(This will continually be updated)
There are a bunch of different skills you can learn in order to make a video game.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
If you want to make a game, start simple.
There are a lot of streamlined and easy to use programs out there so that you can make a specific type of game.
Most of the programs out there are either free, have a free "education only" version, or they come with a free trial.
If you are an absolute beginner, use a super simple game making software like RPG Maker, Game Maker, Stencyl, Twine, etc.
Or try the Unity game engine which is newbie friendly.
Use a simple picture editing/creating software (MS paint, GIMP, GIMPShop, etc.).
Use a simple sound editing software (Audacity).
Use some free sounds and free music. (Most are free, you just have to give credit to the author)
Experiment a bit with the program of your choice.
If you are a beginner, you're not going to make your own World War II shooter game by yourself.
The major "brand name" games out there take a team of hundreds of people working for 1 or 2 years in order to make them!
Ever hear of the classic game Pokémon for the Game Boy? The developers took 5 years to make the game! And they were working with some very limited technology back in the 90s!
Most "indie games" take just as long; but with a small independent group of people working on them.
The professional tools of the trade
The "professional tools" are really just a collection of different programs.
Each one does something specific such as create a 3d model or a background music.
Computer codes are used to create the "skeleton" of your game.
You tie everything together and then you have a game!
Here a list of what you should learn for your game making career:
- Game engines like Unreal Engine, Unity, etc. (important!)
- Niche game making programs such as Adobe Flash Builder.
- Texturing software like Quixel Studio.
- 3D modeling/animation software like 3DS Max, Maya, Blender, Zbrush, & Cinema 4d.
- Sound Creating/Editing software such as Sony Sound Forge, Ableton Live, or Cubase.
- Other software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Sony Vegas, etc.
- Management/Business skills to run a game developer team.
- Much more...
ALL of these things in one way or another can be used to make video games.
If you want to be a level designer, learn about story boarding or creating drawn examples of a level. Learn everything you can about a reputable game engine such as Unreal Engine. Learn how to use some 3d modeling & texturing programs. Learning how to use Adobe Photoshop would be good too.
If you want to create cut-scenes in a game, learn how to use software like Maya. Learn how to use video editing software like Adobe Aftereffects and Sony Vegas. Learn computer programming like C# or C++, Java, or Python.
Where to learn all this
You are on the internet, you have an infinite amount of knowledge at your disposal. Just do one of these things:
- Download the program you want to learn and then click the help button (most people forget you can do this).
- Go to google.com. Type "[program name] for beginners" or "[program name] basics" or "[program name] tutorials".
- Go to youtube.com. Type the same things listed above.
- Check if your library offers free online courses or books on the topic you want to learn.
Running your own game studio
I've never run my own game studio. So I'm not qualified to give exact advice on the matter.
I do know that learning just the basics of every topic you see here will help you a lot.
But for more actionable advice, watch this video series on lynda.com:
(sign up for a free trial if you have to!)
John Romero is definitely qualified enough to give you some advice on this matter.
"I've been making games since 1979. I've been a designer, a programmer, a sound designer, level designer, I've started many companies, I'm at least on company number 11 or 12 now. And I've made a lot of games, probably over 150-something games. And some of the games you might recognize would be the Wolfenstein series of games, Commander Keen series of games, the Doom series of games, Quake, and Heretic and Hexen, and Daikatana, and some other stuff.
I've got a lot of experience making games and those games have been published and developed with companies, and so I've had to have several companies as well. I know what it's like to begin companies, to raise money, and to publish, and to operate, and do all of the functions that you do normally when you're doing game development and publishing."
(I'm not affiliated in any way with lynda.com. It's just my personal recommendation. Moving on...)
The big "brand name" games are made by a massive team of professionals with knowledge in computer programming, game engines, level design, texturing, 3d modeling, animation, sound engineering, and much more.
If you want to make video games professionally, learn how to use the programs needed for the work you want to do. Do you want to be a level designer? Look up exactly what you should learn.
If you want to run a game studio, a basic knowledge of all of these skills and business skills is extremely helpful so you can evaluate work done by your employees.
If you are an absolute beginner, use super friendly and easy to use game making software. And experiment a bit!
If you hate it, you just found out you don't want to make video games for a living!
If you like it, make a simple 2d game. Then, make another one. Try making a simple 3d game.
And then start learning more about those profession game making software out there and a programming language like Java, Python, or C#.
Build up a portfolio of work, and get a career at a game studio.
Or get a team together and work on a project.
I leave the rest to you, my dear viewer.
1) Game making programs:
- Unity (highly recommended)
- Game Salad
- Construct 2
- RPG Maker MV
- Game Maker
- Twine (visual novels)
2) Graphics Making/Editing:
3) Sound Making/Editing:
4) Free Sounds:
(For all the "free" stuff: If you download something and it says "attribution license 3.0", that means you can use it commercially. But you have to give credit to the person that made it. "Public Domain" means free for anyone to use. "Royalty free" means you might have to pay, but afterwards, you can use it however you want commercially.)
5) Free Music:
6) Free 3d Models:
1) Game Engines:
2) 3D Modeling / Animation
(Most of the 3d modeling software can do some basic animation, even Adobe Photoshop can do this!)
5) Programing Languages and IDEs
6) Sound Creating/ Editing Software
7) Other Software
- Adobe PhotoShop (photo editing, basic animation, basic texturing)
- Other Sony programs
- Other Adobe programs
P.S. I made a short (15 minute) game using RPG maker. If you want to try it out, it is in the "Download" section. I'm currently working on another one.