Game Creation Station: Options, Options Everywhere
Today I decided to take a break from my project and talk about something that has been on my mind. It started with Enterbrain and Degica, the companies behind the RPG Maker series, announced a new product. Titled RPG Maker MV, this new entry in the long running franchise adds new features and higher resolution graphics to the series. Hearing about the new product made me start pondering a bit about the various game creation options that are on the market. It is a wide open world for hobbyist creators that want design and publish a game. There are so many options that it can take a bit for someone to pick and choose which tool best fits a specific project. Of course, this wasn’t always the case. I thought I’d share a little of the past and the present of my own interest in creating a game.
I had an interest in creating games growing up in the 80’s. I wanted to program my own products and I tried, on occasion, to produce rudimentary text based games using BASIC. I just didn’t have a strong enough interest in programming or math that would sustain me through the learning curve needed for various programming languages. It also wasn’t easy to grab a piece of software and just start putting together a product for others to use. There were a few packages out there that let a creator produce levels and content in a few games, but there wasn’t a whole lot of choice. Some games had content creation built-in but there was rarely any way to save or distribute said content. For example, I would sit for hours in a game like Excitebike and use the course creator to design that perfect run, only to have my course disappear when the console was turned off. Sometimes it could be a little heart-rending to see such a project turn into digital dust.
Right now, however, we are living through an age of game creation that is unique in the history of the industry. It is easier to start creating a game with more products on the market then ever before. Although most of these products have a bit of a learning curve, it is fairly easy to get in and create a game with little to no programming knowledge. I just want to list some of these products that are available now. All the software can be found for fairly cheap or downloaded for free:
From Enterbrain and Degica
– RPG Maker 2000
– RPG Maker 2003
– RPG Maker XP
– RPG Maker VX/VX Ace
– (Coming Soon) RPG Maker MV
– IG Maker
– GG Maker
– Character Creator Hub
Yo Yo Games
– Game Maker Studio
– Construct 2
This is just a bit of software out there to make a game. There are also various engines out there that are available for the public to download. These include
What I have listed above doesn’t even scratch the surface of game creation tools on the market. I could easily spend a thousand words just listing these pieces of software and engines that allow hobbyists to create games. Most of these are low-cost and cheap, especially if the product that is being produced isn’t for commercial use. This doesn’t even include the various tools attached to actual games like Fallout’s G.E.C.K., The Elder Scrolls Construction set, Garry’s Mod for Valve’s Source engine or a variety of other products that are on the market. I also didn’t include tree homebrew tools like the Zelda Classic tool which is being used by Jessica Brown to create her project.
If you are thinking about creating a gamen but feel you don’t have the skills to do so, just pick one of these pieces of software and start building. A person doesn’t gain skills by wishing and waiting. These skills are gained by doing actual production work on a product. When I was a child, the best way to start making a game was to learn a programming language. This is no longer the case. Most of the tools listed above also have active communities so game creator can easily find help. It is a weird, wild and awesome world of game creation that is largely available for free or very cheap. I can’t stress enough how great it is to be a game creation hobbyist right now.
I’m writing this to say stop waiting and start putting your dreams to the test. The first product or two might not be the greatest, but the experience will give you skills that can be used for future products that will be good. There are so many options that even if you don’t have money but have access to the net, you can find a product that you can start learning right away. Go out and start and see what happens.
Next week we go back to our regularly scheduled posts with Jessica Brown and her Zelda Classic based game called “Zelda: Sword of Moria.” Thank you for reading and keep on creating.