Create Virtual Games
Computer games have a wide spectrum of scope and character, from modest single-player online games to complex adventure games and massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPG. Whether simple or sophisticated, however, these games all call on a similar skill set, which, when mastered, can be turned to authoring impressive projects even as an individual or with a small team. Through growing adept at any of the many free and paid game-creation tools, a single person can use his imagination to inspire and entertain others.
1. Choose your game-creation software. There are countless options available, free and paid, intended for creating everything from 2-D retro games to 3-D adventures and shooters. For more ambitious 3-D projects, consider three free-to-use tools: Game Maker, which is supported by a community of gamers; Platinum Arts Sandbox Free 3D Game Maker, which claims to be accessible enough for kids to enjoy; and 3D Rad, which is fed by a library of user-created objects (see References). The standard program for creating simpler games and single-player online experiences is Flash (see Resources), and while it doesn’t come cheap, its wealth of capabilities, support materials and user-created tutorials make it a good option even for the beginning game developer.
2. Familiarize yourself with your chosen software. Flash’s website contains a number of tutorials to teach beginning to advanced skills; users should learn about graphics and animation and may want to look into ActionScript, Flash’s scripting language. Other programs will have help, tutorials and user forums to support budding developers. Spend enough time tinkering with the program — and that may mean many hours of work — to feel confident enough to produce a game without a lot of head scratching.
3. Design the game. With your knowledge of the software’s strengths, as well as your own, you can imagine the look and mechanics of the game. For games relying on narration, produce a script and lists of characters, rooms, objects and so forth; for other genres, get a clear idea of the game’s mechanics and goals.
4. Build the game. With your acquired knowledge, you shouldn’t have problems that can’t be cured with a little time spent asking questions of peers on forums. Once you have a working version ready, vet it with friends and relatives to find glitches and plot holes you weren’t able to spot yourself.
5. Upload the game online if you wish. Some development software such as Game Maker has its own gaming community, but many other portals exist, such as Kongregate and Steam (see Resources). Share the game with the online world and enjoy the profits it may generate, whether from setting your own price for download or receiving a portion of ad revenue.