Getting started in gaming development

As a general practice, if I would like to get started developing games and want to see instant results (however small), what tool set do you recommend?

1: I have programming and systems experience.
2: But not with Lua. However I recognize that if we use Lua then we have a larger pool of gaming talent to recruit from.
3: Willing to start small, but would like to scale large.
4: I’m working for a talented screenwriter who has some great story ideas but no program or game development experience. So we have a story, but no idea where to start.

We definitely are starting at square one. I’d be happy to build an online toy game where we can both collaborate and let others try it out. Any and all suggestions appreciated. My friend is very creative and talented and I would love to help him realize his vision.

Perhaps GameMaker to start learning game making and for basic prototypes. Has both free and cheap versions. Hotline Miami was made with it. Probably the best tool to see immediate results.

Blender for modeling/sculpting/rigging/animation/particles/UV/texturing. The best that no money can buy. The professionals tend to use 3DSMax/Maya and ZBrush.
Unity/Cry Engine V/Unreal Engine 4 for making the game. I can’t talk much about Cry Engine V but UE4 seems quite good when it comes to graphics and user-friendliness. UE4 has integrated node-based programming/materials/much else. I’m not sure Unity is the first go-to anymore. All free with caveats.

Substance Designer and Substance Painter seem pretty good for the more complex/parametrized texturing & painting if you want your game to have that. Has a free trial version, 20$/month subscription service, 300$ bundle. Parts of it have been on Steam sale several times.

ETA: Reconsider the idea of starting a game on the basis of a story. Gameplay mechanic, aesthetic, theme, feel, setting, yes. Story, you better have some great story and a lot of skill at turning it into a game.

Had no idea about Lua and it’s use in gaming.

but C# and C++ will take you where you need to go with engines like UE and Unity.

And I’d recommend unity to start along with blender. You’ll be making very simple but full fledged games using those two tools and following along any number of tutorials out there.

Going form there to a professional product will take a lot of time and dedication and, unless both of you are 2D and 3D artists, probably money as you’ll need to hire those or outsource work to them.