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Kryptus

How hard is it to make a game?

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Hi, i am 16 years old with a lot of experience in game development and i wanted to know if it was within my capability to make a 3d pc game. would it be hard? so far i''ve started making a 3d rpg with my extensive knowlegde of Visual Basic and photoshop but 3D studio max is a problem (is it the hardest out of the 3?) but im sure there will be problems in the programming area. they say you need a dedicated team to make a good game...doesn''t seem like it eh?

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It''s hard to say how hard you will find this Kryptus. To comment from my own personal knowledge and experience, I would have to say No, you don''t need a dedicated team to make a good game. I would also have to say a good game is not necessarily big game, and that a good game to one person is a not so good game to another.

I guess that sounds kinda vague, and I meant it to. I''m 21, have a single finished(ish) game to my name. The game is very basic, it uses (and to a point probably misuses Direct 3d) and helped me to an A in my 3rd year uni Graphics Programming class.
If I were asked, "how would you rate your game against most other modern 2d side scrolling flight sims?" (obscure question, but that''s the genre) I would say it''s a pile of slush, and to buy the other 2d side scrolling flight sims. However, if asked "What do you think of your 2d side scrolling flight sim?" I would answer: "I''m damned proud of it. In a class of 40 odd, I can honestly say it was amongst the top couple, in many peoples opinions. It was fun to program, and taught me a lot about how to and how not to apply certain techniques and technologies. I look forward to the future, when the skills I learnt with Fly! are applied to more projects, and I can be proud to compare my own work with other financially successful products." At which point I would climb down off my high horse

The point I''m trying to make (in a somewhat roundabout way) is your first game will probably be fairly avergage. But don''t ever get depressed about that. Take what you learn from each project, and use it on the next. This becomes easier if you scale your projects to your capability. My first project was a 2d side scrolling flight sim which had a solid set of specs for me set out by a lecturer. I added to these, made assumptions, and did the best I could. I also chose not to overextend myself, knowing that they weren''t going to mark intentions, just results.

So remeber: Aim to impress with acheivable projects as opposed to practicing the fine art of vaporware!

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You do need a dedicated team. Unless you have unlimited amounts of time and are a Renaissance man.

About making a 3d rpg at all, chances are that if you need to ask, you don''t have enough experience to. Try something much simpler.


[Edited by - atcdevil on October 12, 2006 10:50:50 AM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
the only dedicated team you need is you. you must be dedicated or nothing will ever get done.

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I think it''s useful to at least offload some of the work to a team (an artist, a musician, a programmer, etc.) but it is worthwhile to note that all that a team gives you are a shorter time to market, and more experience in fields that you''re not able to work in. The larger the team, the better the production values of the final game, but that doesn''t necessarily mean a better game overall. Take Blizzard for example. They have fantastic cut-scene movies, great sound and perfect graphics for the types of game they make. The actual code around the game itself could probably be done with one or two developers. Add a couple of artists and you''ve got a kicking game. But, just because you''ve got less art and sound it doesn''t mean that your game can''t be as good.

However, if you ask the question, "Do you need a big team to make a financially successful game," then I''d have to lean towards "Yes". That doesn''t mean that you can''t make it with a small/solo team, but your chances of being able to market something with cheap production value are much lower.

The big publishers like to have lots of graphics, expensive cut-scenes and very sophisticated music because it creates a barrier to competition, gives them nice screenshots for the cover art and helps to keep the choice market for themselves (the choice market is the consumer gamer community... people who like visuals over gameplay because games are disposable entertainment). This leaves the garage game developers with the less select, and considerably smaller, market of gamers who enjoy games for their content rather than their appearance. There was a great article about this on Avault, and I think that according to the article the games-for-gamers market is somewhere around the 3percent mark of the total market.

The fact is that there are probably hundreds of games written each year for the PC, but only a handful of them will achieve more than a few 10''s of thousands of sales. As the marketing engine of the games industry ramps up to speed, the whole industry is rapidly approaching the same state as the movie business. So, if you want to know if you can make money as a game developer in a small team, just think about hollywood. Yes, it can be done, but the number of successes are a tiny fraction of the numbers produced. Name one hugely successful film from the last 10 years that was produced on a garage budget. The only one that comes to my mind is the Blair Witch Project. We''re not quite at the same level with computer games yet (thank god), but in a few years we will be.

In the good old days, game development was more similar to the music industry but as sophistication creeps in (AI, rendering technology, graphics quality, physics engines, etc.) it becomes harder and harder for small-scale developers to achieve profitability. Of course, there is always room for the truly talented and original, in any sphere of discipline, but... time is marching on.

And to be more specific in terms of a competetive RPG... the coding isn''t too difficult a task. With a little technical skill, patience and perseverance anyone can do it. But what are you going to do about, for example, the inventory items? I can probably, if I really struggle and dedicate myself to the task, draw about 5 good looking swords in a week (portrait art, animation, dropped-item art, etc.). By that schedule, it would take me at least a year just to draw the artwork for a decent number of inventory items (about 250 unique items).Next up, the critters. And then after that I''ve got to get the sound effects for everything sorted out. And then the loading screens, the menus, the in-game hud, maybe a font-set, one or two cut-scenes (at least for the intro and game ending).

None of those things make for a good game in their own right. I could just as easilly do everything as textual descriptions ("you have picked up a really great sword") and the game itself could be amazingly good fun to play but... probably struggle to sell enough copies to make a living.

I think that it''s far better to approach this thing as, perhaps, a novelist. Do it because you love to do it, because you want to express an idea or belief or whatever through one of the most rich forms of expression, and make it as great as *you* want it to be. If you make money, great. If not, then at least you made what you wanted to make.



Learning to fly is easy, but as a tortoise, the landings are really rough.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
How hard is it to ask questions related to DirectX in DirectX forum?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
How hard is it to ignore a post that has an obviously non-directx title instead of whining?

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"Let''s make a game with this and that!"

"Yeah, I just finished the graphic engine!"

"Stupid exams..."

"Strange..it worked before...it must be another Microsoft bug."

"How the hell do i make this joystick engine work?"

"w00t! a newer version of DirectX is coming out with so many cool stuff, I''d better upgrade my engine."

"Hm...final exam is next week..."

"Uh...my code looks so....spagethi-ish. let''s recode all."

"Hm...I have a cool idea of an RPG game, let''s make an RPG instead."


Current project: 2D in Direct3D engine.
% completed: ~50%
Status: Active.

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A huge amount of ephasis falls into your understanding of what you mean by a "good game." And because of that you have received varied comments. I am sure one can make a classic game like things you would play on SNES. Now if you want to go the 3D way and make an rpg and by a good game you mean a proffessional AAA title, or even something that is fun, and has an amount of content say as Morrowind, or even one half of it. I would say that you do need a team. Doing this kind of a thing not only takes dedication, it takes time, in fact doing this alone will take you several years; chances are that stuff will happen, college? work? girlfriend? Xbox? Doom III? and that is even if you stay motivated and productive.

Don't work on a "game" size down your goals to things that you know you can achieve. Work on specific things, terrain engine, scripting engine, physics engine, etc. If you complete these things one at a time you will get a sense of accomplishment, and even if you do get a chance to finish all these components you can always try to put them together.

But if you work on a "game" you will likely give up and end up with a whole bunch of unfinished spagetti; that you probably won't be able to show of anything, and feel horrible for giving up as well.

-------
Homepage: http://students.washington.edu/andrey

[edited by - Wreakon on April 18, 2003 4:20:18 PM]

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