In the old days, if you are interested in video game development, you must learn fundamental concepts of physics and mathematics and build your game engines.
But with today’s advanced technology, game development platforms are now making it easier for the developers to develop more sophisticated and immersive. Many of the less complicated problems in game development can be easily solved using the lighting, graphics, and physics engines that these platforms provide.
What is game development?
Simply speaking, game development is the overall process of making a video game. But making a video game is not as easy as playing one. Game development involves a lot of moving elements such as Characters, Story, Art, Audio, Lighting, etc. these all merge, in the end, to create a whole new virtual world in a video game.
This process of developing a game is usually funded by publishing companies that have enough funds. Still, video games that are made independently are comparatively smaller and cheaper, which any individual can also support.
Major components of game development
Video games become more and more immersive if they have the right combination of many essential elements. Below is a brief introduction for each component,
Storytelling in video games is a lot different than in fictional stories. The player here is going through the story and needs to have a feeling that his actions are having an effect on the story and are taking it forward.
There are non-linear storylines, too, where the story takes shape depending on the choice the player makes. This adds complexity to the game, and as a game developer, you need to ensure that whatever choice the player makes, the story leads to a satisfying outcome.
To give the game a more realistic behavior, the developers choose AI for this. Here are some of the familiar places where AI is used in game development:
- Pathfinding: It ensures that the characters in the game can get from point A to point B even when new obstacles are introduced in the game.
- Combat: Tough combat situations enable the enemy bot in the video games to make smart tactical decisions based on the current conditions, such as seeking cover when they are being attacked.
- Goal-oriented behavior: Artificial intelligence helps to set goals and actions that seem more natural to the game story than just scripting everything.
Music and Sound
Adding music to the video game needs to be done by hand and layer by layer, it is prepared to sound lifelike. You also need to be careful about how the sounds are triggered by the characters, surrounding noises, and the music created by other environmental things in the game.
Music is the backbone of games they are used to create an emotional response from the player Music in video games need to be in a continuous loop. Also, it should be composed in such a way that transition to new composition should be smooth. It is useful in case any situation in the game changes, such as if the enemy spots you. Freesound.org offers a vast library of free sounds that you can use directly in your video games.
In video game development, you can’t rely on the natural sources to illuminate your game. You need to add every light source manually, and they need to be appropriately configured. Light can be incredibly important for many things here is a list of few:
- It controls the ability of the player to see through dark scenes, particularly in horror and survival type games. In these types of genres, the light becomes an important thing and needs to be correctly configured.
- It controls the ability of the player to be seen. Action-packed games require many scenarios where a dimly lit environment is necessary. This can give the gamer a kind of challenge and make the game more interesting.
- Setting the mood as per the storyline. The quality of light can make a lot of difference depending on what kind of scene is going on in the story. Bright lighting is associated with happy times, while broody lighting is related to dark times.
- Guide the character using lighting. Light can be used to grab a player’s attention and guide them in the right direction. Best designed games direct the players very cleverly in the right direction where otherwise they may get lost.
From where do you start learning?
As we have gone through the fundamentals needed for game development, here are the steps you should follow if you want to start making your video game:
Begin with computer programming:
The immersive world that you see in the video games is created using one or multiple computer programming languages. So programming is the mandatory first step that you need to take if you want to learn game development. There is no single language used for game development, but C++ is the most popular language for developing game engines right now. Some of the popular games such as Counter-strike, World of Warcraft, and many such titles are made using C++ only. Another popular language for developing games is Java, which has been used to make games like Angry Birds.
Choose a known Game Engine:
As you are a novice in game development, it is better to start with game engines that are popular and widely used. They are instrumental and efficient in game development as they offer inbuilt features such as 2D and 3D graphics rendering, animation, audio support, collision detection, artificial intelligence, networking, etc.The most popular options currently are Unity and Unreal engine. Both are great options, and you can use them as per your liking to create unique games. Whichever game engine you pick, you must stick with it and learn all you can about the engine. Also, there are multiple other game engines that developers use for developing mobile games.
Create a basic game:
Now that you have an idea about the fundamentals of game development, it is time to create a basic game. You will be excited to build a masterpiece game overnight, but it is crucial to start small. Try and keep your project around a week’s length so that you can understand the basics properly.Start with a simple and less complicated game like Tetris. It will teach you about three essential steps of game development, i.e., initialize, update, and draw. All these three are at the heart of any possible game development that you will do in the future.
Understand the Game Design Patterns:
Game Design can be explained easily from an example here, suppose you are working on an action game, and some bots are supposed to make a surprise attack on the player. This scenario can happen multiple times. So, it is then wiser to create a code module that can be used again and again rather than focusing on one event.The above game designing pattern is called Object pooling. This is just one type of game pattern that we talked about. There are many similar modules for creating solutions to the problems that are repeated multiple times in the game.
Learn 3D Graphics and Associated Math:
While 2D graphics were popular in the 1990’s today, most of the games are build 3D. It provides a realistic feeling to the game, whether it is a first-person perspective or a third-person perspective.The math that you commonly require for this is Linear algebra. It deals with linear equations, vectors, etc. you can easily manipulate the 3D world of your game.