The videogame industry has experienced a steady decline since the start of the recession, but the economy is not solely to blame. There are actually many different factors that have shaped this downward trend. For one example, the surge of smartphones and apps changed the economics of the industry. Versions of games that used to cost $30-60 can now be played in the palm of your hand for as little as 99 cents. While this influence has been interesting and significant, there is another trend that is even more exciting. Thanks to new software, gamers now find themselves capable of creating their own games with little to no programming knowledge whatsoever.
That’s right; anybody with even a passing interest in video games or game design can begin creating their own games without expensive equipment or years at a design institution. While the do-it-yourself free gaming platforms may not be as advanced and complex as high-end professional 3D video games available from the major gaming companies, they are advanced enough to keep many gaming enthusiasts entertained and impressed.
One of these innovative new gaming programs is called Construct 2. Construct 2 is a very simple drag and drop HTML5 game maker. Currently, it is only available for PC as a single .exe installer for Windows. The user interface is very simple and anyone who is familiar with using Microsoft Office’s products will find it fairly easy to navigate. However, building a game using Construct 2 is not quite as easy and intuitive as you might hope.
While it is not necessary to be extremely tech savvy or be a game designer or student to create a Construct 2 game, it will be necessary to give the online manual and tutorials a once over. Once you go through these materials, which are available free online, it becomes much easier to use the drag and drop interface. While there is a free version available that is great for making games as a hobby, there is also a paid Standard version (£79) that can be used to make more advanced games that you can actually sell. The games can only be exported as HTML5 games, and therefore cannot be played on all devices.
For a more diversified game-developing tool, many gaming enthusiasts are flocking to Unity. While Unity is user-friendly, it helps to have at least a basic knowledge of game design and programming or you may quickly hit a wall. This is partly because the technology is quite powerful, and even enables you to develop your own 3D games. The designers behind Unity have taken the hardest elements out of game design, enabling you to focus on creating your ideal game. Like Construct 2, version 4 of Unity offers a great free version to create games for fun, or you can purchase Unity Pro ($1,500) and have a lot more tools and high-end features available. Unity also runs on the Mac. It’s also worthwhile to explore their asset store if you want a quick way to add digital assets to your game development process.
As you can see, user-friendly game engines are not only making it easier for gamers to create their own games for their own amusement; Construct 2 and Unity also make it easier for individuals to create games that they can then share or even sell. If you are a PC user I recommend downloading demo versions of each program; if you’re a mac user, then Unity is your only option (unless you’re running Windows in Boot Camp or a virtualization program like Parallels or VMWare Fusion). As software such as this develops and improves, the face of the gaming industry, and the diversity of games available, is certainly going to continue to see a major transformation.