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Don't just play games, Design games!

"The level of creativity is the (a) measure of a civilisation."

This is intended for game design beginners.

Why is game design a good thing for everyone? I'll leave it for later.Who is everyone? How do they benefit? Compared to other types of activities...

big players are dominating the market, but don't be put off. plenty of opportunities for everyone, especially the independent ones. cost and benefit analysis

Where to start? Aim for being an ethical entrepreneurial developer. Find a course, online course or a local college. (websites). And then practise:

How to become an ethical game developer?

Playing games has been a focal point for many years with media, parents, schools, students and the industry. Many believe it is detrimental to play games and others believe it is beneficial to play games. In my opinion it all depends on the circumstances - the game and the type of game played, the time and the amount of time playing games and the consideration or lack of it for other aspects of life. More ....(P1)

How to choose a platform?

In this article I am going to talk about the general setup for development, then point you to the possible websites for more information.

Choose the platform first, where you would like your game to be played. It refers to the combination of hardware and software required. For example, if you want people to play your game online, you could make it browser based and people would need a computer with a browser to play the game. The computer will have an operating system on it and the browser could one of the many makes such as IE, Firefox, etc. From the browser the player will connect to your webapge with the game. Then they can start playing. There are manay different platforms for games. More .... (P2)

How to develop then?

Once the platform is chosen, then install the SDK (System Development Kit) for that platform.

Online - Flash Professional, if you have not bought it, then you can try the FREE TRIAL for 30 days. Or you can use a free development kit, such as FlashDevelop.

Andoid phones - Android is develped by Google and used by many phone manufacturers. Popular phones such as HTC use Android. here is a good starter and will lead you to installation tips.

iPhone platform, similar to iPad and other Apple Mac systems. The SDK is free ONLY for members which commands a membership fee of $99 per year. Xcode 4. But being a member you could list your games on their store to sell!

As a beiginner, it is advised to start with whatever is easier to get hold of. Then move on to the most desirable platform and tools. There is no need to spend a lot of money to start with.

Windows Phone SDK 7.1 The Windows Phone Software Development Kit (SDK) 7.1 provides you with all of the tools that you need to develop applications and games for both Windows Phone 7.0 and Windows Phone 7.5 devices. This is free.

Flash has stopped supporting mobile develpment - they have given up on developing games for mobile phones and other mobile platforms. This is because the way Flash movies work consumes too much CPU time and power which makes it not suitable for mobile platform. While on PCs, either standalone or online, the CPUs are usually much more powerful, power consumotion is not an issue and other resources are also available so Flash games are easily handled.

Once platform is chosen, need to select a programming language to work with.

This article has reviewed other IDEs and it is worth a look. Go there now.

Language choice

The popular languages amongst game developers are Java, C++, C# and ActionsScript 3.0. They are usually tied to a platform due to the choice of SDKs and IDEs. For example, if you use Flash CS then ActionScript will be the automatic choice as it is embedded.

Java would be used for Android and C# will be used for Windows. C++ is used by many traditional game develpers. Each console game company such as Sony would have their own version of a language. I

However, all the languages have many similarities. They all use variables, all declare them before using, (especially the strong typed robust ones), they all handle similar data types. ..... The major differences are the detailed ways of doing things such as how to declare.

As a beginner, learning one language, any of the above ones, will lay the foundation for you. It will not be difficult to pick another one if you need to. One day, it may be wished that similarities will be so great that they are almost the same one from different companies. But cretivity will be clipped. So take on the challenge and enjoy it.

Learn the language. websites, basics,

Flash is a good platform as it combines graphics work and programming in one place and this makes it perfect for beginners such as school/college students to start their journey.

Many websites provide tutorials, apart from the official ones. Youtube is a good starting point if you are a beginner. Try to find an easy project to follow to start with.


Start the Development Process

Step 1: I want to design a game. You must have this urge in your heart or you will not make a good game. Game design is not a trivial task. It demands dedication and hard work, sometimes working in unsociable hours and in lonely enviroments. When designing a game - Think about the elements of good games - visual effects, realistic graphics, realistic movements, background music, surprises, challenges, competition with other players or the computer, risk taking (gambling),

Step 2: I have this idea. Write the idea down. This helps to clear your mind and also protect you in possible future copyright dispute. Write the brief description and then analyse which part of it will make people like it. Then write a promotion speech to sell your idea to others if you ned their support.

This description should answer the following questions: How will the game play. Wha is the main audience, the secondary audience, the extended audience. What can they gain from the game?

Examples (p3). || Template for storyboard (p3) || action list (A complete list of all tasks for the entire project - game design)

Step 3: Here is the detailed sketchings (storyboard). This will detail the game play, what are involved in the game and how it develops. This is the design everyone will follow to make the game. The artists will create the background and the settings according to the storyboard; the animators will create some of the moving objects according to the descriptions in the storyboard; the programmers will write the code to make the game interact like it says in the storyboard. Hence the storyboard has the controlling factor and it should be produced under close supervision of the producer and director. The more detailed the better, if time and money allows it. Examples (p3). Is your design a good one? (D1)

Step 4: work separately "together" on graphics, coding and sound. Each team now would separately to get their own tasks done. music by composers, images by artists; animations by animators; script by script writers; computer programs to pull all together will be produced by programmers.

But with a simple game, especially you are just learning to design games, it is most likely that you are going to provide all the graphics, sound and coding! Examples (p4) ... || More examples .(p4)..

Programming: (P4 and M1, M2, D2)This part will include the data dictionary (a list of variables); The pseudocode; The code; Testing plan and implementation of the plan.

background images for different scenes:

music for different scenes

Testing (P5, M3)

Improvement? (M4)

Step 5: Documentation (P6, P7) : user manual, technical manual

Step 6: Publishing and Hosting - This is when you start feeling being rewarded!!! There different ways of publishing. Here I am only talking about Flash games into webpages. (simple games, games require database operations, games require network activities)

Step 7: Life outside the game: A good game requires the closest coopertion between not only artists, musicians and computer programmers, but also many others. The director has a vital role in getting all the members work together seamlessly. Unless you have the time and talent to develop all necessary skills, you will need to find someone to work for you or with you. A few thing to watch, copyright, contract, partnership, limted company, sole trader,