FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions on how to make a video game
You always wanted to make video games but are not sure how to go about doing it. Here are some of the frequently asked questions. If you click on a question you will be brought down the page to the answer.
No. It is not a necessity. There are software applications that will allow you to make fully functional video games without any programming. But, keep in mind if you want to be really good you need to learn how to program.
No. You don't need to be an Artist. There is plenty of prepackaged images and art that you can use either for free or by purchasing that you can use in your video games. But if you want to get really good then you have to put in the time to develop your artistic skills. You don't have to become a Picasso but you do have to develop your skills. Your artistic skill is going to help in you expressing your individuality in video games. The look and feel of the games will be distinctly yours. So I recommend you develop your art skills.
Yes, this is a generalized process here by the numbers:
This depends on what kind of games you want to make and your skill as a programmer; or willingness to learn programming.. Let me break it down for you:
This depends on you. If you use my game design tutorial you can have a real video game room to walk around in complete with character in an hour. If you put ten hours into this you can have a small world to explore and battle creatures in. If you want to make a game that looks halfway decent, has some good ideas, and some goals to achieve you should expect to put in at least a hundred hours. If you want to get really good at it then you have got to plan on putting hundreds of hours into it. It is just like anything else; You get out of it what you put into it.
Yes, if you want to make some video games for you and your friends to enjoy and you are satisfied with free graphics and characters you can get from software and websites. But if you want to make something that is worthy of selling then probably not. Unless you work ten hours a day for at least a year and have a great concept, great art skills, great computer skills and are truly obsessive-compulsive over getting it done right.
If you just would like to have some fun then you can get games made for no cost (see my tutorial) Or maybe with just the investment of a book. From there you can escalate it almost as much as you want. Software, in increments, for artwork, for modeling, game generation, can cost hundreds even thousands of dollars. Oh, and you would probably want a screaming computer. Especially when you start compiling big levels and discover it is going to take hours, even overnights to do. So for now, we get away with no cost, so you can see if you really like it. Then we go up in expenditures from there. By the time you are ready to buy software you will have a good idea of what software you want.
I have checked around on this a bit and it seems that this happens very rarely. Rarely does someone outside of the industry ever sell a concept to a game company. I only heard of this happening once. The company bought the game story and concept and as far as I know they never actually put it into production. Hey, if it's that good do it yourself. Raise the money and start the game design going. If it is good it will rise above the market forces.
I am not in a position to give you legal advice but here are some tricks to help you: Make sure you have your concept and ideas well written out along with graphics and any other relevant materials then send this in an email to a trusted friend and ask that friend to save the email. That would help a little. For better security you could put all of this material down on paper then send it to yourself in the mail in a registered/certified letter. When you receive the letter, don't open it, just store it away somewhere. The certification proves the date you received it, thus proving when you had the idea/concept.
Generally, in a situation like this you would ask the people you are going to show it to to sign something called an NDA or Non Disclosure Agreement. It is a legal document that protects you from them stealing it.
You have already done the first thing: You have started to look into the process. Next you should actually get some free software and start actually making some stuff. Hands-on is the best way to learn. Start with my tutorial. It will show you what software to get, where to get it for free then take you through the first steps so you actually build a room or rooms that a 3d character can walk around in.
There are many, many creative opportunities in the video game industry. There are people that just make textures which involves taking photos and using paint programs. There are people that do character design, people that do plots and quests, writers, level designers, game testers, musicians and composers. There are many many different ways you can be involved. There are some great books on this very subject. Game Design for Teens
It is both. You can have a lot of fun and you can work lots of hours; I mean LOTS of hours. But if you are having fun doing it is it really work? But, if you just want to fool around and get some basic games made just for fun you can do it without investing too much time. If you want the video game experience without the work then go buy some games.
Yes, there is software you can get for free.
I am glad to see that you are reading this question. It is good to see that you realize you don't know what you don't know. A couple of tidbits of advice: If you want to do a decent game take the time to write it out on paper. Draw the pictures and write out the plot. Draw the maps. The more you do on paper the better your game will actually come out. Making video games is a process. You are never done learning. Even the very best know this. Enjoy doing it and realize that every day you learned something. One last thing: Pay attention to the little things; They make all the difference. Getting the textures and the lighting right can make the difference between a terrible game and a great game.
There are a few reasonably priced software packages that you can make games with. I recommend these:
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