How to Code and Develop Your Own Computer Games From Scratch

Creating your own computer games from scratch can be an incredibly rewarding and fun experience. With some dedication and the right tools, anyone can learn how to code games. This guide will provide an overview of the game development process, the skills you’ll need, and resources to help you get started.

Getting Started with Game Development

Game development encompasses everything from coming up with an initial concept to releasing a finished game. The main steps are:

  • Game design – Define core gameplay mechanics, story, art style, etc.
  • Programming – Code the game logic, systems, UI, etc.
  • Art and assets – Create visual assets like characters, environments, animations
  • Audio – Add sound effects, music to enhance immersion
  • Testing and refinement – Playtest for bugs, get feedback, polish the game
  • Marketing and distribution – Share the game with players on platforms

To succeed, you’ll need skills in some combination of programming, art, game design, writing, and project management. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in all areas – start with your strengths and fill knowledge gaps as you go.

Useful Skills

  • Programming – Code game logic and mechanics in languages like C++, C#, Java
  • Art – Create 2D/3D art assets, animations, UI, etc.
  • Game engines – Tools like Unity and Unreal Engine to build games faster
  • Game design – Plan core mechanics, progression, monetization, etc.
  • Project management – Keep complex projects on schedule and budget

Choosing a Programming Language

Some top languages used in game development include:

  • C++ – Very fast, low-level language ideal for high performance games
  • C# – Easy to learn and used by Unity, a popular game engine
  • Java – Cross platform mobile development and indie games
  • JavaScript – Front-end web development and web browser games
  • Python – General purpose scripting usable for game logic

If you’re new to coding, start with an easier language like C# or Python. You can always learn C++ later for more optimized game engines.

Using a Game Engine

Game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine provide tools and reusable code to accelerate development. This allows you to focus less on low-level programming and more on game design, art, assets, etc.

Benefits of engines:

  • Faster iteration time
  • Cross platform publishing
  • Visual editor for scene building
  • Physics, lighting, other built-in systems
  • Asset store for art, animations, sounds

Unity and Unreal Engine are both free to use and have large online communities to help you learn.

Developing Your First Game

When making your first game, start very small and simple. Classic beginner projects include:

  • 2D games – Platformers, puzzle games, tower defense
  • Text adventures – Interactive fiction using text and choices
  • Arcade games – Brick breakers, space shooters, endless runners

Focus the scope on designing and implementing one core mechanic very well. Polish as you iterate based on playtesting feedback.

Resources for Learning Game Development

There are countless tutorials available to teach yourself game dev:

  • Online courses – Structured classes on programming, game engines, art, etc.
  • Books – Intro guides provide foundations for coding games
  • Youtube tutorials – Free video lessons show game dev concepts
  • Forums – and Reddit are popular online communities
  • Game jams – Short events to quickly build games and get feedback

Be patient, start small, and keep building up your skills. With dedication, you’ll be developing your own games in no time!