The answer depends on a couple of questions you have to ask yourself? What skill level do you have with the computer and programming and what are your goals for making video games? I answer these questions and help you find the right software for achieving what you want.
Video game design used to be the realm of crack shot programmers who could write programs, troubleshoot computers, write tools and even draw out the graphics needed. You had to be a writer, artist and programmer all wrapped up in one. But today this is no longer true. There are plenty of programs that do most of the hard work for you and leave the fun part of actually designing a game to you. But every software tool is different and each one is suited to a particular type of game making. Here is a guide for understanding some of the major game design suites and choosing which one is right for you.
For Absolute Beginners to game design and for pre-teens or young adults –
You are the type of person that knows how to use a computer but you do not know how to do any programming at all. You would like to make a few small video games without having to learn too much software stuff. You have lots of ideas for video games and you like the arcade style and side scrolling games. This kind of game would be a thrill for you to make for you and your friends to play.
My Recommendation: The Games Factory or Games Factory 2 by Click team
This is an incredibly successful software tool you can use to make arcade style games. Everything is drag and drop so you do not have to learn how to program and you do not have to draw up your own graphics and images. You will learn some of the fundamental concepts behind game making and have a blast doing it.
For Medium Skill Computer Users, for High school age to adult
You have a bit of Savvy with the computer and have tried and used different kinds of programs. Maybe you have done some level design for a popular game. You would really like to make something three-dimensional like Quake and you have the thought that maybe you would like to make whole worlds and dungeons. You really want to make a game that you can walk around in.
My Recommendation: The Reality Factory
This is a shareware program that is built on the Genesis 3D game engine. It is a legitimate game engine with a great workspace that you can actually design whole worlds in. The process is similar to something an architect would use -picture drawing out blueprints because this is what you do with the Reality Factory. This software is free to download and within an hour you can actually have a single room game up and running where you can walk your character around and shoot weapons. To do a more involved game you need to spend a significant amount of time drawing out the rooms. If you get proficient with this free software you will have set for yourself a good foundation in legitimate game making. You will have an understanding of game processes and items like textures, models, scripts and more.
For high skill computer users and adults age 18 and over
You are considering a career in game design and want to set out a good base foundation for your career. You want skills that will transfer to the Real world but you are not yet sure if you want to invest the years it takes to master a high level programming language.
My recommendation: Dark Basic
I recommend you look into the program called Dark Basic by The Game Creators. (They also have a Dark Basic Lite version). This is an excellent way to learn how to make games while you learn the protocol and logic of programming. This is a powerful tool that can make professional games. The good thing about Dark Basic is that it is specifically tailor to making games.
You are going to be a Video Game Maker – no doubts about it
My Recommendation: C ++ and Direct X
– Although this is a matter of opinion I recommend you learn how to program using C ++ and you learn how to develop with something called Microsoft Direct X. This is some professional and very serious stuff and you will spend months learning the languages without ever seeing a single game pixel. But this route is how to lay out a professional career. This software is also pretty expensive. But imagine the rewards?
Making video games is a wonderful pursuit that can fully tap your creative powers and whether you are doing it just for fun or for a career there are lots of tools available to help you reach your goals and make some great video games.