How To Learn Game Development? Use These 5 Steps
How to learn game development is a popular question. In this blog post, I will give you 5 steps that I personally used to become a game developer. These steps are based on my experience and what worked for me and I’m not trying to say that this is the perfect way to learn. But it’s the path I took and it worked pretty well for me. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
1. Learn Programming Fundamentals
Programming is a huge part of game development and it’s absolutely crucial that you have a strong foundation in it. In my opinion, even if you are a game artist you should have at least a basic understanding of programming just to have better insight into what it takes to develop a game.
What language you learn doesn’t really matter because the basics are pretty much the same across different languages. But at the very least make sure that the language you picked supports OOP(Object Oriented Programming) and is relatively popular so that there is a decent amount of learning material and community around it.
That being said learning a language that is used by one of the popular game engines is a smart idea that will give you a boost in your learning journey.
The 3 most popular choices that I can list from the top of my head are Unity, Unreal, and Godot. They are all very capable and awesome tools and which one you should use depends on your preferences and what type of game you are planning to build.
I personally use Godot extensively and started using Unity recently. I can’t say much about Unreal though.
If you want to learn Unity learn C#.
If you want to learn Godot learn Python.
If you want to learn Unreal learn C++.
You might say “Wait, but Godot doesn’t use Python, Kaan what are you saying mate?”
I know, but GDScript, Godot’s scripting language, is very similar to Python, and learning GDScript by itself isn’t very useful.
How to go about learning programming
There are 3 different ways you can do this.
- Youtube tutorials
- Online courses
The main pro of YouTube tutorials is the fact that they are free. They are also easy to get started with. But ultimately a book or an online course provides a much more structured learning experience.
Start with YouTube tutorials to get an idea then find a good book/online course. (There are very high-quality YouTube series as well keep in mind)
2. Pick a Game Engine and Learn The Basics
First, pick a game engine. Like I mentioned before the most popular ones are Unity, Unreal, and Godot.
You want to get a basic understanding of how your game engine works in order to complete this step.
Start by watching beginner tutorials on YouTube and reading documentation.
Godot has an excellent step by step guide for beginners: https://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/getting_started/step_by_step/index.html
And Unity has a great official learning platform: https://learn.unity.com/
This should be enough for you to get started but if you want to do some research and find what fits your learning style that’s also fine.
You’ll be done with this step when you can confidently do basic tasks like creating a scene, adding some game objects to your scene, attaching scripts, etc.
3. Enroll in a Good Online Course
Up until this point you’ve learned the basics of programming and the basics of the engine that you chose. Now it’s time to learn how to make a game with it.
Find the most comprehensive and well-reviewed online course that covers your game engine and watch it from start to finish.
In my opinion learning by doing is one of the best ways to learn and I absolutely love project-based courses.
Make sure that the course that you picked isn’t all theory and it has multiple projects that you can build alongside the instructor. A big benefit of this is that you will instantly have projects that you can put on your portfolio after you finish the course.
However, don’t just use the exact same projects but try to extend them. You are lucky because building upon existing projects is so much easier than creating a game from scratch.
4. Turn a Project Into a Full Game
As I said, it’s much easier to extend an existing project. Leverage the fact that you have multiple projects that you can build upon.
Let’s say that you made a basic platformer game. Add one unique mechanic to the game, create 10-15 levels. Add menus, polish the game, and you are done. You have an original game that you made that you can share with the world.
There is not much more to say about this step. It’s mostly gonna be you creating something unique.
5. Keep Making Games, You Are READY!
At this point, you should be fairly confident in your game dev skills and have enough knowledge to start a project from scratch. You are the equivalent of a bird that’s ready to jump from its nest and start flying.
Think of cool game ideas and start building prototypes. Each prototype should take anywhere between a single day to a couple of weeks.
After you have a decent amount of prototypes find the one that you like the most and keep working on it.
DON’T over-scope your first game. One of the most important skills of a game developer is actually finishing games and it will take you longer than you think to finish it, so be careful.
If you just want to improve your skills you might consider cloning popular games. This is very common among beginner devs who are trying to improve themselves.
I tried to answer the question “How to learn game development” as best as I can. Here are the steps in a list format.
- Learn Programming Fundamentals
- Pick a Game Engine and Learn The Basics
- Enroll In a Good Online Course
- Turn a Project Into a Full Game
- Keep Making Games!
All the steps should take anywhere between 3 to 10 months to complete depending on how much time you can invest. But I assure you if you follow the steps and put in the work you will get to where you want to be.
Some useful resources:
- 1 Bit Godot: https://learn.heartbeast.co/p/1-bit-godot-course-by-heartbeast
- Make an action RPG in Godot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAbG8Oi-SvQ&list=PL9FzW-m48fn2SlrW0KoLT4n5egNdX-W9a&ab_channel=HeartBeast
- KidsCanCode: https://www.youtube.com/c/KidscancodeOrg/
- Official docs: https://docs.godotengine.org/en/stable/index.html
- Unity 2D Course: https://www.udemy.com/course/unitycourse/
- Unity 3D Course: https://www.udemy.com/course/unitycourse2/
- Official docs: https://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/index.html
- Brackeys: https://www.youtube.com/user/Brackeys
I hope this was useful and now you have some idea about how to learn game development. Good luck with your game dev journey!