Do you want to learn how to make your own computer games? Not sure where to start? This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to create your own games for free using XNA. I’ve been asked by a number of people what the best route to take when learning to develop games. The following tutorial will give you a good start towards creating your first few games for PC and Xbox 360. I cover the software you’ll need, a list of tutorial both in C# and XNA and other helpful links.
1. Download Visual Studio 2008 Express – http://bit.ly/VCSExp
2. Download XNA Game Studio 3.1 – http://bit.ly/XNAGS31
3. Read these C# tutorials
a. C# Station Tutorial – http://bit.ly/CSTut1
b. C# WikiBooks – http://bit.ly/CSWiki
4. Read these XNA tutorials
a. Introduction – http://bit.ly/XNATut1
b. 2D Introduction – http://bit.ly/XNATut2D
c. 3D Introduction – http://bit.ly/XNATut3D
5. Look at these starter kits – http://bit.ly/XNAKit
6. Visit the following for more information on game development
a. Gamedev.net – http://www.gamedev.net/
b. Gamasutra – http://gamasutra.com/
c. Indie Gamer Forums – http://forums.indiegamer.com/
What should you create?
I’ve found the best way to learn game development is by creating a full game. Exactly what game you create depends on what you want to get out of game development. There are a number of paths I commonly see people taking:
- Becoming a game programmer – The best route here is to take an existing game like Pong, Space Invaders or Mario and recreating it. The game design done is already complete, allowing you to focus on learning the skills required to code the game
- Becoming a game designer – Rather than recreating an existing game, come up with a new, simpler design.
- Getting a job at a particular game company – Before you begin your new game, you should find out what technology the company is using. You are much more likely to be hired by them if you are experienced in their technology suite. If you’re unsure of what they use, ask them. Game companies are always looking for good talent and they’ll be happy to share the technologies they use with you.
I’d like this list to become a comprehensive, step-by-step introduction to game development that takes developers from zero experience to creating their own 3D (or 2D) games. If you get to a point where you’re stuck and don’t know what to do next, please email me and I’ll help you fill in the blanks.