How to Create PC Gamesby Contributing Writer
Everyone loves playing video games. And chances are, if you've played lots of video games, you've dreamed about making a game of your own some day. Well, the good news is that it can be done. The bad news is that it's a huge amount of work, so read on to figure out whether you still want to make a PC game, or if you'll be happier just playing them.
How to Create PC Games
Figure out how many hours you're willing to devote to making a PC game. Is it ten? A hundred? A thousand? Keep in mind that much of the work in making a PC game isn't fun at all, but involves mind-numbing tasks like listing and numbering pixels, or copying the same tiles over and over again. If, upon reconsideration, a hundred hours of this seems like a bad idea, then you should quit now and leave the gaming to someone else.
Gather a team. A decent game may require a thousand hours of work, but if you have five people working with you, that's only two hundred hours each. This is still a lot, but a lot less than a thousand. A few like-minded friends will not only save you time, but help keep you motivated. Just be sure everyone is committed as you are. Many people think making a video game is a good idea, but soon lose interest after a week or month with little progress.
Take an honest inventory of what computer skills you possess. Can you program in Java, C++, or Flash? Do you have the ability to create decent-looking graphics for the type of game you're trying to create? Do you have an understanding of the necessary tables and values that will be required to make your game run? If you are deficient in any of these areas, do you have a committed team member who can make up for your lack of knowledge? Do you have a project manager if working on the game with friends who will keep everyone on task?
Revise your scope if your answer to any of the above questions was "No". Rather than making a game from scratch, you may be better off using a game-making program. If you're want to make a Role-Playing Game, consider getting a program like RPG Maker. This will allow you to make a game using templates without needing to know a lot about programming.
Plan out your game and figure out what will be required to create a working prototype of two screens worth of movement, the menu/character screen, and at least one full combat. (Once you can get this working, the rest is just a question of scale.) Make a list of everything needed, try to figure out how long it will take, and set to work building your prototype.
Complete the prototype, play it, and evaluate it. (If you can't because you find the process too boring, you probably aren't ready to make a full-length game.) Does everything function and appear as you'd like? If not, revise your prototype until it does what you want. Once your prototype is done to your satisfaction, plan out the full game.
Draw out your entire story, with all characters and locations. Make a list of everything you'll need, and a schedule of when you expect to have each piece done. Try to stick to your schedule and deadlines. When you're done, even if the game is small, you'll feel a great deal of pride if you managed to make your own game.
- check Even if you can program, remember that making a game is a big time commitment. RPG Maker (information linked below) is a nice program for those who can't program, but still requires lots of time to make a good game.
- close Don't bite off more than you can chew. If you don't want to spend many hours making a game, forget making your own and just use a game maker like the one linked below.