The number and volume of resources available on how to make a game is vast, and the following article will help you to better understand these emerging new spaces, aswell as the expertise and skills needed to create and excel in games.
Below are links to free online software that can help you harness new skills in digital and creative technologies and help gamers focus on key conditions and skills.
Making games as living
Working in the games industry is not just for programmers. It takes a team to create and publish games. In addition to hiring game programmers, studios regularly employ musicians, artists, scriptwriters and game designers. Game studios also often employ project managers, accountants and business people to ensure the success of their games – in the 21st century, even game testing is a real job.
These are usually some of the questions that haunts game creators when thinking about making a game:
- How do you make an online game for free?
- How to create a game?
- How do I start a game development for free?
- How can I make a game online for free without coding?
- How do I make a game app without coding?
- How can I make a mobile game for free?
- How can I create my own game?
- How do you create an online game?
Maybe that’s the feeling you’ve thought of when you’ve fantasized about video game projects that would be great if only you could make them happen. Of course, you can hire a small studio to make it for you, but most people don’t have more than $1000 to give a programmer or artist a few days’ work. Instead, many people choose to just spend their time and make their computer games themselves. But the question is: how do we start making games?
There are many questions that go with this question. What game engine should I use? Where is the best place to publish my game? How much programming should I learn before I start making games? Do I need to know how to program to make a game? How is game design done?
The aim of this guide is to answer as many questions as possible about video game design, engines to use, etc. This guide doesn’t specifically address how to make your first game from scratch, but it will point you in the right direction to be able to do so, using the resources provided.
So if you are ready to learn how to make a toy, let’s get started.
Table of Contents How to make a game
- Making games as living
- How to make a game?
- What is the game development cycle?
- Why using an Online Game Engine
- How to make a game – Advantages of using an online game engine
- The downside of online game engines
- List of online game engines
How to make a game?
In the following infographic you can see a very interesting high level overview of what is actually inside a game that, in someway, conditions the process of making it and the different steps through the lifecycle associated with how to make a game.
So let’s start by analyzing the game development cycle.
What is the game development cycle?
There is a general cycle of game development, followed by many game projects, from huge 200-person studios to independent indie projects. We will look at each part in more detail, but in brief, the game development cycle is as follows.
- Come up with an idea. Formulate in your head what kind of game you want to make.
- Design the game. Further develop the idea, document and flesh out the systems, levels, art styles, etc.
- Make the game. Start actually making the game. Many people make a simple one with basic graphics to get a feel for how it plays, then develop it.
- Test the game. Show the game to others. As a developer, you already know everything about the game, so you need to test it out with people to see if it works, if it’s fun, and if it’s easy to understand. You should also do this regularly. This is because when new changes are made to the game, people may change the gameplay.
- Finishing the game. In some ways, a game is never finished. You run out of time or money. Eventually the game has to be finished and released to the world or they feel the need to do so.
- Publishing the game. The game must be published for the whole world to see.
- The five steps of the game development cycle (IMAGE)
Come up with a game idea.
Everyone thinks “I wish I could make a game like that”, but not many people can actually make it happen. Those who are just learning how to make games may be tempted to jump right in and make a game because of the great technology available. But we don’t recommend it. When making games, you need to think about scope. How long does it take to produce? Do you have all the skills needed to make this toy? Do you understand the game and how it is made?
Understanding the game is paramount. You may have the story, the setting and the mechanics in your head, but to understand the game you need to know every aspect of it. How the different systems interact, what the player can/can’t do, what the objectives are, etc. This may seem like a lot of work, but remember that big games are made by big companies.
As a sole game developer, this is the best way to create a manageable game with the right scope.
- Think about the basic mechanics. Mario’s jump and Just Cause’s grappling hook are just a few examples of basic mechanics.
- The game is developed around these basic mechanics. Every feature in the game should encourage players to use the basic mechanics.
- Example of a puzzle platformer (IMAGE)
Take Marios, for example. Mario’s basic mechanic is jumping. In almost every element of the game, the player had to jump.
- Jump on the enemy.
- Jumping and hitting blocks
- Jump over gaps
- Finally, jumping on flags.
This is one of the reasons why “Mario” (especially the early parts) was so successful. The developers focused on building the game around a single core mechanic to make it as fun, sophisticated and varied as possible. Here are some resources to help you develop your game ideas and find the basic mechanics.
- How to come up with new game ideas – Gamasutra
- Designing around basic mechanics – Gamasutra
- Why basic mechanics should be a priority in game development – Game Dev Underground
Designing the game
Once you have an idea, you need to develop it further – if it’s a small game with one or two mechanics, you might just keep it in your head, but if it’s bigger than that, or especially if you’re working in a team, you need to document it. You use the game design document to define your game ideas, mechanics, goals, players, interactions, art style, theme, etc. You can give a GDD (game design document) to two people and both of them can develop a fairly similar game. You should be able to do this. If you are working in a team, this is necessary to communicate how you want to make the game.Here are some useful resources for making GDDs.
- How to write a game design document – Gamasutra
- Game Design Document Template – by Game Dev Underground
- How to design a game. Game Design Document – Tim Bonson
As for the actual design of the game, it’s up to you. Game design is one of those areas where there is no 100% solution. There is no recipe for creating unique and fun games. That doesn’t mean there are no best practices and guidelines. Knowing game design can help you develop games that are engaging and easy for players to understand. Here are some online resources that can help you with game design.
- Game Maker Toolkit
- Design documents.
- Seven must-read books for game designers
- Principles of Game Design – by Blackies
- Our own resources
What type of game do you want to make?
When you’re thinking about what kind of game you want to make, you’ve probably also decided what type of game you want to make. Below is a list of game types and the platforms on which they can be developed.
- 2D is offered by most game engines and is usually the best step for beginner game developers.
- 3D is offered by many of the most popular game engines and is also a great first step for beginners.
- Mobile can open up a whole new market, touch-driven user interfaces.
- Virtual reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality are fast-growing segment of the gaming industry that enables immersive experiences. However, VR has some unique aspects. Augmented Reality has been growing in the games industry and beyond, with many applications.
How to make a game – What is a game engine?
Once you’ve got an idea in your head and (hopefully) a plan on paper, it’s time to turn to the question of how to make the game. Which engine to use, which coding language to learn? Or if not, using a node-code or visual technology. Now you also have the option not to use traditional game engines, but rather a new generation of technologies build to be used in cloud environments, some of them with very interesting.
These are all questions you need to ask yourself, but there is no single answer. What you need to learn depends on what type of game you want to make, what skills you have and whether you want to learn programming.
So, what is a game engine? A game engine is a software or framework that allows developers to create games. It provides a platform for structuring the game, building levels, assigning logic to objects and building them on a given platform. There are several game engines, each offering different features and specialisations.
In our case, and since we have already approached traditional engines, we are focusing this article on online or cloud based game engines.
Why using an Online Game Engine
Online game engines are a new concept for many developers who are used to desktop tools. This article explains the advantages and disadvantages of such solutions compared to traditional desktop computers. It should be remembered that some of the advantages presented here do not yet exist in any online game engine, but should be technically possible. In some cases, creative collaboration and other types of online solutions already offer advantages that are fully applicable to online game engines.
The trend towards using web applications to do work previously done in desktop applications is not new – the software as a service (SaaS) revolution and the first projects using centrally hosted applications … date back to the 1960s. This trend has been developing at an accelerating pace in recent years, especially thanks to the recent emergence of new web technologies. This evolution can be observed in all types of services and tools, some of which are presented here.
- E-mail: perhaps the most obvious example is e-mail. More and more people – both private and business users – are managing their e-mail from their web browser, and web applications for managing e-mail, such as Gmail and Outlook, have become more efficient, user-friendly and productive, and are widely used from all devices.
- Office computing. Office and iWork for Mac, and has gradually created alternatives to them. In 2015, Google claimed that their plan was to take 80% of Microsoft’s business away from MS Office; Microsoft’s response was Office 365, the online version of the suite, launched in 2011. An excellent comparative analysis of the two solutions can be found here.
- Image editing: although there is no clear success story in this area, as in the other two areas mentioned above, a number of initiatives have emerged in the last few years that have become the model for online Photoshop. Examples such as Pixlr.com and Fotor.com show the potential of this type of web application. In any case, image editing web applications, even if not so widespread, can be well integrated with other types of services. Aviary (later acquired by Adobe), for example, has been integrated as an image editor into the Mailchimp newsletter management service. Basic image editing functionality is now integrated into the newsletter creation process, making the workflow easier for campaign creators.
Let’s quickly list the pros and cons of using online game engines to develop projects.
How to make a game – Advantages of using an online game engine
Online editors can run on any operating system with a web browser, whether Mac, Windows or Linux. No installation is required as it is accessed through the browser. Access is instant.
Permanent storage is possible.
For online game engines, saving a project is usually a continuous process and all operations are usually automatically saved.
If your computer crashes, gets infected by a virus, burns down, gets stolen, your hard drive crashes, or any other misfortune or misfortune, your video game development will not be affected. All data is stored in the cloud and is always accessible from any device.
If you’ve used the Google Docs app before, you’ll know how well it handles different versions of documents. Like Google Docs, the online game engine that uses the infrastructure in the cloud can manage versions according to the changes and modifications made by the developer. Furthermore, the developer must be able to decide when to save a version and when to move on to the next version.
Cooperation in real time
Online game engines allow multiple developers with different profiles to work on the same project. A designer can modify the background graphics and a programmer can set the background parallax. What’s more, all this can happen in real time, and everyone can see each other’s work. In addition, a user management system can be set up in which different development companies can be assigned roles.
With online collaborative game development tools, communication is instant and very much focused on the problem at hand. Developers can communicate with each other through an instant messaging system built into the tool. They can also work with different elements of the game, such as tools and a system based on comments left on scripts.
Instant updates and improvements
As the software for the development tools is managed directly by the provider, the current version can be upgraded to a new version at any time, and improvements and bug fixes can be made on an ongoing basis. Game developers do not need to download new versions or install patches, which makes it much easier to update new versions of the game engine.
How to make a game – From the web, for any platform
Finally, there are benefits that have emerged almost as an ideological position. The creation of web content from the web to the web. Because of the speed, agility, simplicity, consistency of development and production, adaptability to the media of the end product, and myriad other reasons, creating web content from the web is a winning bet
We believe the web is the next big gaming platform. We believe the web will be the next big gaming platform. And it seems logical that if it is technically feasible, we will develop games from the web itself. With Java, HTML5, WebGL and other technologies that are slowly becoming a reality, and all that’s left is to integrate and mature the various online game development tools.
Integration with other web services and applications
Another advantage of online development engines is the possibility of integration with other web services and applications. For example, asset storage like Dropbox, Google Drive and Box, analytics, version control like GitHub and Bitbucket, task management like Trello and Wunderlist, social networking, and many more, you can integrate online game engines with APIs in a mash-up style.
The possibilities are endless.
The downside of online game engines
Requires always-on connection.
This is obvious: if you don’t have an internet connection, you can’t use online services. Of course, there are solutions that allow you to work offline, such as Google Docs, but this takes away many of the benefits of real-time online development. In addition, an internet connection requires minimum quality in terms of bandwidth. Game development can involve very large file sizes and this work can require a lot of bandwidth.
Access to servers.
SaaS services are usually criticised by users who do not have access to the servers and the data and files running on them. Richard Stallman believes that the use of this type of service violates the principle of free software. This is because in many cases these products are source code-free and users have access to all the files and source files that make up the service. In any case, this issue has much to do with the culture and belief that it is better to have all data on the computer. Nowadays, this belief is fading away, in particular thanks to cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Drive.
List of online game engines
Below is a list of popular game engines, the types of games you can create with them, and the skills you need to build them For more information on 2020 game engines, see also this blog post. You can also find out which coding languages are best suited for game development.
GDevelop is a game engine that allows developers to create games without any development experience. Although there has been a lot of talk this year about “no code”, GDevelop has been around for several years.
Florian Rival first started working on GDevelop as an open source side project, publishing the first public version on GitHub in 2014.
He wanted GDevelop to make game development as accessible as possible – GDevelop can be launched from a web browser or installed on a computer. You can start with a template, modify it and try it out at any time.
GDevelop is dedicated to 2D games, making it more accessible for gamers and developers alike. To design a course, simply drag and drop objects into the scene.
For game design, you can see all game mechanics in the “Events” tab. Everything is described with conditions and actions, for example, the character is animated to “jump” when the player jumps.
Construct 3 is a 2D game engine that can be used to design and create games such as puzzles, platformers, role-playing games (RPGs), shooters, racing games or picture books. Construct 3 also includes the Box2D physics engine for creating physics-based games. The development environment runs in the browser and allows online and offline file saving, so it can be used on any operating system, including Chrome and Android.
When creating a new game, it creates the background, adds objects and gives the objects behaviour. You can then add custom logic through events (conditions and actions) to make the game work. There are plenty of tutorials to help you navigate through the game. You can design the game with drag-and-drop, clicks and a bit of typing. In addition, a tile editor and an object editor are available to create the look of the game on Construct 3, but you can also use images you create outside the interface. Objects can be placed in layers, each of which can move independently of the others to create a sense of depth. Special effects options such as particle and light effects are also available.
Games can be published on the web (HTML5), Steam, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Windows UWP, Facebook and Xbox One. Games support mouse, keyboard and game controller, as well as multi-touch input on mobile touchscreens.
Modd.io is a fun 2D multiplayer game engine where people of all skill levels can make games using our browser-based drag & drop game editor. It’s 100% free
Gamefroot is a website that provides a block-based coding platform for game creation and design. Detailed tutorials walk you through the basic stages of game creation and help you understand the basic elements of coding (loops, events, variables, etc.) For those who have used Scratch, Gamefroot will be a familiar interface. In fact, Gamefroot includes many of Scratch’s code blocks and game-specific blocks.
Gamefroot is aligned with New Zealand curriculum standards, but can easily be adapted to national standards for coding and computational thinking In addition to Gamefroot’s game design features, students can share and test each other’s work In addition to Gamefroot’s game design features, there is also a game room where students can share and test their work with each other.
PlayCanvas is an open-source, cloud-hosted, collaborative 3D platform for building video games that includes per-pixel lighting, shadows, post-effects, rigid bodies, triggers, vehicles, joints, audio, input, and animation, and entity systems.
6. Micro Studio
microStudio is a browser-based game engine that makes 2D games incredibly easy to make, thanks to its sophisticated design and comprehensive, well-documented toolkit. Simply log into microStudio.dev from your browser, clone an existing project or create a new one and start coding, no account creation required.
The main features of microStudio are
- Fully browser-based, no installation or account creation required
- Simple Lua inspired programming language microScript
- Built-in multi-file code editor with syntax highlighting
- Run games directly in the browser or test remotely with live loading on your mobile phone.
- Pixel art editor
- Tile map editor
- Automatic synchronization of changes from multiple developers.
- Support for HTML5 distribution or beta export of games for Windows, Mac and Linux
Browser-based game creation toolkit. Everything students need to design, build, and program their own games is included, with no installation required.
Custom game logic is programmed using the included Visual Logic Builder. Students can design their own game art using drawing and animation tools.
It provides a self-paced experience for prospective developers to create and learn at their own pace.
- There are several advantages to using flowlab
- No installation required, browser-based and can be run anywhere
- Projects are accessible from home and stored in the cloud
- Visual logic builder requires no programming experience
- Sprite, animation, and game logic creation are all included
- Export Application allows you to export your game as a native application.
Phaser is a fun, free and fast 2D gaming framework for creating HTML5 games for desktop and mobile web browsers, with support for Canvas and WebGL rendering Phaser 3 is the New Version. It features an all-new, custom WebGL renderer designed to meet the needs of modern 2D games Phaser internally uses both Canvas and WebGL renderers and switches between them automatically depending on browser support. This enables lightning-fast rendering on both desktop and mobile devices.
Microsoft MakeCode is a free, open source platform for creating engaging computer science learning experiences that support a progression path into real-world programming.
It was launched to be a competitor’s to Scratch but it wasn´t as succeeded as the MIT’s platform. Nonetheless it is a good platform to use when introducing into the game development process.
In the world of 3D animation, shapes are drawn with triangles, and WebGL adds a lot of complexity because of the large amount of coding involved in the process. Babylon Japan is a simple solution that alleviates some of that complexity. Here, you can easily use the light, camera, and engine APIs to create 3D objects.
To start working with babylonjs, you can download the babylonjs file, host it on your endpoint, and start writing 3D code.
BabylonJS was developed by Microsoft employees in 2016. David Catuhe, Principal Program Manager for Microsoft’s Windows & Devices Group, is a key figure in BabylonJs development and great success.
In order to run BabylonJS, you need a modern browser with WEBGL support. Modern browsers, i.e. Internet Explorer 11+, Firefox 4+, Google Chrome 9+, Opera 15+, etc. support WEBGL and it is possible to run the demo and see the output in these browsers.
BabylonJs offers the following features to create various types of 3D scenes
- Shapes such as boxes, spheres, cylinders, cones, cuboids, etc.
- Cameras, lights
- Meshes, textures, materials
- Mesh intersection and collision detection
- Physics engine plug-ins
- Action manager
- Solid Particles
- Instances and Particles
- Bone and Skeleton Support
- Add music and sound to your scene
- In addition to our own meshes, BabylonJS can use meshes from third-party 3D software such as Blender, FBX, and 3DS Max.
Ceilfire is an online game maker for creating HTML5 games and sharing game assets.
Make, play and share games directly in your browser. No programming skills required!
Scratch is an MIT open source project that aims to get kids started with programming. It is essentially a game engine and programming language in one, similar in functionality to Stencyl, GDevelop and Construct2 in execution, just much simpler and aimed at younger developers.
It is somewhat limited with mode advanced features geared toward making games that could have a potential to make money. It is more focused on teaching game development to kids.
Not really a tool to make games online but rather one to actually learn how make them in a very friendly gamified way. It is implemented like a game tutorial, where to move between phases you have clear the challenges and obstacles that will require you to apply some basic knowledge.