These days it can seem like making games is an arena entirely dominated by huge studios with millions of dollars behind them. But in actual fact there are more tools than ever, out there to allow you to create your own games, and many of them are completely free to use. Here’s a quick guide to some great beginner’s tools.
The important thing with all of these tools is not to spend ages going through the instruction manual of each one and working out what everything does. Simply open the program, dive in and start throwing things together. There is no better way to learn game creation than learning by doing, and each of these programs is designed to allow you to do just that.
Sploder is a fantastic web-based tool for creating all sorts of games, from retro arcade style games, to physics puzzles, shooters, 3D adventures and of course, the classic platformers. Sploder also rather handily includes a graphics editor, so you can create your own art assets instead of having game entirely populated by different coloured polygons.
This a slightly fancier tool for the development of 3D flash games. It supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, PS3, Xbox360, Wii U, and the web, with an intuitive design geared towards beginners. Your typical game will be divided into scenes, each one of which contains game objects which can use scripts, have certain properties and be assigned certain interactions.
Unity 3D also boasts a really useful asset store, great for buying and importing everything from GUIs to model animations to use in your games. It’s a great way to avoid reinventing the wheel while you’re building your first game.
An incredibly basic tool this one. Vine is designed not to build massive Call of Duty style games, but branching narratives not unlike the choose your own adventure games of our youth. However there’s a wide away customisation, and you can design the UI to look however you wish, including assets such as graphics, sounds and videos to give the experience some more depth.
Construct 2 is for creative HTML5 games, particularly 2D games such as side scrollers and platformers. What makes Construct 2 so easy to use is it’s simple drag and drop interface. Simply drop items onto your game space, assign scripts and behaviours to each one and you’re away. The intuitive interface means you don’t have to spend too long going through the manual, and can begin building your games straight away!
Although some of these tools have paid-for editions that give access to more tools, each of these will allow you to create a game from scratch. Don’t restrict yourself to just one tool, experiment with all of them, each will teach you different skills and allow you to try new and more ambitious things. From there you can start to build the sort of epic game that you fantasized about making as a kid. And who knows, if you get a taste for it, maybe there’s a career to built here?
Jason Falls is a freelance writer and avid gamer who works with Butlers Bingo and has always wanted to make his own video game.