Ever so often I get asked the same questions from interested people who want to know more about my games or might want to start making their own games. If you have any question on your mind, feel free to send me an email.
How did you learn to make games? What schools did you visit?
The only things I ever learned for making games is reading/watching other developers talk about their design philosophies and playing games myself.
For example Edmund McMillen (designer of Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac etc) has a 24/7 ask me anything on his website and gives some very interesting insight to the indie scene and his experience. Other resources can be game journalists like TotalBiscuit, who makes tons of first impression videos and he talks about his experience while playing a game, which gives a very important look on what is important for players that a designer might not think about in the first place.
Also big companies like Blizzard give a lot of helpful information about how and why they decide to design their games in a certain way. Look into the forums, watch convention Q&A videos, or watch Blizzard Gameplay Panel videos of said conventions, where they explain game mechanics and why they have decided for this mechanic and not any other.
Valve have also very cool developer commentary modes in their games like L4D2 or HalfLife2 that give insight to all sorts of aspects why they created their game in this particular way.
Lots of developers talk about their games and why they created it that way. I’ve watched a lot of indie devs talk about their games as well. Look for indie forums and read discussions of other players and what the dev has to say. Almost any designer gives interviews in some way or another, so just look up your favourite game and who designed it and see if you can find interviews.
I know that I’m nowhere near the experience of these industry legends, but even I get asked about my own games and decided to make developer commentaries for my own games on my YouTube channel.
I’ve never been to any school for this
I want to make my own games. What is a good project to start with?
Best way to start making your own games is with small projects. I mean VERY SMALL. Think about games you like and what type of game might be fun to work with. Write down ideas until you have a good and clear vision of what your game could be like. When you have your game design down, look for programs that can help you create the game. I’ve used MMF2 for years, but there are others like Game Maker, RPGmaker, Flash, Unreal Engine or just look what other indie devs are using and see if the program fits your way of thinking.
Make a very simple game and release it to the public. Many programs have a showcase or announcement section in their forums that you can use to spread the word. Some people will react positive and others negative. Try to distance yourself and look at your game from a players perspective. If people complain, don’t defend your game and don’t argue with them. Instead just try to listen and figure out if and why the complaint may be valid. If there is a valid point to the complaint, think of ways how you can improve this aspect for your next project.
If people like your game and give you positive feedback, this will give you a boost to make your next game bigger and better.
No matter what you do as a first project, don’t worry about music licenses or other legal stuff. When you start with non-profit games like a lot of flash games do that are available for free, nobody cares about this kind of thing. There’s tons of games with ripped material all over the internet. As long as you don’t charge money for it, nobody wants to sue you. Just do whatever you like and don’t overthink it.
What programs do you use to make your stuff?
Actually this is a pretty common question that I don’t really like to answer directly. The reason is that every person has his/her own personal preferences. Every program is unique and almost all of them offer a free trial version that you can download and see if the style fits your way of thinking. The software you’re using doesn’t really matter, as long as it doesn’t limit your creative expression too much.
I will add more questions to this page over time.