Like any kid growing up in the digital era, I spent most of my youth playing video games. My very first console was an NES complete with “Super Mario Brothers” and “Duck Hunt” on the same cartridge. My first PC games? “Doom”, “Command & Conquer” and “Half-Life” among others. “Kirby’s Dream Land” was my first Game Boy game and, since it was popular at the time, I was all-aboard the Pokemon bandwagon.
I’ve spent most of my life playing video games. If they’re not keeping me up all night, then I’m reading about their history or speculating about their future. The one thing I haven’t done, however, is design them. I always thought it would be an easy feat when I was growing up. Becoming a designer for a AAA company like Nintendo? Piece of cake! It’d be easier than playing the games themselves.
What I’ve since learned, however, is that designing games and playing them require two entirely different levels of skill. Computer Science, Mathematics and Graphic Design are among the many areas of expertise that are required for video game design – and none of those are really my forte. Luckily for me, there’s Clickteam Fusion 2.5 and an even more intuitive book that goes along with it: “Getting Started with Clickteam Fusion” by Jürgen Brunner.
Brunner, who’s a gamer himself, is extremely active in the video game community and has created several games to date. He states that all you really need to create games is one thing: the drive to see your personal vision come to life. Programming and artistry are certainly important, he explains, but at the end of the day you just need to be passionate about what you’re doing.
He starts off by familiarizing readers with the game development lifecycle. The first and most important step, Brunner states, is the prototyping phase. This lays the foundation for the rest of the process, which is mostly concerned with alpha and beta tests, all the while leading to that glorious moment when you release your game out into “the wild”. This final step, the gold release, isn’t just reserved for big-budget titles – indie games also happen to be a cornerstone of the video game industry.
Brunner then provides readers with an overview of the different functions in Clickteam Fusion 2.5 before getting into the messier details. He guides readers through the various tasks that they need to complete in order to make a game – animating characters, implementing physics and even laying down a soundtrack. These tasks sound a lot more complicated than they really are…and Brunner is never shy about pointing that out.
Again, the most important thing to keep in mind as you’re reading this book is that your passion has to make up for any technical knowledge that you may be lacking. I don’t know anything about graphics engines, particle physics or mobile game development (this is a step that Brunner goes into towards the end of the book) but that doesn’t mean I won’t try my hand at making games. If you’re going to read this book with the actual intention of making games, then I’d recommended shelling out the money for the program.
I may not be any closer to realizing my dreams of becoming a video game programmer than I was in my youth, but with Brunner’s book and the software that goes with it I’m on the right path. Highly recommended.