My Child Wants to Make a Video Game: Where to Start?

If you have younger kids wanting to make a video game, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to help your children make their dream come true.

In this post, you’ll learn the basics of getting your child started in making their own video game and how to support your child’s journey.

But first…

How Does a Video Game Work?

Essentially, a video game generates an interactive experience for the player. The program runs on a specific type of hardware, known as a gaming console. Then, the console loads the program into its memory when you launch the game.

The code contains instructions for generating the game’s visuals and audio. It also includes input from the player, such as button presses or joystick movements. 

This input-response continues until the player completes the game or decides to quit.

Here are some features of video games:

  • Story. The story is the most crucial part of a game for some people. If you’re looking for an immersive experience, you’ll want to pay attention to the story.
  • Action. If you like fast-paced gameplay, you’ll want to focus on games heavy on action. These games tend to be less story-driven than others but still engaging.
  • Puzzles. If you enjoy solving puzzles, look for games that offer plenty of challenging puzzles.

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How to Make Your Own Game: A Guide for Kids

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make your own game for kids.

Step 1: Planning

Think about some of your favourite video games. What makes them fun to play? Perhaps, it comes from the fact that they are well-designed and carefully planned.

So the first step in making your own game is planning. From the characters down to levels, game creators carefully plan these things with the players in mind. 

By taking the time to sit down and figure out your game design, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. You can avoid common pitfalls and use your time and resources better. 

Step 2: Download a Game-Making Program

Once you have your concept, you need to start putting it down in writing and fleshing out the details. With that, you need to download a game-making program. By doing so, you’ll have the tools you need to turn your vision into reality.

There are several game-making programs available. So it’s essential to do your research and choose the right tool. Some programs are more suited for beginners, while others are complex.

Whichever program you choose, make sure it has everything you need to create the game of your dreams. With the right program in hand, you’ll be well on your way to making a fantastic video game. 

Here are some examples of the most popular and helpful game engines:

Tools Features
GameMaker Studio A powerful 2D development engine. With this tool, you can create games using drag-and-drop programming logic. You don’t need any prior coding knowledge to use this tool.
Unreal Engine It’s a toolset that allows developers to create games. It’s also free and comes with the complete source code, so you can edit it as much as you want.
Lumberyard It lets you make games on multiple platforms without rewriting your code each time. This tool also has C++ programming languages, meaning you can build complex games.
Stencyl It is a free game-making tool designed to be easy to use and perfect for beginners. Plus, it has a drag-and-drop interface where you can drag blocks around and make your game.

Step 3: Start with a Blank Project

In making video games, starting with a blank project is the best way to help kids learn the basics. It gives your children a blank slate to work with, nurturing their ideas.

You can add any features or levels when starting with a blank project. The existing games won’t also limit your creativity. 

And by starting from scratch, you can learn all the game’s coding and design elements.

Step 4: Making the Background

For kids just beginning to make their own games, the background can be a great place to start. 

It’s an excellent way to get creative and have fun with design. Plus, it sets the scene for your game and helps create a unique and immersive experience for your players.

But when you’re designing the background, what do you need to consider? 

Here are some essential factors to note:

  • Consider the colour palette of your design. Choose colours that complement each other and create a pleasing effect.
  • Pay attention to the balance of light and dark tones in your background. Too much of either can be visually jarring.
  • Consider the overall mood you want to create with your background. Is it meant to be playful and energetic? Or calm and serene?
  • Ensure your background is easy on the eyes. Too much visual noise will only distract from your main message.

By giving some thought to the background, you can ensure that your game stands out from the crowd.

Step 5: Add a Game Character

There are a lot of steps to making your own video game, but one of the most important is adding a game character. 

A game character can help bring your game to life and make it more enjoyable to play. 

Here are a few reasons why adding a game character is vital in games:

  • It adds fun and excitement to your game.
  • Players can feel that they’re more connected to the game.
  • It makes your game more challenging and engaging.
  • You get valuable feedback from players.
  • It promotes your game and generates interest.

Step 6: Add Sound Effects

Like creating characters, adding sound effects brings your game to life and makes it more enjoyable for players. They also set the mood and atmosphere of your game.

For example, adding a jumping sound helps players feel more engaged with the action. Similarly, sounds help players understand the mechanics if you’re making a puzzle game. 

So don’t forget to add some incredible sound effects if you want to draw attention.

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What is an Easy Game to Make?

These days, some apps let kids edit and mod to develop their creations, such as:

Toca Builders (Age 4+)

Toca Builders is a game that allows you to be the architect and builder of your unique world. 

You can design and construct buildings, bridges, and roads using different blocks. Plus, you can add inhabitants to your world and even animals! The possibilities are endless. 

But how do you get started? 

Simply follow the pre-made plans in the game or get creative and make your designs. Then, edit in Toca Builders to make your own game.

Here’s a quick how-to guide on editing in Toca Builders:

  1. Tap the Edit button in the bottom corner of the screen.
  2. Use the tools at the top of the screen to add, delete or move blocks around.
  3. Tap the Save button after editing.
  4. Play your game with all your new changes.

Gamestar Mechanic (Age 8+)

Do you know your kid can edit a game in Gamestar Mechanic in several ways? 

They can add new levels, change the gameplay, or even create new characters. It also teaches game design principles and systems thinking.

Here are some tips on how to get started:

  • Decide what kind of game you want to make. Do you want it to be a racing game? A platformer? An RPG?
  • Experiment with the editor tools available in Gamestar Mechanic. Get a feel of how they work and what kinds of things you can do with them.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you’re unsure how to do something, experiment until you figure it out. 
  • Have fun. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to play around and explore.

Super Mario Maker (Age 6+)

Super Mario Maker is a game that allows you to create your own Super Mario levels. You can edit the level design and enemies and make your characters. The possibilities are limitless!

Here’s how your kids can make their Super Mario game:

  1. Select the stage editor option from the main menu.
  2. Choose the type of stage you want to create. There are four options: ground, air, water, and ghost.
  3. Start designing your level. You can place blocks, enemies, and other objects wherever you want. If you make a mistake, you can always go back and edit it.
  4. Save it and give it a name.
  5. Select the Publish option from the main menu and follow the instructions.

Your kids can create their video games with the right tools and imagination. And don’t forget to download new courses to expand the game experience.

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