So, you're a noob. People (not here of course) make fun of you for not knowing a thing about how to make a game. You think you're never going to learn to program and it seems like the task is impossible. This article is here to help you out.
Some Things Every Noob Should Know
I have recently seen one of our members go from starting out being an almost complete noob to talking about programming like a semi-pro way and writing his own tutorials. He has made this progress at an incredibly fast rate. In fact, he's made so much progress so quickly that I have to stop myself occasionally from referring to him by his traditional nickname — the "hardworking noob." I can't call him that anymore as he is no longer a noob. The moment he surprised us with his own tutorial he became one of the core regulars — those people who explain things to noobs. Only for the purposes of this article will I call him the HN.
On the other hand, we have a few other noobs. They occasionally come to the forum, check the member list for new members, and PM them asking them to join their "team." There is no real team. What they really want is for someone to make their game for them.
And so I was thinking, what's the difference between "the hardworking noob" and the forum monkeys? It's all in how they go about learning to make games. This article is here to tell you exactly how the HN made such rapid progress and how you can learn from him.
I'd like to say that his progress was due to what he's learned here at Game Design Novice. This is not the case. What you are about to read is what I have learned from him.
To learn to make a game, you first have to have some basic requirements. If you don't meet these requirements, then its useless to try. This is where we separate the people who can learn to make a game and those who never will.
1. You have to want to make a game.
And by "want to make a game", I mean that you're going to have to want to make it yourself. People will very often help you with the details of your game, but they won't make it for you. You're going to have to accept now that in order to make a game, you are going to have to learn to program.
2. You have to be willing to start small.
The HN came to GDN working on simple text-based games. He hadn't learned how to properly manipulate images yet and seemed far away from making any kind of 2D game. Before we knew it, HN had a platform example and soon afterwards was working on a top-down game.
Always remember this. Start with smaller simple projects. When you do this, you are learning what you need to move on to more complex projects. Eventually, you'll be able to program exactly the game you want to make.
How to Learn to Make a Game
If you have the right stuff, congratulations. You've at least shown that you are capable of making a good game one day. Now you have to actually learn how to do it. In order to learn, you have to be able to do the following things constantly.
1. Read the manual
When you have a problem, read the manual, documentation, or other helpful material that your game creation tool came with. You may not understand it at first, but you should always make an attempt as the first thing you do when you have a problem. Each time you make this attempt, you will find that you understand more of what you read than you did before.
2. Ask questions
If you don't understand something and if the manual doesn't have the answer, or you can't understand it, ask someone about it. You'll find that if you ask specific questions about programming (Example : What's a variable?) they will gladly help you. Just so long as its a specific question and you are not expecting someone to make your game for you.
When making a game, you will often find that the code you write doesn't do exactly what you expect it to do. When this happens, experiment with your code just like a scientist would. Form a theory about what is going wrong and test it out. If you think your platform character is falling through platforms because the gravity is too high then change the gravity and see what happens.
And that's all you need to do. Honest. We're proud to have the "hardworking noob" as a regular member of Game Design Novice. If you take this article to heart and learn from his example, there's an almost certain chance that we willl be proud to have you as a member as well.