Game development requires dedication, skill, and—resources! With a bank of knowledge to refer to, you can make your game programming journey go that much more smoothly. It’s a great idea to have a master list you can turn to whenever you need to learn new topics, get inspired, or troubleshoot something.
This article covers the best game developer resources to help you create great games.
Let's get started.
Why do you need resources for game development?
Game development from scratch and creating your assets along the way is complex. It requires hundreds of hours, and you need strong motivation to master the different stages of the game development process.
This process starts with laying out the plan, creating a story, creating engaging visual effects, developing game mechanics, adding music, and testing and debugging. On top of all these, you also need to market and promote your game to reach your intended audience.
You also need to know a lot about different things, be it graphics, music, marketing, programming, or project management.
There's no doubt that making games isn’t easy. (Let's not sugarcoat it to appeal to new game developers).
To help you through this, you need to use the best resources available. They'll teach you about game development most efficiently and help you troubleshoot issues if you're stuck. It's also crucial to have access to something that helps you stay ahead of the curve by informing you about new trends and topics.
We figured the best way to support you in this is to filter out the noise—and curate only the best resources for your convenience.
1. GDC Vault: GDC Vault is an excellent source for game design videos. It includes all Game Developer Conference talks and provides in-depth insights from the best minds. In addition, it offers free and paid sections. For beginners, the free section is more than enough. However, if you feel limited by the free content, you can get their paid subscription, especially if you're a professional.
2. Boardgamizer: If you're into board games, you'll find Boardgamizer very useful. It hosts access to board game strategies and lists popular designs for inspiration. In short, it covers the board games topic in detail.
3. GameDeveloper: If you like written content, then you'll find Game Developer (formerly known as Gamasutra) useful. It covers game design topics and other helpful game developer resources, including programming, audio, art, production, business, and more.
4. Three Hundred Mechanics: You can check out this site if you're looking for game design inspiration. It lists 300 different game mechanics by the author. He documents all his ideas, and you can explore them for better ideas.
5. HacknPlan: This tool offers an excellent way to do game production and allows game designers to plan, organize and track game development progress.
6. Game Design Workshop: If you need more programming or artistic experience, this book can still help you get started with digital game creation. Tracy Fullerton writes the book and discusses design techniques using popular games.
1. 2D Game Art Guru: A excellent resource for game development art that Chris manages. He has 20 years of art development experience, which is reflected in his work. He covers various art topics, including helping new learners get started with Inkspace, an open-source tool for creating art.
2. The Art of Game Design, Jesse Schell: This book discusses game design questions through different lenses, trying to understand fundamental and most profound game design principles. It also covers VR and AR platforms and goes through popular games such as Last of Us and Unchartered 4.
3. Textures.com: If you're looking for high-quality CG art, this site is for you. It offers free and premium content which you can use to create art for your game.
4. GameDev Market: Explore various game art, including 2D backgrounds, GUI HUD, 2D characters, Audio SFX, GUI Icons, and much more. It also offers 3D assets.
5. The Art of Making of Hogwarts Legacy: This book explores one of the newest games in the market, Hogwarts Legacy. It explores its original concept art, an excellent pick for aspiring game developers who want to learn from it.
6. OpenGameArt: OpenGameArt lists tons of free art real users submit. Here, you can access 2D, 3D, and concept art. Additionally, you also get access to textures, music, documents, sound effects, and even tutorials.
7. Real-time VFX: This ultimate guide allows learners to learn real-time VFX. It includes tons of information and guides you through the whole learning process.
Without effects, actions in your game feel empty. That's where these resources will come in handy.
1. Freesound: Freesound is the best place to get sounds for your game. All sounds are covered under the Creative Commands Licensed, so you can use them without worrying about copyright issues.
2. Incompetech: Incompetech is a free-to-use graph paper generator.
3. Blender 3D models: Get your project's 3D models, particle systems, and effects. Here, users submit their own generated content for other users to use.
4. FreeSFX: FreeSFX houses more than 500K music tracks and sound effects. All of these are free to download and use.
5. GameSounds: GameSounds lists royalty-free sound and music.
Blogs give you insights in a concise manner (as opposed to textbooks and documentation).
1. Microsoft Game Dev: If you rely on Microsoft technologies to build your games, this blog can help you get started. In addition, you can also check out AWS for Games, which offers more detailed resources on game development in the cloud and AWS.
2. CGspectrum Blog: CGspectrum blog offers diverse content related to game development. Here, you can access topics such as game development, 3D modeling, visual effects, visual production, and digital painting.
3. GamesIndustry.biz: Keeping up with game industry news is vital to know trends. GameIndustry.biz covers GDC, events, academies, and other news that shape the industry. It also lists video game jobs.
4. HTML5 Game Development: If you're into HTML5 game development, you'll find this blog helpful. It offers engines, tutorials, demos, tools, and news related to HTML5 game development.
5. Unity Technologies Blog: Unity is at the forefront of game engines, and you surely don't want to miss out on what they have to share.
6. GameDeveloperTips: This blog covers interesting game development topics, ranging from beginner to advanced.
7. GDkeys: GDKeys blog covers exciting topics for indies, game designers, and enthusiasts. They also host a discord server where you can interact with like-minded people.
Listening can sometimes be a better way to learn things, especially when you're doing mundane tasks. So here, we list the best podcasts you should take advantage of.
1. Psychology of video games: This channel regularly hosts podcasts about how video games and psychology interacts. They regularly post new podcasts and talk about fascinating topics.
2. GameDevUnchained: GameDevUnchained talks about various topics related to game development. They post new podcasts every week discussing games, tech, and more.
3. Level Design Lobby: Level Design Lobby dedicated itself to breaking level design techniques for its audience and how they can be used and improved. They break down popular games' level design and interview famous artists.
4. CoRecursive: A game dev podcast aggregator lists the best video game podcasts online. It is handy to find exciting podcasts and learn about new things.
5. GameDevAdvice: Another brilliant game dev podcast by John JP Podlasek, who has 30 years of experience in the game industry.
Tutorials can give you the required knowledge to get started with problem-solving, troubleshooting, and converting ideas to life.
1. GameDev.net: A game developers' community that offers access to tutorials and lively forums.
2. Alanzucconi: He is a pioneer in game academics. His work is renowned in the game industry. You can read about his work on his blog.
3. Game accessibility guidelines: Game accessibility is one of the big topics in game development. This tutorial/game resource teaches you basic, intermediate, and advanced game accessibility guidelines. Everything is in a document form.
4. Brackeys Youtube channel: If you're new and want to get started with game development, then this Youtube channel offers everything you need to know to get started.
5. Visual Storytelling for Film and Video Games: This 120 hours course on visual storytelling for video games is free for everyone. You can also pay for it(optional) to get a certificate.
6. CS50's Introduction to Game Development: It is a 12-week course about game development. It is a beginner's course and provides excellent value for your time. It is free, but you can get a certificate with a fee.
7. Introduction to game development for the web: The MDN web docs tutorial is a beginner's doorway to web game development.
Game Development Courses
Courses are a more structured approach to learning. These game development courses can help you sharpen your skills and knowledge.
1. Udacity: Udacity offers access to plenty of game development courses. Its Interactive 3D Graphics is an advanced course on computer graphics. If you're a beginner, check out its 2D Game Development with libGDX. It also offers exciting courses, including Mobile Games Engagement and Monetization and How to Make a Platformer Using libGDX.
2. Udemy: Like Udacity, Udemy has a lot to offer. Its game development courses range from learning Unreal Engine 5: The Complete Beginner's Course to Advanced techniques such as Game Physics in Unity.
3. Coursera: Coursera is also a great place to learn game development. It offers a wide variety of courses that range from beginners to advanced. One of its popular courses includes Introduction to Game Design by the California Institute of the Arts.
4. Learn Unity: Learn Unity offers access to more than 750 hours of on-demand training. In addition, it provides pathways that help learners to have a better learning experience.
5. AudioTuts: Get in-depth learning about music and audio. It offers an excellent collection of courses, articles, and tutorials.
1. Slay the Spire: Success through Marketability: This is a talk by Mega Crit Game's Casey Yano on how they achieved success through marketing decisions, adding value to the game, and community-building.
2. Indie Game Marketing: The post guides you on how to market indie games, discussing pitfalls to avoid, must-haves, the importance of App Store Optimization(ASO), and the time to sell your Indie game.
3. Beginner's Guide to Games marketing online: An excellent guide on marketing games online. It discusses different ways to promote a new game.
4. Effective Indie Game Marketing: It offers a step-to-step detailed guide on marketing an indie game.
5. 20-item Game Dev Marketing Checklist: A handy checklist when marketing your new game.
6. Udemy's Game Marketing Courses: A great collection of game marketing courses. Some courses include Business of Mobile Gaming, Introduction to Games Marketing, and Indie Video Game Marketing on Reddit.
Communities and Forums give you access to like-minded people. It gets you into meaningful and relevant conversations with the ability to ask for help and help others.
1. Polycount Forum: It is a forum that delivers game art. Here, you can discuss video game art(2D and 3D). In addition, it is an active community that covers news, work opportunities, contests & challenges.
2. r/gamedev: The Gamedev Reddit channel discusses everything related to game development, including art, music, marketing, business, and programming. It is very active, and you can get plenty of good old discussion archives, resources, and news.
3. r/IndieGaming: If you're an indie game developer, you'll love this small yet active subreddit. Here, most people ask for advice and share progress on their indie games.
4. GameDevLondon: London developers can use this community to build games and connections. It offers chat options, events, and podcasts.
5. Game Dev Network: This discord server is an active community of more than 40K developers. You can discuss game dev code, jobs, tools, and game engines here.
1. Game Developers Conference: One of the top game developer conferences held annually in San Francisco, CA. It brings the best experts to the stage that shares excellent real-world insights.
2. MGS 2023: This conference covers app monetization, mobile user acquisitions, product development, user retention & engagement, to name a few. It focuses more on the app ecosystem and is a 6-day event.
3. Meet to March: A great event to meet game programmers, financiers, marketers, and authorities. You get excellent networking opportunities here with expert speakers sharing their experiences and learnings.
4. Digital Dragons: A 2-day event focused on gaming B2B. It has 94 presenters with over 1400 attendees. Alongside the speaker's talk, they also have panel discussions.
5. DevDays Europe: This conference discusses cutting-edge technology, followed by workshops. That's why it is a great event to visit for programmers, marketers, UX designers, and game developers.
1. FreeCodeCamp: If you're a beginner who wants to create web-based games, there is no better place than FreeCodeCamp. It provides you access to web-based technologies without spending a single dime.
2. Math for Game Programmers: Noise-Based RNG: Squirrel Eiserloh discusses Noise-Based RNG and how he replaces it with a math library in this GDC video.
Best Flow of Resources to Get Started With Game Development
Game development is a process. It requires careful planning and execution. You'll find the massive game dev resources confusing if you're starting. After all, where to start?
The very first step is to lay out the plan. Next, you must create a Game Design Document(GDD). It requires tools such as Nuclino, Workflowy, or Dundoc.
Next, you need to devise a good story. For it, you can check the game design resources listed here. Then, you can learn what makes a good story. Along with the knowledge, you can use story-building tools such as Canvas, Twine, ChoiceScript, Miro, and others.
You can pick Scrivener, Obsidian, and even Google Docs/Sheets for writing.
Withyour GDD created, it's time to load your project management tools such as Trello, Asana, ClickUp, or HacknPlan and get agile.
Now, you need to think about your tools. Different teams have different requirements. They can use Unity or build on their custom engine. In any case, online resources are plenty. For a custom engine, you must reference internal documentation for better understanding.
Your game development should progress nicely from here. First, however, you should get a prototype covering core mechanics. It'll help you stay confident about your project and create placeholders for future assets. Next, for audio, you should check out our effects section.
Lastly, it’s essential to always keep learning. Our game dev resources list online courses, free tutorials, communities, and in-depth videos. Feel free to review them and use your knowledge to build a new fascinating experience for the players!