DIY – Develop It Yourself | No 1

GOOD_TipsHave you ever had an idea that would make the perfect game title but you never quite knew how to go bring it to a PC, console, or smartphone? Or were you astonished by a game you played and thought “Man, I’d love to be able to create something like this…”? If so, we have fantastic news for you. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to be an experienced game developer to create awesome games. Titles like Risk of Rain or To the Moon were created with free or pretty cheap tools which are fairly easy to get into.

Because we believe that there can never be enough great games, and because we also started small, in the next three episodes of GOOD Tips, we want to present three great tools to you and go into a little detail about their specifications. And who knows, maybe you’ll be running through our open doors with your awesome prototype some day! 😉

Back in the days when you’d actually feel pretty futuristic about owning one of those machines comparable to a typewriter with a screen, gamers were all over text-based adventures. Basically, you’d be given explanations of your environment and bits of story solely through text shown on your screen. By utilizing your keypad, you’d type different comments like “walk north” or “look at tree” to interact with the imaginary environment. The program would interpret your commands, sometimes leading to frustrating encounters when the parser wasn’t able to understand your intentions. Some people love this raw experience, though. Later, music or images were added to make the games more atmospheric, but the focus lay and still lies on typing text to advance.

While nowadays these games seem pretty dated and rough, they make a great entry point to game development! One tool to get into creating text-based adventures is Twine. It’s freely available on the creator’s homepage and allows you to create your very first game without typing any code. What makes Twine both easy to comprehend and stand out in comparison to similar tools like Quest, are the well-arranged story maps. These clearly visualize the connections between your text elements and dialog pieces, eventually taking the shape of easily editable concept trees. If you feel more adventurous, you can add variables, conditional logic, images, CSS, and JavaScript to grant players a more complex and immersive experience. As with the other tools presented in this blog post, there are tons of tutorials and lots of documentation compressed in a corresponding Wiki, and you can always ask for help in the thriving forums.

A really good example for a Twine game is The Temple of No by Crows Crows Crows. Try it out and get inspired!