we can’t compete with them on such a framework: however, there are other, and perhaps better, paths to take!
The solution is to get a good game engine + framework + tools. A game engine is the core of your game; it’s what everything else runs on. So here’s my list of good game engine + editor [all-in-one] combos:
IF YOUR GAME IS 2D:
You’re in luck. There are TONS of good tools for 2D games out there: I’ll give you the best [all these are from personal experience]:
Game Maker is a Windows game-development environment that is ideal for the absolute novice. It allows you to build 2D games, bringing a solid engine, level and graphic editing tools all in one package. If you prefer not to write code, or if you don’t know how, Game Maker has a simple drag-and-drop interface which gives you everything you’ll need to do; if you prefer to code, the whole deal runs on GML – the Game Maker Language – that’s rated as one of the most user-friendly languages in the world. You can pick it up in a week.
If you need support, there’s a solid help as well as an excellent community to tap into. There are two versions of Game Maker: Lite [free] and Pro. The Lite version has particle effects and reading to CD’s locked, and other than that it’s perfectly usable.
*For those who doubt this program, go to the site and download ADRENALINE, which is a multiplayer shooter with insanely cool weapons and graphics made in GM.
Download Game Maker free from:
Scirra Construct is the top- rival to Game Maker, and it’s been coded by a group of university students. It basically offers everything Game Maker has – id has it’s own Drag and Drop system, and instead of GML, it uses Python.
Construct’s power comes from it’s advanced features. It’s a bit more high-level than Game Maker. It allows advanced stuff like Pixel Shader 3.0 utilization [hell yeah]. Game Maker can be extended with dll’s; Construct uses plugins — it comes jam-packed with Xbox controller support and some other powerful utilities.
The downsides: Construct’s learning curve is steeper than GML – it’s more advanced to the beginner. It’s also a new product. There are currently two versions: Classic [which is open-source and Windows only] and Construct2 [beta], which is designed to write games to HTML5.
Both versions are totally free.
Develop games for the iPhone, iPad, Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile, Windows Mobile-based Smartphones and GP2 with this incredibly cool development system. Yes, no kidding. Game Editor makes it into this list for being the best freeware spanning all these platforms! Like Construct and GM, it’s designed to let you make games with little or no programming knowledge, so I’ll spare you the hype: due to it’s cross-platformity, it’s a bit more complex than both. However, this could be a dream come true for all ye Appstar wannabes!
download free [and yes, it’s open-source] from http://game-editor.com/Main_Page
RPG Maker XP
RPG Maker XP [or RMXP to us users] is special: it is designed FOR, and only for, building 2D RPGS. If you’re ever building a 2D RPG, this is simple the best tool available anywhere. It features everything – RPG Maker XP integrates the Ruby programming language, allowing for greater flexibility of development; tilesets; level editors; battle system; AI; NPCs; in short, everything you need to build an RPG is on the table with this program. It’s the thing behind incredible hits such as Quintessence: the Blighted Venom, Aveyond, and Rainblood. It’s also expensive.
* A small note from personal experience: if you’re building an RPG, don’t do it alone. Assemble a team. You’ll need them for sanity.
[url]Checkout RMXP at http://www.rpgmakerweb.com/product/rpg-maker-xp[/url]
Adventure Game Studio
Like RMXP, this is a highly specialized masterpiece, designed for one thing: building point-and-click adventure games. For those of you who don’t know, this is one of the most famed Game Dev tools out there next to Game Maker and RMXP. It’s the perfect thing if you want to visit the magic of those point-and-click games like MYST. Recent hit Gemini Rue was powered by this software, which . . . . tada . . . is total freeware. Features conversation trees and all the works.
Guess what? This is an MMORPG maker.
“Eclipse is a long standing community based around online game development, specifically MMORPGs. To aid people in their projects we offer a full set of programs and resources that, when taken full advantage of, will allow you to create your own fantastic online world. This includes a central piece of software called the ‘Eclipse Origins Game Engine’ which is an MMORPG Maker. This little beauty can be used to create an online RPG (aka, MMORPG) all by itself. It has everything you could possibly need – and it’s open source! If you find that Origins doesn’t have everything you need then you can simply pop it open in Visual Basic 6.0 and get to work adding in your own exciting systems.”
Game Studio in a Box—For Free
We bring you “the Works.” (No delivery charge required.)
Welcome to StencylWorks, 2D game creation done right. StencylWorks isn’t your average game creation software; it’s a gorgeous, intuitive toolset that integrates seamlessly with the Stencyl ecosystem.
Exclusive collaboration and sharing features will have you making Flash games in a flash. For free.
At the time of writing, i0S support is on it’s way. No coding is required: you use “blocks” of actions, dragging them together into events.
We extend Scratch’s simple block-snapping interface with new functionality and hundreds of ready-to-use blocks. Power users can create their own blocks to use and share with others.
For the programmers out there, we offer a powerful “code mode” interface (complete with code completion) for writing behaviors via our ActionScript 3 API. (You can also use an external editor of your choosing.) AS3 code is a first-class citizen; it interacts seamlessly with “Design Mode” behaviors and can even be embedded inside them.
Download free @ http://www.stencyl.com/stencylworks/overview/