Game Creation 101: The Process of Creating a Game
Everything starts with an idea. No matter how trivial, useless or childish it may be, that idea spawns every other thing that makes up the final product. There is no way to create ANYTHING by diving in and just making. I don’t want to sound like anyone’s 40 year old, unattractive english teacher, but that is the rule when it comes to creating any form of media. Sometimes, you can be walking to class, headphones blasting a song that you love, and you suddenly get an idea. A perfect setting, gameplay design, character artwork, ect. Sometimes this can happen when you’re just about to doze off in bed. Whenever it does, it’s time to write it down. Now I’m not saying that you have to stop in the middle of the sidewalk and pull out a piece of paper. But you DO need to find anytime throughout the day, keeping those ideas in your head, and write. It is thee most important thing I can tell anyone trying to design a video game. So if there’s anything you get out of this article, it is to write things down.
What do you write?
Typically, you want to write down all of the important elements of your idea. The names, locations, guns, etc, aren’t nearly as important as the TYPE of surroundings (is it dark? rainy? sad?), the character emotion (is she/he a tough guy/gal? timid? scared?), the theme (run and gun? fps? rpg?) etc. Think of it as an outline. The hardest things to remember are the specifics. But by giving yourself a basic outline of what it is you plan to create, you allow yourself to BUILD the specifics.
Character Design Process
Now this is tricky. The characters make up the game. There is no Gears of War if the main character acted like Tails from Sonic Adventure, and there is no Final Fantasy VII if Cloud acted like Amy. The characters make up a huge part of the game’s initial, as well as final, product. Assuming that you are not creating another Tetris, this is how the design for characters are handled:
*Voice: (deep, soft, scary)
*Birthday: (allows you to connect to the character more)
*General Personality: (tough guy, loner, timid)
Granted, many games don’t NEED characters in them. Some are first person games that just put you into the game. But, even the supporting cast of characters are given life and can make up the games uniqueness and playability. (Again, assuming you aren’t making Tetris/Scrabble games or something).
For games like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Eternal Sonata, etc., the setting is very important. You aren’t necessarily required to have the specifics down for the sort of environment you plan to pit the characters in, but you do need to have a general idea of what it is you want the setting to resemble/focus on
Ex./ You don’t need to know that a pillar is located on the side of the street near Banker Ave. But you DO need to know if the area will be dimly lighted, scary and foggy.
Now, of course, every element of a video game is well, what makes the video game. But the best thing to look for in the beginning stages of developing a video game are the basics. Setting, Character Styles, Era, etc. Don’t look for music, character outfits or anything of that sort, as it would end up making it extremely difficult to fix anything that isn’t right. Try designing a character for weeks and weeks, wearing high-level futuristic armour, only to decide that you want the game to take place in the 1800’s.
There is no tell all way to design a game. It isn’t like there is a formula out there for the perfect game. Think of it like chemistry. Although I don’t like the subject, it is a perfect analogy. You mix and mix and mix until you find the perfect ingredients to do what you want. It takes time, as does many things of this nature. But with this basic guide, you should at least have a leg to stand on whenever you find those ideas pushing you over.