Spam Spam Spam Humbug: Episode 30 – From Playing Games to Making Games


You’ve been playing games since childhood, but you want to do more. How do you make the transition from being a consumer of games to being a creator of games?

Do you start by making mods for existing games, as the Ultima fandom’s own Ian Frazier did. Ian was the project lead for the excellent Ultima V: Lazarus, a mod for Dungeon Siege that re-creates and expands upon the world and story of Ultima 5. After the release of Lazarus, he went on to work at Iron Lore Entertainment, Big Huge Games, and is now the Lead Designer for Mass Effect: Andromeda at BioWare Montreal.

Do you roll your own engine and systems? There is something synergistic that happens when a game engine is being created with a specific game design (and even hardware) in mind. With a custom engine there is communication between design elements and the technology to bring them to life in a way that always results in a more custom gaming experience. Many times it results in an experience than could never have been delivered without the custom engine.

Or do you use some of the existing — even freely-available — tools? If you are just a beginner then game maker tools and engines are great ways to immerse yourself in the process and techniques of making games. In a way they are a bit like taking an art class to learn about using a new medium. You still need to spend time mastering that medium and developing your own style with it to stand out.

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