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Content Creation Game Development Programming

Poked at Javascript or PHP? Want to Try Game Development?

I have a “Crash Course” video tutorial in game development using Corona SDK (a 2D mobile framework) that’s hosted on Udemy:

Game Development Crash Course

The course is free and even better, can be done using the free trial version of Corona SDK. This is for beginners, but I assume you’ve played around with programming at some point, maybe with QBasic back in the day, or done some Javascript coding on your web site, or similar.

It’s fun, it’s quick, and it should whet your appetite for more game development. 😉

Categories
Game Development Gaming Programming

Game Development for Homeschoolers

It doesn’t matter whether a kid is in public school or whether he or she is homeschooled — almost every kid loves computer games. And there’s a certain percentage of those who not only want to play video games, but they want to make them, too.

With the game engines available today that’s completely possible to do at home — and for much less money than most people think. As a homeschooler you don’t have an unlimited budget for curriculum, so I’m going to cover one of the better low-cost options. (And what’s really cool is that option may be lower cost, but it’s the same option professional studios use to create games you see for sale today.)

Creating Your Home Game Studio

While a separate room might be the nicest option, just about everything you require is digital and lives on a hard drive, so even a laptop you carry around here or there will work for your studio. A specific place is nice because having a whiteboard for brainstorming is a great help as well as having wall space for posters that spark your creativity.

While an internet connection is a complete requirement, it comes close. It helps your productivity to be able to look up information in online documentation, or see a sample video, or ask questions of experts online.

Assets: What Your Game Is Made Of

While the source code you’ll write may seem to be the heart of the game, there are two other assets you’re going to need: artwork and audio. It’s fairly easy to make your own simple sound effects, and if you’re talented in drawing or painting you may be able to do the artwork, too. But in many cases the game developer write the code and then plugs in art and sound created by someone else.

That’s one way a group of friends can work together in making a game. If you’re talented in art, maybe you’re the artist for the game while your musician friend creates sound effects and background music. But if you’re a “lone wolf” there are still options.

Hiring someone to create a set of art or game sounds can be done cheaply, but you’re probably going to end up paying at least a few hundred dollars (or a few thousand) for something that’s good quality. If you have the funds for that, it’s a great option because you’ll get exactly what you need.

Limited funds? No problem, there are artists and musicians out there who create game assets that can be used for free. No purchase up front, no royalties later. All you have to do is give them credit in your game, such as in the About box. Just make sure you check their license agreement before using the assets — you don’t want to be surprised later because use wasn’t permitted.

The Game Engine: 2D or 3D

While 3D games such as first-person shooters are very popular, I don’t recommend 3D for beginning game developers for the simple reason that they are very complicated to put together. Not only do you need to write the code, add artwork and sounds, but your artwork relies on 3D models that have to be created. Modeling is a skill that requires at least as much time as programming itself.

Plus, by creating a 2D game first (or always – some people prefer 2D games) you’re learning principles of design and development that will help you no matter what type of game development you do in the future.

Programming: Cranking Out The Code

While there are game development tools that require no coding at all, they’re typically much less powerful than those that require some actual programming. Even someone starting from scratch can quickly learn the necessary commands if the right game engine is chosen.

While some engines use C++, Objective-C, or even Javascript, probably the fastest language to pick up is called Lua. It’s been used for game development for years and now there are several 2D game engines available that use Lua as the language.

The best game engines make it quick and easy to get pictures on the screen and animating. The engine I’ve used for the last half dozen mobile games can draw the picture with one line of code, and animate it across the screen with a second. It’s a great balance of ease-of-use and power.

The Best Way To Learn To Make A Game

First choice is to find someone who knows and have them teach you. If you’re lucky enough to live close to someone like that, take advantage of it! For others, there are books and video courses. I usually suggest video tutorials because seeing how to do something is often the key to really learning it.

Discover how to create your own game for iOS or Android with the Beginning Mobile Game Development video course. http://MasteringCoronaSDK.com shows how easy it is to make your own mobile game.

Categories
Content Creation Internet Marketing Product Creation

Kindle Publishing Riches! Swoon!

In recent months there have been a rash of “systems” promoting all the money that can be made simply by publishing for the Kindle on Amazon.

“We’ll get rich, Martha! It’s guaranteed! Look, all these other guys are doing it!!!!”

Um, yeah.

Those other guys are not starting from ground level. They have a built-in audience who will buy whatever they pitch. And once you have a base that will help push your Kindle book to the top, it’s within view of “normal” people who might find it interesting and buy a copy.

But the rest of us? Those folks who don’t have tens or hundreds of thousands of people on a list?

We publish to Amazon’s Kindle store, step back and…

*crickets*

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I despise the “internet marketing” world.

Because nobody makes it?

No, some people do. There are exceptions to the rule. But those systems are promoted to make you think you are the exception. Sure, not everyone makes it, but I will!

And maybe you will, but here’s the question I’d like you to think about…

Are you an author? Are you a publisher? No and no? Then why are you messing around with book stuff on Amazon?

“Because it’s the new gold rush! I’ll get rich!!!”

Maybe, but I doubt it, because the people who think like that are “business opportunity seekers” and as much as they like to think they are, they’re not building an internet marketing business. The mark of those people (sorry if this describes you) is someone who was building web sites to flip last month, is publishing Kindle books this month, and will be doing who-knows-what next month.

Always jumping from one “opportunity” to another, because the next one is the one that will finally make all their dreams come true.

Sigh

If you want to write a book because you have a story to tell or information that’s useful to people, write the book. But don’t do it because you think you’ll get rich — odds are you won’t.

Making money as an author has always been a rare thing, and the fact that you can now self-publish doesn’t really change that. In order to make money you need to sell a truck-load of books, and to sell the books you need people to see that book.

In other words, it boils down to traffic. Just like it always has for every product. You need to get eyeballs on the product. Every one of those “gurus” has the traffic in a bag. All they have to do is point it in the right direction to kick start sales.

(Note: I’m not anti-guru. Some of my best friends have been gurus.)

Do you want to make money writing?

About the only surefire way, assuming you have some skill, is freelance writing. Someone hires you and you write something for them in exchange for money.

Writing a book and hoping it sells is like buying a Lotto ticket and waiting for the numbers to be called out.

The guys who are making money with self-publishing — and I mean the real guys, not internet marketers — are the ones who are writers. And they write a book, throw it online and forget about it because they’re busy writing the next book.

And maybe they make a few bucks, but usually not, though that doesn’t stop them. They write the next one and get it online and forget about it. And they keep doing that…

…and according to those guys, the ones actually making money with self-publishing, something magical happens somewhere around book 9 or 10. Sales start to pick up all across their line of books. I’ve heard multiple people give that as their experience. No extra marketing, no special PR blasts, just writing decent quality books and putting them online.

But they don’t write one book and call it good. Or even two. And they don’t expect to get rich because someone sold them a “system” that says Kindle publishing is the road to riches.

The real secrets to self-publishing

Here are two truths — and I believe them to be truth not because I came up with them, but because the guys who have had true success with self-publishing prove these things work:

1. You need to have about 10 books available before you start making any money to speak of. You may get lucky earlier, but assume at least 10 books.

2. Don’t go exclusive with Amazon. If someone uses a Nook, or some other ereader and they hear about your book and it’s not available for them, you may never get them as a reader. Ever. When you self-publish, publish to all of the major venues so your book is available to everyone in every format.

That’s it. The secrets to self-publishing.

Unfortunately for me there’s not enough there to charge $497 for a system.