GameDev Protips: How To Get Your Feet Wet With Game Development

It’s a frequent occurrence that new developers have no idea where to start with their game ideas. To me, this is likely a hurdle because of a disconnection to the gaming industry; even the largest games in the market started very small and slowly became something much larger. Even if your dream game is fresh in your mind and you know exactly what you want from it, it can be very intimidating to sit down and start trying to actually program it. Even the simplest of tasks can create impasses that increase the chance of giving up. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, it’s extremely important to start small. Almost every game will start with extremely basic features and placeholder graphics in order to test that the game actually functions. From that point on, you just can build onto it like a Lego tower. It’s extremely important to take things one step at a time so that you can avoid the inevitable frustration that comes with overwhelming yourself.

Creating your game’s features on a step-by-step basis will also help you find out what you truly want from your game. As you break your game down into small pieces, you’ll be forced to analyze your ideas on a deeper level. This is a good thing as setting your development path in stone is a good way to make something generic. If you allow yourself to deviate, you’ll be more likely to produce interesting mechanics. This is because when you actively brainstorm ideas to add onto other, already implemented ideas, you end up with something that you would have never aimed for when you are trying to take a straight-line development path.

Most importantly, it’s important to remember that your “development chunks” are appropriate for your skills. Break your tasks into blocks that you can tackle with your current skills so that you can easily see your progress; working without an indication of progress is a good way to lose motivation. Also, don’t forget that you can simply stop working and come back later if things get out of hand. After all, you shouldn’t be trying to make a game on a deadline for your very first gamedev experience; that’s just a recipe for failure that includes mixing deadline-induced stress with inexperience. The most important part of making a game is to simply keep making the game. Any progress, no matter how little, is a step toward a release that you wouldn’t have taken with gigantic, sweeping tasks.

Important Takeaways: Many new developers don’t have a clue as to how to start working on their first game. The key is to simply start with extremely small, basic tasks and build a base that can easily be expanded upon. This method of development will not only end up giving you more unique and refined mechanics but will also save you lots of stress and ensure that you actually make progress. Trying to tackle everything at once will just leave you frustrated with nothing to show, and can incite giving up. Break the work up into blocks of tasks where you can easily track the progress you’re making; working without any indication of progress will result in lost motivation. In the end, making your first game is all about actually working on it. Simply keep making progress, no matter how little, and eventually, that dream game will be finished and released for others to enjoy.