Introductions and inspirations


The incubator has now officially started for 2019! Our 12 participants met together for the first time and were joined by some alumnae as well. Many of you are undoubtedly excited to start and this blog post is certainly the place to be! Don’t be put off by the overwhelming amount of the resources here though — it’s a long post because there’s so much choice. As our incubees found out, the options narrow down once you decide what it is you would like your game to be. There’s lots of advice in here on exactly how to start, so pay attention, tuck in…!



There is a dedicated, secret-ish (shh !) you can join (We can send you the link!). Use it to post your game’s progress, ask for help, and get to know others who are journeying with you on this quest to make your first video-game! We’ll be posting extra tips and resources.

Additionally, we’ve created a dedicated Slack worspace if that is more your speed. Category is: game-making! These are the best places to ask questions and get feedback quickly. Hope to see you in either or both!


We know it’s hard to learn something new all alone, so we have face-to-face extra sessions again this year. Come out to the meetups to work on your game and support other first-time game makers. Bouncing your ideas or even talking about bugs to other people can be extremely helpful especially when others have solved that same problem. See you there!

When: Saturdays from January 12 to February 16, 2019, inclusively
Time: 2 pm to 5 pm
Where: GamePlay Space, 1435 Saint-Alexandre St. suite 140 (Place-des-Arts metro station)


You can also sign up for individual email mentorship. If you’re interested in this as either a mentee or a mentor, please email and we’ll get you all set up!


So you need an idea. Start by thinking of what game YOU’D 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 being completely stuck. It will be YOUR game! Love it!

Decide 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. Try reducing the idea to key action verbs (what we call a “game mechanic”) like running, jumping, digging, matching, etc. Since there are only six weeks to get your game up and running, you should concentrate on only one or two verbs. An elevator pitch like this is sufficient: “I want to make a [genre] game about [a topic you feel passion for] that uses [game mechanic].” (eg: “I want to make a mystery game about striped pandas that uses jumping.”)

Your game should be about 30 seconds to 3 minutes of gameplay. Another good baseline is “one minute of fun”. That’s our suggested scope, but remember that you can always add more! 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!


It’s up to you to explore and find the right tool for you. We’ve listed some genre-specific ones but that doesn’t mean that other engines won’t do the job just as great. We encourage you to explore.


2D GameMaker (Windows)
Stencyl (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Construct 2 (Windows)
Construct 3 (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS)
Game Salad (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS)
Unreal Engine 4 + Blueprints (Windows, Mac, Linux)
3D Unity (Windows, Mac) + Bolt ($)
Unreal Engine 4 + Blueprints (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Text-Based Inform7 (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Twine (Windows, Mac, Linux)
StoryNexus (Online)
Inklewriter (Online)
RPG RPG Maker VX Ace Lite (Windows)
Cadre d’un RPG Stencyl (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Strategy Turn-based Strategy add-on for GameMaker (Windows)
Adventure Adventure Game Studio (Windows)
Fighting M.U.G.E.N. (Windows)



3D Unity (Windows, Mac)
Unreal Engine 4 (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Unreal Development Kit (Windows)
Superpowers (Windows, Mac, Linux)
2D Unity (Windows, Mac)
Unreal Engine 4 (Windows, Mac, Linux)
LÖVE (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Superpowers (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Point ‘n Click / Adventure Adventure Game Studio (Windows)
Puzzle Puzzlescript (Online)
Visual Novel Ren’Py (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS)
Belle (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS)
Tyrano Builder ($) (Windows, Mac)

Want more tools? PixelProspector offers a pretty thorough breakdown of all the tools out there!

Still can’t decide? Try reading this Indie’s Guide to Game-Making to help narrow down your choices. (Thanks Elise for the find!)


Who knows better than those who have gone through this incubator before? Here’s a healthy heaping of advice from the Pixelles alumna present at our first session.

  • For those afraid of programming, don’t be. Do what you need to trick and convince yourself to not fear it: choose a visual-editor-type game engine (Stencyl, Construct2/3, Twine, GameSalad) that has minimal to no typing. That being said, remind yourself that This Is Still Programming. The leap to type-scripting is getting smaller. You are Doing It.
  • Programming is a language. If you can learn English, French, Elvish, Klingon, you can teach yourself C#, Python, Javascript, Processing.
  • Choose a popular game engine over an obscure one because there’s a higher chance you’ll be able to find someone who can help you when you’re stuck. Undertale (potential GOTY 2016) was made using Gamemaker. You don’t need something fancy to create a great game.
  • For those afraid of art, don’t be. Look up some simple pixel art tutorials. Make a game entirely out of colored boxes and simple shapes. Even the best of artists will find it difficult to make a super-lush environment in only six weeks, so take the pressure off!
  • Worry less about the look when you start and use pre-made assets to your advantage. You can always switch things out later, and remind yourself “aesthetic” is not just created visually — it’s also feel, touch, sound, fun!
  • We guarantee you, if you come up to a snag as a first-time game-maker, it is a snag that someone else has hit before. We’ve all been there. Nothing is unsolvable.
  • Google is your best friend. If nothing at all, you will emerge out of Pixelles with stronger Google-fu than you ever thought you could achieve.
  • Focus on a small scope to begin with. Once you have one single action, you can continually build around it. Mechanics, Design, Aesthetics. (We will talk about this more next week.)
  • Cloning an existing game that you love, with a personal twist, is also a completely legitimate way to approach the incubator. Think about what makes you love the games that you love, but this time come at it with the game design perspective.
  • There will be moments where you will feel incredibly lost, or stuck on one simple step. That’s the ideal time to go work on something else, or just leave it alone for a while. Rest is an essential part of getting through a problem. Once you solve it, you will feel amazing!!!
  • What are your goals for this incubator? Make a list of the elements of a video game (art, game design, programming, sound, writing, etc). Cross out the ones that you are stronger in and confident with. Circle one of the remaining ones. That is the skill that you can use the incubator to challenge and improve on.
  • For all the other skills you’re insecure with, don’t be afraid of using existing resources — free art sprites or easy art, free songs, a game engine that doesn’t require programming, many more. You can use that constraint to inspire you! Trying to build too many skills at once from ground zero can be exhausting and not fun.
  • In every case, don’t be afraid to bring your worries to us! Do it at either one of the Follow-Along meetups, and/or by email to your dedicated mentor or to one of the coordinators at Come hang around in our dedicated communities. It’s been proven that a single email can fix your entire game.
  • Never feel alone in what you’re doing. Some of the Pixelles alumnae chose to continue in games and joined the industry. Some of them never made a game again, but continue being awesome in other fields. In every instance, it turned out great, and we all still share in this together. So, welcome to our community!

We’ve put together a list of small yet amazing and different games to inspire you. It’s important to remember that a great game isn’t necessarily one with mind-blowing graphics, orchestral soundtracks, or break-out-of-the-box mechanics. A great game can be simple yet evocative and fun! So take a page from these games and start thinking about your own! Remember that six weeks isn’t a whole lot of time so keep it simple and later, if you have time, you can add more!

Today I Die
Gods Will Be Watching
Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher
Dominique Pamplemousse Demo
Colour My World
One Chance
Crystal Warrior Ke$ha
Howling Dogs


  1. Choose one of the game engines from the list above, or in your email. Do some tutorials in the same vein as your game idea.
  2. Play some games on our list.
  3. Look at the games that were made in the previous incubators to get an idea of what scope of game you can expect to make.
  4. Start conceptualizing your game: what game genre, story/topic, what player’s goal will be, doodles, sketches, etc. Remember to keep your ideas simple for now (1-2 verbs). You can always extend the idea later.

Best of luck! We believe in you!


Posted in Game Incubator, GDC Ensemble, News, Pixelles Game Incubator 7
About Pixelles
Pixelles is a non-profit initiative committed to helping more people make and change games. We're based in Montreal, and have already succeeded in building a supportive community of game creators, both hobbyist and professional.

Twitter: @pixellesmtl
Facebook: Pixelles Group
* = required field
Make a Donation

All donations go directly to funding our programs, events, and community. ♥ Your support is greatly appreciated!