Google Game Builder Hints at No-Code Game Development

If you’ve ever tried to develop a video game, you know it’s a tough process. For starters, it’s a programming challenge; and on top of that, you need to be creative enough to build something that folks actually want to play. With a new platform, Google is trying to abstract away much of the coding from game development, allowing developers to focus on the creative aspect.

This platform, known as Game Builder, is still in prototype, but it shows how gaming could become the next tech segment to embrace the “no- and low-code” paradigm. (It’s also similar in some ways to Grasshopper, Google’s user-friendly attempt to teach programming newbies the basics of JavaScript.)

Game Builder relies on a visual programming system where you drag-and-drop cards in order to construct the game’s actions. Those with some programming knowledge can build customized cards with JavaScript, and there are APIs and 3D models so that you can populate your game’s environment with active characters and settings. (Google has lots of 3D models available on its Poly repository.) 

This prototype is fully featured, allowing developers to focus on the granular elements of their levels (such as lighting and particle effects). The code is live, so no compiling required to test things out. On the Game Builder Steam page, Google suggests that future, non-prototype versions will include 2D UI creation tools, advanced audio controls, and more templates.

In theory, even someone with minimal programming experience can use Game Builder to slap a game together in under an hour. In reality, though, goodgames are tricky to build, which is why even the smallest game-developer studios usually spend months (if not years) on everything from development to QA.  

For those interested in making game development a full-time career, it’s vital to learn the industry’s core platforms, including Unity and Unreal. In addition, it’s imperative to keep an eye on popular platforms such as the Switch, which attract development from firms big and small. Survival (and success) in the gaming industry also hinges on soft skills, since the difference between a functioning project and a complete boondoggle is often how well teams work together.