Before you down vote let me give some restrictions.

I like RPG but they seem long and hard to make but after you make the framework the rest sort of falls into place where as platformers never get faster as each map starts from scratch.

So under these conditions what is the easiest genre of game to develop as a hobby project.

  1. I am on my own.

  2. The style of graphics must be available. Can be ripped (not publishing).

  3. Not bothered about commercial quality.

  4. Must be real size game, multiple levels and stuff.



I build games in C++ and Direct x 9.c

  • \$\begingroup\$ Go down this list: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/854/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 13:43
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Tic-Tac-Toe? :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 15:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The easiest kind of games to make are bad ones. There have already been plenty of great suggestions below, so work at making some of those, then making them really awesome, and then tackle bigger projects. \$\endgroup\$
    – octal9
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 17:09

5 Answers 5


I agree with Apreche, a side-scrolling shoot 'em up is by far the easiest genre to create a simple game in.

For the basic setup, all you need is three parts:

  • Player: Moves to where mouse is
  • Enemies: Move down- or left-ward, depending on if horizontal or vertical shooter
  • Bullets: Move opposite to Enemy direction

Then you just need to add collision checks for Bullet-Enemy and Enemy-Player, and you've got a game.

From there on, you can then expand upon your design, adding enemies that shoot back, power-ups, asteroids, points, etc.

You can also easily try out adding all kinds of interesting "features" to your code-base before starting on a new project: AI finite state machines, spatial partitioning for collisions, particle systems, parallax scrolling, the list goes on and on.

In short: As your first game, you want something that is easy to make, and easy to expand upon, making a SHMUP an excellent choice.


The easiest kind of game to make, other than text adventure, is probably a Space Invaders style shmup. Many 2D game engines and libraries use this style of game for their tutorial.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was looking more for a genre of game like FPS, TPS, RPG, Platformer, Puzzle, Hack-n-Slash rather than space invaders. Have already made the "tutorial" games and want a project I am likely to finish. \$\endgroup\$
    – Skeith
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 12:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ A SHMUP is a genre \$\endgroup\$
    – Ray Dey
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 12:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry I didn't know what a shump was. \$\endgroup\$
    – Skeith
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 14:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Text adventures aren't all that easy to make, even using a library like Inform7 (inform7.com) or TADS3. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tom Hudson
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 19:54

For a simple hobby project it is good idea to make a game which doesn't require much content. For example even if a 2D platformer game would be easy to program, it requires lots of good levels. If you create an RTS game with automatically generated levels, you still need several unit and building types and need to balance them.

Try to start with game ideas where the engine makes the game. For example Asteroids style game can be simple to program and you can also get infinite amount of "levels" with very little effort. The faster you can make a playable and fun game the better. You can then improve it afterwards in many ways if you want to.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also games like: pong, tetris, breakout. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 13:54

Rogue-likes. Part of the genre is the ease of development. The curses libraries make the interface the easy and straight forward, leaving the backend to be as complicated and awesome as you want to make it.

In 08 I participated in the 7 day roguelike challenge and went from stone-cold to a working game (albeit without much conflict other then falling damage). I had to pass on fencing and D&D that week, but I still put in 40 hours at work.

And the community is more or less friendly and helpful over on RGRD

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    \$\begingroup\$ Making a complete roguelike requires an unbelievable amount of balancing work on the design, even if you choose designs that are simple to represent in code. An unbalanced roguelike is like a platformer with a single level - a prototype to iterate on, not a game. \$\endgroup\$
    – user744
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 21:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Making a badly-balanced roguelike is not hard. It's arguably not that hard to iteratively balance "a little better." \$\endgroup\$
    – ashes999
    Commented Oct 6, 2012 at 20:09

The less content a game requires, the easier it will be to develop.

There are games in every genre with small content requirements but overall puzzle games require less content than other genres. Also almost all classic arcade games were made with little content (eg. Breakout was just the paddle, ball, and bricks.)

(By "content" I'm referring to how many graphics you need to create, how many levels you need to design, how many sounds you need to record... basically all the work in game development other than the programming.)


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