… with minimum effort required
Step 1: Have an idea.
Step 2: Grab T-Engine from te4.org.
Tutorials available at te4 wiki.
Step 3. Don’t worry about making @ move around or implementing mouse support or detecting key presses or screen drawing or dialogs or menus. It all comes in neat premade functions.
Step 4. Look at the example module or at numerous modules at te4.org/modules.
Now how to expand on that?
Step 1. Get a good programming text editor – for instance, Atom or Sublime Text 3.
Step 2. If you want to have graphics mode in addition to ASCII, don’t despair – there are free open source tilesets out there!
64×64 – Shockbolt (you don’t get better than that)
Step 3. Grab SpriteCutter (needs Java) to cut tiles from tilesheets.
Step 4. If you want or need to modify tiles (flip, recolor), grab Graphics Gale.
Step 5. If you want ASCII, you’ll want a font which has lots of symbols. Get Symbola and run it through a ttf converter for T-Engine to recognize it.
Pro tip: All tools and resources mentioned are free. That’s right, they cost $0! (Shockbolt has a paid version as an option)