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The Building of Caveman - part 2. What to build, and tool selection

Posted by Norman Barrows, 29 March 2014 · 697 views

The Building of Caveman - part 2.

What to build, and how?

What to build? thats the first of a million questions to be answered when
building a game.

Well, the answer turns out to be pretty simple:

you build what you want to play, that somebody else hasn't already built
for you.

odds are, if you think its cool enough to play that you'd go through the
effort of building it just to play it, then maybe other people might
like to play it as well.

in my case, it was pretty easy. i'd already made over a dozen games over
the years. some hits, some ok, some that didn't sell much at all.

so you go with what works.

the line of thought was: "well, my biggest hit was probably Caveman,
so i probbaly ought to do that first."

So that settled what to build: you lead with your strong suit, your
flagship product.

Now, how to build it:





Platform:
PC. bigger installed base than mac and linux. insufficient
manpower (i'm an army of one) to support multiple platforms,
so PC is it. moble etc isnt even an option ue to the size of the
game - at least at first - pc alone is plenty of a challenge.





Language(s) and libraries:

WHATEVER:
1. HAS THE CAPABILITIES REQUIRED
2. RUNS FAST ENOUGH
and
3. WILL REQUIRE THE LEAST LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT TIME

in my case, that was procedural ADT C++ code (look it up!), and DX9
fixed function. i'd been coding C/C++ games since before OO syntax,
and didn't really need the OO language extenstions, thus the
procedural ADTs. And Caveman has a paleolithic setting with no
magic or fantasy elements, so not much in the way of special effects,
smoke, flames, clouds, thats about it. so all i needed was
aniso-mipmapped textured meshes, with a little alpha test and alpha
blend. I do use a 2 stage textre blend for snow on the ground but
thats it. i was already familair with dx8, and hadn't learned
shaders yet - i hadn't needed them. still haven't really learned
them or needed them yet in fact. truth is, i'm a little scared
to get into shaders for fear i'll like it too much. the mere
concept of such power to "party on the bitmap" is...
intoxicating <g>.




At this point i should mention that Caveman was developed on a
budget of $0. one baseline $400 pc (no graphics card), and
internet access, thats all you get to work with. no money for
tools, content, middleware, etc.



Compiler:
ms visual studio of course. i started with basic, then pascal,
then watcom C, all in the quest for speed. sometime in the mid
90's microsoft got a clue and added the compiler optimizations
required for games to the free version of MC C++. And directx
tends to work better with ms c++ than with some other compilers.



3d modeler:
truespace rosetta 7.61 beta
1. its free
2. used to be the next best thing after 3dsmax
3. full directx .x save capabilities built in. no conversion /
import / export headaches.




2d paint programs:
paint.net and "free clone stamp tool".
both are free. paint.net has the basic capabilities of
photoshop. clone stamp takes up the slack. a really awesome
little texture painting program.


Audio tools:
TBD (to be determined)
i have xaudio 2 up and runnning but so far all it does is
play "time to relax", track 1 from the album "smash"
(as i recall) by the offspring as a test. it was the first
wav file i came across on my hard drive. the music for the
game is pretty simple, tom toms and flute for atmosphere,
funky beats reampped to jungle drum kits for combat. and i
have the general 6000 series 50 cd sound effects library
from Sound Ideas for foley sfx. but i gues i'll have to
build another bow. the sound of a primitive bow firing was
the only effect i had to make myself for the original version.
to do it, i made a 7 foot long bow, with fishing line for
the bowstring, and relatively straight wood sticks for
arrows. having paid $1000 for the sound effects
library, i was bound and determined to get my money's
worth out of it. so i used the box as the mike stand
while i recorded the sound of me firing the bow down
the hallway in the house! <g>.

up next:
step one, getting a handle on directx graphics.

part 3:
http://www.gamedev.net/blog/1730/entry-2259520-the-building-of-caveman-part-3-getting-a-handle-on-directx/

part 1:
http://www.gamedev.net/blog/1730/entry-2259487-the-building-of-caveman-part-1/




additional note:

the main key to tool selection is interoperability. ie will they all work together? do they all support the same file formats? caveman uses .x files for meshes, .bmp files for textures, and wav files are planned for sound. original meshes are stored in .RsScn truespace 7.6 scene files.

 

obviously microsoft visual studio and directx work together. directx and and truespace both support .x files. and paint.net, directx and free clone stamp all support bmps. likewise, xaudio2 and whatever audio tool i find will both support wav files.

make sure you link these all together...

>> make sure you link these all together...

 

ah! good point! will do.

 

thanks!

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