How to Create Your Own 2D Fighting Game

By Jacob Burney

Updated September 22, 2017

Fighting games are some of the most popular video games on the market. The "Street Fighter" and "Mortal Kombat" 2D fighting games became popular in the 1990s and have seen their popularity grow. The Capcom company used the M.U.G.E.N. graphics engine to produce the early models of the Street Fighter games. You can download this freeware graphics engine and build your own characters, stages and audio sounds. Creating your own successful 2D fighting game requires patience, creativity, digital graphic design skills and computer code knowledge.

Take a computer programming course or purchase a textbook about computer programming. You need familiarity with C programming to effectively make your own 2D fighting game. You can attend classes at a local community college or online. Textbooks are available at bookstores and online as well.

Download the M.U.G.E.N. graphics engine. The download is free and requires Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 for compatibility.

Select the characters you want for your game. To add a particular character, first go to the "Chars" folder and copy the character's Def file-name from the M.U.G.E.N. library. This copies all of the components of the character.

Click "Back" and go to your "Data" folder. Open the "Select" notepad document. Delete one of the "Random Select" lines and paste your character's name in this document.

Click "Exit." This prompts a "Save Changes" message box. Click "Save" to install your new character. Use this same copy and paste technique to mix and match specific character components and create your own characters.

Add stages to your game. Go to the "Stages" folder and copy the Def file name of your desired stage.

Click "Back" and go to your "Data" folder again. Open the "Select" notepad document and paste the stage name in an "Extra Stage" line. Save the changes and exit the document. You can copy and paste specific stage components to create your own unique stages. After installing your stages, you have finished creating a basic 2D game.


Hundreds of completed characters and stages are already available online. Download some of these characters to expedite the programming process. Each stage and character come with particular sound effects and music in their components folder, but you can mix and match these to create your own unique game.

Talk online with individual game developers who use M.U.G.E.N. Developers frequent gaming message boards and forums, so post your questions there. Finish your "rough" game design before you let people sample it.

Upload your game demo to download sites, so people can play your game and provide you with feedback. Use their comments to improve your game.


Entire programming teams worked together to produce the successful 2D fighting games of the past. Remember, you are working by yourself and do not have access to the same graphic resources as the large video game manufacturers. Be patient and make a game you enjoy, so you can stay motivated.