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Overview on how to make a video game for beginners

If you are wondering what kind of things you have to learn and what kind of software you need to make a video game then this tutorial is what you need.


This tutorial is designed to give you a look at what the process is in video game making. It isn't a tutorial on how to make a video game. If you want that you can go to my video game making tutorial

We are going to be looking at the process of building a 3d game much like a rpg or first person shooter.

Note: this tutorial takes a generic overview of the video game making process. There are many different ways to do it and many different software applications to help you. The goal of this tutorial is to give you an overview so you understand the general steps involved in video game making.

Ultimate Game Design
Ultimate Game Design: Building Game Worlds Product Page at Amazon
Many game design books give you an overall view. This book actually gives you real results and help with designing levels, textures and lighting. Good book for adults.

Art of the Game
Creating the Art of the Game Product Page at Amazon
The key word here is art: the dynamic 3D art that defines the world of computer games. This book teaches you everything you need to know about the planning, modeling, texturing, lighting, effects creation, and interface design that go into creating today's most advanced and stunning video games.

Tutorial starts here

First of all lets start with the software tools you need.

There are three different types of software that you should have to get going on video game design.

1. You need software that you will build the video game world in (often called world-building software). This is where you make the terrain, water, buildings etc. There are many different software applications that do this. If you want to get an overview of a lot of these I suggest you go to the DMOZ open directory project and check out Game Development Software

Many of these development software suites come complete with lots of textures and models that you can drag and drop right into your game. You can build complete games.

2. You need software to manipulate images and graphics. If you want to have individualized characters and items in your world or if you want a very specific look you will have to draw these items or modify existing items. This means a graphics program. I have been using Paint Shop Pro for years.

Paint Shop Pro Product Page at Amazon

It is simply, for the price, the best. The professionals use PhotoShop but it is expensive.

3. You need modeling software so you can design and create your characters and items for the game.

There are two major programs that you should use for 3D modeling: 3D Studio Max (www.autodesk.com) and Maya (www.alias.com) They are both very expensive but Maya has a special free download for students and learning. Check out the Maya download.

Another big player in this field is Lightwave 3D.It is also an expensive program.

If you want to just get your feet wet on something simpler you might want to try a program called Milkshape3D (www.milkshape3d.com). Its a good 3d Modeling program that is predominantly used for Quake and Half life and Unreal. They have a free 30 day trial download.

Continue on to Page 2 of the tutorial

DarkBASIC Product Page at Amazon
Easier to comprehend than some other game-programming packages out there, DarkBASIC offers both a fun tutorial and a powerful code editor. You can start programming right away in this offshoot of the BASIC language. First you will learn about the principles of programming, then advance onto media and 3-D topics with further study. The program makes it easy, and with a handful of impressive examples you can learn by doing on several short, fast programs.