3. How Will I Make the Game?

Now that I know I want to create a series of iterative mini-golf games, I’ve got figure out how to go about doing that.

Let’s start with the basic considerations I’m bringing with me:

  1. I don’t code

I mean, I kind of do. To the extent that I learned HTML back in the day on Angelfire (and Expages…did anyone else use Expages? I need a good <marquee> now.) and know enough of that and CSS to make a reasonably functional website today. But none of that really helps me with game development

2. I want to spend as little money as possible, but don’t mind spending some

This is just a hobby after all. Times are tough.

3. I would like the end product to be HTML5 friendly

Because that’s the kind of game I’m looking to make – not a facsimile of a AAA title.

4. My goal is to learn, not to create a wildly popular gmae

I’m only planning on creating small games, nothing bigger than what you might find on Newgrounds or Kongregate. So I can already rule out some of the big 3D engines like Unity or Unreal.

So, knowing these four things I started to do my homework. Fortunately, I was pointed to the really awesome website Sorting Hat by Zoe Quinn which gives you resources that you need by asking you some questions about your game.\

Screenshot from construct.net

I choose the first option, “Something 2D” and was pointed to a program that looked promising: Construct 2 (now 3). After some research, here are the Pros and Cons that made it look like a winner for me:

  • Visual editor, no coding experience required
  • Free version
  • Export to HTML5
  • Popular (as per itch.io’s “Most Used Engines” page)
  • Lots of documentation and support
  • Great for 2D

It comes with a $99/year price tag for the full individual package and the free version is quite limited, but it seems like a great starting point.

Because on the flip side, I was pointed by a number of other websites to Godot, a free and open source gaming engine. The Godot subreddit is pretty active (compared especially to Construct’s extremely minimal presence there) with lots of community documentation and ideas.

But the primary issue here seems to be a need for coding knowledge and a steep learning curve, as one reddit commenter put it:

Honestly, Godot has a bit of a learning curve.

I’ve worked with a lot of engines, and it’s taken me a while to get proficient with it. The documentation is bare bones, and there aren’t a ton of tutorials compared to Unity.

That being said, guys like GDQuest and GamesFromScratch are making more and more Godot tutorials now which is great. Also in 3.0, the documentation is significantly improved.

So if it is your first engine ever and you are an absolute beginner and feeling overwhelmed, you may want to start with Construct 2 (or now Construct 3), or GameMaker, or something like that, and then return to Godot later.

And I think this is some really great advice. So here’s the plan now:

I’m going to start learning game development with Construct to take advantage of my lack of coding skills and preferred game type. I can start free, and pay up if I need to – it’s just within my price range for fun and hobby stuff.

If this project is successful and I find that I am maxing out what Construct can do, then I will have the option to invest a bit more in knowledge and learn C++ and the Godot system.

So let’s get started! Up next, we’ll tackle one of Construct’s tutorials.

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