Beginner Game Development: What Genres Should You Focus On?
The world of game development can be a tough one to break into. While there is certainly a usual path into the field, that doesn’t mean it is the only way to get you started. One of the best ways to get experience with game development is to spend some time coding and building games for yourself. But what kind of games will give you the kind of experience that studios are looking for and what skills will they give you? We take a look at a couple of genres that those with an interest in game development should focus on to learn the skills recruiters are looking for.
Sometimes it is best to start out with something simple. Everyone has played a hand or two of poker in their lives. While there are certain complexities to the game, the basics can be learned quickly. Poker tips for beginners revolve around the simple structure of the game, the values of the different hands, and the sequence of play. And with knowledge of these aspects of poker in mind, one has enough understanding to start piecing together a game.
From simple processes like simulating the shuffle and dealing of cards to building an AI that will react in a way that can challenge seasoned players at the table, there is plenty of challenge to be had while tackling a seemingly simple game like poker. If you have a flair for design, you can put together a user interface of your own or take a look at some of the online poker sites out there and have a go at imitating what they use on their display. Find what works and learn from what doesn’t.
In a role-playing game, characters complete quests and solve problems in their world, which can be similar to ours or completely different. One of the hallmarks of a role-playing game is the level up structure in which characters earn Experience Points and gain new powers and abilities once they reach a certain threshold. Despite being very simple to implement with basic attributes attached to characters, it can be difficult to get the balance correct. Give levels too quickly and players won’t appreciate the achievement. Give levels too slowly and they will lose interest and look for a different reward. The balance needs to be just right.
Beyond this, there is the impact that levels have on combat, with new abilities needing to be balanced while still feeling like an upgrade against what players previously had. Getting the mechanics of a role-playing game can be tricky, but there are plenty of games in the genre to take a look at and dissect to find what makes them work. Plus there are tools like RPG Maker and similar programs that will take the design and art side of things off your hand and let you focus on the development side of things.
Another casino classic, this is a genre of game that appears simple on the surface but has a wealth of hidden complexity to explore. There is a long history of mechanical slot machines, but in the modern era these have almost all made the shift to digital, meaning that their programming can be broken down and imitated. At their heart, they are a series of random number generators, but with the added complexity that they need to provide rewards to players for lining up certain figures or numbers.
Slot machines can be as simple or as complicated as you like. By adding in rewards for diagonal lines or specific pictures or numbers that come up no matter their position, a complicated order of operations can be produced that can be a good exercise in game development. Giving priorities to certain lines that are higher value is an important skill to develop but can take a bit of time and careful balancing to get just right.
Some of the most beloved video games of all time have been platforming games Classic series like Mario and Sonic as well as modern games like Little Nightmares and It Take Two have all had their roots in the genre. Platforming games are, at their heart, a game that requires players to traverse areas by jumping, running, or otherwise moving across the screen while avoiding obstacles and enemies. They can be as complicated or simple as you like, but no matter what they pose some fun game development puzzles to unlock.
Ensuring that hit boxes work well and as intended is a key to ensuring that enemies work properly. No one wants to be punished for hitting an obstacle when their sprite was not near it. There is also balancing jumping mechanics and balancing the difficulty to worry about, which requires a lot of trial and error on the developer’s part. Platformers were one of the early successes of the video game industry, so they can be built in a very simple yet satisfying way even to modern players.