Get Started in Game Development - GameDev.net

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Get Started in Game Development

Game development can be one of the most satisfying creative pursuits. Whether you're just learning or looking to make a career the games industry, our guide will help you get started.

Reality Check

Game development is difficult. You may have dreams of becoming the next Fortnite, but the reality is hundreds of millions of dollars go into the development and sustainable ecosystem of a game like Fortnite.

It is easy to get frustrated with game development. Our recommendation is to set realistic expectations, start small, and build up your skills.

GameDev.net has an area specifically for anyone getting started in game development to ask questions and get help from experts in a safe environment: the For Beginners Forum.

Sometimes the best way to learn is to learn by doing - as you get started on your game development journey, you may want to check out the GameDev Challenges that are intended to be small, bite-sized game projects to help developers build up their skills. You can check out the ones we've hosted here.

Level 1: The Basics

Nowadays, games can be created with little or no programming knowledge. This wasn't always the case. In fact, when GameDev.net was launched in 1999, making games required programming knowledge, computer systems knowledge, and possibly more depending on the type of game.

But today, software like Unity, Unreal Engine, GameMaker, Godot, and more provide access to the same technologies and tools available to large game developers.

Get Started in Game Development - GameDev.net

This means literally anyone can make a video game. The key is in assessing your skillset and finding the best tools for the job.

Level 2: The Tools

The first step is in assessing your skills and identifying your strengths. Are you a programmer? An artist? A designer? None of the above?

Identifying your skills and strengths will help you figure out where to start and what tools and platforms you should use. If you're a programmer, for instance, maybe you should start with a game engine.

If you've never written code, maybe you should start with GameMaker.

Are you a web developer? Check out one of the HTML5/Javascript/Python game development frameworks.

The table below shows common game development software and frameworks beginners might come across:

NameProgramming LanguageDo I need to learn how to code?CostUnityC#YesFree for Personal useUnrealC++, Unrealscript, VisualYesFree open sourceGameMaker StudioGameMaker Language (GML)NoFree to try, $39+GodotC++, LuaYesFree open sourceCryengineC++ / Lua / C#YesFree for first $5k revenueDefoldLuaYesFreePyGamePythonYesFree open sourceCoronaLuaYesFreeModd.ioVisualNoFreeGDevelopJavascriptYesFree open sourcePhaserJavascriptYesFree open sourceConstruct 3VisualNo$200BabylonJSJavascriptYesFree open sourceCocos2DJavascriptYesFree open sourceEsenthelC++YesFree open source

Many more game engines, frameworks, and tools exist in the world. The above list is intended to provide you with a starting point. Look through the list and find a tool that fits your skillset.

We recommend that as you learn more in your game development journey that you try different game engines and frameworks. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and no one engine, framework, or tool is perfect for all developers or all game styles and genres.

Level 3: Resources

There are a lot of resources out there for you to learn from, but there is also a lot of noise. At GameDev.net we try to make it easier for you to learn, share, and connect with the game development community.

GameDev.net is one of the best places to learn about and become immersed in the broader game development community and games industry. GameDev.net has been online since 1999 and is the perfect combination of industry professionals working on the best selling games, students learning how to make games and the technologies behind them, and indie developers trying to make a living with game development. Many industry leaders grew up with us and are now making the games you love to play or working on the technologies you're using to make your own games.

Level Up Your GameDev

Ask questions and search for answers on the GameDev.net Forums.

We have a large archive of tutorials covering everything from advanced graphics topics to basic engine tutorials. Maybe one day you will contribute your own tutorial for other game developers?

Did you make a game or start a project? Share your project and get feedback from other developers.

Also don't forget to check out what other developers are doing in the developer blogs. Maybe even share your own progress?