Update 1: Learning the ropes

The first thing that I needed to figure out was where to start.  There are so many things that I would like to do and if I am not careful I can easily become sidetracked and never actually accomplish anything.  I needed some direction.

Luckily for me, numerous people have gone down this road and there is a plethora of information and advice on how to start developing video games.  I have watched numerous videos, scoured forums, and read several articles to see what people had to say.

This sums up what I found:

Start small.  Build a simple game just so that you can get something made.  This gets you used to your chosen game engine and also helps to provide a sense of accomplishment.

Make a plan for your game.  No matter how simple the game is, make a plan for what you want your game to be and what you want your players to do.  Stick to this plan as much as possible.  This will help to avoid scope creep – adding new things to your project until it becomes an unruly, unattainable mess.

Slowly increment the complexity of your games.  Once you have made your first simple game, don’t go running into developing that game that you have been dreaming about for years.  Build a game that is a little more complex that your last game. Add a feature or two that you are unsure of how to implement.  Do research and find out how to implement them.  Keep doing this until you have a solid knowledge of the engine, then you can start on developing your dream game.

Have other people play your games.  Feedback is important and the feedback provided by others can help you shape and refine your game in ways that you may not have previously considered.  A very important thing is to keep your game plan in mind when reviewing the feedback.  Try to focus more on the “hows” (how the player moves, how the controls work, how the animations look, etc.) instead of the feedback that is more about adding new features.  This will help to prevent the dreaded scope creep.

That is it for now.  Next time I will talk more about what I have been working on.

-Ryan

p.s. – Here are some of the places were I have found some good advice:

The Game Maker Studio community forums

The Extra Credits YouTube channel

This Reddit post

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