What is the best game development software

Game Development Tools: Basics for Beginners

Choosing the right game development tools depends entirely on the game you're trying to create. We have some suggestions to help you with your first project.

Unity's Learn Game Dev from A-Z course

The right tools for success

If you've browsed game design and development forums and YouTube videos, you've probably noticed the same things we did:

  • Much advice is simply based on good old personal opinion.
  • With all of the choices available, it can be difficult to narrow down your options.
  • Many descriptions of tools necessary for game development lack a basic understanding of what you need for your project.

But choosing the right game development tools can be broken down into a few factors.

Below are recommendations for the best game development tools, including different hardware and software, based on your personal creative needs.

Get a notebook (or whiteboard)

Didn't see that one coming, right? You probably thought we’d get right into computers and software. But the most important game development tools you can have in your toolbelt are those that will help you create a plan. Good organizational tools, like a notebook or whiteboard, are priceless.

Many aspiring game creators rush into trying to create a game, without knowing where they want to go or what they want their game to do. This inevitably leads to frustration, and it often takes quite some time to bounce back from it and give it another go.

Don't feel like you're expected to improvise and just hope everything turns out right; it works better if you make some plans.

So start filling up your notebook or whiteboard. (It's OK to use a fancy word processing or spreadsheet program too.)

The best way to get started in game development is to first think about what your game is about. Concept design is essential for any budding game developer.

Unsurprisingly, the most successful games aren't designed and developed on a whim. Developers and development teams come up with things that make their game unique and interesting, including:

  • Story: the overall storyline of the game
  • Action: the course of the story
  • Narration: the message and feelings you want your story to convey
  • Design overview: aesthetic and structural plans for the game's levels and assets

Not all games need a sophisticated story and complex storylines or elaborate level structures. However, it is important to determine the objective and style of a game so that players understand why they should try it in the first place.

Game mechanics are basically the rules and functions of your game objects, i.e. assets (characters, environmental elements, etc.) within your game. They make the game a game in the first place, not an automated event or still image on a screen.

Whether you want to roll a ball from one side of the screen into a hole on the other, or create a living, breathing game world filled with creatures to hunt for fame, you need to determine your game mechanics.

Don't forget that game mechanics don't have to be complicated. If your game is simple and fun to play, you've chosen the right game mechanics!

You now know what your game is about, what it should look like, and how it should work. Now is the time to use your first key game development tools and plan the timeframe in which you want to develop each key element and what resources you will need to do so.

Production schedules help you get a feel for the scope (the overall vision) and effort (what it takes to achieve that vision) of your game, both before and during development. In this way, you can use your resources efficiently while developing the game and always keep an eye on the overall goal when completing individual parts.

Since this is your very first game, here's the most important piece of advice: SCREW YOUR EXPECTATIONS DOWN AND START SMALL.

Does that mean we don't think you're capable of ultimately developing the next Ori and the Blind Forest? Of course not! But it's not about limiting your creativity either. It's about allowing your skills to grow evenly and in a comfortable way. Burnout is the enemy of all creative endeavors and we want you to be able to use your creativity the way you want.

Planning is the most important game development tool at the beginning of your work.

Choosing the best PC components

Ah, the humble personal computer. Other than being used for posting photos of food and watching videos of screaming goats, computers are literally capable of creating brand new worlds. They serve as the power station for the rest of your game development tools.

Whether you're looking to eventually build 2D, 3D, mobile or web-based games, be sure your base software and hardware meets these requirements:

Operating System: Windows: 7 SP1 +, 8, 10, 64-bit versions only; macOS: 10.12+

CPU: Supports SSE2 instruction sets

GPU: Supports DX10 and above

That's it. If your OS, processor and graphics cards meet those specs, you're in the right ballpark for your computing needs. Almost all modern home computers have those specs, and most of them have much more than that. If you’re willing to spend less than a month’s rent on a PC or Mac, you’ll have what you need to start creating games.

Choosing the right game engine

You may have heard us say that we believe a world with many developers is a better place. This may be due to our origins as a company. Like you, we started with a simple idea for a simple game. Like you, we needed a set of tools that we could use to get into development as quickly as possible. Like you, we hoped that someone would enable us to implement our creative vision. But since nobody did this at the time, we decided to do it ourselves.

The community tells us that Unity is the most accessible game development platform out there that will help you succeed in a fun, relevant, and educational way. We offer our platform free to new users like you who are curious and want to develop in our editor.

With all of that in mind and with the basic game development tools in place, you are ready to begin your game development journey with Unity.