We're making a video game

Jacob Allred

I’m the assistant scoutmaster in my ward’s Boy Scout troop. I’m not very good at it. I don’t particularly enjoy camping without my family, and I’m not very good at tying any kind of knot other than a square knot or a one-handed bowline. It has been a real struggle to find ways to be useful to my troop and the boys that are in it.

While I was driving some of them home after a troop meeting a few days ago, one of them asked the others what they wanted to be when they grew up. One of them said they wanted to make video games. Being a programmer, I know that is easier said than done.

I started thinking about it though. Is it really that hard? What is required to make a video game? Well, nowadays you generally pick a platform, work within a framework, come up with a story line and some graphics, then code the game. I’m no good with graphics and story lines, but I can do the other bits. I browsed DreamSpark and found some free development tools and decided I wanted to offer to teach the boys in my troop how to make a video game.

Tonight we were having a movie night but a few people were running late so most of us were just hanging out, so I took the opportunity to bring up my idea to create a video game. They loved it! We spent 30-45 minutes coming up with a plot, weapon ideas, how the player should move through the game, power ups, customization options (like character clothes), and assigned a few people to draw some artwork.

We are going to try meeting once a week with whoever is interested so we can work on the game. The initial goal is to get a basic single level finished. We are going to use Microsoft XNA Game Studio with the hopes of having our game available for both Windows and Xbox 360.

I feel this is a bit ambitious, but I’m really excited about it! XNA uses C#, which I’m somewhat familiar with, and has a bunch of good books available for it. One of the boys has had a basic programming class before, so that should help some. And all of them play way more video games than they should, so they should know what makes a game fun or boring.

I’ll do another post once we get some artwork and a title, hopefully in just a few days.