28th June, 2018

How To Become a Game Developer: Expert Advice and Awesome Tools

By Dom G

With the games industry generating a market value of $116 Billion from its 2.2 billion gamers in 2017, business is absolutely booming. In fact, games are worth so much now that they are generating more revenue than both the film and music industry combined!

For a lot of people gaming is a way of life, it’s how they identify themselves to the world and it’s how they communicate what they’re passionate about, so it’s no wonder that so many people want to create games for a living. The good news is that with games becoming an ever greater part of our culture, being incorporated into art and education as well as entertainment, now is a better time than ever to dive into the world of game development!

Game development is a term that can be a little confusing, but from an industry perspective game development involves art, design, programming and more, across loads of roles. In this article, we’ve taken a broad approach, giving you the chance to explore some of the main aspects of game development if you’re not set on one particular area yet.

We’ve worked with some of our amazing tutors and drawn on the combined wisdom of expert game developers to pull together a go-to guide for aspiring game developers looking to learn about the path to game development mastery.

Below you’ll find 6 steps recommended by our awesome tutors and veteran game devs on the lessons you’ll need to learn and the strategies you’ll need to implement to break into the game industry. We’ve even included some crazy gaming facts at the end of each point to keep you going!

Oh and make sure you read the game dev mythbusters at the end before you go!

★ Jump to step #6: Use every great resource possible: Expert recommended tools


★ How to become a game developer: 6 steps to start making games for a living ★

#1: Decide on the type of games you’d like to focus on

Whilst your area of interest will likely shift over the course of your career, it’s important to set a focus for the type of games that you want to eventually end up creating. This will allow you to build your portfolio up around the right type of work. Creating side-scrolling, 2D indie games like Terraria or Sonic require a very different skill-set to those you’ll need to work on the next Call of Duty title!

You may already know the sort of games you want to make, but if not we’ve broken down some key info on different game types below! (This is far from a comprehensive list of game types - this is just to give you an idea of some major differences!)

Indie:

Indie, or independent, games are generally created by small groups of individuals or a relatively small creative studio, with no financial backing from a publisher. They generally tend to focus more on local play rather than online multiplayer and have a greater focus on creativity, innovation and artistic expression than many profit-orientated, big budget titles.

AAA:

Generally used to refer to games that are produced by major studios with a substantial budget, requiring a high sales volume and extensive software expansions to maintain profitability. Like hollywood, these games tend to rely on relatively low-risk sequels over higher-risk artistic projects, so expect to see your work all over billboards and TV ads. You’ll be focused mainly on PC, Playstation and Xbox gaming for AAA titles.

2D:

Experiencing a major resurgence in recent years, 2D games are generally the realm of Indie game developers for their comparatively low cost and relatively simplistic gameplay mechanics. These could be text-based adventure-choice games, platformers, tower defence, point and click RPG or old-school racing and shoot ‘em-ups. Mobile games also tend to fall into this category, although with phones getting more powerful by the week, 3D is growing in popularity.

3D:

Can be anything from a side-scroller to a AAA shooter. 3D games generally tend to be more development-intensive due to an additional dimension and all the extra game physics that go with that. 3D games can be pretty much anything that 2D games can be and vice versa, but some of the major game types you might look to work on are First-Person Shooters, MOBAs and MMORPGs.

There are tonnes of other classifications, genres, sub-genres and schools of gaming that these four categories are separated into, if you want some more detail.

Fun Fact: The highest grossing video game of all time is Space Invaders, generating more than $13.9 billion over its lifetime!


#2: Know which programming language best suits your game type and learn it / Know your art and design software inside and out!

The coding languages used in games vary hugely and are largely dependent on the game engine that you’re using. That said, we’ve included some details of some of the most commonly used languages for you to get started on!

C/C++:

The most widely used and arguably one of the trickiest coding languages, C/C++ is what the vast majority of AAA games are developed with. There’s a pretty steep learning curve with C/C++ , but if you want to be a software engineer on big games, it’s an absolute must. C/C++ allows you to have a huge amount of control over every aspect of the development, meaning more complex and ultimately more immersive experiences can be created in-game.

C#:

If you’re going to be using the Unity game engine to build your games (and with 34% of the top games currently being made with Unity, there’s a good chance you will be) then you’ll most likely be using C# to do so. C# is much less programming-intensive than C/C++, with many elements coming pre-introduced into the language, meaning that you get slightly less control in exchange for a much easier time of it.

Java:

Java is one of the most well-known and long-standing coding languages around and is still widely used in Android game development as well as in Indie game creation. It does have plenty of other uses, but in terms of high-spec game development, other coding languages offer far more finesse.

Unity:

Unity is one of, if not the, most popular game engines on the market today. Whilst developers tend to favour C# when building games in this engine, the use of UnityScript is growing in popularity. Used for AAA titles as well as tiny indie games and everything in between, Unity as a game engine is something you should really get to grips with if you’re interested in working in the game industry. It doesn’t hurt to know its own script either.

Art and Design software is hugely varied, but there are some major players that it’s well worth honing your skills in if you want to move into this area of development.

Photoshop: 

Used as the industry standard for visualising early environment, character and general game design concepts, concept artists and graphic designers pull together the look of the game using Adobe’s flagship product. Other uses include the creation of 2D game sprites and texture mapping for character and model textures.

Autodesk 3DS: 

Again, this is the industry standard for 3D modelling and character animation. You may also hear about Autodesk Maya, but this is generally used for cinematics rather than in-game animation.

Zbrush: 

Alongside Photoshop and 3DS, Zbrush tends to be the go-to tool for artists and designers working on games with intricately detailed models. The tool is primarily used for character and object sculpting, which creates the high level of detail found in many modern games.

Fun Fact: 8 out 10 of the programmers who worked on the best-selling N64 title GoldenEye 007 had never worked on a video game before - So there’s hope for us all!


#3 Find an online or in-person tutor to drive your skill-set forwards

Whilst there’s plenty of options out there to hone your chosen skill-set as a game developer, the support and personal guidance you can receive from one-to-one tuition is still one of the best ways to do this. Whether you’re looking for programming tuition or need a mentor to guide your development in art or design, just one lesson every couple of weeks with an expert tutor would allow you to fit your studies around any busy timetable, and give you the opportunity to take control of your learning.

Here you can find top-rated programming, art and design tutors who can help you succeed, whatever your goals may be. You can even read reviews from past students and message every tutor for free with what you’d like to achieve and your timescale.

Fun Fact: The voice of Mario belongs to Charles Martinet, who also voices the dragon Paarthurnax of Skyrim!


#4: Practice creating games!

Ok, so you might not be creating the next Fortnite just yet, but one of the most important things you can do to progress your skills in game development is to practice on as many projects as possible. Whether this is programming simple 2D games like hangman or pong, drawing up concepts for completely new game ideas or generating textures, models or basic sprites for other groups of newbies, it’s all awesome practice.

One of the best ways to do this is to get involved in Game Jams. Sound tasty don’t they? Whilst you can’t eat Game Jams, they certainly give you something to sink your teeth into. A Game Jam is basically when a community of developers comes up with a random genre and game type together and then separate off to create a completed game in a limited amount of time, either as individuals or small groups. The developers then share their final product with the community and get rated on key aspects! Ludum Dare is a great example of a long-standing Game Jam community.

Game Jams can vary in length but generally tend to be across a weekend, which means you’ll be super busy! The best part of Game Jams is the community you’re engaging with. You’ll pick up tonnes of tips, loads of constructive feedback and get used to working to tight deadlines just like the pros.

Fun Fact: In 2017, developers from across 700 locations in 95 different countries joined in the world’s largest game development event, Global Game Jam, to produce over 7000 games in a 48 hour period!


#5: Read, watch and speak to people involved in the industry

To really get an understanding of the industry you’ve got two options: work in it or speak to those that already do.

One of the best ways to understand what the industry is really like and the best ways to break into it is to follow the blogs, Youtube channels, LinkedIn profiles and social media accounts of game developer experts. There are tonnes of people out there, at all stages of their careers who love what they do and regularly post content surrounding it, so you can get some real insight into what they do.

To get some really honest answers to some great questions, there’s also some awesome game dev forums out there that discuss all aspects of the industry. Want to know about a particular studio? Perhaps you want to understand what it’s really like working on an indie project, or maybe you just want to find out how people got their first gig. Forums like GameDev.net, GameCareerGuide and sites like AskAGameDev are excellent examples of these.

Fun Fact: The most financially successful game studio to date is Tencent. If you haven’t heard of them you’re not alone, but they’re the creators of the hugely successful League of Legends!

#6: Utilise every great resource possible!

However you want to go about becoming a game developer, you’re going to need to understand as much about the process and the industry as possible, which means finding the right resources for you. We’ve pulled together a collection of some of the best resources out there. Ranging from forums, blogs and gaming news to Game Jams, gaming assets and free game engines to start creating your games in, there’s something in there for everyone.

Fun Fact: The longest recorded video game marathon to date lasted 138 hrs and 34 seconds. The game was Just Dance 2015. And you thought you were committed to gaming.


Forums, Sites and Blogs Offering Advice


Ask a Game Dev

Ask a Game Dev is a Tumblr blog dedicated to hosting a wealth of answers to any questions that arise about the world of creating video games. The blog has been running for several years and has amassed a huge archive in that time, but the creator still answers new questions on an ongoing basis. Gaining the kind of insight that only an industry insider can offer is a fantastic tool for those aspiring to break into game development, and the questions answered can be particularly topical during big gaming events such as E3.

The archives are easily searchable and can be viewed without the need for a Tumblr account, so why not hop in a take a look through?

Game Career Guide

They say the first step is the most important, and for many it’s also the hardest. Game Career Guide has been built to help those needing that all-important introduction to the world of game development and figure out where their goals should lie.

Featuring a ‘Getting Started’ section, as well as outlining and explaining educational options and possible career paths, this is a truly priceless resource for any aspiring game dev in dire need of guidance.

Game Career Guide also features news and features on the latest from the industry, as well as a community forum where users can network and pose questions to working professionals.

Get planning here


GameDev.net

GameDev.net is the premier community for developers, students, and hobbyists who are serious about the business, art, and technology of game development. Tutors and students find that GameDev.net provides a wealth of information in tutorials, active forums, and a vibrant learning-centric community that welcomes them to the global game conversation.

GameDev has aggregated tonnes of links to tools, game assets, educational resources, and everything that can guide a game dev and their colleagues in both the creation process and the stages thereafter.

There’s buckets of resources to look through, so dive in and learn something new!


TIGSource

 

TIGSource forums are a place for independent gamers and games developers to discuss, share and enjoy independent game development. The site has sections for every facet of game development, such as audio, art, playtesting, programming and more!

Devs can chart the progress of their games and share it with the community, as well as ask for critiques and feedback and share solutions to common barriers faced by game devs. The site also has its own Discord server and even organises events and meetups. If you’re a game dev looking for a community that understands the highs and lows of making games, this is the place for you.

Check it out


Gamedevelopertips.com

 

The name should leave no mystery as to what you’ll find here! The site is run by Marco Mignano, who has been working as a freelance game and app developer for the last five years.

The site serves as a blog bolstered by his experience and knowledge gained in the industry, with tips for aspiring developers, tutorials for tools and game engines, and even a log of Marco’s time travelling in Asia whilst coding a game.

Making games on the move would seem impossible in the not-so-distant past, yet here we are. This is a great source of inspiration for people who like the idea of developing games, but don’t want to be hunched over a desk working insane hours in an office.

Have a look here


Gamesauce.biz

Gamesauce is a place of global inspiration for game developers, taking stories and insights from all over the world into one place.

Their studio spotlights are in-depth features focusing on studios from India to Denmark to Poland, with incisive answers straight from the developers themselves and behind-the-scenes looks at their offices and set ups. Whatever your background, the love of making great games is a unifying desire, and Gamesauce showcases that fact with their in-depth content.

They also feature exclusive interviews with working game devs, so go on and be inspired!

Indie DB

IndieDB.com is dedicated to helping indie games succeed, by giving developers a voice and a community they can share news, files, and media with. Visited by gamers, writers, streamers and publishers, they help make connections with people seeking unique, amazing games.

Developers who are feeling particularly brave even share trailers for their upcoming games, giving them the perfect place to test the waters and generate some interest for their projects! The site also hosts articles and a blog, keeping you up-to-date with the latest, as well as providing breakdowns for industry staples such as Steam and its Greenlight program.

Check it out!

Kongregate Blog

Kongregate are a video game studio, bringing a huge array of games to the table. Their devblog and forums give invaluable insights into the gaming world, looking behind the scenes and allowing you to ask those burning questions in an environment full of experts.

They also hold a monthly contest for developers with their highest-rated games, in which they can win a considerable cash prize! If that piques your interest, why not download some of the free tools and assets mentioned throughout this article and give it a go! Online Flash games are still hugely popular and Kongregate’s own website hosts a massive amount of them.

Take a look 

Lazyfoo' 

Set up initially by a university student, Lazyfoo' is now the side project of a full-time game developer. There is a huge array of tutorials available on OpenGL and SDL development, alongside a forum for discussions.

The articles on the site are broken down into a helpful contents table, including starting out in game development, writing readable code, and pinpointing a crash. This site is a valuable resource to any game dev, whether you’re just starting out or knee deep in problematic code.

The site’s author is also unabashedly honest about the demands and challenges of his career, to make sure you understand the pitfalls as well as the rewards of the job!

Head over!

Lost Garden 

There are many years worth of essays on this site, most of which should stimulate your brain in at least some tingling fashion. The site is run by Daniel Cook, the Chief Creative Officer of Spry Fox, a game developer that has produced such gems as Tiny Town.

Daniel has had a career in game development for over 15 years, so his in-depth essays are chock-full of invaluable knowledge that can definitely impart something new, no matter what your level of experience. Make a cup of coffee, dive in and take notes!

 There’s also some art assets shared for free, so take a look!


Game Engines and Support Tools


Construct 3

Construct 3 allows anyone to make games using its super powerful event sheet editor - a unique and intuitive way to build stunning games whilst learning programming concepts and developing wider skills. Construct 3 is highly versatile, allowing people with no experience to build and publish their first games. This little super-tool is used widely across schools and Universities as a way to teach programming and games development, whilst also being powerful enough for use in professional studios.

Once you've created your games, you can publish and monetise them on Steam, iOS, Android app store, the web and a host of other places! Not only that, but the Construct 3 editor itself runs in the browser so you can create and publish on just about any platform you can think of.

Construct 3 is used by tens of thousands of people every month. We have a fully documented manual and lots of tutorials and templates to help you get going. We absolutely love seeing what people create with it in our thriving community and can't wait to see what else is around the corner! 

- Tom Gullen, Co-Founder

Amazon Lumberyard

The retail giant is well-known for its expansions into novel industries and it’s gone and done it again with game development. Amazon Lumberyard is a game engine born from Amazon’s belief that game developers ‘deserve another choice’. Free, powerful, and fully customisable, Lumberyard can be employed on projects for PC, console and mobile gaming, and you only pay for the Amazon Web Services that you choose to use.

Lumberyard has tutorials and community support to help you along the way, easing in new users and guiding established users when confusion or frustration arises. Check out Amazon’s Game Tech blog for detailed notes for every update of Lumberyard, as well as news, insights and discussions from the world of game development.

Take a look here!


COCOS2D-X

Cocos2d-x is a suite of open-source, cross-platform, game-development tools used by thousands of developers all over the world.

It allows developers to build interactive apps and programs with graphical user interfaces, and boasts the fastest speed of any other game engine. Thanks to this, it’s optimised for running on all kinds of devices, even low-end mobile platforms.

Cocos2d-x is also open source, meaning it can be customised and tweaked by the community and any developer can share their ideas with others! The program has demonstrations to help newbies along the way, and it has even been used for such popular mobile apps as Dragon City Mobile and Big Fish Casino! Mobile gaming dominates a huge section of the gaming market these days, so a suite of tools like these are only going to become more essential for the future of gaming.

Download it here


Build Box

Buildbox makes it easy to create amazing professional looking games without any prior coding or programming skills. With their drag-and-drop game builder, anyone can jump right in and start building levels. There’s no steep learning curve or experience required, which makes it a great teaching tool. Students can focus more on making their game and level design than the complexities of scripting. All the tools you need to get really creative are included in the software. Students can bring their games to life with animated sequences and cool custom effects.

Buildbox’s mission is to make game development fun, while cutting down the time needed to build a game from the ground up.

You can download it here


Corona Labs

Corona is a cross-platform framework ideal for rapidly creating apps and games for mobile devices and desktop systems. That means you can create your project once and publish it to multiple types of devices, including Apple iPhone and iPad, Android phones and tablets, Amazon Fire, Mac Desktop, Windows Desktop, and even connected TVs such as Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV.

It's based in Lua, a scripting language for video games that is growing in popularity, used to build such blockbusters as Warcraft and Angry Birds. One code base works for both mobile and desktop, and best of all, Corona is completely free in its core functionality!

You can download it here


Godot

Godot is a rapidly growing 2D and 3D game engine, and the most advanced free and open source game development environment available on the market today. It's non-profit, developed by volunteers and comes without any restrictions. It's built around an intuitive architecture which makes it very easy for new users to pick up and tutors to use as a base for teaching programming (Python-like GDScript or C#) and game development.

Godot's flexible and powerful scene system can be used to create complex games in a modular and self-contained manner, which also appeals to seasoned game developers looking for a new approach.

Download it here


Kenney.nl

Here, have some more free assets! The team at Kenney have created over 40,000 images, audio files and 3D models for use in your projects. Thanks to their public domain license, you're even allowed to use them in commercial projects!

They also have tools such as Assetforge, a modelling program allowing you to create 3D models and 2D sprites. The creations made in Assetforge are compatible with most available game engines, giving you a perfect complement to other tools mentioned in this article.

Previews of games currently in development are uploaded to the site with screenshots and descriptions of their premises, allowing you to see an early look at what a growing game can look like.

Take a look-see here


Game Analytics

 

Game Analytics was built with the main goal of helping developers understand their players so that they can improve their gameplay, increase their revenues, and make games that people love.

The platform is fully customisable to allow users to monitor any event and specify the data that they care most about. It can also track individual elements of a game, such as the use of rewards or in-game purchases, or even how an individual player has progressed through the game and where they spend their time and energy within the game.

For developers who want the insight of how their game is performing in real terms, this is one to seriously consider.

You can download it here


GameSparks

GameSparks has an impressive toolkit under its belt, offering a myriad of features to enhance video game multiplayer and social functionality.

A recent addition to the Amazon family, GameSparks provides support for in-game economies, chat functions, multiplayer matchmaking and much more! It is trusted by game publishing giants such as Square Enix and Bandai Namco, and the number of tools it offers is staggering.

The site itself features tutorials and a blog, with updates to the product, features and news from within the industry. This is ideal for those devs who are curious about the implementation of the systems that bring so many players to the biggest video games today.

You can book a demo here


Education Resources: Improve Your Skills


GitHub Education


GitHub has grown into the world’s leading platform for software development, growing in ten years from around 1000 users to being bought out by Microsoft for billions. GitHub Education brings software development to students, teachers and schools, aiding the next generation of code writers.

The developer tools are free for students, and teacher training is even on offer so that educators can learn to use Git and equip themselves with the necessary knowledge to pass on to students. The platform offers tools to help groups track and identify issues in their code, set tasks, and control their workflow. For aspiring game devs looking to tackle coding and learn it from the ground up, this is the perfect tool set.

Sign-up here

as

Ludum Dare Game Jam

Founded in April 2002, Ludum Dare is an online community best known for the Ludum Dare Game Jam event. During Ludum Dare events, developers create games from scratch in a weekend based on a theme suggested by the community – think something like NaNoWriMo for game devs. Ludum Dare events take place every April, August and December.

The website has its source code available on GitHub (see previous entry) and has an RSS feed for updates such as new games from developers or new tools and engines available to the community. If you have the passion but lack the drive or motivation, an event like Ludum Dare could be just what you need to keep you under pressure and working to time.

Join the community here


GameMaker Blog

GameMaker Blog is, well, a blog for users of the GameMaker software – no nasty surprises here! What makes this blog such a fantastic resource is the wealth of tutorials for tricky concepts that users might face, as well as guest posts from experts on topics such as sound design and the concept of crowdsourcing.

With the guidance of the GameMaker blog, turning a concept into a functioning video game can be a reality for beginner game devs. There’s also regular news for updates and developments with the GameMaker software, to keep users on their toes and up to date! 

Take a look here


2D Game Art Guru

2DGameArtGuru tutorials offer a different take on game art creation. It's less of an artistic approach and more a constructive creation of art. They don’t expect all of their readers to have a readily available pool of artistic talent – you don't need to have drawing skills to create your own game art if you know how to use the tools provided by some of the design programs. Combining objects like circles and squares, to then rotate, scale and squash will get you a long way. The tutorials are very easy to follow and help the reader understand the process of breaking complex illustrations down into simple shapes.

Everybody needs to start somewhere, and 2DGameArtGuru embrace this fact with oodles of colour and charm!

Check it out!


Jesse Schell - Education

Schell Games is the largest full-service education and entertainment game development company in the United States. Since 2002, they’ve worked to create interactive experiences on every platform to enrich the lives of players of all ages. Projects in their award-winning portfolio range from mobile, desktop, and virtual reality games to interactive installations and theme park attractions... and everything in between.

Jesse’s site is worth a visit just for the landing page alone – you won’t be disappointed – but don’t stop there as he’s got a wealth of resources across his site, including his past talks and even download links to his slides. Jesse also makes a series of YouTube videos in which he makes predictions for the future of gaming and the possible trajectories of current trends.

Visit it here!

Code Combat 

Gamification has been praised for its ability to help learners quickly and effectively retain information in a whole range of subjects, and coding is no exception. What better way to learn video game coding than through video games?

One for the younger aspiring game developer, Code Combat is a platform for students to learn computer science while they play through the game. Their mission is to ‘make programming accessible to every student on Earth’, and to this end Code Combat has been made to excel in the classroom even with teachers who have no experience with programming.

Code Combat has been translated into 50 different languages so far – and speaking of languages, it teaches students to program in CSS 3, Python, Javascript, HTML 5 and more!

Have a look here!


Game Programming Patterns

This is one for the frustrated coder. Game Programming Patterns is a collection of coding patterns available in four formats: print, eBook, PDF and web. The first three are variably priced, but the web option is completely free.

In coding, a ‘pattern’ is a reusable, general solution to a problem that commonly occurs and reoccurs with software programming. The site’s founder, Bob Nystrom, wrote the collection of patterns under the idea of the ‘book he wished he had’ when he started making games – so you know it’s going to be full of gems! The web format is free, so take a look and see what you can learn!

Head over here!


Reality Is Broken

McGonigal is a vocal champion of video games being a force for good in the world and helping us change for the better. Her first book, Reality is Broken, entered the New York Times bestseller list. In it, McGonigal argues that games contribute powerfully to human happiness and motivation, a sense of meaning, and the development of community.

Her book is a great resource for insights from a renowned game designer, and her positivity around the power of well-designed video games is positively infectious! If you’re looking for a boost of confidence and energy to your efforts, check out Jane’s site and watch her videos.

Learn more here!


Game Accessibility Guidelines

Exactly as it sounds, Game Accessibility Guidelines is a free resource for developers who are stuck for ideas on how to make their games more inclusive for their atypical users.

The website structures its suggestions into Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced, based on the complexity of incorporating the ideas and designing your game to make them possible. Each entry goes into incredible depth, even those populating the Basic list, and provide statistics and reasons that each might be necessary, along with examples of how they might be done.

These are further broken down into areas such as motor, cognitive, vision, hearing, speech and so on, making them even better for projects designed as learning aids for learners requiring diversified material.

You can view the full guide here


Game Assets


Open Game Graphics

OpenGameGraphics.com gathers the best free to use game assets from all over the internet. All the featured assets can be used in private and commercial projects. Everything is categorized neatly and browsing as well as downloading is fast and easy. As a special note, their collection of full game assets is fantastic. Asset collections can pretty much be used to create a full game with. On top of all that, the site is continually being updated with fresh game asset awesomeness!

Check it out!

GameArt2D

GameArt2D provides both free and premium game assets, born out of a lack of game assets stores at the time of its conception. The free assets are easy to use and can be integrated right away into their projects. With help from Youtubers who have used the free assets for their video tutorials, GameArt2D has grown in popularity and recognition among Youtube tutors and their audiences.

Its archives of sprites are most commonly used for games that tend to flourish in a 2D format, such as side-scrollers and platformers (think classic Mario and Sonic games). The available sprites cover all sorts of worlds and genres. Dinosaurs, soldiers, pirates, zombies – there’s something for everyone!

Take a look at what's on offer


GameDev Market

GameDev Market assists the game dev community in two main ways. Firstly, it enables game artists and audio composers to generate additional revenue from their work by giving them the opportunity to list their assets for sale, as well as being able to use the site for the promotion of their work, which can lead to additional commissioned projects.

The other main aspect of the site that helps aspiring developers is the availability of a large number of high quality, low cost assets, which are game ready. With 100's of free-to-download assets also available, it means that hobbyists within the game dev community that have little-to-no budget are still able to get access to a wide variety.

Head over here


CraftPix 

A huge 2D game assets library, CraftPix is great for 2D game developers of any level. Regular updates of their freebies section allow all of its users to try themselves in game development and to make their first masterpieces together with CraftPix.net. All assets can be used in commercial game projects, whether they’ve been downloaded for free or bought from the premium options.

Icons, sprites, backgrounds and more are available in the store and these options can provide real relief to developers who struggle to envision aspects of their projects. Whether you’re looking to develop a retro RPG, a tower defence game or a casino slots game, there’s something in the CraftPix archive for you!

See what's on offer here


Game-icons.net

Game-icons.net aims to offer a way to express universal ideas through free 'images' that any game designer can easily adapt to fit their own universe. The site tries to be as frictionless as possible; no member registration, no ads, no complicated license. Just a big 'download' button to grab everything and be ready to create.

Many games of all genres and platform types need icons, whether they’re minimap icons, skill and ability indicators, or instructional shorthands to aid players of all abilities.

All icons are completely free and are provided under the CC-BY license, meaning that as long as the original author(s) are credited, they’re fair game (heh) for any use.

Head over here


DSK Music

Sound is an incredibly important section in the development of a video game. For large studios, this is not usually a problem, since they have the resources to carry out good productions. But for amateur programmers, finding ways to create good music and sound effects for their games can be frustrating. DSK Music offers many free resources so that anyone can create their own compositions melodies, whether orchestral pieces or 8-bit tracks.

Expectations of audiences are forever growing as developers raise the bar, so lacklustre music and sound can ruin even the deepest and most refined gaming experiences. For studios with a tight budget, DSK's free option has enough power to create exactly what they need. There is also a pro option, for a small payment, which offers high-quality instruments and complete royalty-free usage.

Download to your hearts content here


Imms.io

LMMS is a free program for creating music, available on Windows, Mac and even Linux. It’s a fantastic tool that comes bundled with ready-to-use content such as plugins and samples, and it has great community support as well as being completely open source on GitHub.

The creators are passionate about people sharing their creations on sites like SoundCloud too. For game devs looking to dabble in making game music and understand what sound creators have to work through, this is a phenomenal resource as it’s completely free to download and get to grips with.

Get creating here


Game Analysis

Android Arts

Android Arts is a website run by Arne Niklas Jansson, and serves as a kind of portfolio of his work for various projects. Alongside posting the concept art and sketches as they progress, he also explains his ideas and story snippets to shed some context on the images. Many of the projects span several years, starting years ago and still being updated and worked on in 2018.

Android Arts is an invaluable resource for aspiring game devs who wonder how the progression of an idea looks, and where early concepts can be taken as they evolve. Take a look at his work and see what strikes a chord!

Explore more here


Games Errors

Games Errors provides news on all the latest in gaming culture, video games releases, hardware developments, walkthroughs and game guides.

As the name suggests, the site first and foremost offers a host of workarounds to common crashes, errors and security issues with popular video games – a great lesson in what to avoid if you’re developing a game of your own.

Games Errors also offers a support page to submit questions about your own issues with a video game, after which a member of the team will get back in touch and help you out. Informative and a public service!

Get reading here


Gamesbrief

Gamesbrief is a blog about the business of games. From Activision to Zynga, they analyse the companies who are making waves in the games industry and the new platforms, like Facebook, iPhone and Unity, that are changing the market.

Addressing the numbers behind games, the site offers news concerning analytics with fascinating insights into the revenues, conversion rates and player numbers that drive them. The site has a large commenter base so there is always a wealth of discussion to be found, and they even host masterclasses that are relevant to the current state of the industry, with such hot topics as the ‘free to play’ model.

Check it out here


Game Design Dojo

Game Design Dojo focuses on the design, production, and publishing of video games from the perspective of indie development. The creators have experience creating in both indie and AAA console arenas, giving them a unique insight into the industry as it currently stands and how it is evolving.

It is delivered as a podcast, making it a more versatile format that can be put on in the background and digested while you work, commute or even whilst taking a bath!

As a bonus, their website also has a page for dev tools, with a treasure trove of links to game engines, art tools, resources and much more.

Check the Podcast and more out here


Extra Credits

Extra Credits had humble beginnings, starting as a YouTube video in 2008 that narrator Daniel Floyd made whilst he completed his graduate studies. From there the team has grown and so has the series’ reach, spanning a few hundred videos covering all kinds of topics within video games.

The series has evolved and split to cover a variety of different avenues under its umbrella, such as sci-fi, history and mythology as well as addressing female audiences in gaming and the validity of videogames as an art form. The videos are delivered like short lectures and are utterly binge-able!

Join the Extra Credits team every Wednesday as they take a deeper look at games: how they are made, what they mean, and how we can make them better.

Take a look at the site here


Gaming News and Inspiration

Gamasutra

Gamasutra is, quite simply, a place for all things gaming. The website’s mission is to ‘inform, empower and inspire’ their reader base, and they do so through a mixture of gaming news, critiques, discussions and giving game developers a platform to elaborate on current issues and trends from within the industry.

They even host an RSS feed of the latest jobs from prominent gaming studios. Resources like Gamasutra are invaluable for keeping yourself abreast of the latest happenings in the industry, whether that’s disputes over developer pay, the hottest reveals from gaming expos, or just the latest thing that EA has done to annoy people.

You can reach it here


Game News HQ

 

Game News HQ collects links from such prominent gaming news sites as Kotaku, Polygon, IGN, Destructoid and more, and brings them into one source that can be visited and searched through for a specific entry.

For game devs trying to stay on the cutting edge of news from the gaming world, this site is a great entry to bookmark as one visit gives you all the latest stories to investigate. The site also updates as you browse, notifying you if there has been an entry since you opened the page.

Also, there’s an option to play Asteroids overlaid onto the page, and destroy any links you don’t want to see or just disapprove of. Wondering why this isn’t an option for every news site? You’re not alone.

Expand your mind here


Game Rant

 

Game Rant publishes a huge breadth of content, including reviews, features, guides and the latest game news, with plenty of space left for deep dives. With its reportage, the website aims to take its own stance rather than reporting the same headlines as every other site.

When it comes to reviews, Game Rant follows the implications of its name and dives right into the subject matter, trying to paint a picture of how it feels to play the game. They feel that game reviews can and should be just as mature and in-depth as the best film criticism, and that’s what they go for.

Get analytical here


Creative Uncut

David Carillet has run Creative Uncut for 15 years and started it out of a desire to give people the kind of resource he had always wanted to have at his disposal. Years later, he resolved to create that resource himself. Today, tens of thousands of game artworks from concept to final are easily accessible in the site's ever-growing library.

Creative Uncut features over 40,000 individual video game artworks, including concept and promo art as well as officially licensed artwork, often sent by the artists and publishers themselves. It serves as an invaluable resource for lovers of video game art, and every image is watermark-free and needs no registrations or subscriptions to enjoy and download for personal projects or enjoyment.

Get inspired here


Gamesindustry.biz

Gamesindustry has a significant and qualified global audience, with over 130,000 registered users spanning every part of the industry, from design, development, publishing, marketing, distribution or retail all the way through to media, freelance and students.

The site has a phenomenal amount of content to browse, spanning all facets of the gaming industry including VR, esports and media & marketing. No matter what your chosen area of game development, there is something in GamesIndustry’s pages to interest you.

They also operate the Best Places To Work Awards, the Career Fair at EGX and EGX Rezzed, four industry parties a year, the UK's biggest investment summit, the GamesIndustry 100 and the GamesIndustry.biz Magazine. Phew!

Take a look here


GDC Vault

GDC Vault is a trove of in-depth design, technical and inspirational talks and slides from the influencers of the game development industry, taken from over 20 years of the worldwide Game Developers Conferences.

This resource is an amazing way to benefit from the first-hand experience of veterans from within the industry. There is plenty of free content to enjoy, with members only paid options too – if you’ve got a bit of cash to spare, it would definitely be a worthy investment.

With classic game post-mortems and analyses of the successes of modern gaming entries, there’s a lot to learn from the videos hosted at GDC Vault.

Get exploring here


IndieGames.com

IndieGames.com is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognise the best independent game developers.

For a vein of the industry that can often be regarded as ‘second rate’ to the triple AAA titles that typically dominate, a celebration of indie games is a welcome incentive to embrace a different route.

Have a read here


Making Games

Making Games is up-to-date with the latest gaming news, events, and early projects, making it a brilliant site to add to your list.

If you’re aware of a gaming event or hosting one yourself, they’ll list it on the site with details and a link to find out more. These aren’t region selective either – everywhere from Brighton to Los Angeles to Hannover is included!

They also hold a conference, although this is in Germany and presumably in German, so you might need to arrange travel and brush up on your Deutsch.

Have a gander


Video Game Marketing

Indie Game Girl

Indie Game Girl is a free marketing resource for indie game developers. The site exists to help indies overcome marketing challenges that keep quality games from becoming successful. Emmy Jonassen, the site’s founder, is a marketing pro with ten years of experience in software and technology, specifically video games. After witnessing so many good games fail, she found that marketing doesn’t come as naturally as design for developers. At Indie Game Girl, developers can expect to find the kind of marketing support they need: clear and budget-friendly tips and tricks. Emmy is always interested in providing timely and relevant support, and working together to build the adoring fan bases that winning games deserve.

Get learnin'


Clemmons.io

Nolan Clemmons’ main purpose for sharing game marketing tips is to help aspiring game developers avoid making costly mistakes, and to sufficiently prepare for their game's launch. In his own words, he finds it painful to see young developers invest months, if not years, into a project, only for it to fail shortly after launch due to a lack of marketing. Since many indies do not always have the financial resources to run advertising campaigns, he thought of some free (or cheap) methods that they could implement to build an audience and help get the word out.

Clemmons regularly shares resources from different sources as well as his own insights and how-to’s for game devs looking to spread the word as best they can!

Have a look here


Presskit()

So, you’ve got the game made, people are taking notice, and members of the technology and gaming press want to know more. This is where presskit() comes in.

Presskit() is a free program designed to give developers a quick and easy way to create clear and informative press pages, giving journalists everything they need to know about their game so that they can spread the word. Pronounced ‘do presskit’ (it’s a programming thing), it has been formed with the feedback of both indie game developers and prominent journalists, resulting in a program that addresses the needs of both sides.

The program is currently in its beta stages, meaning that while it is stable and functioning enough for people to use, not every single feature has been tested and there may be some bugs to iron out – but hey, it’s free!

You can download it here


3 Myths About Game Development: Busted


1. You need to be a genius to code games.

Myth Buster: Learning to code games takes time, but you don’t need to be a genius, just passionate and committed to learning! Just a few lessons with an expert programming tutor can give you an amazing platform to continue your journey.

2. You need to have loads of time and money to make a game.

Myth Buster: Not true! Thousands of games are created by individuals in a weekend during Game Jams throughout the year. With the amount of open source resources out there today, the time and financial investment can be minimal!

3. Game Development is just about programming.

Myth Buster: Game development has become synonymous with programming and it is an important part of it, but what often gets overlooked is the art and design that also goes into creating the look, feel and gameplay. So if coding isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other roles that could help you become a game dev.


Find an online or in-person programming, art or design mentor (a worthwhile investment in your learning) who can help you specifically with your learning goals.


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