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Small Novice Dev Group looking for advice.


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#1 y1nn   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:04 PM

I know there has to be thousands of "Where to start?" threads. Well this is sorta one of them but more refind. A couple friends and myself have decided we want to make a type of platform game using the XNA platform. There are 3 of us all together and we all plan to have a main part in the developement as well as doing other minor parts. I am the Lead Programmer of the group, the others two are focusing on art and design on the game. Like I stated we are all going to be working on all parts of the game together, we will just have our own specialties.

 

Now the problem lies with the fact that we are all VERY new. I am not a programmer at all. I do however have some basic knowledge on the subject and I am curently working through learning python. From thier I plan on going into C# and XNA. How is this a problem? Well without me programing straight away my 2 friends have nothing to really work for. (If I am not mistaken) I will be the one putting everything together and making it work. So sure they can make the art, animations, sounds and music. But they won't have anything to really show for it until I am finished with my studies.

 

One of our dev members wanted me to ask this on here. Mainly because of the above and because we are all new to Game developement itself, and the programs needed to make games.

 

*EDIT*

Don't know why but my Third Paragraph (Suppose to be before the last one) didn't post with this, or I deleted it by mistake and posted. Regardless see my other post for what I was trying to ask...


Edited by y1nn, 02 January 2013 - 09:22 PM.


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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9180

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:09 PM

Hi y1nn,

You didn't ask a question.  What advice are you looking for?


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 y1nn   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:16 PM

To put it short, with the description in my intial post of our small team. Where would we begin despite me having to learn programming, when they can alreay make sprites and maps?



#4 0r0d   Members   -  Reputation: 802

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

To put it short, with the description in my intial post of our small team. Where would we begin despite me having to learn programming, when they can alreay make sprites and maps?

 

There's no point in working on the art assets for a game when you dont even have any game code.  I guarantee you that whatever game design doc or art plan you have will hit the fan as soon as you actually start coding the game.

 

My suggestion: Have your friends start learning programming too.  Then when you're ready to start coding the game they might be able to help, as well as providing the art and design and whatever else they do.

 

Making a game is hard.  Making a game with a team is harder.  Making a game without any experience in either coding or game development is also hard.  Put all those things together and do the math.  Get more experience coding and get your friends to start coding... which will make them actually useful.  Maybe that sounds harsh, but the truth is programmers make games, not artists or designers.  Even if they cant code the engine/game with you, at least they might be able to script levels or basic AI or whatever.



#5 y1nn   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:19 PM

Im also curious and this is in the XNA department. I heard of a XNA program called Sunburn and saw the website. Is it like a game maker in it self? And I don't mean a run of the mill one, I mean like a map editor basically. I'm just curious if it would be worth the investment since we are working on XNA.



#6 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9180

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:22 PM

 I'm just curious if it would be worth the investment

 

You should start with free stuff, then work your way up as you learn.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#7 ABRB2011   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:28 PM

Hi, I'm Lee. Nice to meet you all. I'm one of y1nn's room mates and currently interested in the idea.

I'm a firm believer that to accomplish anything, we must first have a firm grasp of the foundations, and exercise that knowledge and expand it. I have neither a firm understanding of the foundations, nor an understanding of what those foundations are at all. I figured a gamedev forum would be a good place to ask for some finger points in the right direction. I also understand that this is not a simple or one-dimensional question.

Initially, I was skeptical and distant to the idea of a buncha guys sitting around developing a game at home. But I'm now of the mind that it can't hurt to at least give a little effort into the idea and take a look at it. I'm not trying to learn how to make a blockbuster here, but even if we learn to program a tetris-style game, at least we learned something and made a functioning video game. I also don't have any dillusions about learning a programming language in 1 month and going on to create a badass style platforming game for XNA that sells hundreds of thousands of copies. I'm aware that it could take months or years to get to the point where we could create something even semi-presentable, and that doesn't scare me. Investment isn't the problem, just direction.

So, I'm going to say that my intention in talking to people on a gamedev forum is to ask for advice on the following. If we were willing to invest time, focus, energy, and momentum into this, where would we start? Are there particular programming languages that would benefit us more to learn than others? Is it plausible to start learning in a direction leaning towards the XNA platform of game development? Anything you can offer is appreciated, thanks guys.

 


Edited by ABRB2011, 02 January 2013 - 11:31 PM.


#8 laztrezort   Members   -  Reputation: 955

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 12:17 AM

My opinion:

C# (and later, XNA) would be a fine place to start. Between the tools, the language and the amount of info available, C# is fairly enjoyable to work with. XNA itself also lends itself to relatively quick development.

I do not know of any specific beginner books (see below for a link), but generally it is advised to ignore all those "Learn XXX in YYY days" types of fast-track books - get the basics of the language down first. No need to jump straight into graphics, maths etc. before learning general programming concepts and a bit about the specific syntax & usage of C# itself. Your first game(s) will likely be text-based and very simple.

There is a huge amount of info, tutorials and sample code available for C# and XNA, which will come in handy as you progress.

And, of course this site is also a great resource, there are some very helpful people here. Here you might find a starting point for beginner books ideas: http://www.gamedev.net/topic/626106-c-books/

There are many other "getting started in C#" threads here if you poke around some.

It sounds like you have realistic goals, which will help greatly in not becomming discouraged too soon. So you are already on the right track.

Good luck!

#9 y1nn   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:25 AM

Thanks for that link laztrezort. I'm going through the links within it and seeing what all there is to offer. I also plan on buying this e-book sometime in the near future. It's super new so unfortunately there are no reviews yet for it. The name however seems to fit exactly what I'm looking for.



#10 6677   Members   -  Reputation: 1058

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:35 AM

Another alternative if your playing with python is to use pygame. Sure its alot slower than C#/XNA but its easy to use and still pretty capable. Your first game is never going to stick very well to the design doc so you could attempt to make your current game in pygame, see that it all goes horribly wrong and then with the knowledge you have gained attempt it again in C#/XNA.



#11 Shaquil   Members   -  Reputation: 815

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:11 AM

Unfortunately I think you're jumping the gun a little here. First of all, if your goal is to make that game in C#, just start with C#. Python is great for beginners, but you want to start working on the game, right? Don't worry, most of the hype about choosing the "perfect starter language" is really just hype. In the general case, if you're not having fun programming, it's unlikely to be the language's fault. And if you don't like C#, just go to Python as a back up. No big deal.

 

Anyway I think you're not even close to being ready to make a platformer yet. It's not monstrously hard or anything, but it takes some foundational experience that you only get from making much simpler games, without gravity, acceleration, tile-based collision detection, enemy AI, animations, audio, etc, etc. By the time you really are ready to make this kind of game, everyone else will probably have lost interest.

 

Why not look into some 2D game engines that allow you to do scripting? That'd be much better for everyone involved, and it'd give you a chance to learn while doing some exciting stuff, and getting straight to work on your game. This is actually how many people start off, coding mods in scripting languages for their favorite games. You'd just be taking a slightly different approach.



#12 Khatharr   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2937

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:58 PM

Why not look into some 2D game engines that allow you to do scripting? That'd be much better for everyone involved, and it'd give you a chance to learn while doing some exciting stuff, and getting straight to work on your game. This is actually how many people start off, coding mods in scripting languages for their favorite games. You'd just be taking a slightly different approach.

Gonna have to +1 that. There are some good IDEs out there that let you dig with a scripting language (if required) and can do some impressive stuff if you work with them. It's a good place to start for anyone, but for a collaboration of several people with no experience it's a great place to start. You can help one another learn all of the different aspects of design as you go along without having to worry about a lot of the overly complex fiddle-ry that goes on with lower-level languages. Meanwhile the design and coding principals that you learn with those IDEs will translate perfectly well into those lower-level languages when you get to the point that you decide to move in that direction.

It's basically a decision of whether you want to learn a language, then 3 libraries, then how to incorporate all the libraries into an engine, and then finally get started just to find that you have one (or more) of those horrific design flaws that everyone gets on their first few attempts. A ready-made IDE gives you less control over the hardware (although the difference is not as big as you may think) but it means you can hit the ground running in terms of actually making games.
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