Game Design for Hobbyists
Some people want to make their own video games. Maybe they think they can do better than the big companies can. Maybe they believe that originality is dead in the video game industry and they want to try and change that. Maybe they just have this idea that’s itching to be made and they’re convinced they can do it. There are probably as many reasons for developing one’s own video game as there are gamers who want to try. However, perhaps the biggest pitfall to this is the problem of capital.
Video game companies are huge endeavors and even if someone takes on more loans than they could have a chance of paying off within their lifetime, they might still not have all the money they’d need. There’s also the little matter of needing to learn how to code. Fortunately, the software industry has seen this tendency and has decided it is a viable enough market to tap.
For starters, there’s . Currently in version 8.1 – or something like that, anyway – it is pretty much a tool for developing one’s own games. It has a number of features, including a pre-built coding structure that’s useful for people who want to build their own game engines with it. A few versions also have demos with simple graphics, showcasing what can be done with just the basic commands and features. The software is pretty cheap, but mastering it requires a lot of work. For one thing, while most any possible graphical or audio resource can be used, the software itself doesn’t come with any. There are also more than a few limitations on what it can do.
For those that only want to make an RPG, there’s RPG Maker. Enterbrain’s product has built-in resources for graphics and music, pre-constructed effects common to most RPGs, and a coding language of its own. There’s an incredible amount of depth and flexibility inherent in the design, which can be further customized using the built-in coding language. The combination allows would-be designers to mimic virtually any system they’ve seen in a 2D RPG – including a turn-based tactical combat grid, akin to Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre.
Another option that is slowly becoming more popular for people that don’t want to learn actual programming code is to use Multimedia Factory. This particular choice of software still has a few problems, but the interface is easy to understand and should be familiar to anyone that’s messed around with Flash. It functions much like Game Maker in some respects, but also suffers from a similar number of limitations. It was also made as a general software design suite, rather than one dedicated to games, so a few features would-be game designers would want or need aren’t included.