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First time prototype


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#1 brazorf   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 26 July 2014 - 10:45 AM

Hello there,

this is my first post so i'd like to give a little background.

I'm a software engineer since 2004, and i work as a freelance web developer since 3 years. While i've worked with C, C++, Java, C#, Php, and other languages and i consider myself a good skilled developer, i have never had experiences with game developement, though i''ve always wanted to. I'm aware that this will be someway a brand new start that will require a brain reset and i'm ready to engage with all the necessary humility.

 

That said, ive had some ideas id like to work on, the final result should be an open world / sandbox adventure in first person, first version pve oriented, then maybe work on a new version that would involve networking to make a mmo version of the same game.

 

I want to ask 3 main suggestions.

 

1. Prototyping

I would like to realize a first, basic prototype to test the idea solidity. Since i actually lack the requested programming skills, not to mention the art, ai, rendering, etc notions, i am thinking about some alternatives.

 

a) Work on a isometric 2d prototype (ultima online style), that i imagine to be much easier as a first experience

 

b) Work on a moddable game that would provide the majority of art/map/gameplay elements. I am also a Dayz and arma2 player, i'm aware arma2 supports mods, and that map/environment/feeling is very close to what i'd like to achieve. I would be glad to hear from you guys other moddable games

 

c) Build a prototype from scratch, directly on a 3d engine that should however provide basic art/texture/objects/etc. so that i should not worry about them.

 

2. The engine

Assuming i pass over the 1st step, i will need an engine that provides good support for

 

a) sandbox environments

b) networking / mmo

 

Assume that i plan to have a huge map to be explored (again, think about arma2)

 

I've read some topic on this subject, i'm asking anyway since i'm oriented to use unreal engine but i lack the knowledge to judge if it's good or not for sandbox environments.

 

3. last but not least, Knowledge.

I will need books and tons of knowledge. I'm aware that i will need a team to have this game done, and that i can't handle all the requested notions myself.

So assume that i'm not interested in 3d art, rendering, etc., but only in gameplay and ai programming as my first goal. The question: is anywhere out there a list of must-read books or blogs or whatever?

 

Thank you for reading!

 

 



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#2 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 1822

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:16 AM

If you select an engine to build your prototype you will find that this engines website will have tons of tutorials, technical reference and sometimes quite lively communities to directly answer all your newbie questions related to this particular engine, and sometimes also general game dev knowledge.

 

That holds true to different degree depending on the engine you choose, some have better tutorials and bigger communities than others. But asking which engine to choose is a different question altogether.

 

 

Suffice to say, as long as its about prototyping a game idea, there are good 3d and 2d engines out there that are free and will really speed up the building time for your prototype. Look for the one with the best editor and the most amount of tutorials and biggest community, and you can't go wrong.

 

 

If you are looking for a "production ready engine", that is of course a much bigger feat altogether. Nobody will be able to tell you what engine to use based on your not very specific requirements.

And by even mentioning the 3 Letter "MMO" you might have shied away some of the more expierienced members as really, as long as you cannot invest serious $$$, forget the MMO acronym for now. Even getting the networking part for a simple multiplayer game to run will be hard enough.

 

 

My advice: concentrate on your prototype, grab yourself an engine and start building.

 

Worst that can happen is that in a year, you learned a lot about this engine and game dev in general, but found out the engine might not be suitable for your needs or that it might take 10 years to build your dream game with your skills alone.

Best case you will have a small, working prototype that shows off your game idea, and have learned a lot about this engine and game dev in general.

 

 

As for books:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Game-Engine-Architecture-Jason-Gregory/dp/1568814135/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1406553450&sr=8-2&keywords=game+engine

 

As far as I can tell its quite an exhaustive introduction to the different parts present in todays game engines. Good read for any beginner, I have it on my bookshelf too.

 

Other than this books, I would first concentrate on the tutorials for the engine of your choosing. Depending on the engine, there might be books out about it.

 

 

But really, this is a space that evolves quickly. Information in the books gets stale much quicker than in a book about C, believe me (and I am pretty sure the C experts will bash me for this comment too :) )... Google is your friend, the internet the ultimate resource.

 



#3 GoCatGo   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 1637

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:11 AM


That said, ive had some ideas id like to work on, the final result should be an open world / sandbox adventure in first person, first version pve oriented, then maybe work on a new version that would involve networking to make a mmo version of the same game.

 

Those ideas should be written down, treasured, and put aside.  You've got woodsheddin' to do before you get near there.

 

There are about 400 trillion links on this site alone on how to get started.  Read them all and work on a prototype for something tried & true:  Pong.

 

If you can't succeed with Pong, you've got more groundwork to do.  Crawl, walk, run.

 

Best of luck!  Don't make a sandbox MMO!  Really! 


Indie games are what indie movies were in the early 90s -- half-baked, poorly executed wastes of time that will quickly fall out of fashion.  Now go make Minecraft with wizards and watch the dozen or so remakes of Reservior Dogs.


#4 brazorf   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:21 AM

 


That said, ive had some ideas id like to work on, the final result should be an open world / sandbox adventure in first person, first version pve oriented, then maybe work on a new version that would involve networking to make a mmo version of the same game.

 

Those ideas should be written down, treasured, and put aside.  You've got woodsheddin' to do before you get near there.

 

There are about 400 trillion links on this site alone on how to get started.  Read them all and work on a prototype for something tried & true:  Pong.

 

If you can't succeed with Pong, you've got more groundwork to do.  Crawl, walk, run.

 

Best of luck!  Don't make a sandbox MMO!  Really! 

 

 

Thanks, that's what i'm doing behind the curtains: crawling.

However, even if i'm at the starting grid, i want to know in advance how many trillion kilometers this run will last. I state i've a goal while i know im so far far away, but i feel like having these 3 answers would provide the first coordinates.

 

p.s. Thank you Gian-Reto for your advices too.


Edited by brazorf, 28 July 2014 - 09:26 AM.


#5 Andy Gainey   Members   -  Reputation: 2119

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 09:48 AM

I'd recommend spending a fair amount of time studying game design specifically, and not just the technical side of game development.  While you can sometimes get away with just borrowing game mechanics from other games, you can probably go much further and be more satisfied when you have a deep understanding of why these mechanics work, how to effectively combine and adjust them, and how to create your own.

 

So take a peek at the this site's game design book list.  Here are two that I've been getting a ton of value from:

One major bit of advice I've received from these books and other sources is that prototyping often doesn't have to be digital.  You can start prototyping game mechanics very cheaply and very quickly with just some standard physical gaming objects and craft materials.  It's certainly a skill that takes time to learn, though; I'm not very good at it yet.  But I expect the payoff of practice to be immense in the long run.



"We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves." - John Locke

#6 brazorf   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:00 AM

Thank you! Bookmarking every title you're suggesting me.



#7 GoCatGo   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 1637

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 04:48 PM


Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games - Lots of great and practical advice for working through all stages of designing a game, as well as working with a team, publishers, and players.
The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses - A ton of concepts, questions, perspectives, and objectives that a game designer should always be mindful of. I find it helps keep my mind on track to return to this book frequently.

 

Both FANTASTIC books.  I keep forgetting about the first one when I make reading suggestions.  Good call, Andy!


Indie games are what indie movies were in the early 90s -- half-baked, poorly executed wastes of time that will quickly fall out of fashion.  Now go make Minecraft with wizards and watch the dozen or so remakes of Reservior Dogs.





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