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Creating Games
This page is all about assisting those wanting to explore game development by providing program recommendations, assets, and a few bits of advice from someone who's been at it since 2004.

It's geared towards the prospective solo-developer/hobbyist as that was how I got my start in the field, with a focus on fangame development--a good place to start regardless of your ambition as it often provides every type of asset up front to expedite your learning of how to actually put a game together, rather than getting hung up creating original graphics, music, sound effects, and so on.
Game Development Programs
Deciding how you're going to create your game is an important first step into the gamedev business, and while you could go the route of raw coding your game in C++, Python or the like, chances are you'll be wanting a fancy game engine to make the process substantially more accessible. Below is what I've personally worked with and can recommend, but there are of course a large number of other programs out there so if you don't like these be sure to search around and find what works best for you and your ambitions.

A very capable tool for both 3D and 2D development and a solid choice for many projects. Not without faults, but it gets the job done for me and I've stuck with it. Many prefer Unreal Engine however, so I'd suggest doing some comparison research yourself to see which would best suit your needs.
I worked in Game Maker from 2004 to 2011, so where I once held extensive knowledge I'm now rather out of date. Based on what I knew or have observed, I'd think it very beginner-friendly and accessible yet still capable of achieving professional 2D results.
Free Assets
Here are a few choice links for finding fangame assets: VG Resource, VG Maps, VG Music, Zophar's Domain

And here's an odd little assortment of assets I've ripped myself for your convenience.
Please don't redistribute these as your own, and please give credit if the asset requests it. Thanks.

Graphics Audio
Additional Advice
  • Start Small!
    When new to game development there's nothing more important than starting small and learning the ropes before attempting larger projects. Far too many jump into game development ready to create an epic of unrealistic proportions, and with no experience all they achieve is frustrating failure. They typically proceed to seek another hobby, but had they started with something smaller they may very well have eventually reached their initial goal.

    Small games can still be plenty fun to play and are often considerably more fun to develop due to their faster results and more casual nature--but even still they can require a surprising amount of work. Use them to ease into and learn about game development, and keep dreaming of your dream game until you have the experience to make it a reality.

  • Finish What You Start
    Another all-too-common pitfall of new game developers is never finishing what was started. There are many aspects to making a game: programming, graphic work, level design, menu design, etc. Sooner or later you're bound to bump into one that you simply don't enjoy, and when that happens projects die all too easily. It's important to push through those rough patches and finish that first project, to feel that sense of accomplishment. If you've done it all once you can do it again--and better next time.

  • On Recruiting Developers
    Nothing generates facepalms like someone starting up a topic in a forum for their game that goes something like: "This is my awesome idea. Now I just need programmers, artists, musicians, designers, planners, etc. I'll direct you in making my game for me." I've seen this far too often in my time, hence my need to caution against doing it. There are plenty of helpful developers out there, but if you want to work with them then be sure you can demonstrate an ability to actually work with them before asking.

  • Most Importantly: Enjoy It!
    Quality game development requires hard work, time, patience, dedication, hard work, and... did I mention hard work? It's a long and grueling task that isn't for everyone, so if you find you simply don't enjoy it at all for its own sake then there are almost certainly better ways to invest your time.
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