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Help Planning for a Beginner, Wall of text


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#1 Maxi Ng   Members   -  Reputation: 136

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:27 PM

I've been a business application dev for 6 years, and I would like to create my own game. I know game dev is a totally different beast. So, I am trying to come up with a plan that I could make progress step by step towards my final goal. I did a lot search and start to know a little about game development, but still didn't get the big picture. here is my summary and I'll try to categorize my questions. Hoping to come up with a general plan that every beginner would find informative.

My current progress, a Tetris prototype on irrlicht which do not have animation, wall kick and gravity, a failure.
render a 3D spaceship model which do not move and looks really fake. because it has no light mapping on it (my 3D model friend told me), another failure.

1. Game Basic Mechanism
Different type of game, turn base, Action, etc, has different mechanism. Take Tetris for example, What is the best practice to create different intensity gravity? I thought about it and my best guess is to have 1 rendering thread which render everything on a specify FPS, and another thread with a big loop which calculates positions of all objects. But I have no way to tell if that's a good way to do it. Is there any book that cover basic mechanism for different game types? Does big infinity loop a good way to make game ticks?

2. Graphics
Definitely one of the most important section of game dev. the use of sprite is common for 2D games, Animated 3D model for 3D games. Is that so? What is the common format of 3D model does 3D game use? Where does animation get handled, inside modeling tool like 3DMAX or handled by game dev engine?
I ran into a wall when trying to deal with terrain rendering, how do I render only visible part of current camera view point? what handle this kind of thing? graphic engine or game engine?

3. Tool chain
We all need to choice a tool chain or engine to work on, creating our own tool chain takes more time but will have better flexibility. What are the basic ingredients of tool chain? Graphical engine, I/O, sound, and what else?
Tell me what you think about the following
i. Orge+Bullet+Openal
ii. Orge+Hovak
iii. Panda3D
iv. XNA
v. unity3D
vi. Grit Game Engine

4. Scripting
This comes up, but I don't fully understand where it is used. Level design? animation? or rendering?

5. My plan
I think, 2D game is easier to develop than 3D one, at least you don't need to deal with 3D models. Turn base and tiles game is easier than Action game, don't need to deal with real time stuff. So, I think maybe start off with a 2D turn base game like RPG or card game, get some experience and then move on to 2D action game. then 3D turn base, then finally get to 3D action. Is that sounds good to you? Or should beginners just jump right into 3D action?

At last, what books do you recommend? I am comfortable with C# but I don't think XNA is a very good and common platform for general game developers. I know a little about C and C++, C++ maybe my primary choice. What about python?

thank you for reading the wall of text

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#2 David.M   Members   -  Reputation: 731

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 11:19 PM

1. They have different controls and different styles but they all essentially run the same way: Gather Input > update according to input > render. Modifying gravity in Tetris is as simple as modifying a gravity variable which is used each update to move blocks down. You're not always going to render at the same framerate. Depending on the machine your framerate will be different. That's why the delta variable is used in movement. It takes the amount of time since the last frame was drawn and uses this to update.

2. A sprite is really just a name. You could just as easily call it an entity or any other arbitrary assignment. I haven't done 3D programming or modeling so I can't say what file formats are used. Culling and clipping will take place in the graphics engine.

3. Around here you'll be advised not to write your own engine. This will take a long time and you're almost guaranteed somebody else has done it better (like a big company). Graphics, I/O, sound, and input are all necessary. What you use will depend on your language and style.

4. I've never done any scripting. From what I've heard, Unity uses scripting quite a bit.

5. Start small. Start simple. Tic-tac-toe is small and simple. From there you can branch into more complex console stuff, then jump into graphics, again starting small. Pong, Snake, Space Invaders. I don't think turn-based games would be any easier than platform games. You still gather and process input and render the same way. You can jump into 3D if you want but the learning curve will be steeper.

This is a good read. What book to get depends on what language you want. If you like C# then use C#. If you like C++ use C++. If you like Java use Java. If you like Python use Python. It's up to you. Whatever you know best and are most comfortable with will allow you to learn game development which can be applied to other languages.

#3 Maxi Ng   Members   -  Reputation: 136

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 11:44 PM

3. Around here you'll be advised not to write your own engine. This will take a long time and you're almost guaranteed somebody else has done it better (like a big company). Graphics, I/O, sound, and input are all necessary. What you use will depend on your language and style.

This is a good read. What book to get depends on what language you want. If you like C# then use C#. If you like C++ use C++. If you like Java use Java. If you like Python use Python. It's up to you. Whatever you know best and are most comfortable with will allow you to learn game development which can be applied to other languages.


Thank you David, great information I will digest it.
About engine, I spend most of my time writing C# , Java comes next and C, C++ is the least used one. But I've heard that C++ is THE BEST for game development. So I may want to give THE BEST a shot. If so, XNA is out, what candidates do we have for C++?

Input>update>render, with delta to keep track on time passed, Why didn't I think of it before. I do this for motion automate application but never thought that this is a good practice, hey, it turns out it is!

And it is awesome that you give me examples to work on, I may now go like tictactoe->tetris->space invaders!

#4 David.M   Members   -  Reputation: 731

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 06:11 AM

C++ is regarded as being the "best" language for game development because that's what AAA game studios use. They really have to use C++ though because speed is critical in those situations. For an indie game and just starting out, this isn't necessary. You'll be able to make good games in whatever language you want. XNA is a good choice. I think a lot of people here on GameDev use C# and XNA. With Java you can use Slick2D (Obviously for 2D), LibGDX, LWJGL, jMonkeyEngine, or a couple others. C++ has a lot of resources available. However, C++ is also the most difficult to work with. I think XNA would be a good start. This will allow you to become familiar with game development. You will be able to apply these skills to any language so if you later decide you need C++ you will be able to use the same skills you learned with XNA.

If you think about it, a game really is just an animation that a user has a part in controlling.

These forums are a great resource for getting started. Good luck!

#5 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3167

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:48 PM

2. Graphics
Definitely one of the most important section of game dev. the use of sprite is common for 2D games, Animated 3D model for 3D games. Is that so? What is the common format of 3D model does 3D game use? Where does animation get handled, inside modeling tool like 3DMAX or handled by game dev engine?
I ran into a wall when trying to deal with terrain rendering, how do I render only visible part of current camera view point? what handle this kind of thing? graphic engine or game engine?


Hi,

All of course depends on the type of game.

Sprites are often used in both 2D and 3D games. In 2D games it is much easier to avoid an obvious artificial appearance of the sprite when the camera viewpoint moves compared to 3D games which add another dimension to be considered. Another words, its more work in 3D games than it is in 2D games, but some popular 3D games have sprites.

Animated 3D models are used in 3D games, but sometimes the artist can make a part of a 3D model look like 3D when it is actually an animated 2D part on a 3D model.
In the case of jet engine turbine blades, these could be either 3D blades or 2D ones. Since the blades would usually not be seen from a side angle, they would look very much the same, whether 2D or 3D, so the artist should choose 2D turbine blades in this case to save on game performance.

As a matter of preference, the artist may make as much of the animation associated with the 3D model actually be 2D animation, such as the movement of hands in a wall clock. The clock body could be 3D but the hands could be animated 2D ones. Mostly it is a matter of preference because technically almost anything is possible. As for surface of the clock, the face of the clock could be image texture and another part of the clock could be rendered with path ray technology, such as the glass cover of the clock. Really, once again, practically any combination is possible. All this can be programmed, but to save time these 3D objects are usually created in a program such as 3ds Max, Blender, Wings 3D, or others instead of by programming language when it comes to 3D games. The animation of a 3D object in part or in whole may be in 3ds Max, Blender, or the 3D object can be imported into another program which lets you animate 3D objects. Almost always, the program will have file format converter integrated in it for importing and exporting.

The 3D objects are typically built in a program using the native file format of that program and may be exported in a different file format of the target game engine, such as x or obj. In the case of Blender, it has a native file format called .blend with the only issue being that pre and post Blender 2.5 animations are not directly compatible, but if you were to start now with a Blender 2.5 or later, then this would not be an obstacle.

The animation can be created in a program such as 3ds Max or Blender and exported to a game engine. In the case of Blender, it has a game engine and animation ability built into the program. Some game engines have animation editor while others cause you to make animations outside the game engine and import the model after the animation is done, so both exist out there.

Game engine file formats for 3D models very, but I have seen sfs (for online simulator servers), x, and obj in my personal experience. Native file formats for 3D object creation which I have used include .blend, .wings, .max, .3ds, and .x

Typically it works like this:

3D Program > Animation Program (sometimes animation ability is in the 3D program) > Game Engine > Game (sometimes the game is embedded with the game engine)

Note: These are sometimes all in one or may be separate programs.


Game engine typically handles the view of terrain in all aspects but I have seen games with an editor for map making scenarios which control this or a configuration file accessible to the user which can change things about the terrain view. Several possibilities are here, actually.

Yes, you are correct that making your own game engine has the potential for more flexibility, but creating a game engine from scratch is generally much more work than the game itself.

I am a 2D and 3D artist with lots of experience looking into the structure of games which I modded. I worked for a game designer under a game developer for almost two years. Hopefully this helps.


3Ddreamer

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#6 darookie   Members   -  Reputation: 1437

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 06:32 AM

C++ is regarded as being the "best" language for game development because that's what AAA game studios use. They really have to use C++ though because speed is critical in those situations.

I'd argue that this is not even the most important reason. The existing code base that companies spend hundreds of person years developing is a reason that is not to be underestimated. No big studio wants to throw their most valuable assets away just to gain some productivity. Yet another big plus for C++ is the relative ease of creating portable code. The C++ toolchain is available for consoles, PCs and smart phones, while other programming environments might not (or at least not "out-of-the-box").

#7 ndssia   Members   -  Reputation: 172

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 07:36 AM

If you're primarily a C# developer, you'll want to start with XNA; it's a simple, powerful framework, and it'll help you learn the most important skill in Games Design:

Games Design.

#8 Maxi Ng   Members   -  Reputation: 136

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 08:09 AM

Wow, thank you all of you, great community.

I take all your advice and on my way rolling my 2D mario on top of XNA.
Try to get comfortable will game loop, hit boxes, etc.




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