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Should I make a sacrifice?


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#1 Nick Dugger   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 07:50 AM

I realized after I typed that, that it sounds as if I want to make some sort of blood-sacrifice--I promise, no blood here, lol.

 

Anyways, I am a Graphic Designer by trade. I do web design, print design, pixel art, and have dabbled in 3D a few times (and was naturally good at it). I am not a programmer, and this is the source of my troubles.

 

I do not want to work on other people's projects, as I am an Idea guy. I can come up with all sorts of great, solid game ideas; and I want to make them (one at a time, of course).

 

Here is my issue:

 

I was 100% convinced that I needed to make an HTML5 game, because I truly see it as the future of gaming, on the desktop anyways. However, there are no HTML5 engines (that I could find) that have similar tools to Unity. I am completely useless when it comes to the programming side, so taking just an engine with no tools is impossible for me. The extend of my "coding" knowledge comes down to HTML, extreme proficiency in CSS, and enough jQuery to pass off that I know what I'm talking about... sort of, lol.

 

So, I have looked into UDK and Unity, and have decided that Unity has the best feature set to get an artist a working prototype. However, I feel like I am making a pretty hefty sacrifice by switching from HTML5. It's been a dream of mine for a while to make an HTML5 game, but without a team to back me, perhaps it's nothing more than a dream? 

 

I was wondering if any of you guys have made similar sacrifices, and if it sat well with you in the end. I don't want to make a game in Unity, only to discover that I feel terrible for having not be all that I wanted it to be. Of course you can't tell me my future, but I'd love to hear any similar experiences.



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#2 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 8160

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 08:21 AM

HTML5 is only just now becoming mature enough that technically-skilled folks can really begin to explore what it can do in full, without falling back to plugins or flash -- low-latency, mixable audio was really one of the last big hurdles, but Mozilla (and, I think, Chrome) have adopted the WebAudio API. That said, WebAudio is hardly a standard yet. Needless to say, it'll be awhile before the programmers come up with something that you'd consider hanging your hat on as an artistic fellow.

 

I aggree that HTML5 is going to be important as a gaming platform within a few years, I've done early experiments with it 3 times now, and its always getting closer but its not there yet.

 

Unity is probably the most approachable toolset for an artist type. And although it may not be HTML5, you can deploy Unity games to the web, IIRC. Users don't care about what technology is under the hood, as long as the experience is compelling. Don't sweat the 'sacrifice' and get on with it -- its either that or wait another 3-5 years for people to fully grok HTML5 game development and then distill that into something approaching Unity.



#3 Álvaro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 13914

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 08:25 AM

I don't see why this is a sacrifice: If Unity gives you the best chance at putting a game or a prototype together, use it. You might like the idea of using HTML5 but, if the tools aren't ready yet, you should not feel bad about using a different solution.



#4 Nick Dugger   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:01 AM

Thanks guys. I guess my concern is that if my game turns out great (or at least great in my own mind), that in 3-5 years, I will either want to remake it in HTML5, or make a sequel, etc. I just don't want to waste my "great" idea, when I could potentially wait 3-5 years? I guess I'll go ahead with unity and go from there.

 

Thanks for the feedback!



#5 fatzilla   Members   -  Reputation: 200

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:04 AM

Hello friend,

 

There are always options, most of the time if you think a tool would be super useful, chances are someone already created it, except it's not always easy to find.

 

https://www.scirra.com/construct2

 

Construct2, never used it before but it's an HTML5 game creator that can deploy to pretty much everything and doesn't require a single line of code, perfect for a graphics designer.

 

You can also look into http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/studio, seems like something close to Construct2.

If you're a one man team and haven't coded outside of jQuery I honestly wouldnt recommend you starting with Unity, unless you have a lot of time on your hands. If you are only working on this in your spare time( ie. a few hours a day), you won't be finishing your project for a very long time. For 3D Models theres a lot to be done, the model itself, animations and textures alone are a great amount of work. If you want to create an amazing game, listen to what Sir frob says "While programmers spend their days smashing keys on a keyboard, artists spent their days drawing and sketching and making art. Just accept that both groups need each other.".

 

Now if you don't like any of those options, I would suggest you check out Lua 2D game engines/frameworks. Do you want to reach all platforms or just some of them? Lua is pretty much the same as Javascript except with a different name. However you use jQuery so I'm not sure the difference there as I've never felt the need to use jQuery. But coding in Lua would be quite possible for you if you can create some amazing stuff with jQuery.



#6 Nick Dugger   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:12 AM

Yeah, if I wanted to do a 2D game, I'd probably go with Construct2, but I mainly want to work in 3D. Thanks, though!



#7 fatzilla   Members   -  Reputation: 200

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:22 AM

http://www.ambiera.com/coppercube/

3D version of construct2, no programming required. Although it doesn't say it can export to iOS, only Mac OS.

 

EDIT: I haven't used it but here is the reddit of one of the creators, I'm sure he will answer any questions you might have about it:

 

http://www.reddit.com/user/ambiera


Edited by fatzilla, 21 August 2013 - 09:31 AM.


#8 Nick Dugger   Members   -  Reputation: 107

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:25 AM

Yeah, I had seen that lastnight. I'm not sure about it since I cannot find any reviews on it, and the demo's they have feel awfully buggy. Have you used it before?



#9 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10369

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:29 AM

The other player in this space is Adobe.

Although we may all hope that Flash goes the way of the Dodo, it is still a viable and widespread platform, and if Flash isn't acceptable to you, Adobe's authoring tools are rapidly gaining the ability to output to both HTML5 and native mobile apps...

Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#10 Karsten_   Members   -  Reputation: 1655

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 03:51 AM

Unity is working on a WebGL exporter which one day will be as ubiquitous as HTML5 (yes, even the latest IE is beginning to support it ;)) so your projects in Unity will work in standard browsers without plugins (probably by the time you have finished it).

 

Another option is to use the open-source tool which even Unity is using to make this possible, Emscripten allows you to write in standard C and C++ and output to HTML5 (via the wrapped SDL library) or WebGL (via the inbuilt OpenGLES 2 support).

 

If you want to stick with Javascript (rather than C++ or .NET/UnityScript) then have a look at three.js. This is apparently quite a popular engine.

Even Microsoft is suggesting it in their preliminary WebGL docs (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ie/bg182648%28v=vs.85%29.aspx).

 

I think where you might be hitting a wall is trying to use technologies like CSS. This type of web tech does not offer enough flexibility for pseudo realtime games (I personally also find it completely defective for normal web pages too). So I suggest looking at "coding" languages as opposed to markup (layout) languages.

 

But yes, I also believe games are going the direction of the web. If only because it allows publishers to "lend" the game to a player rather than allowing them to keep a copy (i.e DRM).

Most tablets are also so locked down and crap, that people can only really use them for the web browser anyway, so games on the "web browser" platform are more convenient for potential players.


Edited by Karsten_, 24 August 2013 - 04:07 AM.

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#11 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22736

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 11:09 PM

I'm still back at the beginning, trying to wrap my head around the actual question.

1> I am a Graphic Designer by trade. I do web design, print design, pixel art, and have dabbled in 3D a few times (and was naturally good at it).
2> I am not a programmer. I do not want to work on other people's projects
3> I am an Idea guy. I can come up with all sorts of great, solid game ideas; and I want to make them (one at a time, of course).
4> I was 100% convinced that I needed to make an HTML5 game ... there are no HTML5 engines that have similar tools to Unity.
5> I have looked into UDK and Unity, and have decided that Unity has the best feature set to get an artist a working prototype. However, I feel like I am making a pretty hefty sacrifice by switching from HTML5. It's been a dream of mine for a while to make an HTML5 game, but without a team to back me, perhaps it's nothing more than a dream? 
 

#1 is good. You are an artist. Most games need art. Seems like a match.
#2 is also somewhat good. You are not a programmer. Unfortunately artwork is not a game.
#3 could be bad. "Idea guys" are everywhere and mostly useless. Game designers are different from "idea guys", so figure out what you mean there.
#4 Why?
#5 Again, why?

I think that refining parts four and five are the key. You wrote that it is your dream, but it is sparse on details.

What is your REAL goal? Is your REAL goal to program a game? Is your REAL goal to become a professional game artist or designer? Is your REAL goal to have a hobby?


The implementation details are a means to an end. If the end goal is to create a game, then use whatever tools are available to meet that goal.

I've played a lot of fun games on a lot of systems. I don't care if they were made in HTML5 or Unity or Visual Basic, all I care is that they are fun and compelling entertainment.

Is your real goal to create an entertaining game for people to play? Or is your real goal to learn HTML5? Or is your real goal to have a hobby? (Some people build boats in a bottle, others train small animals, your hobby may be HTML5 programming.)

Or is your real goal to break in to the game industry professionally? (In that case, enter the field with your art skills and then move to design.)

What are you REALLY trying to do? I don't see it.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#12 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 589

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 02:49 PM

(1) I do not want to work on other people's projects, as I am an Idea guy. I can come up with all sorts of great, solid game ideas; and I want to make them (one at a time, of course).

 

(2) I was 100% convinced that I needed to make an HTML5 game, because I truly see it as the future of gaming, on the desktop anyways.

 

(3) However, I feel like I am making a pretty hefty sacrifice by switching from HTML5. It's been a dream of mine for a while to make an HTML5 game, but without a team to back me, perhaps it's nothing more than a dream?

 

Just to point out a few things:

 

1. It's great that you are creative and have many great ideas, but so does almost everyone else in this industry. Why you don't always see these great ideas in the finished products have to do with several factors both technical, mechanical and esoteric. Not to mention the fact that people are generally their own worst judges.

 

2. No single language is going to be the future of gaming. But do learn as much about it as possible, and then you'll see if that'll be enough or not. Also, have in mind that the actual mass-production of services to the public is quite far removed from what you see in today's technology expos (if those are your basis for predicting the future, as some people seem to think).
Availability != visibility or demand. For instance, there's a whole line of logistics that must be in place before 100% server-based AAA gaming can be viably offered to the audience. Especially when PC DVD's and Consoles are already so amazingly successful.

 

3. If you are concerned about learning more than 1 language, then tbh I'm not sure game design is for you. Have you actually made a successful game yet, using only HTML5, CSS and JQuery? You "sort of know what you're talking about", but what have you actually made? Game designers are arguably some of the most elite programmers out there. Successful AAA game design is often severely multi-disciplinary and requires an understanding of at least the basics of a multitude of different tools, subjects and (possibly) languages.

 

 

My advice to you is this:

 

    Try to find some intrinsic reason for designing games. Game design isn't just a means to an end, it's a massive industry that requires all of your attention and focus, because you're going to need to learn tons and you're never going to stop learning. Perhaps you're better suited for game marketing and distribution, who knows - you'll be able to decide what goes and not, and you don't need to know a single line of code. All you need is the money to invest (which is itself an achievement).

 

    But if you do want to design and develop, then just take it one step at a time. Eventually you'll know enough about your first language(s) to learn the next one more easily, and the next after that. But don't speculate on those things now. If you think you know enough about the future, you don't know enough about the future.

 

    The future is a cascading fireworks of emergent events, not some predefined function of a few simple rules.


Edited by Malabyte, 25 August 2013 - 03:46 PM.

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#13 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 8160

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:42 PM


I think where you might be hitting a wall is trying to use technologies like CSS. This type of web tech does not offer enough flexibility for pseudo realtime games (I personally also find it completely defective for normal web pages too). So I suggest looking at "coding" languages as opposed to markup (layout) languages.

 

In my own experiments, I've found CSS to be quite a boon, particularly for UI, in my HTML5 game experiments. Usually using styled HTML elements for the UI, which can be overlapped on top of the Canvas with transparency, performs better than rendering the UI elements using draw calls on a canvas. It makes it easy to change the style of your UI, or to make it skinnable per-user. You can also then leverage all the normal javascript libraries, like jquery and friends.






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