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What should I make my first game?

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Hiyas, I''m just writing this to try and get some help figuring out what to write for my first game. I know everyone says start small and aim to make a tetris clone or something, but in a major way that kinda bores me and I know that if I attempt to do so, I''d probably lose motivation and start work on something else anyways. I mainly want to write an RPG but I know as a first project this is a majorly huge task and equally as well would probably never get finished. So I''d like to go for somewhat of a compromise. Something that is of a genre that interests me, without being so overly complex that it never happens. Any suggestions? I have a good knowledge of C++ and the DirectX API having written a 75 percent complete worldcraft .map parser and an almost complete Quake 3 BSP viewer. I just lack the experience at having made a complete game yet which is what I aim to do now. I''m thinking perhaps something along the lines of a hugely simplified RPG, something like a 3D Gauntlet clone. This would mean that I don''t have to worry about complex PC/NPC interaction (all interacion would be purely combat). As for maps, I''m stuck as to whether it''d be better to design a custom map maker that makes simple 3d maps, or whether to use my quake 3 BSP viewer. The reason I''m stuck is because of two points of view I have on the idea of pre generated maps. First off, using Quake 3 maps would make my life easier as the BSP and lightmap process is already done for me, this would make it easier to get a game up and running that looks very nice to boot. Conversly if I wrote my own simple map maker, things would not look as good, and probably wouldnt be as optimised, BUT I would have total understanding of the inner workings of the maps, I would be the one designing any lighting or visibility processes and would have a total knowledge of what exactly is going on with everything. So which is better, a pre-written format that I can use quickly, or my own format that may take longer but would be more deeply understood? Both I feel are important, you need to be able to get results quickly making a first game, if the format you use for levels is already made the game would be produced quicker, but could be slowed by not fully understanding everything about the format. If you use your own format, it would take longer to develop but the benefits of increased understanding of the inner workings might allow you to progress quicker overall. I''m not sure which sounds the better of the two options :/ I''m tending towards using the quake 3 BSP at the moment because I think writing a decent 3D editor would take a very long time compared to using an already existing editor, plus it would look a lot more visually appealing. Aside from that, what other ways could I simplify an RPG into elements that wouldn''t be too difficult to add into a first game? I thought of perhaps not allowing any projectiles as this would make the game physics a lot easier to cope with, but... I want spells and bows too much to take out that element. I guess I will pretty much make the game completely hack and slash/ click n cast. Though this would not make my ideal game, as a first project it would be much easier to cope with and not too difficult to expand upon later. Any thoughts on anything?? Cheers, Steve AKA Mephs

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You need to start small, I know what your thinking because I was thinking the exact same thing. I wanted to do an RPG or a strategy game right off the bat. However, there are elements and things you''ll learn by creating a Tetris clone or something similar that can be used later on. You need to take it step by step. There is so much involved in RPG games and such that will set your head a spin if you don''t have any experience. I''m sure you''ve probably tried already, as I did. Make a tetris clone, fiddle with animation and controls. Then tackle that RPG again. Trust me, it will be so much simpler.



I know only that which I know, but I do not know what I know.

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Ha, I knew it was coming but not so quickly. I don''t quite believe that though. I dont believe you have to make a tetris clone as your first game, I just believe it has to be something simple, and I believe that an RPG could be similified down enough to be manageable as a first project.

Why do all first games have to be tetris or the like are we that uninspired? Gauntlet was not much more complex than tetris. I think people are just too used to giving a pre defined answer instead of looking at an individual case... some of us simply find tetris dull, why MUST we be forced into making a clone of a game we don''t appreciate.

IMO theres nothing wrong in making a game of a different genre, so long as its not overly complex, the complexity level of the project is the key prt of whether it will get finished or not. Take a look at Jim Adams book on programming RPG''s, while for a first game I think theres too much to do an RPG of even that simple a level, but simplify it even more into a gauntlet clone and I''m certain it wouldnt be so hard to achieve. If anyone has read Jims book on programming RPGs , is it so imopssible to believe that as a first game you could make something of a similar level to what he produces in his book? I don''t believe so, but really I''m not looking to be told NOT to do this, I''m looking for ways to make things simpler so that it does get done. I''m already set on making something of this nature, so that is not an issue.

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quote:
Original post by Mephs
I don''t quite believe that though. I dont believe you have to make a tetris clone as your first game, I just believe it has to be something simple, and I believe that an RPG could be similified down enough to be manageable as a first project.

You can believe anything you want to. The evidence, however, is stacked against you.

quote:

Why do all first games have to be tetris or the like are we that uninspired?

You know what they say about genius - 1% inspiration...

All the inspiration in the world is pretty much worthless without implementation, and that''s where we hedge our bets on the unproven (ie, you and those like you). But since you''re so strongly opinionated, why''d you bother coming to ask here where you know we''ll give our rote replies of "start small, something like tetris..."? Go on, get out there and make a Gauntlet clone for a first game and prove us wrong (big deal; the principle is the same, but it''ll take you twice as long).

Everybody''s a visionary these days.

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Okay perhaps my thread was wrongly titled, I''m not asking what to make for my first game, but ways to make what I do want to do easier. I don''t have to prove myself to you or anyone, I just do what I do for me.

But, I''m willing to place my money where my mouth is, so I''m setting myself up a challenge, to produce a full gauntlet style 3D game in a given time frame. As to what time frame exactly I''m uncertain as like everyone I don''t have a great deal of spare free time. So lets take a tetris clone. Given my spare time I''d imagine I could create a reasonable tetris clone in roughly 5 weeks. Given the amount of free time I get, I think that would be about right. So thinking logically a gauntlet clone would involve AI, combat and different levels to fight over, perhaps more involved sound and a little extra thought towards interface. I imagine this would roughly triple the time needed for the tetris clone, so roughly 15 weeks plus a couple of weeks for the extra needed tweaking time due to more complex code. Now when working to a deadline I think I could roughly halve that time at the expense of some quality overall. So.... in order to try and get off my ass and get something full completed, I''m gonna set myself a 2 month deadline to try and create a gauntlet clone. Nothing polished or amazing, but a full game and a base to work from in future.

I''m interested to see how this will affect my decisions, but even if I dont succeed it will be fun to see if indeed it is possible as I think it is.

All I''m gonna say is check here over the coming 2 months and see how far I get

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think what it boils down to is, if you think you can do it, then try and see what happens. If you fail, so be it. You still enjoyed the process of working on it. You have to enjoy *making* the game more than you expect to enjoy playing it, otherwise it won''t be worth it. From that standpoint, it hardly matters whether you succeed or not.

Take a look at the article on incremental development linked from the main page. Maybe start out with something extremely simple, take a look at Rogue for the simplest possible RPG. Try cloning it, but make your code modular enough that you can recycle most of the code for a tile-based graphical game later. You don''t have to implement everything you want all at once, if you try that you will never finish. If you want your game to be fully 3D, then you''ll have to throw away everything tile-based eventually, but you''ll still be able to keep things like inventory and the dialog generator.

You''ll end up replacing all the code in the whole project eventually anyway, so don''t worry too much about getting all the features the first time, or even support for all the features you want. Instead focus on making sure you don''t have any architectural problems that will make things impossible later. For example if you want to add multiplayer ability down the road then don''t tie the monster attacks directly to the player or you will never be able to deal with things like monsters having to choose a player to attack out of several. Instead of assuming the monster always moves right at the player, give the monster a ChooseTarget() function and a MoveToTarget() function so that later on, you can change ChooseTarget from a function that just returns the player to a function that queries the server for player data and chooses based on that.

No extra coding, just avoiding doing things wrong, and you can turn the small game you started with into the grand game you eventually want to have :}

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Making a game base where you can just run around and shoot at some stuff would not take that long. The problem is making a polished Gauntlet clone will take 25 times longer than a polished Tetris clone.

The basics won''t take that long, but all the levels, enemies, animations, etc will. It depends on how nice you want it to look and play.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
So the deadline is September the 1st, on this thread.

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Ahh but thats the beauty of using BSP files/X files/md3 files, if I use others work to produce my resources then I can potentially have a polished game up and running in no time at all as there are plenty of existing maps/characters. I''m not interested so much specifically in the creative design, only the game design from a programming perspective. Yes in time I want to implement my own characters and my own levels, but for now I''m happy to use others resources (only for myself, not commercially yet) until the programming side is a little more fleshed out. Once I have game structure in place, then and only then will I start looking at putting my own models and custom levels in. Actually levels may be a slightly different case but characters shouldnt be.

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ahh, make it the 18th September.... my birthday much better timing, it''d make a good present to myself to see something complete I can show off

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