Whether you are trying to create a simple game or a complex one, the programming can also be simple or complex as well. Here is a basic process or workflow for how to make a simple game. In later blogs we will touch on adding coding such as C++ or Python to your gameplay relative to UE4/UE5 or Unity.
Most game engines, such as Unreal Engine 4/5 or Unity, will allow you to do basic and rudimentary game mechanics without knowing how to code like a programmer. It is super helpful to have some background But a little coding can go a long way to increase both functionality and enhance game mechanics.
Game Concept, Game Design Document
Come up with your idea or concept for a game, helpful if it also has a cool, unique title. Then write a game design document to visualize all aspects of your game, including level design, game mechanics, user interface/design considerations, characters, story, identify the platform you are aiming for (or at least the first one) then sound features, game assets you will need. Deciding on a game engine in which to build your game is also important, we usually advise Unreal Engine 4 but Unity has some merits too.
Level Layout/White Boxing
After flushing out your concept, next sketch out the level layout. Next, you want to "white box" the level or levels, meaning you create a simplified level layout for all the levels - that is, without decorations or specifications, just a geometrical representation of your level and an idea of where the player will start. The level size and the concept of the game will help you make the appropriate choice, which leads to the next consideration - game mechanics.
With game mechanics you will establish things like whether an enemy causes damage or it's a one-hit game, whether it's going to be one player, player vs. player, co-operative game play, etc. What weapons does the character use? Maybe they are strictly limited to evading the enemy like in FlappyBird? How fast does the character move? Can the character jump? Is the main character in a vehicle the whole time? Do they exit the vehicle and move around? These last few questions are important as coding is sometimes involved.
USER INTERFACE, USER DESIGN, USER EXPERIENCE
Programming usually comes into play with the user interface and experience - which is usually your welcome screen and main menu, pause screen, options screen and of course the dreaded game over screen. User design is usually done with using your engines preset functionality and is as easy as uploading your own custom images into the appropriate place within your game engine of choice. In the case of Unreal Engine, C++ can be used to improve the user interface and experience.
DETAILING, CHARACTERS, PLOT
This is where your game assets meet the level design and plot of your story. And based on the plot of the game and character for your game or story as well as features from the game mechanics - this added to the user interface helps to fill out your project.
So most parts of making a game can be done with very little coding or none at all. We Should Code focuses on those elements where the addition of coding will enhance your game and can provide instruction on adding those features to make your project stand out.
While using blueprints and nodes within Unreal Engine 4 is akin to coding and in fact you can navigate to the "coding" version of your nodes in order to share them or send them out - and you will notice that the page is actually the code itself with the nodes missing.
To get you started on your next game project we will include some lessons on all the topics above, with a focus on Unreal Engine 4 and/or 5. WSC leans a bit more towards projects built within UE4, so we are a bit biased but will include those projects in the near future. Stay tuned.