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Member Since 21 Mar 2011
Offline Last Active Sep 07 2014 10:31 AM

#5178019 How to start?

Posted by Gian-Reto on 04 September 2014 - 04:05 AM

If you want to create music but are as iliterate when it comes to musical instruments as me (save drums, but that does not help much I guess), have a look at some of the digital audio workstation programs around, or even better, their consumer oriented offsprings (much cheaper or maybe free).


These programms will let you record and arrange your own tracks. But they will also let you build tracks from sound loops, which are short records from someone else.


If you are looking at a free programm to edit and manipulate tracks, have a look at Audiocity.



Personally, I am using MAGIX Music Maker. Its the consumer version of their DAW and somewhat similar to the big names like Ableton Live (though I guess not coming close to its features). The program itself is cheap to get and pretty good, and especially intuitive for an absolute newbie to music making like me.


They also have an online store filled to the brim with sound loops. They are reasonably priced, though the cost adds up if you want to get them all.


The tool also has lots of instruments to create your own tracks without a keyboard (music instrument), just using mouse and keyboard (computer input device). Its certainly slower to record your track this way and I guess most professional musicians will cry out in agony at the thought of it, but with some time and dedication it actually does work.


Of course, as soon as you stop just using sound loops, you will need to digest a lot of musical theory anyway, even if you don't want to learn playing an instrument. Just placing some random tones at random places might sound interesting and experimental at times... most of the time it will just sound like crap!

#5178015 help please

Posted by Gian-Reto on 04 September 2014 - 03:45 AM

1. What is the easiest engine:


Hard to answer a "what is best" or "is X better than Y" type of question. Ther is not best, and there is no easiest engine. Especially as "an online action RPG" is not a very specific question. I'll try my best.


First have a look at the stickies at the top of the beginner Forum. They are there for people like you.


If we are talking about 3D Engines:


When it comes to beginner friendlyness, Unity is among the best. A fully fleshed out, intuitive editor, a big community and an asset store full of assets to accelerate your development. Lots of tutorials and a good documentation round off the deal.


Unreal Engine 4 most probably comes close, altough I lack hands on expierience with it.


Both these engines differ slightly in feature set, and the licensing options. Both can be downloaded cheaply or for free, with some missing features in the free version you most probably will not notice.


If we are talking about 2D Engines:


Have a look at Game Maker. AFAIK it has been created especially for RPG Style games, that is what it is used for the most.



The language will to some extent be dictated by the engine you pick. Most will give you multiple options, best is to go with the one for the engine of your choice that has more examples.

For Unity I would pick C# for the simple reason some people CLAIM it will perform better than Unityscript (Javascript variant), its a fully fleshed out OO language also used for other Windows programming (if you decide to go for programming in other engines, from scratch or something other than Game Programming, you will have a headstart... C# is very similar to Java, which is the business programming language #1 today).



2. Is it possible to extract game code as a reference:


Generally no. Most code will be in a compiled binary format, thus not human readable. There are programs like decompilers, but they are the reason why most commercial code nowadays is "obfuscated". The original Programmer will have taken some measures that the code stays unreadable even if you decompile it.


Now, even if it WOULD be possible, this is mostly illegal AFAIK.


What you can do though is to have a look at open source game projects (here the source is open for everyone), or to use "template projects" that come with some engines. Both will let you see the code of a working game.

Just be advised that most bigger games will have many tousand lines of code, so I don't know how long it will take you to read the full code, or to understand it. Most probably you as a beginner would understand not much of it.



What you should do:


Start small. Really, forget your Action RPG for now. Forget about the Online part for even longer.


Either download an Engine and start with small projects, using placeholder and stock art you got for free from the internet. Get things moving, learn to use the editor, learn to programm behaviour scripts and engine extensions. When you get good at creating games with it, and have created some small games already, think about your planned art style, either learn how to create the art, or look for an artist.


Or learn programming the bottom up way. Start writing small games from scratch without the help of an engine. It will take you longer, but you will learn more.

#5177818 How Does a Noob Start Creating a Simulator?

Posted by Gian-Reto on 03 September 2014 - 04:02 AM

Well, before thinking about any genres, you need to learn the basics. These will be the same for a platformer or a Simulation. Game Loop, 2D / 3D Navigation, how to use engines / how to create your engine from scratch, handling player input, and so on....

Common advice is to start with small easy 2D Games before starting increasingly more difficult projects, so that you learn the topics involved bottom up, you get to finish projects which helps both motivation and building up a portfolio for future use and never bite off more than you can chew.


If you want to ditch the basics and start running before you can walk (not advisable, but people and the amount of challenges they can take on at the same time differ), as Hodgeman said, you need to be more specific.

Are we talking about Flight Sim, Race Sim, Economic Sim, Military Shooter Sim, Tank Sim, THE SimS? Are we talking 2D or 3D? What is your Scope - just a small Sim (like driving through the mud in your backyard) versus a big Sim (recreating the whole City of London for a Drive Sim)? Are we talking simplified Physics or full Physics support?


In the end, what most people understand as a sim today is just a game with very deep and complex game logic in ONE CERTAIN AREA. A Drive Sim is not much different from a current Arcade Racer in most aspects. Both will feature topnotch graphics (a lot of the arcade racers include an abundant amount of details like damage to graphical models even though there is no real damage model influencing the game logic), both feature the same physics and game logic - just in one case logic and physics have been tweaked for a realistic result, while in the other they are tweaked purely for fun (therefore some parts of the game logic have been cut out or simplified.... not many people like driving around in a damaged car, even though its realistic that this car will not go at top speeds anymore and the steering will be difficult).


So if you want to do a driving Sim, I would look at tutorials for arcade racers.

#5177594 Is Unity 3d right for a horror game?

Posted by Gian-Reto on 02 September 2014 - 12:13 AM


[...] Actually most of the people were saying that its not suitable for a horror game. So i was getting confused. Anyways thanks again!! 



Okay, did this people give you a reason WHY they think its not suitable? I know a lot of people have a strong opinion about engines without even trying them out. Most make their opinion about it because they saw game Y using engine X and think its the shizzle / shite, and come to the conclusion if the game is good / bad, the engine must be good / bad.


Just because the Crytek games look awesome does not mean their engine is awesome... graphics is 90% the quality of models, textures and shaders, and only about 10% the quality of the engines tech (the performance of most of the early Crytek games is actually horrible. Has to do with lots of highend effects for the time, but most probably also the engine that was not properly optimized. But this now is of course again me jumping to conclusions, just like the Unity naysayers were).


Just because there is no good horror game made with Unity on the market (and I have a hard time beliebving that) does not mean the engine is not suitable for it!



So rather than listen to vague, unfounded opinions, research it yourself. You can download the engine for free, and give it a try. Most probably it will just work fine for you, as soon as you start to understand how to build your game with it.

#5177593 Did I begin learning late?

Posted by Gian-Reto on 02 September 2014 - 12:07 AM

What? No, of course not!


I knew nothing about programming before I went for my apprenticeship. I didn't understood OO Programming until my final exams with 21.

Still I am working as a professional programmer today.


I know some older guys that have learned programming when they were way over 40.


The guy that was mocking you was just full of it. And was making fun of you just to make you feel bad.

Don't listen to him. Learn programming in your own time. Take as long as you need to. You are still pretty young and way before most others.

#5177444 Is Unity 3d right for a horror game?

Posted by Gian-Reto on 01 September 2014 - 10:00 AM

Hey guys sorry i accidentally pressed enter . So i wanted to ask is Unity 3d right for a horror game. And also please suggest me a good 3d modelling tool and tool for creating audio for my game. 





I mean, if you could give more specific details about why you think it might not be suitable, what the requirements for YOUR horror game exactly are (its a pretty broad category going from FPSes to Text adventures), people could give you more specific answers to you questions.



Generally, the answer is yes - Unity can do pretty much everything you want it to - though depending on your specific requirements there might be caveats to this answer. So better get more specific.



For 3D modelling, start with Blender. its a complete 3D Package similars to 3Ds Max or Maya, just opensourse and completly free. Yes the learning curve is steep... but its one of the best free 3D tools you will find!


For audio, you can use tools like Audiocity to cut and compose audiotracks and -effects. Of course you need to either record your own loops and effects, or get them from somewhere else. If you are looking for free resources, someone else will need to guide you.


If you are ready to spend something, on the audio side, the MAGIX Music Maker is pretty good, both for composing effects and audio tracks from loops. They even have their own store where you get tousands of loops for reasonable prices (though, if you buy all of them, the costs adds up of course).

On the 3D Modelling side I really love 3D Coat, and MoI. Both about 300 bucks per license, but pretty good for their respective areas of competence, and with intuitive interfaces (3D Coat for Sculpting (in voxels, yay!) and the high-poly to low poly retopo, MoI for NURBS modelling for hardsurface objects).

If you also want to do texturing, 3D Coat will have a awesome 3D Paint functionality (just as blender has, altough I never really used this), but you should also check out the Quixel Suite and the Substance Designer... both great tools for texturing stuff with complete materials (containing diffuse, normal and gloss channels together, not just one of them), both of them specially designed for a physically based pipeline.

#5177403 unity monthly subscription question?

Posted by Gian-Reto on 01 September 2014 - 04:47 AM

Really, meisterwerk, download Unity free and test it out yourself. There is NO POINT in delving this deep into questions that might be no concern really before you even tried out any of the engines you currently think about.


Ideally also download Unreal 4 and give both engines a short test run. See which you like better. Find out what features you really need. THEN start to worry about licencinsing needs and stuff like that.



If you don't have the time to invest some hours into playing around with both engines, you will not have the time to develop a game.

See it as an opportunity to start your learning process of how to build your game.



Also, I hope you are aware of the following:


For iOS development, you WILL need a Mac and AFAIK Xcode. There might be hacks to get around these requirements, but they are not sanctioned by Apple and you might get into trouble for it.


IDK if you can develop for Android on a Mac (most probably you can). So this will be a non-issue for you as a mac user, but might be an issue if you are a PC user. Then you will have to invest about 500$ bucks anyway for a small Mac machine.

(lets not talk about the test iOS and Android devices. If you take testing on mobile devices (especially Android) serious, you need quite some cash just for the hardware, which will dwarf any engine license cost... but again, you can get around that by... well... letting the users test it for you :) ).

#5177034 Starting out

Posted by Gian-Reto on 30 August 2014 - 03:06 AM

If you already know the basics of C++, I suggest sticking with C++ and going deep in it. If people bounce from language to language too much, they run the risk of only learning the basic syntax and never learn the strengths of the languages.




C++ might have its pitfalls, but the core of the language is just as easy or hard to lear as Java or other OO languages. If you have used it before, I reckon you will already  have quite some knowledge about the basics of the language. Now try to really get into it.


Someone with deep knowledge of C++ will have a much easier time learning other OO languages. Could be the same with Lua, though I am not sure how much this language deviates from the C family of languages (where you will find most of todays languages belong to)... but as you seem more adept in C++, I would also suggest sticking to that.


The Bonus is that a) C++ seems to be the industry standart language still in Game Development, and b) given you give up on game development and want to move into business programming, Java is the big elephant there, but you will always find some C++ jobs, and not too many programmers being able to apply fo these jobs. Almost anyone specializes in Java or maybe C# in business programming nowadays.



Just my 2 cents

#5176878 Life Like Graphics

Posted by Gian-Reto on 29 August 2014 - 04:49 AM



I think you should reduce the amount of words in your posts an start to make any sense with them. Really, I can only force myself to read about the top 1/3 of your posts before the confusion caused by your text gets too much for me.



... sorry, couldn't resist. Anyway: What exactly do you want to discuss here?


I guess the topic is about real life and somehow fake looking characters in contemporary and past games, and what makes them look real versus fake. Basically what you talking about goes into the direction of the "uncanny valley"... where something becomes so real looking that any little thing off is much more severe than with, for example, a cartoon character.


As far as I have seen it, there are multiple things playing into it:


- Animations that are off (to stiff, to limited, somehow wrong otherwise)

- Shaders that are not replicating the material correct (can be seen with metal extremly well, but skin is another material that is hard to get right. There is a reason why Toy story was one of the first big animation movies. Plastic must be one of the easiest materials to write a shader for)

- Lighting (fake looking lighting makes everything in the scene look fake)

- Missing highfrequency details because of missing bump map (this is much less severe than the top three if you ask me).


Now, the amount of polygons plays only a small role IMO... usually you will seldom notice if something is really lowpoly, as long as it has a good shader and a bump map attached to it. It can be a problem if an object needs to be simplified to fit the poly budget though.


Colors do play a role, but only for some materials (like skin)....



The gibberish about GPUs I really cannot decode... is there a question or a statement hidden in there? Is it some kind of a riddle?


I guess you want to discuss if a better GPU would be possible today:

What happens if you double the amount of shader cores (if that is your question) seems pretty straightforward to me. More power, bigger chip, more heat, lower production yields, therefore much higher price.


Even the scaling will not be 100% as there are a lot of other bottlenecks in a GPU (letting the CPU and Drawcall bottlenecks aside for the moment). As much as I love the big fat cards from Nvidia and AMD, there is a reason for the price and heat. So bigger is not always better.

#5176458 Welcome your new Visual Arts forum moderator

Posted by Gian-Reto on 27 August 2014 - 11:14 AM

second: Welcome! \o/


(PS: Hopefully this part of the forum will liven up a bit with you as new moderator... its awefully quiet at times which is a shame seeing how the technical forums get frequented much more)

#5175960 When would a game artist use a tablet?

Posted by Gian-Reto on 25 August 2014 - 03:30 AM


I have migrated to using the tablet for 3d as well. Unless... I am trying to retopo, that would be annoying as hell to do with the pen tablet!



Personally, I added a 3D Navigator from 3Dconnexion to my toolbox some time ago. Its far superior for Navigating 3D Space than both the mouse and pen.


For retopos I use the Tool "3D Coat", which is pretty good for that kind of things. And its fully optimized for Pen use, so I do my retopos with the Pen for placing the the retopo geometry and the 3D Navigator for rotating/zooming/translating the view. I am decently efficient with it I would say, and its far less of a nightmare to me than trying to navigate the Blender UI with the mouse and numpad alone!

#5175291 Staying Motivated

Posted by Gian-Reto on 21 August 2014 - 09:24 AM

That was my team problem and the reason why we haven't released any game. I ve worked with various teams for the past 5 years... always reaching to close to beta and then they stop.

I know the whole topic is about solo dev a game but I think all you need is 1 person thinking alike. Preferably artist or a Game Designer.

You ve mentioned that you don't enjoy creating the gameplay. So I think all you need is someone to point you into directions and keep you on the track.


Game Designer will tell you "by next week we will need this and that" small pieces at a time for you to develop and learn. Slowly slowly without realizing it you will have a released game. That is of course of you don't leave the team.

Artist will help you keep working. Doing it alone you can always say "maybe tomorrow... next week" end up not bother to go back after so long... but if you have a person on the team working too, you will see the game evolving from your partner side and try to catch up.
Such as code the new character s/he made. Listen to his ideas and find new concept to work on.

If you get excited with new ideas artists is what you need. Because during game development s/he may think of something better.
With a game designer the game will most likely be already on the papers. He will only guide you on how and what is need to be done first and have your next assignment ready.

Even better find a team with an artist and a game designer. This way you will get an organized schedule and your partner progress that you need to catch up.

And since you have a lot to do in your real life (even if I don't support it) a team without deadlines could work for you. Or a team with flexible deadlines. But still they will have demands smile.png


If I might chime in on that... I had the exact opposite expierience. Granted, bar one pretty good programmer the guys I tried to team up with 2 years ago were most probably not only no very expierienced, but also not very motivated.


But also, I myself was (and still am, 5 years part time expierience is NOTHING) kinda new to the whole Game dev topic, and while I have some years of expierience with leading a team of people in the army (which hardly qualifys as real expierience outside of the army), I had zero expierience of leading a team and managing them in a hobby game dev project.


In the end, not much came out of it, most of them never did any work, and even worse, it cost me a good part of my dev time to keep them up to date, try to motivate them, organize meetings, try to learn the necessary management techniques.


One after the other dropped out of the project. So I came up with a new plan with the last two (which also failed to really contribute till today) last year, came up with a more modest project (still very ambitious for a lone wolf), and just started developing on my own... without having to worry about the other 6 guys, not having to wait on a contribution that never arrives, and being able to completly focus on getting done what needs to be done.



Don't get me wrong, I am not saying working with a team is not a good thing. Depending on your project and your skills, working alone can definitely be a very BAD thing!

What I want to say, before you assemble a team, you need to be aware: somebody WILL need to manage the team. This will cost this person, whoever he is, quite a lot of time (So it might actually be a good idea to have a guy that does just that, the project lead, so to speak). He WILL need some expierience in it (a group of hobby devs can be quite an unruly bunch... nothing different to military, but there they cannot just drop out like with a hobby project smile.png ).


So seeing how the TO is drowned in different jobs and hobbies, suffers from ADD and wants to program because he enjoys it, I would rather stick to smaller projects and find a pattern that helps to stay focused on his own than trying to assemble a team.


Joining an existing team or joining as non-lead in a newly assembled team might be a good idea on the other hand, provided they are working on an interesting project (the TO will need all the motivation he can get) and can relate to his time limits (it can be frustrating working with guys that don't even have 3 hours per week to work on a project when you invest 20+ hours into it yourself... so not everyone will tolerate a lower or lax time schedule).



My 2cents

#5175205 Approaching an Artist

Posted by Gian-Reto on 21 August 2014 - 03:05 AM

Ideally (that is now the programmer in me speaking mostly, still...) you have something more to show than just a good GDD. A simple prototype with programmer art, showing how the game could look like.


a) Makes it easier for the artist to understand what he needs to create.

b) nothing shows your commitment to the project more than sitting down and coding something. If your not good at coding, grab GameMaker, or even go with a Paper prototype

c) if you are decent with coding and have a working prototype, the artist is assured that as soon as he finishes a piece, it could (if the prototype is ready for that) be imported into the prototype, and he could see his art moving! That will be the best motivation for any artist to continue working with the project.


Just my 2 cents

#5174654 I'm thinking of quitting my project, but I don't want to

Posted by Gian-Reto on 19 August 2014 - 03:29 AM



1) 9 months are NOTHING when you are working on a big Indie Project, especially if you are on your own. ESPECIALLY if you are new to game development.

2) Don't do it for the money alone. Chances are good that you will see little to no money for it. Getting money with an Indie Game is one big gamble in the end, especially if you have not prior expieriences with releasing a game.

3) Don't worry about the fun just yet. If you read the postmortems of even some big games made by expierienced developers, the game was not very fun until they finetuned and balanced it just prior to release. You can still turn it around at any time.



From what you are writing I am not 100% sure why you started your game project. As you are a student still it seems it was out of curiosity and interest in game development. Now, I don't know what your further plans for your studies and your future career are, but having a finished game is a pretty brilliant thing for your portfolio if you plan to move into any discipline of game development down the line. For that, the game does not have to be the best game ever or especially fun, and does not have to make tons of money. It just needs to be showing your skills and, ideally, should be in a more or less finished state.


About the game not being fun: you already seem to have found the fun. Take these Key points, enhance them, make them the central point of the expierience. You can either rebuild your game design to transform them into something controllable, or go the "insane" Route that Goat Simulator went down and hope that the random, glitchy nature will not quickly lose its funnyness.

Designing a game to be fun is hard work in itself, and something that just needs trial-and-error for a good part.


Don't worry about the art... for a mobile game, it looks pretty decent to me. You could spice up things with a backdrop image instead of the solid black background, you coul add some shading to your sprites.

But really, depending on the platform and your plans with it, the art could be good enough.



My advice: Don't worry about Money or wasting time on your first project. You WILL waste time, you WILL have to backtrack, and your chances of hitting the proverbial goldmine is very slim, even IF you make it to the finish line and are able to sell the game.

Worry about learning the skills needed to complete the game, see if and how you can stay motivated to see it through, and make sure the rest of your life can support your game dev habits (making sure having enough money to eat, enough time for your studies, enough free time to recharge is just as important as keeping focused on your project).

#5174413 When would a game artist use a tablet?

Posted by Gian-Reto on 18 August 2014 - 04:37 AM


A bit offtopic but tell me - Screen tablets like Cyntiq can work standalone with no pc ?



Only if you pick the Cintiq Companion. This is a "Tablet" in todays meaning of the word, which means a mobile device with an integrated screen, touch and in this case pen digitizer, and all the internals needed (CPU, GPU, Memory, SSD Storage) to run standalone.


There are two versions: The companion, which is a mobile Windows Workstation with the internals of a typical Windows laptop, and the companion hybrid, which is the Android version with the internals of a powerful android tablet, and the ability to be turned into a normal Cintiq "Graphic Tablet" when hooked up to your PC.


Both are virtually identical outside besides the ports to the Cintiq 13, which is the smallest of the "normal" Cintiqs of the current Cintiq Line.



"normal" Cintiqs are just screens with a digitizer layer over them. So they cannot work without being hooked up to a PC as they have no CPU, GPU or Memory in them.


The companions cost around 1200-1500$ for the Android version and around 2000-2300$ for the windows version, depending on internal SSD Size.

The normal Cintiqs cost around 900$ for the 13HD, around 1800$ for the 22HD and around 2300 for the 24HD version. There is a newer version of the 24HD incorporating Touch and a 10bit Panel, this is conisderably more expensive than the 24HD costing over 3000$ though.