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Tropers: Elle
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Pages I either helped make, made over or care about enough to come back and edit regularly (non-exhaustive list):

Sandbox Area

So You Want To Make a Video Game

This page and its child pages have been inspired by The Game Developer Thread in the Video Games section of the TV Tropes forums. We don't presume that these will be an exhaustive guide; the aim is to have a repository of answers to questions that keep coming up in that thread, as well as links to resources you can explore further on your own. Since video game development is as much about mastering a wide variety of technical disciplines as it might be about Videogame Tropes (which are a bit distinct from other writing tropes as it is), we'll also be deviating from the "So You Want To..." template as needed.

So you want to make a video game. Great. But getting from that statement to actually even starting to make a game involves a lot of work and a lot of choices. The good news is that the tools and knowledge to make games are more accessible to the average person than ever before. The daunting news is that if you want to go it on your own, you need to acquire skills in a wide range of disciplines: game design, computer programing, graphic arts, animation, sound design, music, storytelling, project management, and if you want anyone but you and your close friends to play your game, marketing. Still interested? Great. That said, you may aspire to specialize in any one of those fields and work with others to create a game, whether as a group of friends or as an employee of a larger company. That's great too. This guide will try to be agnostic about how you intend to get into game making, be it hobby or career. Just bear in mind that many large gaming companies carry the stigma associated with Corrupt Corporate Executive for a reason; you will be giving up a significant degree of creative control and burnout in the games industry is a huge problem that many people have acknowledged but haven't come to grips with solving.

Necessary Tropes

  • Video Game Tropes - Ok, linking the whole index is probably a cop-out. But the point is this: if you want to make games, you need to know what makes games tick, from gameplay to technical tricks.
  • The History Of Video Games - In most cases, if you're interested in making a video game, you probably already have played some. You should extend your awareness beyond what you personally enjoy playing, however. Knowing the history of the games industry and the best and worst of games over the years will help you understand how and why the technology and games work the way they do today, inspire you with the work of the craft at its height, and avoid the pitfals where others have gone wrong.
  • Video Game Genres - Chances are, your game is going to fall into one or more established genres, and you should be aware of the conventions of them...though at the same time, you shouldn't slavishly abide by them either. Too much Follow the Leader leads to a genre becoming stale and tired.
  • Video Game Systems - Your choice of platform is going to determine a lot about how your game works. No way around that. (If you're going it alone, your first choice is probably going to be web, PC or mobile phones.)
  • Video Game Interface Elements - For your game to function, people have to be able to interact with it. Many elements of game interfaces have become conventions for a reason and if you're going to borrow from other people's work, this is the best area to do it.
  • Indie Game - If you are set on making your game, your way, these are the giants whose shoulders you'll be standing on. The indie development communities are also likely to be one of your best sources of help along your path.

Choices, Choices

  • What kind of game do you want to make? This decision can often be summed up by your choice of genre and platform but more broadly, it means "What kind of experience do you want the player to have?" Are you after a rich interactive story or do you need anything more then an Excuse Plot? Do you want the game to be a relaxing time sink, or do you want the players yelling at the screen in tense excitement? Do you want single-player or multiplayer? Do you want a game that can be enjoyed in short bursts or are you after an hours-long epic? What perspective will the game be played from?
  • What are the rules and goal of your game? Games have rules, and most games have either explicit or implicit goals ("most" because some Wide Open Sandbox games can be rather fuzzy on the subject of goals, or leave the goal up to the player.) These rules must be laid out specifically so the programer can code them into the game, and they will need to be adjusted as people actually playtest the game and find out what works and what doesn't.
  • How do you want the game to look (and sound)? 2d or 3d? Modern or retro? High def or low res? Realistic or fantastical? Chiptunes or full soundtracks? Keep in mind that excellent games can be made with minimal graphics, or if you want to go even further back, entirely in text. Placeholder art, or "programmer art", is a mainstay of the development process, and good gameplay should be evident regardless of how the game looks.
  • What tools do you want to use to make the game? The answers to all the above questions will inform your answer here. You might pick a programing language and make everything from scratch, or you might pick an existing game engine and tool set to build with. You'll also need to choose from a variaty of code editors, graphics programs, and other tools that are best covered in pages about those topics.

Pitfalls

Departments

Set Designer / Location Scout

Props Department

Costume Designer

Casting Director

Stunt Department

Extra Credit

The Greats

The Epic Fails


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