How to Make DVD Games

Updated February 21, 2017

Although it is more commonly associated with high-image-quality video, the DVD-video format is capable of running complex interactive games. Although their contents cannot be generated "on the fly" and must therefore be pre-rendered, a DVD game that caters to this limitation by presenting the narrative as a series of questions or choices (like a "choose your own adventure" game book) can still be very successful.

Lay out the main plot line of your game on paper as a linear progression. Note all the points at which a player could deviate from the main plot line and where each alternative plot line interacts with the main narrative. The result should look like a "tree structure" of sorts that presents each "scene" in your game in relation to all the other scenes.

Break down each scene into three pieces of information: what video or image needs to be shown to the player, what question or choice to present to him after the video has ended or image is shown, and which scenes to link to based on his responses. This information will allow you to generate a set of what are effectively DVD-video menu screens, which will form your game's interface.

Load your DVD-creation software. Create a new DVD video session. Create a menu. Load your first image or video as the menu background. Add your first question or choice as a text box. Add two or more buttons to the menu and label them with the answers to the question, or possible choices the player can make. Each button should take the player to another menu, as determined by your notes.

Create the next menu. Insert the image or video you require for this scene, then add a question to answer or choice for the player to make as a text file. Create buttons for responses, which lead to more menus. Repeat until you reach the end of the game and all possible options are covered. Export your menus in DVD-video format. Close your DVD-creation software.

Insert a blank DVD into your DVD burner. Load your DVD-burning software and create a new DVD-video session. Browse to where you saved the DVD-video files you created. Drag and drop all the files into the "Video_Ts" folder of your new DVD-video session. Click the "Burn" button. Give your DVD a title (the name of your game is a good title for the disc) and select a burning speed that is appropriate for your DVD and drive. Click "OK."


Although there is no facility to check whether a character is carrying a certain item, as there would be in a standard computer game, you can replicate this feature by reusing video and choices in multiple scenes, which are almost identical but reached from different branches of your narrative. This way, only the plot line where the character has the required item will reach one scene, and you can choose the next scene based on that knowledge.


DVD-video format has a number of limitations, one of which is a cap on the number of menus it can contain. Because you are limited to 256 menus, longer and more complex games must be separated over multiple discs. If you do not wish to use multiple DVDs for your game, consider ways to condense your narrative, perhaps by dropping some choices or tertiary plot lines from the game.

Things You'll Need

  • DVD creation software
  • DVD burning software
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About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, April Kohl has been writing since 1992, specializing in science and legal topics. Her work has appeared on the Second Life News Network website and in British Mensa's "LSQ" magazine. Kohl holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from Durham University and a diploma in English law from the Open University.