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On the 18 of May my book Mariard Volume 1 The Gifting will be released world wide. Big party so check it out at http://www.cjbooks.net. WAIT A MINUTE before you go SPAM!! I am looking for programmers, someone who can give me incite into what it takes to make pc, x-box etc games. I have already done some extensive research on my ideas for a game regarding my book. All I kept getting was, awesome, ripper, I’d buy it, no sweat. Any leads!!! How does one go about getting a game made? CJ

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Ok, well i am very new to programming, and my first project was writing a space invaders game. It is quite good as those games go including all the things a game should have (music graphics sfx levels story) and this game took me about a year to complete.

This was very small in comparison to games made and sold by game companies so that is a bit of perspective for you.

To make a real game requires money most likely, to hire programmers and stuff like that. A developer will pay for this if they believe that you can make it work, but with no experience you would probly have to hire some programmers yourself to make some demos etc and to prove youve got wut it takes (provided ur idea is good).

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Quote:
Original post by cjbooks
[spam removed]
... someone who can give me incite ...

I hope you got someone to proofread your book before it was printed. :)

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Thanks Phalanx and Krez. I know nothing about this, the reason I’m seeking information. So, if you were going to approach a developer, or even others to help, would you have a lengthy detailed game plan, drawings etc? I do have to admit, I worry about ideas being stolen. I’m also wanting to learn some terminology for game plays. Take Halo, what type of game play is that considered in comparison to Age of empires. Just remember you are talking to a dummy here. So plain English would be great until I get the hang of this.
Thanks CJ

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To approach developers, you would ideally be able to present a detailed and well written design document. There's a small section of articles on the subject here at GDNet, covering an explanation of how to put one together, what to include, and even a couple of basic templates, so that's a good place to start. The structure of your design document is really up to you, there's not much in the way of standards; It must however, be very informative, and be organised in such a way as to make sense - you should be able to find any specific information you may be looking for quite quickly and easily, and should give a good idea of the gameplay/storyline/graphical style/etc to anyone who reads it.

Any additional material you can present (concept sketches, miniatures of characters, a demo, or whatever) will only help your case.

You can protect your ideas with an NDA, or Non Disclosure Agreement. Google for more info on this. Remember though, ideas are a dime a dozen - while you're perfectly right in wanting to protect your idea, don't make the mistake of treating it as sacred; To get anywhere, you are going to have to tell people various details of it at times.

Halo is an FPS, or First Person Shooter game, whereas Age of Empires is an RTS (Real Time Strategy).

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Hmm.... do you want to write the game yourself or get it written? Because if you want to write the game yourself it will take a loooong time to complete given what you seem to know about games... no offense here. It´s just that games became more and more complicated over the years and so the development time and necessary knowledge for a commercially successful game have increased rapidly.

I just looked for your book at Amazon. Is it an epic fantasy novel? If it is, a good game conversion will take even longer to complete.
The main thing you should be clear about, before you ask a developer (or others)to help you, is what kind of game should it be. Since you already pointed out you don´t know much about games I give you a quick overview covering the genres that could fit:

Your example Halo is a quite classical First-Person-Shooter (= FPS), you just run around and shoot (mostly) everything that moves, following a (mostly) crappy story. FPS games with good story are rare, but welcome, and tend to have HUGE success. Most FPS just look good (or extremely good) and rely on this "eye candy" (= stuff that looks cool, but does nothing), and still sell well.
Examples:
Halo (not THAT beautiful),
Doom 3 (horror setting with nearly fantastic graphics),
Half-Life 2 (FPS with story and stunning looks),
Far Cry (picturesque open-air areas and good to great looks otherwise)

Age of Empires is a typical real-time strategy game (= RTS): You build some kind of base, raise an army and try to wipe the enemies from the map. Most RTS games use top-down view, because it´s easier to keep control of your armies and strategy from this point of view, though there are some examples that tried to use a first-person view, but these were mainly a flop, due to confusion of the player.
Older RTS games used a 2D map and 2D units moving across it.
This changed in the last few years from 2D map / 2D units, to 2D map / 3D units to 3D map / 3D units.
Examples:
Age of Empires I and II(Pre-historic to Medieval, 2D map and units),
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War (Sci-Fi, 3D map and units),
Battle for Middle-Earth (Lord of the Rings themed, 3D (don´t know exactly, never played) map and 3D units),
Act of War (more or less contemporary setting, 3D map and units),
Warcraft 3 (fantasy, 2D map and 3D units),
Starcraft (Sci-Fi, 2D map and 2D units)


There are some other genres as well:

Role-playing games (RPG´s) are games where you take control of one character or a small party of characters, mostly in a fantasy setting. Characters have attributes (like strength, dexterity and so on) and skills (sword-fighting, lockpicking and so on) that develop during gameplay. Usually RPG´s should have an elaborate story (non-linear is a goal, but sadly never achieved). Views used in this genre range from first-person (mainly for single-character games) to top-down (often used for games with parties). Main aspect of most RPG´s is fighting against monsters and completing some quests (missions given to the player by some non-player characters (NPC´s)), for example "Go to that cave, kill that orc and get my wig back". Still, most RPG´s try to achieve some higher level of interaction with the game world, but are mainly restricted by a) developing time and b) computational power and logical issues.
Still RPG´s tend to take more time to develop that any other genre and often have to struggle with bugs (errors in the game) even more due to their complexicity.
Examples:
Baldur´s Gate I and II (top-down view, quite old, world map for far travels),
Neverwinter Nights (top-down view),
Fallout 2 (good example for freedom of choice but really old, top-down view and world map for far travels),
Gothic I and II (good example for an elaborate world and story, but not so much freedom of choice, 3rd-person view (looking at your character from behind)),
Morrowind (first-person view),
Diablo 2 (NO freedom of choice, just simple Hack & Slay, but VERY successful, top-down view)

Good RPGs could be looked at as a mixture of action and adventure games (next genre), adding character development.


Adventures are games where the player follows a (in best case) well-written plot, solving puzzles and talking to other characters. Older (and mostly better) adventures used a 2-dimensional background image, which were mostly very detailed, to picture your surroundings. Interactions normally range from picking up objects, examining them, combining them to get some other object, talking to characters to get clues and so on. Still adventures depend on the plot mostly. Bad story, bad adventure, good story, mostly good adventure.
At least that is what it was like in the "old" times :) Today everything has to be in 3D, so adventures have to feature 3D-graphics, too. To use the 3D-graphics, though, most adventures have abandoned the choice for the player, how he would like to interact with an object, and "feed" the player with the right interaction for the object, killing much potential for riddles. Furthermore 3D-graphics tend to be less detailed than 2D-background, simply due to the computational power that would be needed to display such detail in 3D.
Luckily the trend seems to be, that adventures should be 2D after all, with some 3D eye candy plugged into the 2D background (like a 3D character moving over a 2D background)
Examples:
The black mirror (recent, combination of 2D backgrounds and 3D characters),
A moment of silence (recent, combination of 2D backgrounds and 3D characters), Still life (most recent, combination of 2D backgrounds and 3D characters),
Indiana Jones and the last crusade (a classic, 2D graphics)
Monkey Island 1 to 3 (classics again, 2D graphics)


I just assume that you don´t want to make a sports or racing game... and there wouldn´t be much to say about sports or racing games anyway.
After all I think you should simply try out some games from different genres. I´d say every one of the examples above is a good or fantastic game, some of them could be called milestones.
I hope this helps.

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Thanks matches81, wow you have given me something to think about. What if you wanted to combine a number of different style plays into one game, is that a major problem for programmers to do this.
CJ

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Hello CJ i'm new to professional type game programming, so I can't help you out on computer language info, but I can point you to some good places to find things to beging on.

you need an SDK or a GDK ( software/game development kits)

If you're just beginning, the best one seems to be 3DGamestudio in terms of the overall. They have a simplified code called "C-script" developed for it, which have extensive documentation included, as well as for the rest of the whole product (Level Editor, Model Editor, SDK {script editor}). You can find it here:

www.gamestudio.com

Crystal Space 3D seems really cool and similar, you will find links to that as well as a bunch of other stuff pertaining to 2d/3d engines on the second tab at the top of

www.devmaster.net

And www.3DBuzz.com seems very nice as well.

Toodles.

Newbie J Sabott

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CJBooks:
Those genres are just the basics. Many contemporary titles have combined genres quite successfully, so this isn´t exactly a problem, but should be done very carefully, I assume. You should always keep your mind open to some questions like: 'Would I have fun playing this game, even if I hadn´t written it?', 'Does it make sense to add this feature into the game or will it just make it more complicated?' and things like that.
Some examples for well-working genre-mixes are certainly "Deus Ex"(character development from RPG, but mainly an FPS) and "Deus Ex 2" (sadly less character development than in part 1), and their 'ancestor' "System Shock" (more RPG, less FPS, but with great atmosphere) and "System Shock 2".
So, RPG and FPS usually works well, because you can always make up some ways to change / enhance gameplay to response to a change in the attributes of the player´s character, or gained skills or just anything.... possibilities for that are more or less limitless, at least theoretically.
In fact, most so-called "RPG"´s do combine RPG and action, giving up some complex aspects of Pen&Paper Role-Playing Games (played with a group of people, one guy telling the others about the world, and the rest playing their characters in that world), like really dynamic relations between Non-Player-Characters and their "natural" behaviour, since this would be a huge effort.
Also you could mix a FPS game with some elements from an adventure, for example by adding some kind of inventory to the FPS, where the player can carry items around, and combine them, or by adding some puzzles, or by doing both things. But don´t forget to put a great story in there, too :)
You can go even further and mix up adventure, RPG and FPS genre.

All of this is just theory as long as you don´t have a development team to talk to about your ideas. They should certainly be able to tell you, what they are able to do. If you are lucky, they can even tell you, whether your gameplay ideas will work out and be fun for the player, which is of course the most important thing about it.
It is nearly impossible to tell, if your ideas for the gameplay will be a major problem to implement or not. Some things might come quite easy, though they seem complicated, other things, that seemed simple to you, could be nearly impossible to do on a contemporary PC.

I´d still say best thing for you to do would to first try out some games and check out, what has been done, what you like about it, what you dislike. I think this would make it easier for you to know more exactly what you want to do, since games and their forms are quite colorful and different.
Most of the games I mentioned above are relatively old and can be purchased for a reduced price (should be between 10$ / € to 25$ / €)

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Thanks Matches and Newbsabbot. This is great information, naturally as I write fantasy, sci/fi this is what I’m looking to create. Therefore, it is trying to work out which way to go and wanting a game, which will not only reflect my books but will generally be a stimulating experience for the players. I am only speculating here, but I suppose programmers are looking to push the boundaries of technology. I watched an interview with the team who did Halo and they were trying to do things not done before. I use to play captain keen and space invaders. So it has been such a huge jump from these arcade games to games like halo. I do have to admit, I really liked the story element and the movie like segments in the game. Final fantasy is another. How well do games rate, which are based on movies?
CJ

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Movie-based games often are quite crappy, but that is mainly because developers seem to 'rest' on their bought license and take it for granted that people will buy the game anyways because there is the name of a good movie on it. Though this is not always the case. After all, all a movie gives you is a story and some scenery, so you could also do a great game based on a movie... you could for example take the characters and world from a movie setting and make up a new story, like "The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay" did, which is based on the 'world' of "The Chronicles of Riddick" and "Pitch Black". That game really rocks. But the movie was crappy, in my opinion. So a good movie is no guarantee for a good game, and the other way round ;)
Games that "will generally be a stimulating experience" are the common goal developing games ;) Game programmers tend to test and push the boundaries quite often (at least professionals seem to do so), because it seems to be the only way to really be in the competition with other professional games out there. FPS developers for example nearly always push the graphics to the limit, because noone would buy a FPS that doesn´t look awesome.

Back to topic: you say, you write Sci-Fi / Fantasy. The "dragons, swords and kings" type of fantasy (Lord of the Rings for example) is most commonly used for RPGs, though there are some Hack & Slay games in this setting that are great (like "Severance: Blade of Darkness" for example). Hack & Slay games reduce the RPG genre to erm.... yes.... hack & slay.... you play a single character wielding a sword, axe or just something sharp and perhaps a shield, run through a world populated with nasty creatures and chop´em.
But, because you´re saying Sci-Fi / Fantasy I suppose you don´t mean that type of fantasy setting. Would be easier if I / we knew a bit more about the world of your books.

Those "movie like segments" you mentioned are commonly called cinematic or scripted sequences or just cinematics and have become more or less standard for any type of game that tries to tell a story.

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Thanks Matches, this would be far more complicated; it is not so much slash them up. It would be part role-playing, part war strategy, entering in and out of the mind to battle, part aerodynamic acrobatics on rings, flight, tank and other machinery simulation. Jeepers the list goes on.
It would be a series, on going venture. Each new game would be very different considering the worlds, creatures etc. Of course, you have the main characters in every new version of the game. Is it a problem having so many things happening in a game? I want to be able to surprisingly pull the player out of the middle of something and make them fight for their life, so to speak, then throw them back where they were. Basically, like you just aren’t in control of the game. Hopefully this makes sense.
CJ

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I knew it was incredibly difficult to develope a game when you've been obsessed with them your entire life. I had no idea someone could just pick it up as they strolled by.

Seriously though. If you know so little about games, why exactly are you interested in making one? I hope it's not money. I hope it's not fame. I hope it's not chicks. Any other reason is fine, though. Good luck in your efforts [smile]

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Quote:
Original post by cjbooks
Thanks Matches, this would be far more complicated; it is not so much slash them up. It would be part role-playing, part war strategy, entering in and out of the mind to battle, part aerodynamic acrobatics on rings, flight, tank and other machinery simulation. Jeepers the list goes on.
(...)
Is it a problem having so many things happening in a game?
CJ


as I don´t understand exactly what you mean by 'aerodynamic acrobatics on rings' I´ll leave that one out. All in all I´d say, your list sounds like an RPG with (hopefully) not too complicated strategy elements and some vehicles to drive / fly.

As mentioned some posts before, RPGs tend to be the most time-consuming games to develop. Adding some strategy elements and vehicles will (most probably) increase the development time further. This increase mainly depends on how complex the strategy part should be, how realistic the vehicles should behave.
After all I´d say for your vision of the game you would need a rather large team of professionals to succeed at all, and they will take very long (between 3 and X years) Most "pure" RPGs need about 2 or 3 (or more) years to develop, depending on how good the graphics should be, how large the world is supposed to be, how intelligent and realistic the non-player-characters should behave, how complex the ruleset for the game is and so on... not to mention the graphics engine needed to display your world in a way that isn´t antiquated.
Adding vehicles and strategy brings up some more factors that simply need time:
Physics for the vehicles at least, an AI for the strategy part of the game (which should be good, if that part is supposed to be fun), and graphics for all that stuff, too...

In conclusion I´d say it would be best for you to still play some games, write down some concept for your game and look for some experienced developers to talk about it, what´s usable and what´s not, what would take too long or make it overly complicated and what does make sense. In fact I´m not experienced at all, I even wouldn´t consider myself a developer, and I can´t tell you where to look for experienced developers, either :(

Oh, yes, about that series thing: I´d say that is mainly a financial concern, most sequels are developed because the original game was successful and has managed to make a sequel promising just for the sake of being a sequel to that title. I´d first go for the first part of your series. After that you can see, whether continuing the series would be a good thing to do.

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