Monday, August 30, 2010

Second Suggestion: Make a Game!

Note: This will probably only interest the gamers out there.

A lot of people use playing games (online and offline) to cure boredom, but far fewer have ever thought of a still somewhat obvious alternative: making a game.  Have you ever played a game that gave you ideas for another game?  I'm sure you have, but you most likely shot that idea down with something like, "But how can I even make a game?!  Programming is so hard!"

Now, before I continue, I'm going to acknowledge that the word "game" doesn't always refer to a computer game or a video game.  If you ever get ideas for a board-game, or some other, non-computer game, you should definitely pursue that if you're bored enough.  Make a list of the items required, and make the game you're thinking of!  You never know when this game you made could come in handy at family events, or if the game could catch on and possibly be bought from you by a major toy company.

As to those of you who would be interested in making a computer game, there are basically two ways you can do it:

1.  The hard way.  Download a C++ compiler, such as DevC++, and get to work learning the syntax of the language (or get a compiler for a well-known alternative.  Remember: Google is your friend!)  With this method, don't expect to make much more than simplistic games for a while until you become skilled at a language.  This option and all options will have a requirement for you or somebody else to make graphics, but you can always rip those from sprite sheets.

2.  The easy way.  Now, just because this is called the easy way doesn't mean that it won't require work.  This way involves using an engine to do the hard part of things for you!

Game Maker is a very flexible engine, able to be used to make all sorts of games.  Game Maker is free, but it has a paid counterpart.  It can be used to make online games, offline games, text games; anything, and the best part to this one is that you don't really need to know how to program to make games, but it has its own, built-in scripting language if you would like to add more functionality.
 BYOND is a powerful, C++-based, tile-based game making engine that is used to make primarily online, mmorpg-type games, but on a smaller scale.  You do have to learn the programming language, but you will see that it is very simple and powerful at the same time.  You can make single-player games as well, but that will take some work on your part, as the engine was originally designed to be used for making multi-player games.

Making a game can be worth it; you could possibly even make money from it!

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