The democratization of new technologies has made it possible for anyone to develop their own video game at a relatively low cost. Tutorials, free programs, word of mouth from social networks and a large dose of perseverance are basic to carry out a project that until recently was a matter of large companies.
The “indie” videogames have taken an important place in the market and have shown that it is not necessary to have the backing of a multinational to be successful. However, becoming the new Angry Birds or Braid in an increasingly accessible environment and, therefore, increasingly crowded with proposals, is a feat that not many people are willing to fight.
If, however, your will is still for the work, we offer you a series of detailed ingredients by industry experts that can turn your feat into a success.
The original idea:
Like any project, everything starts with an idea. Whether it’s suddenly in the shower, on a terrace drinking something or after a work conversation, the first outline of your project is essential. At this point we must take into account that it is a new and commercial contribution, because, after all, the goal is to play as many people as possible, the better.
If you thought that your main character is a plumber who has to rescue a princess after going through innumerable pipes and face poisonous plants, maybe your idea is not very successful. Although one of the best selling video games is about placing square blocks in a diaphanous world, so the limit here is not very clear.
Javier Arévalo, academic director of the Videogame area at the U-tad University Center, warns: “The development of a videogame always starts with an idea. But that only applies to the first day. The work marks the first, third, sixth, first year or even the third depending on the size of the project ».
Domain of the PC, programming and software:
To start with the foundations, the basic thing is to have a fairly broad domain of Mac and PC operating systems, as well as basic programming and software tools. Here come into play the thousands of tutorials and guides that exist in the network so that the programming language does not sound like Chinese.
“During the first three months, it will be essential to dedicate a daily average of 60 minutes to study the news in the programming tools and software for the development of the game,” they explain from Udemy, a global online training platform.
One of his instructors, Mariano de Rivas, creator of the “Manual to create a videogame from scratch and market it successfully,” states: “The basic skills needed to create videogames have been evolving at a very fast pace thanks to technological advances. Ten years ago, these requirements were more technical, since the software for the creation of video games was not so advanced and more computer knowledge was required to better optimize the developments ».
Digital and 3D design, the visible face of your creation:
The graphics of the video game are a fundamental part of the work. The appearance of your characters, the setting where they move and the objects with which they interact make up the universe of your creation, and to a large extent will condition the success of your videogame. What would be of Tomb Ryder without the primitive edges of Lara Croft?
By this point you have to be familiar with programs like Unity, a video game engine compatible with Maya, Autodesk, Blender, Photoshop, Fireworks or Softimage that will allow you to make games for systems such as Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, iPad, OS X or Android. In addition, it has a Beta version, highly recommended for novice programmers.
In the same line we find Game Maker: Studio, with more limited possibilities but with a simpler interface that requires less programming knowledge. It is a free program created by Professor Mark Overmars in 1999 and that makes it possible for newbies to create their own videogame with very few notions on the subject.
There are also study centers, like Udemy, that offer you the Master in Videogame Creation with Unreal Engine or Master in Videogame Programming with Unity and C #; or U-tad, where the Official Degree in Design of Interactive Products is taught, as well as a master’s degree in specialization.
A good story translated into the language of video games:
Once knowledge is not a problem, you have to develop the idea based on the tools that we have. The future programmer has to decide what his character is going to do: will he walk or run? Can he jump? Will he be able to shoot? Will you have the opportunity to open chests? Will it interact with other characters?
After the step of planning the conceptual and functional design of the game, it will be necessary to translate everything into the chosen programming language.
And all this dressed with a defined aesthetic, in a certain environment and with some concrete gameplay options. “These three steps are the fundamentals of the game and, in case the developer is one, you will have to adopt all three roles,” explains Arevalo, who started 30 years ago with his brother from his room’s computer. “Nowadays, anyone with enough motivation and interest can create a videogame from home,” he says.
English, the language of video games:
Although there are large industries in countries whose official language is not English (the case of France, Germany or Japan), the video game industry is global, so its workers use this language as the basis of their relationships. In addition, most of the information and news of the sector are written in English, so their domain is essential to be up to date with the latest developments in the sector.
Being able to read in English is basic. All articles, papers, leading books are written in this language. Now, if your product is destined for the national market and you do not intend to establish business relationships beyond Spain, it may be useful for you with Spanish », academic director of the Videogame area at the U-tad University Center. However, the expert recommends the experience of working outside our country, since “it gives a more global vision of the big companies”.