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Starting My First Game


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#1 Shamagus   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 04:58 PM

So I finished a few classes at a community college in programming. I took VB, ASP, SQL, and a pretty crappy Java class.

After working with VB and liking it, and hating Java, but realizing its potential I was informed by my Java instructor to learn C#. I just bought a used copy of C# Head First, and I am on chapter 4 and enjoying it. However I would like to get into game developing. I would like to develop for Windows(Including Steam) XBox 360/XBox One, and Windows Phone 8.1(I love WP!). My goal is to build a 2D or 2.5D Turn Based Strategy RPG game(Think Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea). I was reading that XNA is no longer supported and was the method of choice for Windows XP, 7, XBox360, and WP7. But support for it has dropped. Is this correct? If so I found a thing called MonoGame. So I have a few questions, in regards to me wanting to build a turn based strategy RPG.

 

Would it be worthwhile to learn in XNA 4.0 and C#, then port over using MonoGame?

 

Should I just learn XAML and C# since Win8, and future releases won't support XNA?

 

Do I NEED XNA for Xbox360?

 

What is used for indie games on XBoxOne?

 

I am not a musician, what is some easy to use music creation software under $100.

 

I also have access to GameMaker Studio Pro, is this viable for my type of game?



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 21318

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 06:49 PM

1. So I finished a few classes at a community college in programming
2. to learn C#. I just bought a used copy of C# Head First, and I am on chapter 4 and enjoying it.
3. However I would like to get into game developing.
4. I would like to develop for Windows(Including Steam) XBox 360/XBox One, and Windows Phone 8.1(I love WP!).
5. My goal is to build a 2D or 2.5D Turn Based Strategy RPG game(Think Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea).
6. I was reading that XNA is no longer supported and was the method of choice for Windows XP, 7, XBox360, and WP7. But support for it has dropped.
7. If so I found a thing called MonoGame.
8. Would it be worthwhile to learn in XNA 4.0 and C#, then port over using MonoGame?
9. Should I just learn XAML and C# since Win8, and future releases won't support XNA?
10. Do I NEED XNA for Xbox360?
11. What is used for indie games on XBoxOne?
12. I am not a musician, what is some easy to use music creation software under $100.
13. I also have access to GameMaker Studio Pro, is this viable for my type of game?
 

 

So many items to work through.

1. Congratulations. That puts you roughly in line with entry level.

2. C# is a great language, I agree. It has been picked up by several engines, including Unity. I spent several years developing in C# when working on The Sims 3. It has a proven track record as being very productive for gameplay coding.

3. Game development is fun and can be a rewarding career. It can also be a horrible career if you don't fit.

4. Four platforms for your first project is unrealistically ambitious. Most people just start out with their native platform. They make a bunch of games like tic tac toe and reversi and pong and breakout. Then they might add a second platform until they get comfortable with that one. Then sometimes they will make a shared code base that works on both platforms along with two different platform-specific libraries.

5. Take a look at the credits on that type of game. Usually they are a few dozen experienced developers in multiple disciplines working for a year or more. They are not games developed by a single person.

6. XNA is a wrapper around a set of functionality. It is a cross platform wrapper around the XBox 360 functionality, DX9 functionality, and Windows Phone 7 functionality. There is nothing new being added to the XBox 360. Nothing new is added to DX9. Nothing new is being added to WP7. XNA is dead in the same way each of those technologies is dead. It wraps up the functionality and provides some tools, but it doesn't really exist as a separate thing. Don't expect new updates to any of them, but that doesn't mean they have ceased working.

7. Monogame is different than XNA. It was based on much of the same technologies but it relies on Mono and runs on platforms that support Mono. IIRC it also requires XNA to be installed for most of the importer and translation functionality. The two are different, but related. Use the technology if you want.

8. Asking if it is worthwhile is a personal question. Is it worthwhile for you? Do you want to spend your time on that? Would your time be better spent on something else? For me that would be an entirely academic exercise, something to do as a learning experiment rather than something to release to the world.

9. Learning XAML and C# should probably be for different reasons than because some future system won't support DX9-era games.

10. The officially sanctioned method for hobby XBox 360 development is XNA coupled with a subscription to the Creators Club. It costs $99/year but Microsoft offers various incentives and ways to reduce or eliminate that cost, including signing up through academic programs.

11. There is currently no officially sanctioned method for hobby XBox One development. That does not mean it will not follow. Recall for XBox 360 it took three years between the announcement and the release of XNA on XBox360. Many of the pre-release XBOne announcements stated that there would be support for independent developers eventually, and the products would be treated as first-class programs on the systems. They were also clear that it would not be launch functionality.

If you are able to become a sanctioned developer and join the ID@Xbox program there are several sanctioned options available, including using Unity as your engine. Of course, their interpretation of "independent developer" usually means a professionally organized small business with some prior experience making games.

12. Music creation software can include many free and open source products. Just be aware that composing quality music takes both skill and talent. Having the tools does not make you a skilled composer any more than installing Photoshop or Gimp makes you a skilled artist or installing Visual Studio makes you a skilled programmer. The only commercial product I'm aware of at that price point is Finale's PrintMusic product, which is a subset of the full program but can be used for composition and also for exporting midi-style playback in various audio formats. Pro Tools Express comes bundled with MBox, currently $250 on Amazon. The full Pro Tools 11 is just over $500, although you probably won't get much out of any of these unless you are an actual musician.

13. Yes, GM:S can be used to make turn based strategy games.

 

Any more?


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#3 Eck   Members   -  Reputation: 2803

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 10:29 PM


1. Congratulations. That puts you roughly in line with entry level.

 

I agree, and I would like to add that Shamagus's first post puts him at least a step above most of the other "I wanna be a game developer!" posts out there. Possibly a few steps. From this first post I can tell that he has started to learn to program. He has done at least a small amount of research on his on to figure out what his options are along with some potential drawbacks. It's probably one of the reasons frob put in some effort to answer all your questions. So a big thumbs up to Shamagus for starting out on the right foot. Good job.

 


4. I would like to develop for Windows(Including Steam) XBox 360/XBox One, and Windows Phone 8.1(I love WP!).

5. My goal is to build a 2D or 2.5D Turn Based Strategy RPG game(Think Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea).

Yeah... frob isn't being figurative when he says "go check out those credits". Here, I pulled a you tube link for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwec3daESvk

 

From the "I started to learn VB"-point   to the   "I'm shipping a Final Fantasy Tactics clone"-point, is quite a long journey. I would guess years. Damn near every starting out game-developer starts with their sights set too high and quickly gets discouraged. Don't start with your dream game. Start small...really small. Here is a great article for starting out. I can't recommend it enough:

http://www.gamedev.net/page/resources/_/technical/game-programming/your-first-step-to-game-development-starts-here-r2976

 

Good luck,

- Eck



#4 Shamagus   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 08:13 AM

Thanks for taking your time to respond. I do understand the task at hand and how many people it takes to make a game of the caliber of FFT or Disgaea. Thanks for the tip, I will expect to start out small and advance from there. I have found some quick guides online for an R-Type style game, Tic-Tac-Toe, Galaga, Space Defenders, and some Simon like game. I will work with those, and expand on them. Then start with a few small ones I've got roaming around in my head until I am comfortable and satisfied with my skills.

I know I have a long journey ahead and I am looking forward to it. I have the patience for it, I am 32, and feel as if I have all the time in the world.

 

I do understand that, its just what I hope to be able to do by the time I am done with my project.

 


3. Game development is fun and can be a rewarding career. It can also be a horrible career if you don't fit.

I don't plan to be a Game Developer for a career. I am actually working towards my Associates in Computer Programming so that I can transfer to the programming department at my current company. This is just something I wanted to do since I was a kid.

 

 


4. Four platforms for your first project is unrealistically ambitious. Most people just start out with their native platform. They make a bunch of games like tic tac toe and reversi and pong and breakout. Then they might add a second platform until they get comfortable with that one. Then sometimes they will make a shared code base that works on both platforms along with two different platform-specific libraries.[/quote]

 

8. Asking if it is worthwhile is a personal question. Is it worthwhile for you? Do you want to spend your time on that? Would your time be better spent on something else? For me that would be an entirely academic exercise, something to do as a learning experiment rather than something to release to the world.

 

I asked this only because if XNA is dead, why bother and just find a different route to accomplish my goal, not if developing in its entirety was worthwhile.

 

12. Music creation software can include many free and open source products. Just be aware that composing quality music takes both skill and talent. Having the tools does not make you a skilled composer any more than installing Photoshop or Gimp makes you a skilled artist or installing Visual Studio makes you a skilled programmer. The only commercial product I'm aware of at that price point is Finale's PrintMusic product, which is a subset of the full program but can be used for composition and also for exporting midi-style playback in various audio formats. Pro Tools Express comes bundled with MBox, currently $250 on Amazon. The full Pro Tools 11 is just over $500, although you probably won't get much out of any of these unless you are an actual musician.

 

I really don't think I will churn out something that will forever be in peoples memories for ages to come, like the music to the Legend of Zelda or FInal Fantasy Intro. Thanks for the tip, more than likely I expect it to not work out. But I would at least like to try and get my feet wet. Worst case scenario I hire someone.

 

I have an artistic background and I usually accomplish things that I feel ambitious enough to do. Thanks for the insight.

 

I do have some more questions. Is SQL common in small type TBS-RPG games? Or is everything just programmed out?(Like character classes, skills, weapons, etc) I mainly ask this, is I have the option in my degree path to take a more advanced SQL class, but I am debating on doing that or taking a 3rd class in C#.

 

Know of any books that you recommend?

 

During your guy's time as a game dev, what was your greatest "Hell Yeah!" moment. You know, where you put out something that even amazed yourself that you did?

I don't have one yet in programming, but mine was when I was 15 and I rebuilt my very first car engine by myself, and when I cranked that key and not only heard and felt that roar, I nearly cried. That is the same feeling I want to get with this.

 

Thanks for your time guys, if I come across more questions I know where to go. You guys have been extremely helpful.



#5 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 21318

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:03 AM


I asked this only because if XNA is dead, why bother and just find a different route to accomplish my goal, not if developing in its entirety was worthwhile.

Define "dead".

 

It is still a viable tool for making games. It is a wrapper for DirectX 9 and a good collection of software that can do a lot of heavy lifting for you.

 

There are many good reasons to begin at DirectX 9 (and also to begin at DirectX 7) era APIs. They are less complex and require less initial setup and configuration before you can see something on screen. The newer APIs are designed around modern cards and higher performance, in each new generation the lower performance (but usually easier to start with) systems get removed. As a result trying to use DX11 to display a single triangle requires basically the same complex steps as displaying a massive mesh.

 

To throw out a bunch of good tools only on the grounds that they are no longer being updated is difficult. By that logic you should not target Windows 7 or even Windows 8; you should only target the bleeding edge of current technology rather than the products actually on the consumer's desks.

 

Use tools that work, that give you the broadest exposure, that enable you to create your game most easily.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#6 Shamagus   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 04:47 PM


There are many good reasons to begin at DirectX 9 (and also to begin at DirectX 7) era APIs. They are less complex and require less initial setup and configuration before you can see something on screen. The newer APIs are designed around modern cards and higher performance, in each new generation the lower performance (but usually easier to start with) systems get removed. As a result trying to use DX11 to display a single triangle requires basically the same complex steps as displaying a massive mesh.

 

Thanks, this is the response I was looking for but having a hard time trying to find a right way to ask it. This is perfect for my needs it appears, and I thank you for your input.






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