Why would I take advice from a beginner on how to begin game development?
Fair question, but hear me out.
I've been in your shoes. Most of us have. Some of us made it through, others of us decided this wasn't for us. What I want to provide you is a fair opportunity to truly find out if this is what you want to do. There are tons of tutorials out there, and really great ones at that, but a lot of them are coming from people who might've learned at a different time or have forgotten how tough starting really is.
For me it started a long time ago, and I think I started and failed a dozen times, each time learning a little bit more. I'd say it wasn't until my 15th time giving it a go that I was really proud of something I'd some how made.
So don't be demoralized if this isn't your first go! Persistence is by far the most important!
Let's get started! I'm going to go over a lot of the battles we beginners have how to overcome them.
Round 1: Choice Paralysis
This is something I hate. It plagues all of us. At the grocery store, when ordering food, and especially in game development. When you jump into your journey in game development, you're approached by so many possibilities. Unity? Unreal Engine? SDL? I heard Lumberyard is cool? Arcade game? Action game? RPG? Pixel Art? Low Poly?
The possibilities are endless.
This is battle is a reoccurring theme throughout game development but as a beginner fret not!
As a beginner, our first and only goal will be to make SOMETHING. ANYTHING.
Now you're thinking "well, that didn't help..."
After the list of battles I'll be linking an exact path I believe you should take to get you started in game development. So don't worry about what game you want to make because at this moment you won't be able to. So jump into this tutorial with both feet and follow this path! Everything will be planned out and you won't have to worry at all.
Round 2: Expectations
This one is really tough to beat. Most of you already know, but the games we play day to day, most of them are made by large teams with various different skills who come together every day for years to craft those experiences. Us, me and you, we're not there yet. So we're really going to have to manage our expectations. In fact if you've never made a game before, I'm going to strongly urge you don't even come up with a game, copy one!
Engines are complicated, very complicated, and if you don't have any experience with Unity, you're going to need somewhere to get your footing. With each project you copy, you'll learn how to create new game mechanics, animations, and art styles. You'll grow your arsenal of skills and when you're confident enough, unleash them all into your own awesome creation.
But right now let's go slow.
I know, I know, I had a great idea for a game too, but I didn't have the skills, so I had to face the reality that I need to spend time learning the engine first, then make my game.
So if you're a beginner, start your journey small, grind experience, and level up your skills. You'll make your vision a reality soon enough!
Round 3: Code
Some of you can probably skip this section, but for those of you who are a little worried, don't be! Code may seem scary at first, might seem like some cryptic language, but nothing has stopped you so far so don't let this beat you.
Your journey is going to be a little bit longer if you're not familiar with C# but the great news is you'll be learning a skill desired around many industries today and making awesome stuff while doing so.
There are hundreds of great tutorials but the real trick here is your mindset. Understanding how code works isn't impossible nor is it that difficult. It's how we approach the challenge that dictates how well we do. If we start off by believing coding will be difficult then you're going to be right, but if you approach this challenge with confidence and optimism you will do well. I know this seems like motivational advice but from speaking to people at my university and other aspiring game developers (this goes out to the artists and non-technical folk who want to make games), this was the game changer.
I'll link below a great tutorial where you can get started that's been proven to help many people.
So, enough talking, how do we get started?
One of the best things about Unity is its community. From the thousands of answers to obscure bugs on Unity Answers, to the plethora of Youtubers making awesome tutorials to follow, you'll never feel alone.
Where I started and thousands of others started is a great Youtube channel known as: Brackeys
I'll link exactly in what order you should get started!
If you've never coded before start here
This is going to be a great start of those of you who have never coded before. Remember, you can do this, regardless of your background! Make sure to listen closely and pause and look up anything you don't understand. This playlist will teach you the building blocks of code that will stay with you for the rest of your life!
If you're kind of familiar with coding start here
Start by going through with this tutorial and copy the code exactly, shouldn't take you more than two hours and you should already have your first game! Post it online, share it with your friends, and be proud of it! This is your first game!
Let's move on to some cooler games. Now that you've finished your first game you're a little be more comfortable with the Engine. Give this tutorial a shot. Try to spread out your game development so you don't burn out and trust me we all burn out. This time also try to give the game your own spin. Try out new colors, maybe new fonts, maybe mess around with the mechanics a bit to make the feel a little different. You are in control!
Now you should feel even better! You're starting to get a hang of the hierarchy system, how the code works together. You're already thinking of all the possibilities of games you could make! Slow down though, keep grinding through more tutorials. Make sure you don't stop if you get a weird bug, that's part of the process.
At this point you should have completed three games! Three games! Before this you had zero games. Now you're equip with some awesome new skills and a world of possibility has been unlocked in front of you. But this isn't the end of your journey. Oh no, it's just the beginning! So keep grinding! Keep watching videos and keep improving your skills. You'll be presenting at E3 in no time.
Your first games are going to be rough and even though you copied some games, you learned from them. You've made something tangible. This will help boost your confidence to lead you to greater projects.
So good luck on your journey and hopefully we'll meet some day!