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Game Builder Garage tips and tricks: Beginners guide to creating video games

Gamebuildergarage Menu
Gamebuildergarage Menu (Image credit: iMore)

If the thought of crafting your own games has ever crossed your mind, then Game Builder Garage is the game for you. First introduced with Nintendo Labo, Game Builder Garage teaches players the ins and outs of basic visual programming and design thanks to exercises and tutorials crafted by the minds at Nintendo. If you thought building your own levels in Super Mario Maker 2 was complex, you haven't seen anything yet. It's sure to be a hit with younger Switch gamers and aspiring game designers alike.

While programming your games may feel like a gargantuan task, with these tips and tricks, you'll be building complex racers and shooters in no time. Here are some tips and tricks for Game Builder Garage.

Game Builder Garage tips and tricks Play the tutorials

Gamebuildergarage Tag

Gamebuildergarage Tag (Image credit: iMore)

Game Builder Garage features seven extensive tutorials, each holding your hand through programming basics to more advanced 3D work. It's always recommended to walk before you run, but in Game Builder Garage, it's a necessity. You're required to play through the first tutorial level, which takes about 40 mins to complete. At that point, you're free to try Free Programming, which is where you can create just about anything your mind can think of.

The tutorials are surprisingly long, but they're essential to getting the most out of Game Builder Garage. There's no harm in experimenting with trial and error, but it might be easier to build a game from the foundation learned in the lessons.

Game Builder Garage tips and tricks Make your games longer with the Swap-Game Nodon

Gamebuildergarage Victory

Gamebuildergarage Victory (Image credit: iMore)

Game Builder Garage is a powerful game design tool, but it has its limits too. You can only craft a game with up to 512 Nodons, but there is a way to extend that into multiple games. Using the Swap-Game Nodon, you can link games together by using matching keywords. It also works with uploaded games, though the person downloading will need to download all the parts. Using this, you can create races with multiple tracks, for example. It's a neat way to make longer games.

Game Builder Garage tips and tricks Know your Nodons

Gamebuildergarage Nodon

Gamebuildergarage Nodon (Image credit: iMore)

The Nodons are the cute and colorful bits and bobs working in the backgrounds of your games. They are sorted in four categories: Input, Middle, Output, and Objects. In short, the objects are the logic behind the game. There are over 80 nodes in the game, each controlling specific aspects and actions that must be combined. If you're looking to do something in your game, chances are there's a Nodon for that.

Game Builder Garage tips and tricks Try rubber ducking

Gamebuildergarage Problem

Gamebuildergarage Problem (Image credit: iMore)

Even with the tutorials, programming — even without a line of code, can be tricky and sometimes frustrating. The best thing to do is to try to speak the logic out loud to yourself. In software engineering, this is sometimes called rubber ducking or rubber duck debugging. In forcing yourself to explain the code, line by line, you may sometimes find the error you made or realize the logic missing from your game. The same reasoning applies here.

Game Builder Garage tips and tricks Make use of a computer mouse

Gamebuildergarage Congrats

Gamebuildergarage Congrats (Image credit: iMore)

While docked, Game Builder Garage can be playing with the Joy-Cons or the Pro Controller, and in handheld mode, players can make use of touch controls. But wouldn't you prefer the precision of touch controls while programming on your screen? Well, if you have a mouse nearby, you can! Plug a mouse into the USB slot and program as if you're on a PC.

Game Builder Garage tips and tricks Uploads are not uploaded forever

Game Builder Garage Racing

Game Builder Garage Racing (Image credit: Nintendo)

In Game Builder Garage, you can upload any games you create online, as long as they're not inappropriate. But be warned, your creations have an expiration date. If no one downloads your upload for more than a year, it will be deleted from the online server. Of course, you can upload it again if you still have it locally, but don't expect your uploads to be listed forever.

Zackery Cuevas is a writer for Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. He likes playing video games, talking about video games, writing about video games, and most importantly, complaining about video games. If you're cool, you can follow me on Twitter @Zackzackzackery.