Learning Game Development On Your Own: Step-By-Step Guide

can you learn game design on your own

Learning Game Development On Your Own

As the game development field continues to grow, more and more people find themselves interested in a career as a game developer. Even as a hobby, game development holds much intrigue for individuals interested in both programming and gaming. With such a high level of knowledge required for this field, it can be hard to know where to start.

Can I learn game development on my own? ​With access to thousands of online resources, it is certainly possible to learn game development on your own. In fact, many game developers have taught themselves. From online courses to communities of game developers, learning this skill can become beneficial both as a hobby and as a career.

While game development is a complex industry, learning the skills necessary simply takes hard work, dedication, and commitment. In this post, we will walk you through some of the steps you must take in your journey to becoming a self-taught game developer in hopes that you are provided with the information you need to decide whether this career is right for you.

How to Become a Self-Taught Game Developer

student learning game design aloneWhether you are looking for a new career or simply hoping to develop a hobby, teaching yourself the skills necessary to become a game developer can be incredibly rewarding. It is important to note that game development is not the easiest field to break into, no matter your previous experience. To pursue this career, it is important to possess a great passion for both programming and gaming.

Skills to Learn for Game Development

Game development requires a high level of technical skill and expertise. Contrary to common misconceptions, this career is so much more than simply enjoying video games. In fact, you do not even need to excel at gaming to be successful as a game developer. However, the best game developers are individuals who enjoy all aspects of gaming, from their inception and planning phases to the actual gameplay.

Computer Programming

Perhaps the most important skill to develop on your journey to becoming a game developer is computer programming. Programming is the backbone of any video game. It is wise to develop a basic knowledge of several coding languages including C++, C#, Python, and Java, to name a few.

If you do not have a baseline knowledge of coding, it is important to establish this foundation for the rest of your learning. The most popular coding language used in video games is C++, a great place to start your path to game development.

3D Graphics & Mathematics

3d game designAnother very important aspect of game development is 3D graphics. It is impossible to develop a video game without the use of graphics. For this reason, it is wise to learn the basics surrounding computer graphics as well as the mathematics behind 3D graphics.

Linear Algebra is the most common type of mathematics that is used for creating and manipulating 3D graphics. Mastering concepts such as linear equations, vectors, and matrices will help you to better achieve the visual effects you have in mind.

Depending on your position within the field of game development, you may not use these skills often in your career. However, they are essential to learning how to develop your own game and understanding how a video game works.

Steps for Learning Game Development Alone

Oftentimes, the thing preventing aspiring game developers from beginning the learning process is that they do not know where to start. Below you will find a step-by-step guide for learning game development from scratch.

Establish Basic Level of Skills Necessary

The first step in this process is to establish a basic level of the skills necessary for game development. As discussed previously, these include coding, mathematics, and a knowledge of 3D graphics. It may also be of value to take a course that covers the basics of game development to see if the specifics of this field are of interest to you. We will discuss where you can go for this education in the next section.

Choose a Game Engine

Game engines are used to help render graphics, support audio functions, animate graphics, and many other tasks. After learning the basics of programming, it is time to choose a game engine such as Unity or Unreal Engine. This is the platform on which you will create your first game!


Use Tutorials to Mimic An Existing Game

After establishing a base level of comfort navigating the game engine you choose to use, it is time to get to work! Using tutorials that you can find online, mimic an existing game. It is best to start with a game that is incredibly simple. While this may seem boring, it is important that you understand the basics of game development.

Continue Your Education to Gain New Skills

Continue to mimic existing games, beginning to add your own unique features as you become more comfortable both with coding and the game engine you are using. Improve your existing skills by asking for feedback on your games and learning additional programming languages.

Freelance for Small Studios or Projects to Build Portfolio

Although you may never feel fully prepared, the best way to grow as a new game developer is to begin working for a small game development studio. Many studios offer internships that allow new developers to continue learning under the guidance of experienced game developers.

You may also decide to look for freelance opportunities on platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr. While these are often low-paying gigs, they provide you with valuable experience to add to your portfolio.

Where to Learn Game Development Alone

So, where do you go to learn the skills necessary to become a game developer? Luckily, there are countless resources available today making it possible for you to teach yourself this skill in the way that you learn best.

Online Resources

Thanks to the internet, there are thousands of online courses, videos, tutorials, and other educational materials available that cover the topic of game development. Two of the most popular online resources for learning game development include Coursera and Udemy. On these online platforms, you will find numerous courses taught by industry experts that walk you through the process step-by-step.

Take Coding Classes

As mentioned previously, a basic knowledge of several coding languages is key to success in game development. On your journey to teach yourself game development, it may be helpful to

attend a coding class either online or through a local college. This is a great way to build upon your existing knowledge and network with others who have similar interests.

Find a Community

As you learn the skills necessary for game development, it can be helpful to find a community of other aspiring game developers. Along with individuals who are more experienced than you, this community can help immensely by sharing knowledge, resources, and advice.

Benefits of Learning Game Development On Your Own

Even if you do not see game development as a full-time career, there are many ways that you can benefit from the skills you will learn.

Create a Lucrative Career as a Game Developer

Of course, the greatest benefit of teaching yourself game development is creating a financially lucrative and rewarding career as a game developer. The journey to a game development position may seem tedious. However, an individual that is truly passionate about a future in this career will come to enjoy the challenge.

Expand Upon Existing Coding & Programming Knowledge

If you already have a knowledge of coding and computer programming, learning game development can be a fun way to expand upon your knowledge. Many of the skills used in game development easily translate into other areas of development. Leaning these skills can help you become a more well-rounded programmer.

Use Game Development Tools in Other Programming Fields

A similar field that continues to grow is that of app development. App developers benefit greatly from the skills and tools learned through game development. With game development tools and platforms, app developers can provide stunning interactive platforms to their clients that would not be possible elsewhere.

Many professionals who teach themselves game development as a way to build upon their other skills quickly fall in love with the process. Game development is a fun and rewarding career that continues to expand with each passing year.


Can You Make Money As a Game Developer?

Teaching yourself game development may seem like a fun hobby. But is it actually worth the investment of your time and resources? Luckily, game development is a lucrative career for many people around the world. While it may take time, effort, and resources to teach yourself this skill, it is very possible to create a career in this industry.

With the countless resources that are available online, you can quickly determine if learning game development is the right path for you. Many beginner game development courses are very inexpensive, with many that are free! If you have a knack for coding, appreciate solving problems, and like to use your skills in a creative way, game development may just be a perfect fit!


Hello there! My name is Collin. I’ve spent hours studying game design via podcasts, articles, and videos. This is where I share the helpful information I’ve learned about creating and marketing great games.

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