Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
AgentPaper

Advice for Games Made by a Single Person

This topic is 2073 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hello. I've been playing and studying games for a long time, and in the not too distant future, will even be attending college with a focus on game design.

 

However, I want to get the ball rolling early, and try my hand at making a game myself. However, I'm not sure where to start. I'm well versed in game design (and design in general), and am decently apt at coding (I've made a few programs in Java and C++), but I've never actually made a game yet. So my questions are:

 

1) What types of games are best suited to being made by a single person?

I'd guess that this would be things that don't require a lot of content, like an RPG would, and not something that requires a ton of testing, like any PvP game.

 

2) What game development platforms work best for a single person?

I've played around a bit with Unity and tried looking at other systems, but most of them seem better suited for large projects with lots of people on them, and/or are very expensive. I've also seen a few things like RPG Maker and Game Maker, but those seem too simplistic to make a "real" game, and don't seem to leverage my ability to write code any. Is there a middle-ground between these, or am I not giving one side enough credit?

 

3) What is a good goal to strive for for a first game?

I recall reading about how new art students start by copying existing art. Should I try to re-create existing games as a first step, or branch out and do something new? How long should I expect to spend making the game? What's a good way to know if I'm being too ambitious and setting myself up for failure?

 

And in general, any other advice for a new game developer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

1) What types of games are best suited to being made by a single person?

I'd guess that this would be things that don't require a lot of content, like an RPG would, and not something that requires a ton of testing, like any PvP game.

 

This is totally dependent on you.  If you are good at / like producing content, then a game that needs content would be fine.  Really, depending on your ability, the simpler the better.  Making games is always hard / much more work than you think, so start small.  By the way, I didn't listen to my own advice & jumped in at the deep end.  It all depends on your ability.  If you don't know what you are capable of, just start small first.

 

2) What game development platforms work best for a single person?

I've played around a bit with Unity and tried looking at other systems, but most of them seem better suited for large projects with lots of people on them, and/or are very expensive. I've also seen a few things like RPG Maker and Game Maker, but those seem too simplistic to make a "real" game, and don't seem to leverage my ability to write code any. Is there a middle-ground between these, or am I not giving one side enough credit?

 

I'm sure they all work fine for a single person.  It is possible some aren't geared towards teams.  What is your target platform?  What languages do you know?  What technologies do you want to use i.e. 3D? 2D?  These will all impact your decision on what technology stack to use.

 

3) What is a good goal to strive for for a first game?

I recall reading about how new art students start by copying existing art. Should I try to re-create existing games as a first step, or branch out and do something new? How long should I expect to spend making the game? What's a good way to know if I'm being too ambitious and setting myself up for failure?

 

Standard answer - write a Pong clone.  If you can do this, try something harder like a single screen platformer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good first game include things like tic tac toe, text-based guessing games, and form-based button press games like whack-a-mole.

As you gain skills and knowledge you can grow to pong clones, breakout clones, and tetris clones.

Look at games from the 1970s. Many of those are reasonable games for an individual beginner to make on modern machines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have never made a game you can start with the beginnings of remaking old classics however this is not mandatory you can jump in at the deep end if you want but that comes with all the warnings that you can imagine.

 

The most important thing to keep in mind when jumping in at the deep end is to keep the game simple and manageable, or set manageable goals, eg. with this project I learn how to use GL/DX/Other Graphics API for example. Build on these smaller blocks and keep building, what you learn in one project you can generally use in an other one.

 

I started off with porting an OpenGL renderer to D3D9.0c, next thing was to make a level for a decent clone, this was not the easiest process to jump into and expect to have to grok a lot of new things. The first was done over a periode of 6 months, the later in 10 weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Pick something simple.

 

2) I found it funny when I read "too simplistic to make a *real* game".

I mean, being simple should be a good thing right? And what's a *real* game?! If you want to make an AAA title, you're doomed anyway. ;)

For the rest game makers are just fine. The thing about game makers is not that they are simple (that's the good side), it's that they have limitations (like no networking support or importing extern APIs, but some do have...). As for something "in-between", I'd say Unity is perhaps what you're looking for.

 

3) Starting a project is always easy, finishing one is always hard, remember this ;)

It's not making the core prototype work that is hard, it's to polish the game over and over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go look at game jams, particularly Ludum Dare which requires one-person games for the compo. That'll give you a rough idea of what can be done by one person. You'll have to gain more experience before you'll be able to match the more polished ones (at least in that time-frame) but it should open your mind to the possibilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Go for something extremely simple with a single mechanic out there, better inspired by an old classic so you can compare your results with that one. Get familiarized with the whole process because there is a lot more to it than just implementing mechanics.

 

2) If you want to learn programming, that is an entirely different field you need to start with, but if you want just simple stuff tools like game maker will do.

 

3) The best goal is to finish it, no matter how ugly or feature-lacking it is. It just have to be playable. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) What types of games are best suited to being made by a single person?

I'd guess that this would be things that don't require a lot of content, like an RPG would, and not something that requires a ton of testing, like any PvP game.

 

 

You're going to need to do a ton of testing no matter what you end up doing, but this is more or less correct. You need to build something that you can create all the content for. You could think about generating procedural content; I'm unqualified to discuss this, but there's a wealth of information about generating worlds on this guy's blog.
 

2) What game development platforms work best for a single person?

I've played around a bit with Unity and tried looking at other systems, but most of them seem better suited for large projects with lots of people on them, and/or are very expensive. I've also seen a few things like RPG Maker and Game Maker, but those seem too simplistic to make a "real" game, and don't seem to leverage my ability to write code any. Is there a middle-ground between these, or am I not giving one side enough credit?

 

 

If what you want to make is very similar to existing games, you can probably find a creation system to help do it. If it's very different, you're likely to be better off writing the code yourself. This is really hard to answer without knowing what type of game you have in mind. Whether you've acclimated to integrating libraries and API usage will inform whether you can build an engine out of off-the-shelf parts.

 

You're right about RPG maker, though. Mostly. You can make a very complex and detailed lo-fi RPG, and you can use a series of hacks to get more out of it, but in the end you're burning time and ingenuity to make a kludgy RPG maker game.

 

3) What is a good goal to strive for for a first game?

I recall reading about how new art students start by copying existing art. Should I try to re-create existing games as a first step, or branch out and do something new? How long should I expect to spend making the game? What's a good way to know if I'm being too ambitious and setting myself up for failure?

 

 

It'd be smart to make a Tetris clone and maybe a simple sidescroller as proof of concept. This should tell you very quickly whether your expectations at this stage are reasonable.

 

And in general, any other advice for a new game developer?

 

 

Don't drop out of college, don't quit your day job, don't go into the long grass.

Edited by Winfield

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One of the first games that I've made was an R-Type) style 2D space shooter. It wasn't overly difficult and the initial art style doesn't have to be all that good. I just scrolled the background and had enemies enter from the right side of the screen. Later I added layers to the background that scrolled at different speeds. I made this game when I was in high school.

Here's a screen shot. Warning: I made this 15 or more years ago. I was originally working with others, but they didn't do any work and I made this all by myself. In my mind, it was awesome.

spdemo.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!