How learning game development can make games fun again

Game development

Becoming a game developer was an ambition for a lot of kids. The idea of bringing characters and worlds to life and for others to experience this was a sort of magic. Fast forward a bit and, for most of us, games are still a black box with game development a dark art. Fortunately, it’s the 21st century, and learning how to make games is easier than ever. Not only are most of the tools free, but there are tonnes of resources now available to teach you what you need to know.

For bored gamers, there’s no reason to make the games you feel are missing from the market. While you’re not going to be making Red Dead Redemption 3 in your bedroom, there are plenty of examples of individuals making hit games on their own like Stardew Valley or Minecraft.

Below, we’ve put together a short guide explaining the reasons to learn game development and some resources on getting started.

Reasons to learn game development

Playing games is easy. Making them, not so much. It involves learning new concepts and considerable time. A lot of gamers are used to the sweet dopamine rush of loot boxes and achievement unlocks.

While making games is no easy task, learning game development really is a worthwhile endeavor.  We can still need a few reasons to get us started, though – here are just a few.

Learn how games work

For a lot of us, games are a bit of a mystery. We know they run on code, textures, and geometry, but how this is actually done is not commonly understood.

Even if you never release your own title, giving game development a go will give you a better understanding of how things work. This can encourage you to explore games in different ways. A lot of hacks, glitches, and exploits come from players who have a good understanding of game design, for example.

Appreciate your favorite games more

Just like filmmakers appreciate the work of others all the more, making your own games does the same thing. Knowing what it takes to make a single level, character model, or puzzle in a game can allow you to experience your favorite games all over again, this time with a keener eye.

Make your dream game

For gamers who feel like they’ve seen it all already, learning to make games enables you to put your money where your mouth is and make your dream game. In understanding how games are made you can try and make the game you feel you’d like to play yourself.

While you might not want to drag up your cringe-worthy drafts from 8th grade, game development offers complete creative freedom with the only limitation being the amount of time you are willing to put into things.


Games are big money. Even indie hits can generate a full-time income for small studios and individuals thanks to platforms like Steam.

While it may be a while until you get to this point, with the right ideas and some passion for learning, there’s no reason you too can’t join the ranks of Eric Barone, or the mighty Notch.

Tools of the trade

Learning any skill involves figuring out the tools of the trade first.  With game development, this involves getting a feel for specific software platforms that are commonly used in the industry.

While these don’t strictly need you to know a coding language, familiarity with one can help. What tools you focus on will depend on your goals and the type of game you want to make. Here are 4 commonly used tools to look into first.


Originally released in 2005 as a 3D engine, Unity has since gone on to add 2D support and become one of the most widely used game engines in the world. Hits such as Fall Guys, Cuphead, Rust Cities Skyline, Escape from Tarkov, Subnautica, and even Pokemon Go are all made using the engine.

Game-making with Unity is component-based with everything you can see being a physical object with logic and behavior attached. Unity has a huge asset store too with plenty of creations ready to drop right into your game.

Tying together does require some coding, however. Specifically, you’ll need to know some C#. But there are now tonnes of guides on programming for Unity available online or in book form.

Unity is free for any company that makes less than $100,000 with the pro version costing $75 a month. It’s available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Gamemaker Studio

If you’d rather not touch code for now and want to simply get a game up and running, check out Gamemaker Studio. This software allows you to create an entire playable game from scratch using simple drag-and-drop mechanics.

While Everything in Gamemaker Studio is made as easy as possible, you are not limited by the platform either. The software has a built-in coding language similar to a simplified C#. This does not need to be touched but can act as a stepping stone to learning more advanced features.

Games made using Gamemaker Studio include Shovel Knight, Undertale, Hotline Miami, and Spelunky.

Unreal Engine 5

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous you could also dive right into the deep end and get started with Unreal Engine 5. Despite powering most of the biggest next-gen games, UE5 is free to use and can allow you to create a wide range of games. This is the tool the pros use so things can get complicated, however.

Nevertheless, you don’t need to know any code to get started. The engine has a blueprint system that allows no-coders to create game logic simply by rearranging tiles.

The benefit of using UE5 is that you’ll have at your disposal the very latest technology. This includes unlimited polygons thanks to Nanite and photorealistic lighting with Lumen.

Thanks to a truly helpful community and more guides, video tutorials, and more documentation than you’ll be able to consume, help is never far away.

Construct 3

For an even easier experience, you can also try Construct 3. This game development platform involves absolutely zero code and is considered the best way for absolute beginners to get started.

It runs right inside your browser meaning you don’t need to download anything to get started. While you can export games to almost any kind of platform, most Construct 3 titles are released on mobile or as in-browser experiences.

The software has an enormous amount of documentation and user-submitted guides online making it really easy to get started. Like Unity, it has an asset store with pre-made models, art, and even entire levels ready to purchase and drop into your creation.

Learning resources to develop games

Tools are only half the story though. You’re going to need to know how to use them. While you can always go to college and learn game development, it’s not a strict requirement. Nowadays there are plenty of online resources available.

While there are plenty of ways to learn game development, below you’ll find some of the best. These offer more structured, easier-to-follow learning experiences with practical tips that can help you get started.


Udemy is a learning platform that delivers online courses on a wide range of topics. Here, you’ll find a huge number of game development courses ranging from general overviews to in-depth, niche lectures. The price of these courses ranges with some courses able to be picked up for as little as $10. Some Udemy courses to check out include:

  • Unreal Engine 5 C++ Developer: this 30-hour course teaches you everything you need to know to begin making games with Unreal Engine 5.
  • Create an RPG Game in Unity: over the course of 117 lectures, this series teaches you how to make a 2D sprite RPG game from scratch. This includes picking up some C# experience and how to get around design problems.
Udemy courses
A snapshot of the thousands of game development courses available on Udemy


If you’re short on cash, check out YouTube instead. Free game development guides on YouTube can be as in-depth and educational as paid courses, often with more up-to-date content.

Self-taught game dev channels strike a good balance between delivering information and simply getting on with making a game. Some good channels to check out include:

  • How to make a 2D Game in Unity: a basic primer on getting started with Unity.
  • DevDuck: following a hobbyist game dev making his dream game in his spare time.
  • Vitrus: provides weekly game dev videos for UE5. This includes everything from health bars, to skyboxes, lighting, and cinematics.

Harvard EdX

If you’re looking to take things seriously, you can always enroll in a professional course. These can often be found in universities with plenty of digital courses available. One of the most well-regarded is Harvard University’s Computer Science for Game Development course. This self-paced course takes on average around 6 months to complete with 6-14 hours of study a week.

While this might be more time than some can commit, if you’re serious about getting into game development this course covers everything you need to know. Over the course, you’ll pick up experience with Unity, Lua, and C# as well as experience with databases, now essential to modern development.


While game development doesn’t have to be a full-time job, it is also something that takes time and effort. Nevertheless, if you’ve not quite lost your passion for games but you want to appreciate them in a new way, game development might be for you.

If this has inspired you to give game development a try, then please share our work with others. Additionally, why not tell us all about it on Twitter? Alternatively, find some other ways to rediscover your love of gaming.

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