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It's Time to Make, Play and Share with THE VIDEO GAME MACHINE!

Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 By ScottTykoski In The Video Game Machine Dev Journals

Greetings, fellow designers!

Thank you for your interest in The Video Game Machine. If you're anything like me, you've spent your gaming years both engrossed in games and overflowing with game ideas of your own.

If that sounds like you, then you're in the right place!

A quick bit about myself: my name is Scott Tykoski, the local Mad Scientist at Stardock Entertainment. I've been working here for 19 years now, and for the last 4 of that, my colleagues and I have been messing around with a side-project. A real gamechanger, if you will.

The Video Game Machine: A Game that makes Games.

And it's finally ready for YOU to play!

All the Fun, None of the Frustration

OK friends, confession time: making video games is one of the best jobs in the world. I know, I know - what an unbelievable factoid. It's OK to be gobsmacked.

The fun of game creation, however, comes with a dark side: hours, weeks, and even months of frustration when things just don't work. Game Development is a fun job, but that fun can be fleeting when the non-fun parts keep getting in the way.

Our goal with The Video Game Machine is to remove as much of that frustration as possible, giving you a bucket-load of robust, easy-to-use mechanics that you can snap together to make your own awesome game.

In fact, ease-of-use takes center stage right from the start. With the initial 'Make Your Game' setup process, we've boiled game design down to 3 simple steps...

Step 1: Pick Your Genre

The core gameplay experience is driven by the GENRE. Is this a top-down adventure game?  A sidescrolling platformer? A Shoot-em-Up where you're fighting off waves of enemies? Some other genre that we haven't announced yet?

Gameplay Mechanics - things like player controls, camera movement, and enemy spawning - are all set by the chosen genre. Development can't get any easier than one click!

For players who want more direct control over gameplay, there's a screen in the Level Editor called "The Rulebook" where you can add specific mechanics/gimmicks to your game. This very powerful tool will get it's own journal entry very soon.

But, I digress! Onto...

Step 2: Choose Your Hero

When picking your hero, you're basically picking your overall theme. Is this a Wild West game? A Fantasy game? Superhero? Radical Dinosaurs on Skateboards?

The hero, and their theme, will define some of the defaults of your game: random enemies, hidden items, environments, and music.

You can override these defaults later, but from an 'ease-of-use' standpoint, this helps the player quickly make a game that looks, feels, and sounds cohesive.

Step 3: Name Your Game

We've saved the best for last! With a genre and hero selected, you should have some idea of the game you want to make.  Now that game needs a name - and the crazier, the better!

If you can't come up with something, I highly suggest using the Video Game Name Generator at https://videogamena.me/.  Some of my favorites…

  • Revenge of the Fighter Attack
  • John Romero's Chess in the Outback
  • Sleazy Axe '95
  • Drug-Induced Polka Throwdown
  • Satan's Soccer Island
  • In Search of Underwear Gold
  • Post-Apocalyptic Afro Apocalypse

You're Ready to Play!

Now that you've set the basics, it's time to jump into your creation. At first it'll be a little empty - it needs your creative spark! - but by combining Playing and Making into one fun package, TVGM ensures you'll have your own game to show off in no time!

Alpha 1 and Beyond

The version you'll be playing is the "Alpha 1" build. There are 4 major areas we're looking for feedback on during this early stage of testing.

  1. Ease of Use: Is it easy and fun to create content in TVGM?
  2. Sidescroller Games: Can you make a fun Sidescroller with the tools provided?
  3. Adventure Games: Can you make a fun Adventure game with the tools provided?
  4. Sharing: Can you upload games and share them reliably?

As you play and have feedback to share, please jump onto the forums and let us know how things are going! Remember - one of the major goals is to smooth out frustrations, so if something annoys you, it's probably annoying other players too. We want to hear about it!

Thanks for your feedback, support, and excitement.

Let's build something awesome together!

-TeamVGM