Low Budget Game Development for Beginners

Have you ever marveled over a game and wondered, “How do they do that?” But then you look into the technologies used to create the game, only to discover that it’s too pricey an investment for your current situation? Thanks to open source frameworks and low-cost educational outlets, the world is getting better for low budget experiments and game development.

Chill Pool

In my case, when I started building Chill Pool, I couldn’t run Unity on my 5-year-old, used MacBook Pro, because it would overheat, even with a decent graphics card. Of course, you may have a newer machine to work with, and Unity pricing has dropped in recent years. Or maybe C#, Swift, and Java just seem intimidating.

For Chill Pool, I found Phaser, a free, open source 2D game platform designed for mobile browsers. That doesn’t necessarily mean native mobile games, but with Cocoon, I found a way to cross-compile a basic game for iOS & Android.

Anything worthwhile takes patience and time, so it’s nice to save some money when you’re testing the waters. The Phaser community is friendly and warm. Cocoon does work, but you will have some trial and error to find an optimal configuration.

Starting with a blank slate, or even no idea where you want your project to go, working with Phaser and Cocoon is a viable option. Learning to get the game running well in the desktop browser will hone your programming skills. Then, learning to compile for iOS and Android on Cocoon will hone your troubleshooting skills. And I can’t recommend Code School enough for the beginner. You can learn enough HTML5 and JavaScript there in a couple months to get a strong start.

Chill PoolWebdev and Gamedev is a kind of “Old West” territory at the moment, where you don’t need a bachelor’s or master’s degree to prove you can get the job done. Once you develop your chops, you will have access to nearly all the resources and opportunities in the world of computing. And no one predicts that to change anytime soon.

I think the best advice for new programmers is simply to “Google the error.” Chances are someone has the same question, and usually several or even hundreds have the same question. With patience and time, your effort will reward you.

You may look into acquiring a used MacBook Pro to write your HTML5 games, so you can easily work with Apple’s daunting requirements. And you will learn to work within the confines of a smaller screen and somewhat lower hardware capabilities. This will help you learn to save energy and teach you to make more from less.

As far as creativity, I recommend listening to audiobooks, such as novels, to stimulate and encourage your imagination. Thinking is made of language, so the more colorful and intelligent your language consumption, the more colorful and intelligent your software production.

Do as much as you can with as little as you can, and you will see the benefits. Learn to think for yourself, and not to regard somebody’s success story as the absolute truth. What is true is only a step or two in the direction of what is the truth, and everyone has to make their own truth. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes— they are portals to discovery. May the Gamedev force be with you!

Love this awesome article by Jesse Crockett?
(The developer of Chill Pool)

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This article was Published by Edamame Reviews, Written by Jesse Crockett.
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