How to Make a Video Game All By Yourself: 10 Steps, Just You and a Computer, an illustrated book by indie developer Matt Hackett, releases next month.
Have you ever thought you could make a video game? Of course, you have. I’d wager every single person reading this is an armchair game designer, to some degree or other.
Perhaps you have grid paper notebooks filled with maps and level designs? Maybe you’ve got a story to tell all mapped out in your head, but no real way to tell it? You’ve dabbled in Mario Maker, or RPG Maker, or Dreams, and you want to move up to something a bit less hobbyist? Or maybe you’re one of those idiots who thinks you can just “tick the multiplayer” option, the video game equivalent of that old bore down the pub who thinks he knows better than a professional coach?
You might even be like me. You know how to program and you understand the logic. You might have multiple game engines installed on your laptop, each with a hundred stubs of unfinished – or, more accurately, not really started – games, clogging up your hard drive. Some people have a backlog of shame in their Steam library; I have one in Unity.
It’s fine to bang on about creating a video game, to be an ideas person, but when you try and make one? It turns out it’s actually not as easy as people think. Which is where How to Make a Video Game All By Yourself: 10 Steps, Just You and a Computer comes in.
That’s the title of a new book by indie developer Matt Hackett. You may know him as one half of Lost Decade Games, the indie studio behind Onslaught! Arena and A Wizard’s Lizard. They also had a podcast called The Lostcast. (Which, ironically, they stopped doing a few years ago, right before everyone else started one.)
Hackett’s latest project is How to Make a Video Game All By Yourself, an illustrated guidebook for solo game development. It’s full of helpful stuff, from how to get started and picking a game engine through to managing your scope and actually shipping your game. It also features cute illustrations and inspirational quotes, which is an added bonus for what could, in theory, be a bit of a dry manual.
“This book has been bubbling up in the back of my mind for years,” writes Hackett, “and suddenly being locked down and not able to go outside for global health reasons … well, that’s awful, but also a perfect opportunity to work on a project I thought could be fun to make and help creative people like me.
“And since you’re here reading an art and game development blog, that’s you too! I wrote this book for you. Seriously.”
How to Make a Video Game All By Yourself: 10 Steps, Just You and a Computer releases on March 15, 2022. You can pre-order it in Kindle format from Amazon, or in DRM-free EPUB/PDF format from Hackett’s website.