How to Make a Video Game on a Budget

how to make a video game on a budget

Did you know that some video games have spent over a decade in development? 

There's a long list of games with lengthy development periods, but titles such as Duke Nukem particularly stand out with a period of 15 years. 

That's a long time for a video game, especially one that didn't end up with good results.   

Game development can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be a treacherous process. 

Here's how to make a video game from scratch on your own and on a budget. 

1. Evaluating Your Budget 

If you're on a budget, there's even more reason to have an outline of your game.  The cost of your game will be determined by the following factors: 

  • Size of the game
  • Duration of each project 
  • Equipment
  • Marketing

The first step to evaluating your budget is to plan the vision for your game. 

Once you have a clear aesthetic or genre and you know the tasks required to achieve it, you'll understand the realistic scope of each project and how to approach it.  You can then purchase the equipment you need based on this information.

Leading game developers and top video production companies will tell you that budgeting is all about learning the scope of your project.

2. Choosing Development Software

If you're looking for the best way to make a low-budget video game, you can start by evaluating your largest potential cost— game development software.


Unreal Engine and Unity are two of the most popular development softwares in gaming right now. 

In addition to offering vast development customization libraries and presets, both platforms are completely free to use until you reach specific financial thresholds in game revenue.

With Unreal Engine, Epic is entitled to 5% of any profit you make grossing $1,000,000. 

With Unity, you can continue to use the free version of the software until you earn more than $100,000 from your game.  Then you are required to purchase a Unity 5 Professional Edition license.

If you're making a compact mobile game, you may not even need standard game development software beyond a code editor and compiler.

Styles and Genres

If you're attempting to make a serious AAA game with 3D effects and all the works, Unreal Engine is a frequent pick for game makers. 

Games like Fortnite, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Borderlands 3, are all products of Unreal Engine's development software. The gaming software is known for its stellar graphics.

Before you pick a software, research the games made with the software so you can have an idea of what you're looking for.

On the other hand, Unity is a software that's highly accessible to smaller development teams, solo game makers, or inexperienced developers. 

While it's known for its easy to use mechanics, Unity still has the advanced computing power to produce a AAA game.  Cuphead, Wasteland, and Battlestar Galactica Online are some of the standout titles made with Unity. 

3. How to Make a Video Game From Scratch in Steps

A game has many moving parts, so it requires a lot of project coordination.  Here is a breakdown of the steps in the game development process.

  • Program game function operations 
  • Program game design 
  • Integrate operations and design
  • Test your game
  • Marketing your game

The Development Process

On a basic level, a game is composed of operational programming and programming that determines the aesthetic features.

If you have a gaming development team, you can develop your game in installments by having programmers simulate copies of the game.  Artists can then integrate and test the design features periodically.  

How to Make a Video Game and Launch It

However long your video game takes, you should always market along the way.  Every game developer has to get the word out about their game, even if it is in the early stages of development and you are learning how to make a video game for the first time.

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