Software specifically for creating games

I’ve started looking for an internship and hopefully a job and I want to build up my portfollo, currentily the only thing I have finshed was a quick flash site that hasn’t been uploaded anywhere. I’m looking for software for creating games, I know some flash but don’t have any books on how to develop games for it.

I’ve read about Microsoft’s XNA which lets you create games that is for the 360, is there something coming to the pc anytime soon? Or are there any better software packages out there?

You need to know how to program first. Any programming. Once you know how to program, making games becomes relatively straightforward (if time intensive).

The only software I use to create games is Microsoft Visual Studio and the DirectX SDK.

I know C ,C++, and Visual Basic. I’m abit rusty with them but I kept all the books that came with the software.

Well then, grab visual c++ express from Microsoft’s site, grab the direct x sdk, putter around with the samples, and start creating. Alternately, you could grab a free open source engine like Ogre3d and save yourself a bunch of work.

XNA + C# express is completely free for PC development. Just make sure you have at least a dx9 card in your dev box (shader 2.0).

Go hang out at for a while.

  • Alan

I’ve read some industry folks suggest that if you’re serious about getting a job with a development house - rather than, say, going into indie self-publishing - there’s not much need for general programmers. Instead, it’s better to pick something to specialize in (e.g., graphics engines, AI, etc.) and learn to do it really well. Game development is so compartmentalized these days at the major designers, they need specialists more than they need jacks-of-all-trades.

Curious what the “real” developers here think of that suggestion…

Upload it somewhere–released work is more valuable than general programming knowledge.

As an aside, my understanding is that 40% of Valve’s employees started in the mod community. Again, it’s all about released work and completed projects.

  • Alan

Still lots of need for general programming. Some poor grunt has to write file management libraries and shit. And it won’t be me!

Thanks for the info, once I’m done classes for this semester I’m going to spend some time with the visual c++. I didn’t see any links for the actual XNA program on microsoft’s site. Is it on the xbox site instead?

I haven’t had a chance to try beta 2 yet.

previous thread on xna:

I would suggest if you haven’t used any C-like languages before to start with C# first. Diving straight into managing Win32 and memory allocation can be daunting for a noob who just wants to get their four color pyramid on screen, rotating around.

I was looking over at gamedev. The three books they suggest for learning code Will they help me with visual C++ or C#?

Also does anyone have any suggestions for a book about actually programming and/or creating games with C++. I’m planning on going to barnes and noble in a week or so to pick up some books.

I would suggest that if you are really going to do C++ you should consider using SDL, as it makes things quite a bit simpler from a framework standpoint and interfacing with OpenGL. (Not to mention your source will be cross-platform to OSX, Linux, etc)

Just so you know, there’s no such language as “Visual C++”. Visual C++ is the IDE that microsoft makes. All you use is C++.

Start with 2D games (using SDL), then move up a dimension by tacking on
OpenGL stuff, or using an existing engine.

Alternatively, the two engines that Garage Games sell are nice. TGB is a pretty
complete 2D game development package, accelerating with OpenGL for
lighting effects and stuff. TGE (the 3D engine) has a more advanced
networking portion, so is more suitable for realtime networked games.

Both engines have in common that you only need to know the scripting
language, and how to make the game assets. Source code available for both,
but the licensing schemes are slightly different.


A lot of free tools can be used for TGE. If you were lucky enough to download GMax
while still available, that has a nice and liberal license.

pfreak, are you hoping to become a programmer or designer? I ask because you didn’t mention any job specifically in the original post (and I would expect an artist/animator to want to make showreels more than games).

I would suggest looking into mods first, as you might find it an easier first step into making something playable. It really depends where you want to end up though.

My perfer job would be on the design side. Hoping to become a creative director( or is the title just game director?) at some point.

Creative director, game director, director, producer, lead designer, creative officer … there are a lot of titles. Seems like every single company has their own naming conventions. Me, I’d like to be known as Darth Designer.

Oh, and if you’re going to be a game designer, I think you’ll find that you hardly need programming experience, except for communicating with programmers on the team. I’m sure it’s a plus, but having some design documentation and a finished mod or game to go with that, should be fine. Or am I talking out of my arse here? My impression is that most game designers only do scripting, if even that, and spend most of their time working out design documents and discussing implementation of that with the various leads.

I just hope you realize that that point is probably ~10 years after you join the game industry.