From Zero to Game Dev: How to Start Building Video Games Even if You Don’t Have Any Experience

There are a few directions you can go if you want to start building your own games. The first thing you should do is level back your ambitions a little. Many people get into game development with the hopes of a big commercial success, when most games never make their money back. Secondly, scale down your ambitions with regards to the scope of your game. Having that destructible environment, every car drivable, ever house enterable, is just not realistic for a small developer. Keep things small and move forward at a sensible pace.

Mario Maker

Some call this the very bottom rung, but frankly, there have been some designs on the Mario Maker platform that have far beaten out the Mario levels that professionals have made over the years. The system is pretty easy to learn, and in fact, it is only a shame they don’t allow you to use more tools right away. They do this so that you learn slowly and open up the game, but it can be frustrating if you already have a vision in mind and you have to earn the right to use all the tools the system has to offer. 


This is another game-making “Game” that allows you to develop a wide range of games. The weird thing is that this platform was not made for people to create real marketable games, and yet people have built and sold games that they originally made using Dreams. It is a Playstation only game. It is actually very diverse and very complex. It is almost so complex that it is close to learning how to code your own game.

Coding Your Own Game

Consider learning how to write programming code. Look for the kids programming language lessons and video online. Learning using kid’s lessons is pretty easy because they start from the very beginning and they assume you have no coding experience. If you have kids, you can learn coding by teaching your kids coding. That way, you all learn together and can even start building your own games together. Before you decide which coding language to learn, you may want to pick your gaming engine.

Picking Your Gaming Engine

If you are looking to learn how to write code and create your own games, then you should probably pick a gaming engine before you pick a programming language to learn. The type of engine you pick will depend on the types of games you wish to create. For example, there is CryEngine, which is free to use and uses the language C++ and Python. There is Armory, which uses Python and C, but also makes it very easy for you to transfer the things you made in Blender (a free 3D modelling program), so you can build your own assets and then plonk them right in your game without converting them. There are other free gaming engines like Unity and Unreal Engine which are very popular and have lots of potential.

Use Pre-Made Assets to Start With

There is an awful game called “Hunt Down the Freeman” which is well known because it was made as a sequel to the very popular Half Life series. It was made by indie developers who were looking to make a quick buck, so they took assets from the original Half Life games, threw them into a gaming engine, and made a game with the Half Life franchise plastered all over it. For some reason, the makers of Half Life (Steam) didn’t care about any sort of copyright infringement and so the game was sold and made millions.

Don’t go ripping off people’s franchises and copyrighted material but do use free and open source assets to make your first few games. Then, when you have the skills and funding, start making your own gaming assets. Using free and copyright-free assets is a common practice. For example, why animate a wood fire when people have already done it and put the assets on the Internet for anybody to use. Using other people’s copyright free assets will save you a lot of time, which allows you to experiment more.