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Where will Python get me?


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#1 Destry   Members   -  Reputation: 121

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:23 AM

Hello dear GameDev :)

 

I've been on here before in various forms with various questions, but I have a feeling my current endeavor is going to require me to call upon these forums more than I've needed to in the past.

 

Long story somewhat condensed, I've got a real problem when it comes to game design: first, I feel that as a designer I should have a thorough understanding of all the fields involved in a game project, and second I have trouble asking someone for something I can't do myself. The two last disciplines I need to learn are programming and music, and I've just started learning Python as my very first language. Huzzah.

 

What I'm curious about is how far Python can go in terms of programming a game - all of it, including physics, display, everything. I'm aware this sort of question gets asked a lot in many different ways, people ask about learning python vs C/++, what's been done in Python before, and so on; I hope to get a more fine-tuned answer by phrasing it as follows:

 

If I wanted to, could I recreate Contra in Python and have it run just as well? What about something more like Street Fighter? If I wanted to get crazy , could I recreate something as graphically heavy as FF7 and have it run as smoothly? What about an early PS2 game like Unreal Tournament, or even something like Morrowind? Specifically, at what point does a game built in python become noticeably less viable than a game built in a compiled language such as C and its variants?

 

The reason being that, if I've learned anything about making games, at least a good 70% of what anyone would call good "graphics" is based on visual design rather than 98x buffered triple anti subsurface tessellated omfg quantum engine capabilities; I strictly want to know if its possible to make a good performing game on par with PS2 graphics entirely within the Python language. If so, then I can work on learning Python for more than it's scripting uses.

P.S. I know Blender is written in Python. Is it all in Python, or does it rely on other languages as well for rendering or something? Side curiosity.



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#2 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:31 AM

It's hard to find a programming language today that couldn't reproduce a 20 year old game on modern hardware. So that part of the question is answered.

 

The issue of just how fast you can go with Python is impossible to answer without examples, and the examples don't really exist - at least in part due to industry inertia and risk aversion. There are AAA games which are written mostly in Python - eg. EVE Online, Civilization 4 - but which have some of the 'heavy lifting' done by C or C++, which is a common trade-off.

 

The question is - why does it matter?

  • If you're teaching yourself to program in order to have a basic appreciation of the issues, then any language will do.
  • If you're teaching yourself in order to learn to be a programmer then you're going to have to learn multiple languages to get anywhere so the one you pick first doesn't really matter, and what you learn from one will generalise to almost all others. (Although Python is a good choice to begin with.)
  • If you're learning to program in order to get a job, then you need to look at the jobs you want and let their specifications guide you.
  • And if you're trying to make a whole game yourself then the choice of language is almost secondary to the other technology you need to get the game done - pick the tech, and then pick the language that works with that tech.

Don't worry about trying to learn the One True language; you don't have to be monolingual and it doesn't take long to learn a second programming language. Focus on your goal and let that shape your choice of technology, including programming language.



#3 Destry   Members   -  Reputation: 121

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:35 AM

That is a fantastic answer which pretty much gives me the info I need :) Sweet and simple, thank you sir :D



#4 warnexus   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1504

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:52 AM

Hello dear GameDev smile.png

 

I've been on here before in various forms with various questions, but I have a feeling my current endeavor is going to require me to call upon these forums more than I've needed to in the past.

 

Long story somewhat condensed, I've got a real problem when it comes to game design: first, I feel that as a designer I should have a thorough understanding of all the fields involved in a game project, and second I have trouble asking someone for something I can't do myself. The two last disciplines I need to learn are programming and music, and I've just started learning Python as my very first language. Huzzah.

 

What I'm curious about is how far Python can go in terms of programming a game - all of it, including physics, display, everything. I'm aware this sort of question gets asked a lot in many different ways, people ask about learning python vs C/++, what's been done in Python before, and so on; I hope to get a more fine-tuned answer by phrasing it as follows:

 

If I wanted to, could I recreate Contra in Python and have it run just as well? What about something more like Street Fighter? If I wanted to get crazy , could I recreate something as graphically heavy as FF7 and have it run as smoothly? What about an early PS2 game like Unreal Tournament, or even something like Morrowind? Specifically, at what point does a game built in python become noticeably less viable than a game built in a compiled language such as C and its variants?

 

The reason being that, if I've learned anything about making games, at least a good 70% of what anyone would call good "graphics" is based on visual design rather than 98x buffered triple anti subsurface tessellated omfg quantum engine capabilities; I strictly want to know if its possible to make a good performing game on par with PS2 graphics entirely within the Python language. If so, then I can work on learning Python for more than it's scripting uses.

P.S. I know Blender is written in Python. Is it all in Python, or does it rely on other languages as well for rendering or something? Side curiosity.

 

Since you are a designer, you should definitely learn programming. By programming your design and being able to play around with it, you get a sense of what works and what does not. Programming language is your choice. Find one that you are more comfortable with. In terms of if you want to create the next "insert triple-A title), I am definitely sure you should not focus on creating a game that requires a high budget especially if you are starting out or even if you just finished an introductory course of the language. Instead, you should start small and create reasonable goals that are feasible that matches your ability as a programmer. Once you start working on the game, you will know what I mean. There are plenty of problems to solve(collision detection) even making an arcade shooter. 

 

Since you want to make something like Contra, you need to think about collision detection of the platform. How is the platform going to detect the main character to prevent him from falling in? How are you going to make ammunitions fire in different direction? You see what I am getting at. These complex problems are built off from simple problem that involves simple concepts. So learn the simple concepts first and work your way up.

 

Make a simple game. It could be graphical or no graphics. Game programming in itself is more algorithmic problem solving (mostly logic and math(depends on what game feature you are aiming for))

 

If you want to make something visual appealing(a background in Computer Graphics would enrich your knowledge so you can apply it in an application)



#5 Destry   Members   -  Reputation: 121

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

Thanks war :) Actually, as it stands, I have a decent amount of education in animation, management, and design. I've even made quite a few little indie games in groups, with friends, in jams, and on my own, both of the digital and non digital varieties. But when I first started out, the thing I realized was that I didn't like asking a programmer for an engine that could handle physics or a musician for a score without fully understanding both what I wanted, and what I was asking.

 

Currently, the game I'm wanting to prototype out is like Castlevania if anything. I know a few programmers who could do it, and that's fine, and if worst comes to worst I could just look for someone in various forums, but as I designer I want to be able to make an example on my own :D

 

This particular reply is in hopes that someone else interested in design will read this: if you want to be a designer, while you don't need to learn everything, it's not a bad idea. You don't need to be a master programmer in eight languages and capable of 5k lines of code a day, AND be a master of everything else that goes in a game. But as a designer, just the small amount of programming I've done in Python has helped me TREMENDOUSLY when it comes to talking with a programmer, articulating my needs, and understanding the scope of a project :) I feel it's what separates good designers from the best.



#6 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3167

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:02 PM

Some wonderful 2D or 3D games have been programmed entirely in Python.  Python has strength as a scripting language and freeing the programmer from memory management lower level programming.   The 3D graphics rendering is doable, but not the strength of Python compared to some other languages such as C++ or C.  The beginner and intermediate game programmer will probably have plenty of capability to make a very nice game using Python. Once getting into advanced Python scripting, the coder should choose another language to compliment it for lower level programming or other issues such as server implementations and so on.

 

Python is a great language worth mastering in any case. By the way, physics programming works well with Python for game scripting.  Pretty much almost anything which is end user operated is an area for excelling in Python scripting. It also interfaces very well with other languages and is well supported to do so. 


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


#7 Lightness1024   Members   -  Reputation: 739

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:11 AM

Just talking about sheer power regarding graphics, python is not the language that will run anyway. no one wants to write a graphics renderer in python. The graphic card is doing the rendering. And the graphic card is programmed with shaders, which have only two languages : the microsoft shader assembly, and GLSL.

So, you can make any game in python, because all the power is consumed on the GPU which doesn't run python in any case.

There could be games that needs heavy CPU work but nothing comes to mind right now. I know that we often speak of AI being pretty intensive. well.. it only depends on the scale.

python could run everything, maybe just not with the same scale. You mentioned physics, of course you can make a physics engine in python, maybe there is even one out there. Only chances are instead of being able to stack a tower of 50000 cubes and make it fall in real time, it will only handle 5000.

Some people will talke about the JIT. indeed some python interpreters compile to machine code on the fly, so that could be fast in some situations.






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