20 Great Sites to Learn the Ins and Outs of Video Game Design

If you love to play video games, this could be your first step into a career as a game designer. But, game development jobs also require serious skills, and only highly qualified people find jobs. Plus, jobs change rapidly as new technologies emerge, so it pays to stay in the loop. Learning curves are constant, but the thrill of creating something that others can enjoy is exciting. Depending upon what you want to do in this field, you can focus on design, artistic development, programming, and testing. Learning the ins and outs of this industry requires knowledge, so we’ve included sites in this list that focus on those skills.

Game Art & Design

Game Design

  1. ASGamer: This site launched with a series of tutorials known as “AS3 Flash Games for Beginners,” which developed a pretty strong following and jumpstarted AsGamer’s growth. AS Gamer plans to grow into a Flash gaming community, providing readers with the opportunity to contribute and become a part of the game development scene.
  2. Digital-Tutors: This tutorial site is filled with dedicated artists, professionals, representatives, and problem-solvers teach people around the globe about movies and games. No matter your skill level or experience, you need an educational resource that helps you conquer complicated topics so you can focus on your future. This site can help, with one of the world’s largest online CG training libraries.
  3. GFXartist: Learn about computerized art and basic drawing and design principles from the articles and tutorials, stay up to date with the daily news, and communicate using your buddy list and the on-site message system as well as the comment functions throughout the site. Expose your work in the member gallery to see what others think about your creations.
  4. KatsBits: This site includes information on making and optimizing 3D models and meshes, texture making, general game development, hints and tips, and a host of other things related to asset and content creation. Learn the “how” and “why” things are done the way they are in game design through articles, downloads, forums, and the blog.
  5. World of Level Design: Use this site to learn more about becoming a level designer and game environment artist for first-person shooters. The articles are aimed to help you with all aspects of starting, working and finishing your own level designs and 2D and 3D environments. Articles focus on using Autodesk Maya, texturing with Photoshop, and business management. First-shooter game engine focus is on Unreal Engine 3 (UDK), CryEngine 3 SDK, and Valve Source Engine – Hammer.

Computer Animation

Game Design Expo

  1. 3dmd — Resources for 3D Artists: This site contains tools for the 3D artist, including animation, rendering, texturing, modeling, and scripting. Browse through artists’ portfolios and take the tutorials. This group also includes forums where you can ask questions or provide answers to animation issues.
  2. Make Your Own Animation: The author is engrossed in computer animation, and has two decades’ of experience working with software. You can find tutorials, learn about different 3D Animation and Photoshop techniques, and discover animation tools that can bring your creations to life. All tutorials are accompanied by full-length videos.
  3. Science Daily: This online publication offers information about computer animation, including links to computer modeling, science, graphics, and artificial intelligence. At the end of this article, the authors provide links to application software, 3D computer graphic, morphing and computer-generated imagery.

Programming & Game Development

Game Designers

  1. Gafferongames: This is Glenn Fiedler’s game development blog, containing articles and tutorials on game physics and networking for game programmers. Glenn is credited in six games, including Freedom Force, God of War III, and SWAT 4. Companies that picked up on him include Rockstar Games, Inc., Vivendi Universal Games, Inc., and Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
  2. GPTutors: This site is all about 3d game development, building 3d game engine, 3d assets modeling, artificial intelligence, and physics. You will find free source code on the “Free Stuff” page, and online courses in “Blocks.” The source code is explained line by line, and if you have any questions you can post them on the forum.
  3. oZone3D: This web site focuses on real-time 3D and is the home of some popular tools like FurMark and GPU Caps Viewer. Enjoy the tutorials, including structure of 3D scene objects and introductions to various software products. You also have access to 3D demos and forums.
  4. Space Simulator: Damiano is a software developer engaged in many projects: data acquisition/processing, remote control systems, fractal algorithms, web development, embedded systems and game development. He works in C/C++, Visual Basic, Real Basic, PHP and recently also objC trough XCode. His site offers tutorials, resources, projects, and an active community interested in space game development.

Robotics

Software Engineer

  1. FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology): This nonprofit organization inspires young people with science and technology. Their mentor-based programs build science, engineering and technology skills and inspire innovation. Dean Kamen, founder, is an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology.
  2. NASA Robotics Alliance Project: The NASA Robotics Alliance Project focuses on enrolling American support for the advancement of robotics technologies required for extraterrestrial exploration. The focus also is on high school and college students who want to seek an engineering degree. But, the site is worth exploring for inspiration.
  3. Robotics Trends: This publication is an online news, information and analysis portal focused on business and technology trends for people who build, buy, invest in, and seek to understand the personal, service, mobile and military robotics market. They also produce RoboNexus, which features all the new robots and cutting-edge technologies.

Important Resources

Game Psychologist

  1. CGSociety: The Society of Digital Artists is a primo place for any serious game developer. CGSociety is dedicated to helping you share your work, tell your stories, improve your skills and advance your career. They invite you to join a global group of over 100,000 registered members who explore and collaborate on every level of digital art.
  2. Creative Crash: Learn more about every piece of gaming software on the market. This site also includes news and tutorials on the marketplace, and provides community to discuss gaming developments.
  3. Gamasutra: Everything you’d want to know about console, social online, smartphone, independent, and serious games. This site includes resources for gaming jobs, contractors, and also includes tutorials and articles that can enhance your knowledge about programming, art, audio, design, production, and the gaming business.
  4. Gamedev: Game development community that has been on the front burner in game development since 1999. This site is for game developers of all levels who visit the site regularly for news, forums, and a growing list of seasoned members. Nearly every game development book published over the past decade praises GameDev.net as the best place on the Internet to learn about game development.
  5. The Adrenaline Vault: If any one site can help you to learn about the ins and outs of video game design, this site is the one. Avault doesn’t sugar coat anything, and certainly doesn’t echo what everyone else says about a game. If the reviewers don’t like it, they’ll let you know. If the reviewer was physically forced to put down the controller, they award the game with “The Adrenaline Vault Seal of Excellence.”
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