Let’s get started
First off, we are going to be using the game engine Unity. Why unity you might ask? We have a great article explaining here. Why we choose Unity to Develop our games.
The short of it is, it’s compatible with every major platform. And has the highest user base of developers. That equals more tools and support for you. Not just from Unity itself, there is a wealth of user generated resources available out there online. You can google almost anything and get the answer you are looking for.
So go ahead and get that Unity engine installed!
Your Game Idea
While that’s downloading, you probably already have a game idea. To help you shape that idea and the route you take to develop it, we should consider it probably falls into one of these existing game genres. Which we have organized from easy, medium, and hard to develop.
If you don’t have a game idea, this is a great way to help you brainstorm your first game.
There are obviously exceptions to every rule, but these are some great guidelines to consider when choosing your first game to develop.
Development of high quality games is a more streamlined and smooth process than ever before. There has never been a better time to start than right now.
All of these are considering the existing assets to boost your development progress. We don’t consider starting these games from scratch. When you cook a meal, are you creating a plate from scratch? Are you smelting a knife before you start cutting onions? No. This is video game development in 2019. Use the tools at your disposal.
🟢 Easy: Great for starting developers
- Tower Defense
Easy mapping of AI on a walking path. Static placement of structures. This is an early developers ideal prototyping game. With such a clear winning goal and recognizable format, it’s the perfect starting game.
- Side Scroller
The earliest game format is also one of the most accessible. Not only is this basically built in and ready to go right away with the right Unity Asset Store package. It’s also very easy to have a unique art style. Typically looks great in 2D and 3D format. As long as your consistent with the art direction and difficulty progression, the sky is the limit with this game type.
With several existing packages that give you a working racing game by default, it’s not hard to race ahead in development of this easy starter category. Excuse the groan worthy pun!
🟡 Medium: Challenging but possible even for starting devs
This will present you with perhaps some elements you weren’t considering in your original development prototyping. All though a little more work, these won’t be much more of a challenge for the persistent developer.
- Top Down RPG
Bordering on easy to medium, this game type is what you make of it! If you wan’t a short, single player experience, this can be accomplished quickly. All though that is more suited for early alpha or a prototype to receive funding. Most gamers have come to expect either a stellar single player experience, or amazing multiplayer fun with buddies. That nudges this game type into the medium column. Read our starter developer guide here.
- Real Time Strategy – RTS
This game would appear as easy to develop as a tower defense type game. And it’s close, but also has some fundamental differences which make it a bit more difficult. You either need a fairly smart AI to run the computer players units and base. Or enough building strategy and a built in multiplayer match making system to keep your players hooked. It’s unlikely you’ll have much without one of those key systems in place. There are assets for both. But creating an amazing RTS experience is a bit more of an art form at this level.
- First person shooter/RPG
This almost makes the easy category. First person perspective games have a few more steps to get just right. Which are a bit tricky when you are also making them multiplayer. There is an immense amount of assets to get you started right away though. As with any game type like this, you’ll have to flesh it out with a ton of content. Which basically segways into our next category.
- Open World
There are many many sub types of this category. Apocalypse. Zombie. Survival. The list goes on. These type games are typically very large. Plenty of places to explore. Lots of generated content. Especially if you’re working with miles of open space, it would be pain staking to place every tree, rock, and river. Or building, road, and street sign. Plenty of generators exist to help do the heavy lifting for you.
🔴 Hard: Recommended against.
These are not for the faint of heart. To launch something like these would take a large team and a large budget. Even very successful game companies have bankrupt themselves trying. They do have the biggest payoff. But that does come with the biggest risk. Tread lightly here.
- Battle Royal
Out of nowhere appeared a genre that was so simple, so addicting, developers across the world where thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?” Because it’s a technical nightmare. The logistics behind having over a hundred players in a single game alone is enough to make the most hardened multiplayer developers pull out what little is left of their hair. Popularized by H1Z1’s King of the Kill mode. Which was just meant to be a side part of the game. Then the modes original inventor went on to work with a Korean company to create his self titled PUBG. Playerunkown’s Battlegrounds. Epic engines creator saw potential right away and now, arguably the worlds most currently popular game, Fortnite has become a household name.
- MMORPG – Massive Multiplayer Games
This is a top heavy market. The amount of resources required to make a full fledged game in this category is in the tens of millions. And even with all the proper execution in the world, it’s a tough sell. MMO’s are a massive commitment for the average gamer.
So while a successful executed one can make a company gloriously rich, there is a massive elephant graveyard of failed MMO games all the way there.
That is why this is our least recommended game type to attempt developing. That advice heads well for even established veteran game companies. How ever, if your goal is to develop one as a hobby and learning tool, we would be happy to point you in the direction of some great starting resources. So have fun and good luck!
We hope this article has steered you in a better direction in your game development path. As always, we would like this page to be an evolving resource. Feel free to add to the ongoing discussion.