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How do you get started on a game?

rcarlson profile image Robert Carlson ・1 min read

My brain keeps pulling me in a million directions as I attempt to start my first 2d game. I'd love to hear what your process is for starting a new game. I need help getting my brain untangled, and I figure the best place to start is reaching out to you all :)


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1- Come up with a silly idea, since this is your first game you should use the chance to capitalize on learning and less on the finished product.
2-Join a game jam and make a game in 2 days or 1 week. This is the best way to get started as it encourages you to make a "finished" product. You can find them on Itch.io and several other sites.
3- If you are completely new to game dev I recommend watching a tutorial series to get started.

Just make sure to have fun! Don't expect the first game to turn out good, but you will keep improving with more games you make.

EDIT: I saw you have some Unity experience, so for a full fledged 2D game I recommend making a GDD first and determining your priority of features. Then make a Trello Board to keep track of your progress.


I like your idea of the design doc. I'll give that a try tonight and see if that gets the juices flowing :) As far as trello, planning out each step just makes me feel depressed :)


Yeah! There's some templates online too that really help. Usually I try to find a mechanic that I want to implement, then I think of an overworld to fit that mechanic and then come up with the story and further mechanics.

How far do you take your GDD?

I've done this a few times but I always feel stuck trying to figure out what to fill out.

Mostly brief, because if it's too detailed I get hung up on it. Storyline, character, genre, audience, inspirations, mechanics, art style, sound style and a schedule of when main features should be done (I usually have this on the Trello though). Just something to look back on if I'm ever stuck on the idea or forgot something. However some people really do detailed ones and publishers probably would want very detailed GDDs.


I like your advice of just coming up with something silly. I think it's definitely hard to try to come with with an "awesome" idea and that can get discouraging. Taking it lightly and as a learning opportunity with low stakes is a great way to get started with just about anything.


I will totally echo the sentiment of participating in a game jam. I know I've only done one but working yourself against a deadline really forces you to keep focus and do something, because the goal is to complete the project.

Also it might help to think about your first projects as all throw-a-away's as practice for when you focus on your first major project.

I tend to get distracted as well so I write down all my thoughts for game ideas, or ideas I want to try out so I at least have an outlet so I can focus on what I'm working on at the time.

Also depending on if your going for practice or hobby, I feel like it's fine to let your mind wander to experiment and really find your style.


Echoing some of what Samyam mentioned, sometimes writing out a doc that outlines what you want to make is a great way to find what you want to work on first as part of a game. Not an exact science, I think usually I just stumble around till I find something I like.


Also was interested in seeing what templates are out there; and found this one that looks really cool. Not that visuals are everything but I always like a sleek document template vitalzigns.itch.io/gdd


This one looks nice. When I was looking at them year's ago I think I made a few binders that are 30 pages long just because that's what I was able to find, and most of those pages were near blank because I wasn't sure if I had the right amount of detail entered in them. πŸ˜†

It's so fun going back and seeing the hard copies of old project documents you've worked on! I had a similar experience, I was looking through some pages and there were a number of 1 paragraph pages because who knows what you might fill it out with in the future!


Great find, I will try this one out