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Beginner engine choice for top down shooter


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#1 Apposl   Members   -  Reputation: 104

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 06:28 PM

Hello all. Apologize if been asked but I am on an iPod at the moment and unable to find the search feature.

I would like to start building games to inspire my daughter a bit and we both love the Zombies at my neighbors/monster shooter type games. Top down perspective and just random environs and characters, dual stick shooters.

Anyway, I have been learning web development like HTML and CSS but just very basic. Still I am a perfectionist and can tweak and break a site a thousand times until I get it right and I enjoy it.

But I have zero programming knowledge really and have been wanting to start learning practically by building something she and I will enjoy seeing and working on.

I do want to eventually play this on my iPod or an Android. I know that will take many months but it will happen, so it's important when it comes to game engine choice.

At this point I am thinking Unity but wanted to make sure there wasn't a simpler option I am missing. I am not afraid to have to program, this is how I am learning in fact, but I do want something very friendly because even HTML and CSS was difficult for me to grasp and begin to feel comfortable ish with. I am just a dumb ex Army grunt. ;) But I get there in the end.

Sorry to be long winded. First post here and wanted to try and explain exactly what I am looking for and needing and wanting to accomplish for the best advice. And did it on my iPod lol. Ugh. :)

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#2 meeshoo   Members   -  Reputation: 508

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 06:48 PM

Unity won't work without some kind of programming skills. I would suggest looking into tools that require next to no programming at all like Game Maker (there might be others out there, can't recall their names though).



#3 Apposl   Members   -  Reputation: 104

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 07:31 PM

Thanks so much, appreciate your input!

Is the Game Maker Language something that will benefit me learning for when I want to move up to something like Unity or UDK? Based on C# or something like that, something that will be a relevant first step towards learning one of the 'bigger' languages?

Thanks again!

#4 meeshoo   Members   -  Reputation: 508

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 07:35 PM

Not really, but it will get you accustomed to some of the usual stuff you program in 2D games like moving objects in a coordinate system, animation, physics, etc. It is a good introduction. 

 

Programming as a skill needs years of practice, so you can pick up that as something to learn in parallel (outside of games context, beginner stuff). C#/Java are good things to start programming with.



#5 Apposl   Members   -  Reputation: 104

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 07:36 PM

Any thoughts on Construct 2 versus Game Maker for my needs/desires? That is apparently another well regarded low-programming required program.

#6 Apposl   Members   -  Reputation: 104

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 07:39 PM

Okay great. Java would be an interesting start as it does apply to more of my web development projects than most of the other options. I like the overlap. ;) Never really liked java stuff on websites though, seems like it always threw my computer for a loop or crashed something.

#7 meeshoo   Members   -  Reputation: 508

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 07:44 PM

Java can run server side or as applets embedded into web pages. The big advantage is really you can use it for Android (which is a bigger market than Windows Phone). But don't think about its applications first, focus on learning programming (algorithms, data structures, OOP) using the Java as a learning tool.

 

Haven't used GameMaker or Construct myself since I was already an established software developer when I started game development, so I can't give any good feedback, I guess both are good for starters.



#8 Godmil   Members   -  Reputation: 738

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 02:12 PM

My 2cents, go to Codecademy and spend 30 mins doing the JavaScript lessons. If you like it,   stick with it and by the end of the course you'll be all set for getting hands on in Unity programming. 



#9 meeshoo   Members   -  Reputation: 508

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 02:56 PM

My 2cents, go to Codecademy and spend 30 mins doing the JavaScript lessons. If you like it,   stick with it and by the end of the course you'll be all set for getting hands on in Unity programming. 

Might work with two observations: JavaScript is not a good foundation for learning programming (only web programming). Second would be that UnityScript is not JavaScript, only the syntax is the same. UnityScript is basically a JavaScript language binding over .NET framework (just like Boo is).



#10 ml_   Members   -  Reputation: 280

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 07:21 PM

If you have already been working in html and css, I would think that javascript could be a natural next step. There is a good javascript library called pixi.js, which should theoretically work on all browsers and most smart phones (if configured properly). Here is a webpage with several pixi.js examples, if you want to check it out. From your browser, view the source code of any of the examples to get a look at how the coding works. You can also check out the gtihub version of the examples for a detailed look at the code involved.

 

As far as working on video games with your daughter -- I have been making video game prototypes for my own daughter using Gosu, a powerful, but easy-to-use 2D game engine using Ruby. A lot of people might say, "No, don't use Ruby. Use C++. C++ is for grownups. Ruby is for babies." To such comments I would say, "Exactly." Ruby is so easy to use that there is a guy literally teaching ten-year-olds to create video games with Ruby. Also, Ruby is the language of Rails. If you ever want to learn to develop Rails applications, Ruby would give you a good foundation.

 

Gosu does not automatically work on smart phones, but it the easiest way I know of to make 2D video games on your computer. If you are interested to check out Gosu you would need to install Ruby. If you are on Windows you would want to use the Ruby Installer, make sure you get version 1.9.3 (not 2.0.0), and when you're installing check all three boxes for installation options, unless you have reason to do otherwise. Once Ruby is installed you can launch the terminal by going to All Programs --> Ruby1.9.3 --> Command Prompt With Ruby.

 

From the terminal you would run the following commands:

> gem install bundler

> gem install gosu

> gem install chingu

 

And from there your environment would be all set up (assuming you already have a text editor such as SublimeText2 or the like).

 

To check out Gosu, you could try out any one of the games from the Gosu Showcase Forum.

 

A good overall example of the different capabilities of Gosu is a mashup I made of several different tutorial examples:

 

Chingu Example Loader

 

Here are a few thumbnails of some Gosu examples and Gosu games:

 

19.loader.thb.jpg  screenshot.5.thb.jpg   Multi-Puck-Frenzy.thb.jpg    Lights.thb.jpg

 

3dITIeKs.png   SoS4.thb.jpg    gameplay3.thb.jpg   wrath-09-chicken-apocalypse.thb.jpg

 

gnorf2.png

 

As I was going through looking for thumbnails, I came across some comments which generally reflect how a lot of people feel about Gosu:

 

"A lot of....kids (not me, ok...me too...), struggle with RPG Maker xp/vx/2003/etc.  

Well tonight I downloaded Chris Pines Pragmatic Programming - Learn to Program Ruby and that makes it at LOT easier.  
And I get so frustrated with RPG Maker VX because I can't find everything to help me understand.  
Like the Window_Base script inherits from Window and that script isn't in the script list for editing...
But THANK GOD (like really, thank you God) I found Gosu."






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