So You Want to Make a Game
A Short Introduction to Game-Making Tools
You can make a game
Even if you’ve never made
one before
Even if you don’t know how
to code
Even if you can’t draw
What to ask yourself
What kind of games am I
interested in?
What technical resources
are available to me?
What are my exis...
A note on coding
It’s not the only skill that
matters. Games need artists,
writers, designers,
composers, and musicians
to...
Tools that do one thing
Twine (interactive fiction)
iV (interactive art and video)
RPG Maker (RPGs)
Adventure Game Studio,...
Tools that do many things
Stencyl
GameMaker
GameSalad
Unity
Construct 2
THE ESSENTIAL TRADEOFF:
Fast and easy vs. flexible and
powerful
A note on “free” tools

You can probably do this for
free:
Building your game and
exporting to a single
platform
This will...
Twine
Twine in a nutshell
A free, very beginner-friendly
text-oriented tool for writing
interactive stories with
branching paths...
Twine Questions
Is it free? Yep.
Mac or PC? Both.
Coding needed? Nope,

although you
can make more complex games with a ba...
Some games by our members
Penalties, Soha El-Sabaawi
Even Cowgirls Bleed,
Christine Love
Phone Home, Jen Costa,
Noreen Ran...
Twine is worth trying if
You mostly want to write
You’re an absolute beginner
You’re short on time
You’re interested in no...
Avoid Twine if
You’re making a game with
avatars/movement/action
You hate writing
iV
iV in a nutshell
“Twine with video.” Create
branching
narratives/experiences with
images and video as well as
text. Develo...
An important note
iV is a fork from ScreenPerfect.
ScreenPerfect concept and
development by Alex Leitch with
the kind supp...
iV Questions
Is it free? Yes.
Mac or PC? Both.
Coding needed? Nope.
Where to get it?
bentobx.github.io/iV/
What does it ex...
Games to check out

PsXXYborg, Hannah Epstein,
Alex Leitch, Sagan Yee
iV is worth a try if
You want to focus on
making art/video/story
instead of the tech
You’re interested in nonlinear narrat...
Avoid iV if
You don’t like new things
(‘cause they’re still rough
around the edges)
You want a game with
action, physics, ...
RPG Maker
RPG Maker in a nutshell
A tool for making RPGs in the
style of early Final Fantasy
games. With some creativity,
adaptable ...
RPG Maker Questions
Is it free? No.

But there’s a free, limited
“lite” version you can try out.

Mac or PC? PC only.
Codi...
Some games From the community
Restless, Natalie Zed
The Doctor is Ready, Megan
Patterson, Kara Stone, Cecily
Carver
Actual...
RPG Maker is worth a try if...
You want to make an RPG
You want to make a game
that’s dialogue/story-heavy
You like world-...
Avoid RPG Maker if
You’re on a Mac
You don’t like the early 90’s
RPG “style”
You want to make
something that’s not an RPG
...
Stencyl
Stencyl in a nutshell
A free tool for making Flash
games using Scratch (codelearning tool for beginners) and
ActionScript
Stencyl Questions
Is it free? Yep (mostly).
Mac or PC? Both (and Linux!)
Coding needed? Depends.

You can

get pretty far ...
Some games by our members
Icarus, Sagan Yee
Having it All, Miriam
Verburg

Unicorn Justice Fighter/Unicorn R
, Una Lee
Stencyl is worth trying if...
You want to make a 2D
platformer, action, or
physics game
You want to learn to code,
or you’...
Avoid Stencyl if...
You want to display a lot of
text on the screen (i.e. a
point-and-click adventure)
You have no interes...
GameMaker
GameMaker in a nutshell
A widely-used, well-respected
beginner-friendly PC tool with
some powerful advanced
features.
GameMaker Questions
Is it free? Not really.

There’s a free

version, but it’s limited.

Mac or PC? PC (mostly)

There’s a...
Some games by our members
Cuddlegeddon, Gillian
Blekkenhorst
Seven Sins, Leisha-Marie
Riddel
Girl Sprout Camp, Carly
Beath...
GameMaker is worth trying if
You want to make a 2D
platformer, action, or
physics game
You like lots of tutorials and
onli...
Avoid GameMaker if
You’re on a Mac
You want your games to be
playable in-browser
Story is your main focus
You hate ugly in...
GameSalad
GameSalad in a nutshell
A beginner-oriented tool for 2D
games with absolutely no
coding. Exports to iOS out-ofthe-box.
GameSalad Questions
Is it free? Yes.

There’s a free version, but

it’s limited.

Mac or PC? Mac (mostly).

There’s a

PC ...
Some games by our members
MedicationMeditation, Kara
Stone
So You’ve Been Fridged,
Izzie Colpitts-Campbell, Kat
Verhoeven,...
GameSalad is worth a try if
You want to make a 2D
action, platformer, or
physics game
You don’t want to code
You’re on a M...
Avoid GameSalad if
You’re on a PC
You want to learn to code
You want to focus on story
Unity in a nutshell

A free, widely used, very
powerful engine for creating 3D
games.
Unity Questions
Is it free? Yes.
Mac or PC? Both.
Coding needed? Yes.
Where to get it? unity3d.com
What does it export to?...
Some games by our members
Countenance, Carly Beath,
Yuliya Boublikova, LeishaMarie Riddel, Pina Visconti,
and Alex Wong
Sp...
Unity is worth a try if
You want to make a 3D
game
You want a professionalgrade tool
You’re comfortable with
coding or wan...
Avoid Unity if
You don’t want a steep
learning curve
You don’t want to code
Unsolicited Advice
Cecily Sez
Your first game is not your
magnum opus
Keep it as simple as possible
Try lots of things
Work in a spiral, not ...
Programming Concepts to learn (If
you want)
Variables
If/else statements
Boolean logic
Loops
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
Introduction to Game-Making Tools
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Introduction to Game-Making Tools

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These are the slides from Dames Making Games' "Introduction to Game-Making Tools" workshop. If you want to make a game, there are lots of tools available to help you -- even if you've never made one before, and even if you don't know how to code! This presentation provides an overview of the tools that are most popular with DMG members.

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Introduction to Game-Making Tools

  1. 1. So You Want to Make a Game A Short Introduction to Game-Making Tools
  2. 2. You can make a game Even if you’ve never made one before Even if you don’t know how to code Even if you can’t draw
  3. 3. What to ask yourself What kind of games am I interested in? What technical resources are available to me? What are my existing skills? Writing, illustration, music, 3D modelling, programming, design? What skills do I want to learn?
  4. 4. A note on coding It’s not the only skill that matters. Games need artists, writers, designers, composers, and musicians too. Best benefit/time ratio will come from understanding logic flow concepts rather than “coding”
  5. 5. Tools that do one thing Twine (interactive fiction) iV (interactive art and video) RPG Maker (RPGs) Adventure Game Studio, Ren’Py (visual novels) Inform 7 (text adventures)
  6. 6. Tools that do many things Stencyl GameMaker GameSalad Unity Construct 2
  7. 7. THE ESSENTIAL TRADEOFF: Fast and easy vs. flexible and powerful
  8. 8. A note on “free” tools You can probably do this for free: Building your game and exporting to a single platform This will probably cost money: Multiple platforms Putting your game on a mobile device (especially iOS) Monetization
  9. 9. Twine
  10. 10. Twine in a nutshell A free, very beginner-friendly text-oriented tool for writing interactive stories with branching paths.
  11. 11. Twine Questions Is it free? Yep. Mac or PC? Both. Coding needed? Nope, although you can make more complex games with a basic knowledge of variables, “if” statements, and HTML/CSS/javascript. Where to get it? twinery.org What does it export to? HTML.
  12. 12. Some games by our members Penalties, Soha El-Sabaawi Even Cowgirls Bleed, Christine Love Phone Home, Jen Costa, Noreen Rana, Kaitlin Smith I’m Fine, by Royel Edwards There are Monsters Under Your B , by Kaitlin Tremblay
  13. 13. Twine is worth trying if You mostly want to write You’re an absolute beginner You’re short on time You’re interested in nonlinear narratives You’re savvy with HTML and CSS
  14. 14. Avoid Twine if You’re making a game with avatars/movement/action You hate writing
  15. 15. iV
  16. 16. iV in a nutshell “Twine with video.” Create branching narratives/experiences with images and video as well as text. Developed by DMG as a fork from ScreenPerfect!
  17. 17. An important note iV is a fork from ScreenPerfect. ScreenPerfect concept and development by Alex Leitch with the kind support of the OCADu game::play lab. Engine produced to drive Hannah Epstein's synchronous multiscreen/device installation game PsXXYborg and completed in concert with Alex's thesis "ScreenPerfect: Accessible web tools for contemporary art."
  18. 18. iV Questions Is it free? Yes. Mac or PC? Both. Coding needed? Nope. Where to get it? bentobx.github.io/iV/ What does it export to? Web.
  19. 19. Games to check out PsXXYborg, Hannah Epstein, Alex Leitch, Sagan Yee
  20. 20. iV is worth a try if You want to focus on making art/video/story instead of the tech You’re interested in nonlinear narratives You want to help us out
  21. 21. Avoid iV if You don’t like new things (‘cause they’re still rough around the edges) You want a game with action, physics, puzzles, etc.
  22. 22. RPG Maker
  23. 23. RPG Maker in a nutshell A tool for making RPGs in the style of early Final Fantasy games. With some creativity, adaptable to the “adventure” genre.
  24. 24. RPG Maker Questions Is it free? No. But there’s a free, limited “lite” version you can try out. Mac or PC? PC only. Coding needed? Nope. But you can if you want to. Where to get it? rpgmakerweb.com What does it export to? PC executable.
  25. 25. Some games From the community Restless, Natalie Zed The Doctor is Ready, Megan Patterson, Kara Stone, Cecily Carver Actual Sunlight, Will O’Neill
  26. 26. RPG Maker is worth a try if... You want to make an RPG You want to make a game that’s dialogue/story-heavy You like world-building You’re feeling nostalgic
  27. 27. Avoid RPG Maker if You’re on a Mac You don’t like the early 90’s RPG “style” You want to make something that’s not an RPG or an adventure game
  28. 28. Stencyl
  29. 29. Stencyl in a nutshell A free tool for making Flash games using Scratch (codelearning tool for beginners) and ActionScript
  30. 30. Stencyl Questions Is it free? Yep (mostly). Mac or PC? Both (and Linux!) Coding needed? Depends. You can get pretty far with no code, and even complex/unusual games can be made mostly with the built-in Scratch interface, which is a simplified learn-to-code tool for children and beginners. Where to get it? stencyl.com What does it export to? Flash.
  31. 31. Some games by our members Icarus, Sagan Yee Having it All, Miriam Verburg Unicorn Justice Fighter/Unicorn R , Una Lee
  32. 32. Stencyl is worth trying if... You want to make a 2D platformer, action, or physics game You want to learn to code, or you’re a beginner coder who wants to improve You want to eventually publish to mobile platforms
  33. 33. Avoid Stencyl if... You want to display a lot of text on the screen (i.e. a point-and-click adventure) You have no interest in coding and are easily frustrated by it
  34. 34. GameMaker
  35. 35. GameMaker in a nutshell A widely-used, well-respected beginner-friendly PC tool with some powerful advanced features.
  36. 36. GameMaker Questions Is it free? Not really. There’s a free version, but it’s limited. Mac or PC? PC (mostly) There’s a Mac version, but it’s limited. Coding needed? Nope. There’s a drag-and-drop interface that covers most simple actions. But you can code if you want using GML. Where to get it? yoyogames.com What does it export to? .exe
  37. 37. Some games by our members Cuddlegeddon, Gillian Blekkenhorst Seven Sins, Leisha-Marie Riddel Girl Sprout Camp, Carly Beath Golden Fall, Yuliya Boublikova
  38. 38. GameMaker is worth trying if You want to make a 2D platformer, action, or physics game You like lots of tutorials and online support You’re on a PC
  39. 39. Avoid GameMaker if You’re on a Mac You want your games to be playable in-browser Story is your main focus You hate ugly interfaces
  40. 40. GameSalad
  41. 41. GameSalad in a nutshell A beginner-oriented tool for 2D games with absolutely no coding. Exports to iOS out-ofthe-box.
  42. 42. GameSalad Questions Is it free? Yes. There’s a free version, but it’s limited. Mac or PC? Mac (mostly). There’s a PC version, but it’s not very good. Coding needed? Nope. Everything is drag-and-drop. Even if you want to code, you can’t! Where to get it? gamesalad.com What does it export to? Mac executable, web (in the GameSalad arcade), iOS.
  43. 43. Some games by our members MedicationMeditation, Kara Stone So You’ve Been Fridged, Izzie Colpitts-Campbell, Kat Verhoeven, Natalie Zed
  44. 44. GameSalad is worth a try if You want to make a 2D action, platformer, or physics game You don’t want to code You’re on a Mac You want to make an iPhone/iPad game
  45. 45. Avoid GameSalad if You’re on a PC You want to learn to code You want to focus on story
  46. 46. Unity in a nutshell A free, widely used, very powerful engine for creating 3D games.
  47. 47. Unity Questions Is it free? Yes. Mac or PC? Both. Coding needed? Yes. Where to get it? unity3d.com What does it export to? Pretty much everything
  48. 48. Some games by our members Countenance, Carly Beath, Yuliya Boublikova, LeishaMarie Riddel, Pina Visconti, and Alex Wong Spy Jammer, Daniele Hopkins
  49. 49. Unity is worth a try if You want to make a 3D game You want a professionalgrade tool You’re comfortable with coding or want to learn how to code You’re interested in the Oculus Rift, EEG headsets, etc.
  50. 50. Avoid Unity if You don’t want a steep learning curve You don’t want to code
  51. 51. Unsolicited Advice
  52. 52. Cecily Sez Your first game is not your magnum opus Keep it as simple as possible Try lots of things Work in a spiral, not a straight line Back up your games
  53. 53. Programming Concepts to learn (If you want) Variables If/else statements Boolean logic Loops

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