Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Helpful Resources

This is a list of helpful software and media for anyone looking to make games! All of these have been used extensively by club members and officers.

Game Engines


One of the most feature-packed game engines out there, and it's completely free!* Unity is capable of building both 2D and 3D games, and has a powerful and polished user interface to get things done quickly. It uses C# as its programming language, which is like Java with some additional nice features, and has an incredibly large community 

*Until your game starts making thousands of dollars in revenue.


The perfect game engine for learning game programming, Love2D is powered by incredibly simple and intuitive Lua scripting (if you've used Python... Lua is similar!). There's no interface to hold your hand here, but that also means Love2D projects are extremely lightweight and easy to collaborate on. Check out the wiki if you need help!


Want to make browser games in JavaScript? In our opinion, there's no better way to do that than with Phaser. Phaser features a huge assortment of helpful tools and libraries, and runs extremely well on any HTML5-ready browser. We wouldn't recommend it if you're new to JavaScript, but if you've used it before this just might be your new favorite engine.


Ren'Py isn't a general-purpose game engine like the previous ones. Instead, it's made for one genre and one genre only: visual novels! Ren'Py lets anyone try their hand at creating interactive stories, with no coding experience required! It's a popular choice with artists and writers who want to jump into the world of game development.

Asset Creation Software

Pixel Art: Piskel

Digital Painting: FireAlpaca

Sound Editing: Audacity

3D Modeling: Blender

Premade Assets

2D Art: OpenGameArt and Kenney.nl

3D Art: Unity Standard Assets and Textures.org

Music: Incompetech and dig.ccMixter

Sound Effects: Freesound.org and GameSounds.xyz

Websites to Follow

Extra Credits

Extra Credits is a web show that tries to bridge the gap between game developers and game fans with respect to the kinds of conversations that they're having about games. Not only do they frequently make thought-provoking videos that encourage you to look at games from a new perspective, but they're also a great resource for students who wish to eventually work in the games industry.

Game Maker's Toolkit

GMTK is a YouTube series that analyzes great games to find out what they can teach us about game design. If you're struggling to figure out how to make your games "fun", you could find a lot of great knowledge here!


Gamasutra is one of the largest games industry news sites. It's targeted towards game developers, rather than game consumers, and the site features content that applies to any profession in the industry. You can find articles, opinion pieces, and guides written by prominent members of the industry. They also post great postmortems, which are retrospective articles that talk about the successes and failures of recently shipped games.

Great Books

The Art of Game Design

The Art of Game Design, by Jesse Schell, is definitely the best book on game design that you can find. It's written in a very honest and practical style that makes it a joy to read the whole way through. The book features 100 "lenses" that represent different design perspectives and questions to ask yourself when designing. This Book of Lenses is accompanied by a Deck of Lenses, which you can get as an app for Android or iOS, or as a physical deck of cards.

Challenges for Game Designers

While reading books is great, the vast majority of your design skills will be gained through experience. Challenges for Game Designers, by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber, tries to teach you game design by providing hands-on, non-digital exercises that will let you give you a better feel of what it means to solve design problems and how to think like a designer.

Rules of Play

Rules of Play, by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, is much a more academic and textbook-like approach to game design. Whether or not you'll find it useful or engaging really depends on your learning style. Despite that, it continues to be one of the most highly recommended and influential books on game design that you'll ever find.

A Theory of Fun

Like Rules of Play, Ralph Koster's Theory of Fun is another highly influential book in the field of game design. As the title suggests, it focuses on what exactly makes an interactive system fun, and it explores the fundamental reasons for why we like to play games.

Designing Virtual Worlds

Richard Bartle's Designing Virtual World is the definitive book on the subject of virtual world design. It's specifically about interactive virtual worlds, not fictional universes in general. This is a must read for any game designer.

Amazing Articles and Videos

Train (or How I Dumped Electricity and Learned to Love Design)

In this GDC 2010 talk, legendary game designer Brenda Brathwaite describes how she made a board game called Train and how the game was so emotionally powerful that it frequently brought players to tears. This talk also covers her personal history with game design and her desire to capture uncomfortable but powerful emotions through games. The video recording of this talk is one hour long, but it's an absolutely amazing talk.

John Cleese - A Lecture on Creativity

Monty Python comedian John Cleese gives a brilliant lecture about creativity. His main argument is that creativity is not a mysterious talent but rather a process that anyone can master. He talks about how play and persistence are crucial parts of any healthy creative process, and his advice is rooted in scientific research and practicality.

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

You've probably heard of this before, but Randy Pausch's Last Lecture is one of the most entertaining and inspirational lectures that you'll ever watch. Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and he co-founded CMU's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), which is probably the best school for game designers that you can find.