Free Gamemaking Resources

Getting Started

This short introductory series from Challenge presenter E-Line Media provides an introduction to some key topics in game-making and programming.

Ten Getting Started Tips For New Game Makers

  1. Get Inspired: Ideas for a game can come from almost anywhere. Maybe making a game about a certain topic, theme or issue inspires you. Perhaps you've got an idea for a world, character or better future that you can express in your game. Maybe another work of art -- a painting, a movie, a book or even another game -- sparks something for you. Just be sure to use them only as inspiration. Don't copy someone else's work.
  2. Know Your Audience: Great game makers design with an audience in mind. This includes information about your players: the abilities of a six-year-old who is new to games are different from a teenage core gamer. It also includes information about the platform the players will use. Mobile games are different from those played on a computer. Your design needs to take these differences into account.
  3. Pick a Genre: Most games fall into a recognizable genre. Racing games, platformers, adventure and puzzle games are all examples of genres. By basing your game's design in a genre and following its 'rules,' you're more likely to make a game that's fun. Of course, it's good to bend the rules sometimes, too...
  4. Get Active: Unlike, say, movies or books, games are an interactive art form. We call the things players do when they interact with your game mechanics. Think about how you can get your players active by focusing your design on the 'verbs' that are familiar to your genre. For instance, in the platformer genre, think about verbs like running, jumping, avoiding, collecting, etc.
  5. Find the Fun: It may seem obvious, but games are supposed to be fun. Early in your design process, find what it is about your game that makes it fun. In general, games work because players find it fun to be challenged. Once you've identified your genre and mechanics, think about what will make the game challenging for your players. Ask yourself 'What does it mean for a player to be good at my game."
  6. Write it Down: Create your game's core design before you start making it. Write the design down in a Game Design Document you can refer to later.
  7. Learn and Plan: Develop a plan for making your game. This should include not only the steps and timeline for getting it done, but also how you will learn and experiment with the tools, coding and art resources you'll use to make it.
  8. Iterate: We say that making games is an iterative process. This means that as you make a game, you often test, identify weak points and fix them to make it better. Don't assume that once you write your last line of code, your game will be perfect. In the industry, we like to say that games are never finished, just abandoned.
  9. Get Feedback: Recruit your friends and family as playtesters and involve them throughout the process. Use their feedback to make your game better.
  10. Follow the Process: Professional game-making teams organize their work into different 'phases.' Even if you're working alone or with a small team, following a simplified version of this game-making process will help keep you organized and on track.

Webinars

E-Line Media and XPRIZE Connect are presenting a series of webinars to help Challenge participants work on their submissions. The first webinar was held on July 2, 2020:

Check back here for a schedule of upcoming webinars.

The Game-Making Process

Game-Making Platforms

You can make your Challenge entry using any game-making platform you like. Be sure to check the Official Rules to make sure the game you make meets the Challenge guidelines.

If you're an experienced game maker or coder, you can make your game using any tool you're comfortable with. But if you're new to game-making or programming: don't worry! There are plenty of tools designed just for people learning how to make games.

These tools are freely-available, or have made special free versions available to participants in Code Games.

Since these tools have very different capabilities, we've even created separate tracks and prizes for games made with different tools.

Game-Making Discplines

We often talk about the different 'disciplines' or areas of responsibility that go into making a game. On a large professional team, these discplines may be divided between dozens or even hundreds of people. But even if you're making your Challenge game by youreself or with a small team, it can be helpful to think about your project and your responsibilities in terms of these disciplines.

Game-Making Disciplines

Resources For Game Makers

Platforms

Many of the game-making platforms we've linked to above include resources like built-in quests, videos and courses, that introduce key game-making and programming concepts.

Online Resources
  • Extra Credits has been creating amazing videos about games and game design for many years. Their YouTube channel is required viewing for aspiring game makers.
  • Harvard University's free online introductory game development course.
  • E-Line's hands-on Make Room! programs are hosting weekly online game-making sessions with an archive of content for youth game makers.
  • New to computer science and programming? Endless' Terminal Two teaches fundamental coding concepts through immersive and engaging games.
  • Girls Who Code's Code at Home provides new weekly coding activities, each one featuring a woman in tech who pioneered innovative technology.

Resources For Educators

Platforms

Many of the game-making platforms we've linked to above include resources like built-in quests, videos and curricula, that introduce key game-making and programming concepts.

Online Resources
  • URF Academy from Riot Games is a free resource and curriculum for educators who seek to encourage and inspire the next generation of game designers.
  • The TGR Foundation's printable Video Game Design curriculum (pdf).

Third-party resources content is developed and maintainted by outside organizations. Links to resources are provided as a courtesy to Challenge participants. Code Games Challenge and the Sponsors are not responsibile for the content of third-party resources. Inclusion of a resource does not imply endorsement of that content by the Challenge or its Sponsors.

Code Games Challenge: Resources Are you between the ages of 10-18 and interested in making video games? Enter the 2020 Code Games Challenge and access resources that will help you make your game. /images/CodeGamesOGDefaultImage_3.jpg