ONE APPROACH FOR LEARNING GAME DEVELOPMENT

 In Articles, Game development, Reviews

Game developers everywhere!

So you thought you were going to learn to develop your own games? Well so do almost anyone else that have played any game… ever… Nowadays it seems like there is popping up new indie game developers all the time, everywhere, and everyone wants to be the new Markus Persson, or Luke Hodorowicz or even Sean Murray! Well I guess no one wants to be Sean right now, but anyway…

I’ve been there as well. For some time now I’ve been dreaming of creating my own game. Not necessarily with the goal of becoming a successful developer. Just for the thought of having someone else playing something I created, and possibly even enjoying it.

There are numerous programming courses online, and offline. Both free, and for a fee. Everyone claiming to be the best for learning programming. I have been through some of them and thought I’d share my thoughts on the different resources, in the order that I tried them.

code cademy logo

Codecademy

Codecademy was my first experience with coding ever, and I really recommend this site as a first step in to the world of coding. Codecademy has a variety of courses, ranging from Ruby and Java, to HTML and JavaScript. It’s intuitive, has an in-browser code editor, the exercises are short, and it starts you off very lightly.

It’s free, but it also has a pro membership, with more support and a more personalized learning experience.

Team Treehouse logo

Team Treehouse

A friend who is a web designer recommended Team Treehouse since he had a discount code for me. I only tried it for at most a couple of days but it’s similar to Codecademy, only with a lot more courses, and different languages including C#.

It’s a paid membership, starting at $25/month with a free 7-day trial when signing up.

Moving on to game development

After getting familiar with coding in general, it was time to start focusing on trying to learn to develop my first game. It would have been great to know what programming language I should go for but I didn’t know the difference between Java and JavaScript at this point.

I came across a couple of articles in my search for the best way to learn game development. The first one was this one from Kotaku. It’s getting a bit old but I still recommend reading it. They go over some of the different tools available, but also some other helpful tips for creating your first game.

Another article I came across were this one from MCVUK. It was here I first read about Gamemaker studio and seeing that it was free, I felt that was a natural first choice.

Tom Francis’s YouTube channel

So this was one of the first YouTubers focused on game development I started watching.

Tom Francis is an indie game developer. He’s behind games such as Gunpoint and Heat signature, both made in GameMaker Studio.

His GameMaker Studio tutorials are in my opinion really good. He’s a very laid back kinda guy. He’s good at explaining what he’s doing and why. I don’t recommend the series for learning programming, rather just to understand some very basic concepts when it comes to game development.

The main reason however why I actually recommend watching this series is that after you have watched a couple of episodes, you have your first playable game! Which is a huge milestone in the process of learning game development.

It was after this course I created my first game, called HTP, or Hit The Palmtree! It was a fun game, at least I thought so… The art and sounds were awful though…

GTGD

The next YouTuber I started watching was GTGD, or Gamer To Game Developer. I actually bought his course on Steam, both season 1 and 2. Haven’t finished any of them though…

This was however the first time I saw Unity in action. The video series is getting a bit old though since it’s an old version of Unity he’s using but you could still learn C# from watching his videos. He has some newer videos on his channel that I haven’t watched but I would recommend rather watching them so you get to follow along in the same version of Unity as the course.

GTGD’s videos is a bit harder to follow along with than Tom Francis’s. But then again, it’s more focused on programming so you should expect as much. It’s a bit fast paced so for someone that hasn’t programmed anything before, it can be a bit hard to keep up.

I started watching more random videos of Unity after watching GTGD, and saw that there were, compared to GameMaker Studio at least, a lot of really nice looking games made with this engine. You can check out games that are made with Unity here.

Brackeys

One of the YouTubers using Unity I came across was Brackeys. Compared to GTGD he is in my opinion much easier to follow along with.

The video series I’m linking to is newer than the one I watched, but if you want to watch those instead you can find them on his channel. In this series he’s programming in C#, in the one I watched he used JavaScript.

After watching a couple of episodes of Brackeys series you will have made your first game in Unity, and hopefully learn some of the basics in Unity in the process.

I really recommend continue watching Brackeys. He makes really professional, and instructive videos and you learn a lot by watching his videos.

Udemy 2D course logo

Udemy

Udemy has a lot of courses on game development, and Unity courses. I HIGHLY recommend Complete C# Unity Developer 2D – Learn to Code Making Games. A course made by mainly Ben Tristrem but lately Rick Davidson also has joined as tutor.

You start off by creating a very simple game within the console of Unity and before you know it, you have created real, playable and enjoyable games that can look stunning and sound awesome. Either by using assets that they, the tutors or others provide. If you’re an artist you can of course create them yourself.

The tutors are thorough, calm, and the courses are therefor easy to follow along. The Udemy community is also helpful and you have fun sharing your games for others to play, and play many different versions of the game you have just made yourself.

The course can be a bit expensive, but Udemy usually have their courses on sale so add it to your wishlist, and purchase it as soon as it’s back on sale.

Since the last time I watched the videos, they have updated the course to a newer version of Unity. This is where I’m at now and I will finish this course… some day…

Other resources

I could say, “purchase that Udemy course and that’s all you need”, but we all have different preferences.

This is the path I took, and although I still can’t call myself a game developer, no way near actually, I still recommend watching many different courses until you find a course that you like.

There were other resources that I came across as well that I want to mention.

Unity3d.com

 

unity3d.comIf you decide on going with Unity as a tool for learning to create games, I recommend browsing around Unity’s website. They have their own course for learning Unity, they have a Unity blog, different articles, for example on how to make money from games, different assets you can find in the asset store and so on.

Minecraft plugin

 

Spigot pluginsIf you play Minecraft, or if you have kids that do, I recommend creating your own Minecraft server. That’s what I did. I created a Spigot Minecraft server, with plugins. This made me want to try to create my own Minecraft plugin. So I did. If you want to learn Java this is a good way to learn that. You can read more about that here.

The Coding Train

 

Coding TrainThere are many on YouTube focusing on teaching programming and some stands out. The Coding Train is one of them. He is funny, informative and has videos that is easy to follow.

TairaGames

 

Taira Games

Another fun YouTuber to watch is Taira games. He has a more talk show approach to game development and I highly recommend watching his videos if you want to get in to game development.

Sololearn

SoloLearn

If you feel like taking a course on your mobile there are also different apps you can try. I have some experience with SoloLearn. They have courses in many different languages, and a helpful community within the app.

Scratch

 

ScratchIf you feel like you should start from the VERY beginning, or at least if you have kids that you want to learn programming, Scratch is a very nice website. I know I’m going to introduce this to my kids eventually.

So this is some of the resources that I recommend you check out if you as well want to learn programming. I will continue with the Udemy course that I am currently on, perhaps even start over, to see the new updated videos. Hopefully I will have some games I have created on the course that I can share here.

If you have any other resources you recommend, I would love to hear about them. Feel free to contact me or just write some of the resources you recommend in the comments. 

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