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Beginning game developing (books, software etc.)


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#1 LLeevi   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 07:55 AM

Hello everybody!

 

I'm a upper secondary school student and quite new in this forum. It has been my dream to become a professional game developer and work maybe later as developer or besides school. I have now read all sorts of tutorials and post all over the internet during last year. I have done also couple simple games (couple for android and couple other little projects as java game to PC). Although I would like to move on to the next step as developer together with my friend.

 

First of all, about the programs: I have Adobe Creative cloud subscription so all the designing is going very well and I'm good with Photoshop and my friend has also Photoshop. And to the next thing, 3d designing: I would say that me and my friend have nothing but Blender in computer and we don't have any experinece. I have seen that the 3ds max is awesome but it is so expensive. About the developing software: I have the eclipse on my computer with the Android sdk and I have liked it and then I have the Adobe's Flash professional and builder. How are the Unity and UDK? 

 

Next thing, our objectives: 

- Build 3D MMO (browser?) game with my friends.

- Build own 3D game engine

- Become professional (C++?) game/web developer

- Become professional 3D designer

- Maybe become Unity or/and UDK developer 

- Maybe an own company

 

I know that our objectives are quite high but We're young men with a lot of freetime to spend. Note: We still want to count us as full beginners although I have experience from Android. We would like to hear your opinions and suggestions how to start this maybe lifetime project. What books do you suggest ? What softwares to get? Where to start? Else?

 

Best regards,

Leevi


Edited by LLeevi, 07 March 2013 - 10:31 AM.


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#2 PoliticalChaos   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:44 AM

This is the book that started me out in C++ game programming and has led me to my success today, I highly recommend this book to you and your friends. Although it starts very small, this book is extremely helpful in many ways and by the end you will realize it. It even comes with a free compiler in a CD in the back!

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listing/2682292875368?r=1&cm_mmca2=pla&cm_mmc=GooglePLA-_-TextBook_NotInStock_26To75-_-Q000000633-_-2682292875368

 

Hope this works for you and your team! Good luck!

 

Also try out this.. 

 

Free game engine with TONS of great documentation.

 

http://unity3d.com/


Edited by PoliticalChaos, 07 March 2013 - 10:45 AM.


#3 Tim Cooper   Members   -  Reputation: 359

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:22 AM

Well, congrats on having set some big goals for yourself. It never hurts to aim high :)

 

First, the easy one. Depending on where you live, owning your own company simply costs a little money to start and a little more money+time to keep going. E.g. in the UK it cost me £35 to have a company do it all for me. I just told them the company name and my details and they did the rest. Every year I have to file some company accounts and pay a few fees and that's it. It helps that I don't have any employees, I'm just the unpaid Director ;)

 

Next up, all the rest of your goals - this is a little trickier...

 

The game side of things: There are several areas involved in making games, which you'll be learning as you go along:

  • Game Theory - making a good, fun game. Try reading "The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses" by Jesse Schell, or other books on the general theory of game design.
  • Software Development - The nuts and bolts of getting the game working. Either build everything from scratch or speed things up by using existing engines.
  • Graphics - Making it look pretty. Get an artist or graphic designer on board, people can usually spot Developer Art a mile off.
  • Sound - Never underestimate the power of good sound effects and music.
  • Marketing - I started thinking about this as I released the game, which was way too late. You're young so hopefully social media and constantly blogging everything comes easier to you than me :D

There's all sorts of other things, but those are the broad strokes. The first thing to remember is that you're going to make mistakes in all the above areas (don't worry, everyone does). Then you'll figure out what you did wrong and do it better next time, and if you repeat that often enough you'll become good at it and a professional in that area.

 

What does this have to do with your goals? Simply that you need to build your teams skills and abilities, and keep their motivation for doing more projects. If you start a huge project that'll take you all 2 years (at best) with nothing to show until the end, while none of you know quite what / how to do it, then I'm afraid your chances of finishing aren't so good. If this is the first project you're all working together on then I suggest trying something a little more achievable than a full scale 3D MMO based off your own game engine.

 

Try building up to your planned big game with a series of smaller apps and games that help your team learn what they need to know. E.g.

  1. Simple app or browser based single player game - not MMO :) - Simple game play, simple (2D) graphics. Gives you all experience in creating all aspects of a game, should shake out any problems in the team and get you all used to the process. Plus it shouldn't take a team too long at all (3-6 months?), so you'll all have something to show for your efforts and can feel good about doing it. If you want to create games, use an existing game engine to speed things up. Otherwise factor in the extra time needed to create your own framework and get the graphics guys working on even better art work with all their spare time.
  2. 3D app or browser single player game - Same as number 1 above, add 3D and some other features that you want your main game to have. 3D adds a lot of graphical overheads, plus requires a different display engine. Use an existing game engine to speed up development if you want to make the actual game, or continue developing and improving your game engine from the first game.
  3. Multiplayer game - convert one of your games to support multiplayer gameplay, or write a new one. If you plan this in from the start it can be pretty easy, otherwise it can be a big re-working. Either way, you'll learn a lot about what's needed in this area, plus you get to re-use your projects.
  4. Stop and realise you currently have a portfolio of released games people can play, which is awesome.
  5. Make your big game. By now you've got most of the experience you need to create the game you want. Sure, there's more to learn but now it's a step up to it instead of a giant leap.

Add more games in there if you like. You'll know more about what you need to learn once you've actually started, and may find you can jump to your big idea right after your first game.

 

One note: I say focus on creating and releasing your games for a reason (which some may disagree with)... It's easy to cut corners on quality in pet projects that aren't for release ("it crashes if you open that door, but that's ok", "Ignore that texture, it's just filler graphics", etc). By committing to creating a finished product right from the start it changes the level of quality you're aiming for (or it should, at least), and gives you a different mindset when thinking about things. And by releasing your game you get real feedback on how well / badly you've done so you can learn from the experience.

 

If you follow and commit to this sort of process - progressively improving your skills and producing demonstrable evidence of your achievements - then becoming a professional <anything> should pretty much take care of itself.

 

Anyway, hope some of that helps you all.

 

Good luck!


Tim Cooper - software developer, project manager and aspiring iPhone app developer.
 

Creative Shadows Ltd - My company website

 

iTunes Link - Doodlemate - Create animated gif's from your iPhone.

iTunes Link - Aeolus / Aeolus Lite - Land balloons in a simple, fun and slightly addictive game.


#4 LLeevi   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:10 PM

Thank you very much for very informative package and suggestion for book. I saw that there was a third edition of that book, is it better? Also If our primary target is MMO in browser is the C++ the best or should we go to flash or Java? Although the browser is not necessary and we can do somekind of client(?). And I see that the Unity is very good looking system but would it be better to do our own engine? Also we need books about Blender, so any suggestions? And for the very beginning I think we need to go books?



#5 PoliticalChaos   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:24 PM

Thank you very much for very informative package and suggestion for book. I saw that there was a third edition of that book, is it better? Also If our primary target is MMO in browser is the C++ the best or should we go to flash or Java? Although the browser is not necessary and we can do somekind of client(?). And I see that the Unity is very good looking system but would it be better to do our own engine? Also we need books about Blender, so any suggestions? And for the very beginning I think we need to go books?

I recommend if it is full web based to use the Unity engine I posted earlier, you can easily develop for web, iOS, android, PC, or any game console.



#6 blueshogun96   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 878

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 09:16 PM

Since everyone has already touched on the game programming part with C++ and what not, I can recommend you a book to get you started on starting your own gamedev business!  Keep in mind, this career path isn't for everyone, but I encourage you to do your very best and try your very hardest!  I'm going the same route, and I'll share with you this book I bought a few years ago.

 

Business Legal Primer for Game Development.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Business-Legal-Primer-Game-Development/dp/1584504927/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362711764&sr=8-1&keywords=business+and+legal+primer+for+game+development

 

This book looks unbelieveably pricey, but I do recommend buying a used copy at least.  TBH, I only paid about 50 or 60 USD for a new copy.  I dunno why it's so expensive now.  Either way, it's like getting advice from a room full of lawyers, even when you can't afford a lawyer atm.  Also, keep in mid that this book is VERY realistic and can possibly shoot down your goals, but that's only if you have unrealistic goals from the start.  If you are serious about game development, then chances are you'll deal with the good, bad and the ugly.  It was written in November 2006, but most of the information still applies to day, especially if you are planing on starting a good sized LLC or even an S Corp.  As a bonus, you get articles written by veteran game devs like Ralph Baer the man who invented video games (someone I'd literally pay 1,000s of dollars to meet in person if I could).

 

If you can't afford the book at least check out Tom Sloper's webpage: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/idea.htm

 

He's also a member of this forum and I've learned quite a bit from his prior experience.  Tom definitely knows what he's talking about!

 

One more thing, it's kind of difficult to find good templates for business plans for gaming companies to use or base yours off of.  So far, I've found one fairly decent one, but still isn't perfect.  I don't know what part of the world you live in, but since I stay on the west coast of the USA (Seattle to be specific), the SBA has business counciling for free and there's people there that have experience with start up gaming companies.  Getting all of the advice and guidance you can is a wise thing to do.

 

The biggest message that I'm trying to portray here is that having a game business is more work than just "sitting around coding all day".  I assume you know this already, but there's lots of programmers out there who get the wrong idea.  Just thought my two cents could possibly help someone succeed. happy.png

 

Shogun.

 

EDIT: If you live in the US and want to learn more about the SBA and what they offer, visit the website: http://www.sba.gov/


Edited by blueshogun96, 07 March 2013 - 09:18 PM.

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#7 LLeevi   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:27 AM

About the books: what do you think about these?

 

1. http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-C-Through-Game-Programming/dp/1435457420/ref=pd_sim_b_5

2. http://www.amazon.com/Game-Coding-Complete-Fourth-Edition/dp/1133776574/ref=pd_sim_b_4

3. http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-3D-Game-Programming-DirectX/dp/1936420228/ref=pd_sim_b_17

 

And when ready to do business to blueshogun96's book

 

And after that maybe more C++ books or then to Unity, for example?

 

4. http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-Game-Development-Unity-All-/dp/1430248998/ref=sr_1_2

5. http://www.amazon.com/Unity-3-x-Game-Development-Essentials/dp/1849691444/ref=sr_1_1

 

And then Blender:

 

6.http://www.amazon.com/Blender-Foundations-Essential-Guide-Learning/dp/0240814304/ref=sr_1_1

 

What do you think about these books? And if I study them carefully, can you say anything how good I would be and what I could then?

 

EDIT: About IDE? What do you think Nvidia's Nsight Eclipse edition or Eclipse CDT? Or what? 

EDIT2: I see that the Microsft Visual studio 2012 express is free, if I am right. And I think it is the best.


Edited by LLeevi, 08 March 2013 - 11:46 AM.


#8 Yrjö P.   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1412

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:17 AM

Business Legal Primer for Game Development.

http://www.amazon.com/Business-Legal-Primer-Game-Development/dp/1584504927/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362711764&sr=8-1&keywords=business+and+legal+primer+for+game+development

I wonder if LLeevi is based in the US, and how much of that book is applicable outside US.

#9 blueshogun96   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 878

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:40 PM

Business Legal Primer for Game Development.

http://www.amazon.com/Business-Legal-Primer-Game-Development/dp/1584504927/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362711764&sr=8-1&keywords=business+and+legal+primer+for+game+development

I wonder if LLeevi is based in the US, and how much of that book is applicable outside US.

 

That's what I'm wondering.  It would be nice if he let us know though, that's if he's okay with it.

 

Shogun


Follow Shogun3D on the official website: http://shogun3d.net

 

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#10 TheSasquatch   Members   -  Reputation: 452

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:47 AM

About the books: what do you think about these?
 
1. http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-C-Through-Game-Programming/dp/1435457420/ref=pd_sim_b_5
2. http://www.amazon.com/Game-Coding-Complete-Fourth-Edition/dp/1133776574/ref=pd_sim_b_4
3. http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-3D-Game-Programming-DirectX/dp/1936420228/ref=pd_sim_b_17

Never read #1, but I have a few other books from that series (Beginning Game Programming 3rd Ed., Advanced 2D Game Development--same exact cover art as #1, but a different author) that I actually regret buying. I'd suggest trying to find a copy to skim and make sure it's what you're looking for before buying.

 

#2 is great, but I wouldn't call it a beginner's book. It's really more about best practices for full 3D games, written by two professional developers based on their experiences in the field. Valuable info, but not particulalry helpful when you're just starting out.

 

#3 is, allegedly, the best intro to DirectX11 available. I hear it's also pretty intense; it spefically lists its intended audience as "intermediate C++ programmers," not beginners. I haven't actually read it yet, but I have a copy on my desk, and I'm really looking forward to starting it. Got to brush up on my C++ first, though; coming from C# and Java, C++ syntax is... frightening.

 

I'm not familiar with the Unity books, or Unity in general. As for Blender, I'd suggest finding video tutorials online; I always found those more effective than paper. Also cheaper (i.e. free). I haven't touched Blender in about three years, but I hear they've redesigned the interface to make it a lot more user-friendly.


Edited by TheSasquatch, 09 March 2013 - 12:48 AM.


#11 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:25 AM

Well I recommend Data structures for game programmers. Excellent book!
Beginner in Game Development? Read here.
 
Super Mario Bros clone tutorial written in XNA 4.0 [MonoGame, ANX, and MonoXNA] by Scott Haley
 
If you have found any of the posts helpful, please show your appreciation by clicking the up arrow on those posts Posted Image
 
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#12 LLeevi   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:26 AM

Thank you for book suggestions! I saw that these books: Beginning Game Programming 3rd Ed., Advanced 2D Game Development requir basic skills of C++, so what does it actually mean? Can I get basic skills just by doing some online tutorials?

 

EDIT: And the same goes to #2 it says not for beginner so how good should I be?


Edited by LLeevi, 09 March 2013 - 12:58 PM.


#13 TheSasquatch   Members   -  Reputation: 452

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:21 PM

Thank you for book suggestions! I saw that these books: Beginning Game Programming 3rd Ed., Advanced 2D Game Development requir basic skills of C++, so what does it actually mean? Can I get basic skills just by doing some online tutorials?

It's been a year or two, and I was pretty new to programming at the time, but I remember those books being pretty bad. I spent more time searching online for corrections to the author's faulty code than I spent reading the book; you can find free tutorials online that cover the same material (and with far fewer errors).

For basic C++ programming skills, the most recommended book, according to the guys at stackoverflow, is C++ Primer, 5th Ed. You might just want to check out their whole list; it's sorted by level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, general reference). There are a lot of bad C++ books out there, but apparently 2200+ upvotes say these are the good ones.

EDIT: And the same goes to #2 it says not for beginner so how good should I be?

You probably won't need it until you have a solid grasp on C++ and have written a few simple games. It won't teach you how to make a game, just how to do so better/cleaner.

Edited by TheSasquatch, 09 March 2013 - 10:21 PM.


#14 LLeevi   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:30 AM

These books looked very nice overall, although are they showing me the wrong direction, because my target is the game programming?

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0321563840/

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0321714113/

 

And then there was this:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0321776402/

 

After maybe reading one of those books, what books should I move on, because the intermediate books in the list were so old and the topics of the books were so "uninteresting". I would like to move fast from the basics to game development.(I know it is not easy).

 

PS: I'll gonna get crazy because all of these books...


Edited by LLeevi, 10 March 2013 - 06:31 AM.


#15 rancineb   Members   -  Reputation: 357

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:43 AM

What kind of games did you make previously for Android and PC?  I think that will help us identify where the best place is for you to start.  If you've already made some basic games and feel comfortable with programming, then I think some of the beginner books might be too simple since a lot are geared toward people who have never programmed.  I'm trying to get back into programming and game development, but haven't done anything in years.  I looked at a few of the beginner books to try and start from scratch, but they were too basic and I needed to look elsewhere.  Ended up just working with the thousands of tutorials online, but a book is also nice to have for a quick reference and something to work on A to Z.

 

Cooper hit it right on the head, you need to start small.  If 3D is your goal, make a basic 3D game that's single player and short.  Don't shoot for a multi-level game.  Build something that will take 5 minutes to play.  Regardless of the length of the game, you still need to do all the components that make a successful game.  By keeping it short, you will complete your project faster, have something to share, and gather feedback on how to improve.  The last thing you want it to spend 6 months on something and find out your approach was all wrong.  Then you can expand on the game to make it larger.  Add multiplayer, more levels, improved graphics, etc.

 

Another thing that you'll need to work on is 3D graphics.  If you haven't had any experience with this, then I suggest finding someone who does.  It'll be easier to bring on a partner then learn to build quality 3D images and environments yourself.  So much of gaming these days is spent on the art and less on the coding, especially with quality engines like Unity and UDK.

 

Hope this helps.  I was in a similar boat as you and kept thinking too big and I never got started because of all the planning.  Finally looked at something smaller and it has helped.



#16 LLeevi   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:15 AM

I had one almost completed game for android. It was 2d space shooter game. Player moved spaceship using accelometer and then there was parallax background. During the game there was spawning coins to collect couple special items and obstacles to avoid. In the game there was splash, menu, about, level, game and pause secene. 

 

Yesterday I started to couple tuotrials for Blender and I think I learnt very much. I also downloaded Unity 4 and today I'm going to try couple tutorial for it. After downloading Unity I was just thinking that do I really need any books to get started... Unity was so good looking, all the tutorial and the UI. 

 

Yeah I see your point and we have discussed with my friend how should we start and we really have couple good smaller ideas as 2d.



#17 rancineb   Members   -  Reputation: 357

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:33 AM

Sounds like you're on your way.  Sounds like the games you've made before are pretty good starters so you have the concepts down for creating a game.  Now it's about learning the tools that you want to focus your games with.  Blender and Unity are 2 very good tools.  Be sure to share your progress with us and post whatever you have for feedback.






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