What should I focus on for a *first* game?

After all the research I’ve done, I’ve cast aside my “AAA” game idea because of course, that is an unrealistic expectation for my first game. Now I’ve cast aside my, well, next idea that isn’t so AAA, but also isn’t beginners work either. So then I’m left with wondering what I should do for my first attempt at something. Should I be using default assets to fill up a scene, should I be creating my own? Should I be using the default Blue Dude with no spectacular animations (not counting the free animation packs), or should I be designing my own characters and animating them myself? (me, who hasn’t actually completed a whole character in a modeling program). Should I be using default textures or making my own? Those sort of things I wonder and bogs me down.

I realize that for my first game, I should keep it devastatingly simple, but I guess I don’t know what the proper definition of simple is in my case. I have to admit that I have trouble trying to compact my ideas into an achievable form, which is why I tend to go in circles without even gaining/learning anything. So just wanted to ask for help on this front, and also what were your first games that you made for the sake of “what you learn on the first is carried over to your next”?

Try do something that you can realistically achieve by yourself while learning and without frustrating yourself.

Too many people try to create the next best game right away and have to deal with figuring out Game Mechanics and Game Balancing while learning the engine and learning game development.

My advice is always to take an existing simple game, like Tetris, or Bejewelled … the Game Mechanics are known and they are proven … get this type of game built while learning. Once you have done that, you can then start looking at other games and ideas.

Please note this is only my opinion and you can use it or not … 8-}

I personally recommend you to directly start with a own game -> therefore you can either choose an existing one, or start with your own idea. It will be the easiest way to learn how to use the engine. When you have any problems, make sure to post a question into the forum. We are always here to answer your questions. :slight_smile:

I’m wondering about/struggling with the same thing. For now, I think the first order of business is to make a small, simple game that is nevertheless recognizable as a game. Something with a level, a player character, an NPC, a sound effect, etc. Like, the absolute minimum basic stuff. Nothing extravagant, and nothing that requires money or outside help. (Tutorials and plug-ins are probably fine, though.)

That’s my two cents. I’m just as new here as you are, so take it with a pinch of salt. (Or a whole saltshaker, if you prefer.)

I too am considering this very same question. I have an idea I think I can execute, by myself with minimal resources. The question now is, do I really feel up to investing a significant amount of time in what will more then likely only ever be a learning experience. I find the answer is, yes. I hope it is for you as well. Cheers,


Focus on gameplay?

Decide on a simple version of your AAA game.

I second that you should remake an extant, simpler game like Tetris, Candy Crush, whatever. This way you don’t have to think so much about the design or rules or philosophy and you can focus on just learning the engine and making a video game work.

Art is a long, stop-gap of a pipeline. As a single developer, don’t worry about it until you have to. Focus on the gameplay and use “programmer art.” Worrying about characters without an automated pipeline is a real drag, especially if you don’t know much about them. Mr. Epic (blue guy, as I’ve named him) will do just fine in a pinch. Over time though, try importing a character from MakeHuman and retarget Mr. Epic’s animations to the MH model.

Check out some of the twitch training streams in which they make a short game, like the multiplayer shootout example. There are a few of them and they should help you grasp the engine so when it comes time to start your game in between simple and AAA, you’ll have the knowledge.

I’d recommend participating in a Game Jam when you have the time. It’s a great opportunity to step outside the box and create something unique.

Lastly, when you have your bearings, look at the Unreal classifieds and find a team to join. You probably won’t find too many (upfront) paid gigs and you don’t necessarily have to work with them forever, but it’s another great way to expand your skills - working on others’ ideas.

Ok well thanks for the responses. Right now I don’t think I’m comfortable enough to work with a team just yet! Still want to gain more experience so I can have a bit of confidence. So there’s one question I’d like to add to the answers. Some of you say take already-made, simple games such as Bejeweled, etc, and try to make something similar. My question would be then, should I not bother with the projects such as Third / First Person and only work with Puzzle? Or perhaps Side Scroller? Which would be the best type of project to start learning? In general, in the future I’d like to work with Third Person games, but now because of the responses leaning towards Puzzle-like games, I’m wondering if I should just start with that (never have tried it before).

I don’t know if anyone’s heard of a game engine called Rpg Maker, which makes 2D games. I’ve used that before and, while I haven’t ever completed a whole game, I did work on it for a while and learned the engine a bit and created things like fetch quests and added dialogue. Come to think of it, I didn’t know how to script with its language (Ruby), so I used custom scripts from the community; I didn’t know how to create the 2d pixel art, so I used a site that let you create your own by taking a base image and modifying things like hair/clothes or once against just downloaded from the community; I didn’t know know a lot and pretty much didn’t bother over custom assets and just used what was available to me and didn’t care that it wasn’t mine. Now here with Unreal, it’s pretty much the exact opposite!

Now I feel as if everything should be mine, characters, assets, textures, etc. I think that’s my main problem unfortunately. It’s an obvious answer, but should I treat this engine the same as Rpg Maker? For now, just build things up without worrying about whether or not I created the assets/etc?