Getting Started with 0 game development skills
Published 3 months ago
How I went from 0 skills to releasing 2 games.
I'm not a writer, but i wanted to share my experience with game development. I've played and enjoyed games since I was a child and always dreamed of making them. Attended college for the game design side of things with intentions to continue with coding, but that never happened. As with anything in life things happen and sometimes plans don't work. So I decided to focus on my day job and put off game development. Then comes 2014.
In 2014 after seeing people get promoted, and constantly getting passed over I decided to refocus my life on a path I wanted to be on. I decided to start my own game development company "Cracked Piston LLC" with no experience in game development. I did however have experience in business management which really helped in the business side of things. But how would I manage a business by myself with no skills.
I read some documents, picked unity for the free price range and learned the basics of Unity's interface. I decided to reach out to see if other people would like to work together to make a game via the collaboration forum. I won't go into details but needless to say it was a waste of a little over a year, leaving me alone again.
Knowing that just having great ideas is not enough, I needed to be able to do more, to create game systems myself. I found Playmaker, and while I enjoyed it, it just wasn't for me. I wanted to make a RPG and that required inventory and save/load system (The bane of my life). So again I took a break, still reluctant to study coding.
I found a system called PlyGame, perfect for what i wanted. It had a inventory system, save/load system and easy to understand visual coding system. So I began making my first game Devoured Time, and I fell into the trap most fall in of being over ambitious. Again I won't go into the details, needless to say I wasted a lot of time and found myself in a bit of a bind.
Devoured Time got greenlite and I opted for early access, but it was based on a game that myself and friend(artist) came up with. We parted ways right after it was greenlite leaving the art side gone. I was now in a position where people voted the game up and even bought into the early access. The amount was low but still people believed in it.
If there's one thing about me it's I don't like to let people down so i continued with the game, now much different than the original concept. I had to spend more and more money on art assets and found there were systems I just couldn't do with PlyGame. But I refused to abandon the game, opting instead to complete it with as much of the things I could.
When I finished the game, which took just under 2 years I was disappointed. It wasn't anything like I wanted, a total let down to me and probably the customers. So I decided then to redo the game, but on a smaller scale. I rewrote the game's story and completed it offering what I feel is a much better experience. (still not what i hoped)
I also reduced the price and offered people who bought the game at the higher price a deal. They would get a free copy of 1 of any games I make in the future. Then I stopped working on any projects and decided to focus on C#.
I learned that without a understanding of C# it would be hard for me to make the types of games I want to make. So I started classes on Udemy and turns out C# isn't that hard to learn, at least for me. I already understood if/then statements, variables , classes and a few other things.
So for the advice part of this article, start small. You don't need to make text based games, blockbuster clones, etc but you do need to start small. I would recommend making a few free to play games, that don't cost you much or anything to make.
Plan on doing it alone, at least at first, unless you have some close friends you can trust and count on. If you think of a project and you can't do it alone or have the funds to pay someone then bench it and move on. Don't forget it, but work on a new idea that you can complete.
Don't be scared to learn C#, I had zero time in C# when I started and I can say I wish I started from the start. While there are many Visual tools out there, you will always be limited without at least intermediate knowledge in C#. If you want to integrate an asset in or create a simple script C# is a must.
Make sure you focus on the business side of things to. You want to differentiate your person accounts from your business accounts. You may not be making money at first but you will soon. You may create a great game but fail on the business side which could have dire effects.
The last thing would be, don't give up. I stopped for many reasons but I never gave up, and while my first game wasn't the best, I completed it and people did enjoy it. With Unity there are so many learning tools, assets, just general help that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Thanks for reading this, I hope it helped you in some way.

William Paige
Indie Dev - Designer