How to make your own video game – ZDNet

If you both enjoy playing video games and drawing, telling stories, or creating art, you may have wondered how to make a video game yourself. The good news is that the internet’s array of free, open-source game engines have made this easier than ever before!
If you have the desire and the vision, you can make your vision a reality. Making your own video game is now as easy as conceptualizing and designing your dream game, then downloading free tools to build it.
Read on to learn how to make a video game using free tools available online.
Dream big, but stay grounded in reality. New titles saturate the indie game market each year. Many meet with little success. Only 37 titles were released via video game distributor Steam during its first year, 2004. In 2021, developers released 10,696 games on the platform.
Even if your first game fails to turn a profit, it represents an important stepping stone in learning how to become a video game developer. You may even earn a small audience to boost you towards future success.
Every interesting work of art begins with a creative spark. The most fun part of making your own video game might be brainstorming. When brainstorming, make up your mind on a few key aspects of your game:
Prioritize ideas that play to your strengths, sound fun to you, and fit within your budget.
Once your ideas solidify, develop a game design document (GDD). This document, which could be a Word document, PDF, or Google Docs document, lays out your blueprint for your game and establishes a creative vision. Your GDD should include:
Also, decide on a programming language or to use a game development tool that doesn’t require coding. C++, Java, and JavaScript are the main programming languages used in game development. The latter two are among the easiest programming languages.
An online computer science degree can pave your way to a career in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, database management, and more.
Your next step is to choose your game-building tools. While you can build a game completely from scratch, there’s no shame in using a premade game engine. Even professional designers use them.
The following free and low-cost game engines can help you make a great-looking game with ease. The learning curve varies depending on the engine and whether you hold a computer science degree or prior programming experience.
Runs on macOS, Windows, Ubuntu
Cost: Free version, as well as two subscription versions starting at $4.99 yearly
Used for: 2D and 3D games, but primarily 2D
Languages: Game Maker Language, JavaScript, C++

GameMaker Studio 2 is a premier 2D game development engine with limited 3D capabilities. The engine is designed for beginners. Its website features a variety of tutorials for first-time users.
Runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux 
Cost: Free
Used for: 2D games
Languages: C++, JavaScript

GDevelop is a free, open-source game development engine designed with beginners in mind. The interface is drag-and-drop, making it perhaps the easiest to master on this list.
Runs on macOS, Windows and Linux
Cost: Free
Used for: 2D and 3D games
Languages: C++, C#, GDScript, any language that uses GDNative bindings

Godot is a free, open-source game engine distinguished for the number of computer programming languages it accepts. The engine is known for having a steeper learning curve than most.
Runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux
Cost: Free
Used for: 2D text-based adventure games
Languages: CSS/JavaScript

Twine is a free, open-source game engine for developing visual novels and text-based adventure games. Games produced on the engine are famed for their nonlinear, experimental structures.
Runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux
Cost: Free (for creators with less than $100K in the last 12 months)
Used for: 2D and 3D games
Languages: C++, C#

Unity is often used in cross-platform game development. The engine is a powerhouse of visual rendering. Video artists outside the video game industry use Unity, too.
Runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux 
Cost: Free; 5% royalties past $1 million in revenue
Used for: 3D games
Languages: C++, Blueprints

Unreal Engine is a cross-platform game engine first developed in 1988. This tool excels with its detailed visual rendering and easy learning curve.
You have your creative vision and your tools. Now, hunker down for the hardest and most time-consuming step: building the game.
Building a game takes weeks or possibly longer to complete, during which time you can iron out bugs and get feedback from friends and family.
Try checking out the following useful subreddits for feedback and support as you troubleshoot bugs and learn the ropes:
The best way to help your game find an audience is through word of mouth plus savvy promotion. You can sell or freely distribute your game on a platform such as Steam,, or Gog. Consider making a Facebook or Twitter account or Discord group to promote your game.
You can also submit your game to streamers who upload videos via YouTube or Twitch. They might play it for their audience, giving you some free publicity!
Creating your own video game is like creating any kind of art. What matters is not just your creation’s success but what you learn from the creative process. 
Your first video game does not need to be a masterpiece, so long as you learn and grow from it. And who knows, your first effort could be the next sleeper hit! The real secret of how to make a video game is to start trying.


Note that any programming tips and code writing requires some knowledge of computer programming. Please, be careful if you do not know what you are doing…

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