Making Games





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Published on Aug 27, 2014

Dr. Em gives her advice about making games.


Hello, Hopscotchers!

Let’s talk about making games.

I’m Dr. Em and I’m an indie game developer. That means I do the art, the programming, the music, the level design, the marketing, and everything else that goes into a game. Here’s my advice for other game developers, like you!

1. Have an idea.
Having an idea is the most important part of making a game. It doesn’t have to be a good idea, or even a unique idea. You just need something interesting to start from. It could be an idea about mining resources to build shelters, or an idea about a plumber who eats mushrooms, or an idea about solving puzzles by connecting pipes. As long as you have an idea, you’ve got a place to start.

2. Jump right in
You don’t need to know exactly how to do everything before you start making a game: just start! Don’t worry about it being exactly perfect the first time, just start somewhere and work out what else needs to be done as you go along. You’ll probably end up starting from scratch after you figure out that something in your original idea is impossible, but the stuff you figure out from jumping right in will help you make a game that is even better than your first idea.

3. Ask for help
No one, not even a professional game developer, knows everything. Ask for help from your friends, your teachers, your family, other people on the Hopscotch Community. You never know when they could help give you great ideas, or teach you something really cool.

4. Test, test, test
You don’t have to finish writing your whole game before you run it. It’s really important to test every little part of your game while you’re making it, to make sure it’s doing what you want. This is also useful because if you mess something up, you know what you’ve done since the last change and it’s easy to track down the mistake.

5. Listen to feedback
As soon as you have your game mostly working, show it to someone else. Let them play it, and ask what they think. Do they understand HOW to play the game? Do they want to keep playing it? Are they doing something you didn’t think of? Does that make the game better or worse?
Remember, the feedback is about the game, not about you. It’s ok if someone doesn’t like it or doesn’t get it, that just means it’s not done yet.

This is the ultimate game developer secret:
When someone really likes your game, they will start giving you advice about how to make it easier. DO NOT make it easier. If someone can win your game on the first try, there’s no reason for them to keep playing it. They should be able to get better at it after a few tries, though, so don’t make it impossible. But remember, if all games were easy, they wouldn’t be fun.

So that’s my advice for making games:
Have ideas, jump right in, ask for help, test, test, test, and listen to feedback.
Good luck out there, Hopscotchers!, and I hope I get to play your game soon.


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