Pixelles isn’t a university course. Most of the learning you’ll have to do on your own. We’ll suggest tutorials, articles, and tools to get you on your way to making a game. We’re here to provide guidance, experience, and feedback. This being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask us or one of our mentors for help. Send us an e-mail, tweet, or carrier pigeon and we’ll do our very best!
Inspiration is an important part in the game making process. There are lots of simple, unique, and awesome games out there. Hopefully you’ll be inspired by these and start scribbling down ideas of your own:
- I Wish I Were the Moon
- Kingdom of Loathing
- I Can Hold My Breath Forever
- Another 20 Games That Make You Think About Life
- Ten More Games That Make You Think About Life
Crafting Your Game Idea
So you need an idea… start by thinking of what game YOU would want to play. You should aim to make a game you’ll love and want to play over and over! Being excited by your own idea will keep you going during those hard nights, at 4am, being completely stuck. It will be YOUR game! Love it!
Start by deciding what kind of game you’d like it to be. What do you want the player’s goal to be? How about the story’s theme? Your idea might be big and that’s okay. It’s easy to refine a grand idea into smaller bite-size pieces. Since there’s only six weeks to get your game up and running, you may want to concentrate on one of the pieces of your game, whether it’s 1-2 levels or a basic proof of concept.
For example, in my six weeks I wanted to create a typing game on my mobile phone using cats, lolspeak and at the same time learn C++. There was no way I’d be able to accomplish all that as a first-time game maker. So instead I opted to create a proof of concept. At the end of those six weeks my proof of concept was born! It was one endless level on the computer with a high-score system.
In the end, no matter what, your game will be fabulous. And after the incubator you can always continue working on it. In fact, we encourage it!
What can I expect to make?
At this point, you’re probably wondering what level of game you can expect to accomplish in six weeks, especially since you’ve never made a game before. The Difference Engine Initiative was another women-in-games incubator that happened in Toronto. It had a similar structure — taking women who’ve never made a game and giving them six weeks to make one.
This was the result: http://handeyesociety.com/difference-engine-initiative/
Stencyl & GameMaker
This week we’ll be having fun with two free, popular game making tools. Their point and click type of interfaces keep your hands clean from having to do any programming. You’ll be on your way to making a game in no time. There are even templates to get you started.
Stencyl is available on both mac and pc. It comes with a large support community, a resource library, and its own asset designer. You can make games with this tool for any platform including mobile devices.
GameMaker Studio is only available on Windows. There are several paid versions of GameMaker but the free one is just as good. With GM you can also export games to several formats including mobile devices. It also comes with a large support community and its own scripting language if you’d like to take your game to the next level.
- Check out the games from our inspiration list
- Have a look at the games girls have made in another incubator to get an idea of what level of game you can expect to make.
- Install GameMaker Studio (Windows only) or Stencyl (OSX/Windows)
- Do some of the tutorials in either Stencyl or GameMaker to get a better idea of how the tool works. You can find Stencyl’s tutorials here. Gamemaker’s tutorials are built right into the program.
- Modify a template in Stencyl or Gamemaker. Change the template to make it “your own”, whether this is by changing the game mechanics, modifying gravity, adding more objects, change the player’s goal completely. Use this assignment to really explore Stencyl/GameMaker. You can find GameMaker’s examples just by clicking File->Open — there should be one called “treasure” and one called “street racer”.
- Start conceptualizing your game: what kind of game you’d like it to be, what player’s goal will be, doodles, sketches
Next Week: Intro to game design and game making tools