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Best Competency of game design to learn first?

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#1 Enyx   Members   -  Reputation: 101


Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:53 AM

Hello All! This is my first post on this forum and I have a question for you guys.

Im currently playing to build a video game on my own. I will be incompassing all aspects of game design myself and will have to learn it all. For my game I have most of the groundwork on paper, I have the genre (2.5D side scrolling survival horror) core concepts and pillars decided on and documented and I am ready to start building.


I will be taking alot of courses on the following:

Audio Engineering

as well as learning to use a game engine properly.


I know this is a lot to learn but I am commited and willing to do it all. My question for you is what do you think would be the most effective order to takle those aspects of game design? any and all insight and information would be greatly appritiated! thank you!


- Enyx


#2 madgod_zhar   Members   -  Reputation: 217


Posted 04 June 2014 - 12:23 PM

im new to game design, but ill give you the advice that was given to me. start learning with something simple, if you really want to program your own game, first learn to program, and more importantly, how to solve problems like a programmer. then when you think youre at least competent at that start learning to make simple games. my first game was tick tack toe, and it was pretty freaking hard for me to do. but i learned a lot.


good luck!

#3 6 Eyed Studio   Members   -  Reputation: 132


Posted 04 June 2014 - 02:34 PM

Hi Enyx,


Good to meet you. I would have to agree with madgod_zhar here. Simplicity is the key. This is a universal concept but it goes double... quadruple for newcomers.


I applaud your commitment to learn everything there is to learn about game development but it's going to be a long ramp up before you're ready to make real progress on your game. I'm thinking at least one year of making tutorial projects, learning and transferring that knowledge to early prototypes of your game.


Remove as many barriers as possible. So use a popular, well-supported game development platform. Focus on becoming a better coder/designer or artist/designer but not all three. Consider hiring on some help to fill in the skill gaps.


Keep in mind that any type of game that looks too simple is actually not.


You also want to make a smaller, simpler game because of the payback you'll get in experience. The bigger your game, the longer it takes to make, the more expensive it is and the riskier it is. I started playing a game called Dust: An Elysian Tail. It is largely the work of one man and it took over 4 years to finish! And he is the lucky one because he got visibility from winning awards and getting a publishing deal with Microsoft. Imagine doing a project of this scale and nobody finds out about it!


So my bottom line advice? Assess the scope of your game project. If you estimate that it will take 6-months or longer to build (assuming everything goes perfectly, which it never does) then I'd advise you to put this concept in a drawer for now and work on a really small game that you can finish in 1 - 3 months.

Edited by 6 Eyed Studio, 04 June 2014 - 02:37 PM.

#4 Enyx   Members   -  Reputation: 101


Posted 04 June 2014 - 04:06 PM

thank you both, that is VERY good advice. My game would be similar to Dust actually although I wouldn't imagine the animation would be anywhere near that fidelity and it would probably be about 1/3rd of the content of that game.


I am doing lots of tutorials ATM im slowly building my understanding of these concepts, Im also always thinking about how these tutorials can apply to the game I am creating. I do however want to try and handle all aspects of game design myself, as I would like to have some (no matter how minor) experience in these fields because If I were to get a more concentrated area It would be beneficial to have knowledge of the other connecting parts. Plus it would be cool to have something that I made myself from the ground up, although I am aware that is very ambitious and wont be easy.

#5 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 2225


Posted 04 June 2014 - 06:39 PM

Well, I can do just about all of those things mentioned although I have to do a bit of research still on audio engineering for games (have done music). 


The order I learned (and still am learning) things in:


-Audio Engineering





But I think a better order is:





-Audio Engineering


Some starter tutorials:



Guerllia CG Project



12 Principles of Animation



Introduction to Programming

My Tutorial on Progamming


Audio Engineering:

coming soon...


Free Software to Help:

3D Modeler(Wings)

3D Modeler and Animation Program (Blender)

Game Engine


Hope these help for now, I have a lot more where that comes from too. 

Edited by Tutorial Doctor, 04 June 2014 - 06:39 PM.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.

#6 Satharis   Members   -  Reputation: 1826


Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:15 PM

Jack of all trades, master of none.

Why is it you want to learn all these different aspects of game development? Are you going to be making full fledged 3d games by yourself? Music included? Rigging and animation?

I'll be honest you are probably biting off way more than you can chew.

#7 Strewya   Members   -  Reputation: 2060


Posted 05 June 2014 - 12:43 AM

I agree with Satharis, there's no way you can learn all of those things in a finite amount of time. I've been doing/learning game programming for over 5 years now, and still have a lot more to learn. To learn the rest of the stuff would take an extra 20 years.


Focus on one thing and learn it well. Use existing stuff from the web for the rest, or do it yourself half-assed and as simple as possible just to see how it works, then get/hire somebody to help.


If you just want to design your game and see it finished, use an existing engine like Unity or GameMaker.

devstropo.blogspot.com - Random stuff about my gamedev hobby

#8 Aardvajk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 9208


Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:30 AM

While I agree in principle with the previous two posters, and think it is good advice, it is also true that for a solo developer, you end up needing to dabble in all areas to be able to make a game. It's hard to feel a sense of achievement (for me at least) if my game is filled with placeholder models from TurboSquid that I didn't make.


But that doesn't mean I have to be any good at the other areas, just able to make something "good enough" for now.


I wouldn't bother trying to figure out lists in advance of what you need to know. I've seen people try to do this over the years and they end up overwhelmed and disheartened. My advice is:

  • Pick a simple and achievable goal
  • Learn what you need to achieve this goal
  • Pick a slightly more complex goal
  • Repeat

Trying to learn things outside of the context of a specific goal is very hard.

#9 6 Eyed Studio   Members   -  Reputation: 132


Posted 05 June 2014 - 06:51 PM

Hey, just wanted to circle back and remind Enyx that his greatest enemy is time. You've only got so many hours in a day to build up new skills and only a finite number of years to achieve mastery. Narrowing down your focus will not only benefit you game but will make you a more skilled person overall.


Your approach reminds me a bit of games schools where they throw a morsel of every game dev discipline at their students and everyone dips their toes in for a couple months at a time. Upon graduation the key skills that got people hired were A) coding, B) art or C) networking. Students that didn't grow one or more of these skills get left out in the cold. The game industry - and I would venture most other industries - value specialists... or really good B.S.ers. This is the new global economy where everyone has access to insane amounts of knowledge and can achieve passing competency (or pretend to) of many different skills. So how do you stand out?


I know, I know. You're working on your own thing, which is great. But in the future you'll probably want to take on work-for-hire or maybe help out other indie developers on their projects. Or do a contract gig with a bigger studio. How do you add value? Trust me when I say recruiters, managers and most any type of person does not have the time to figure you out. You have to be the go-to guy for one maybe two specific things.


Working on your own games will be a fantastic opportunity for you to really zero in on what you want to do and get really good at it. And honestly, your end product will be so much better because you were able to dedicate more time to the programming, art or whatever... and there will always be somebody out there who can fill in the skill gap(s) for you.

Edited by 6 Eyed Studio, 05 June 2014 - 06:51 PM.

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