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arseburger

Deciding on a platform

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Hey I am planning some games, which I hope to distribute via the whole shareware/indie/casual thing. I am not suited to programming, and am going to focus on the design and graphics for the games, but in order to find a coder I need to decide which platform I am going to use... I have read a bit about Flash, Director and C++ as possible platforms, but I just can't decide! I was interested in Flash for vector support; since most of my game ideas would be suited to 2D and it would seem that vector is the way forward of 2D, also Flash's high installed base, the possibility of online demos and easy porting with an exe wrapper. But I have read a lot of negative things about Flash's performance, and that it isn't suited for anything more than simple games with few moving parts; which none of my games really are. Plus it would be expensive to buy an .exe wrapper... I'm not sure about Director, my understanding is it is similar to Flash in some respects, but better suited to offline content; though hopefully online demos would still be an option. Director has very good security? I guess I would not need a wrapper for Director files. but being much more expensive, would coders in Director be more "serious" and less willing to take on a project for learning purposes, with royalties at best. Though Director has half as much installed users as Flash : I don't know much about C++, it seems that there is so much information that I have trouble finding where to start... though, lots of people seem to use tools/libraries that cost money to get, coming from a non-coder perspective I don't really know what I'm looking for The games I have planned out initially are; a 2D slow side-scrolling "bombing" game, and then a highly customizable racing game. Also, would it be safe to assume I won't have to pay for the programming side tools if i get a hobbyist coder to work for royalties(or free >:) ? Any help would be appreciated, thanks for your time!

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Firstly, welcome to GDNet!
Secondly, I love your username!

More importantly, I personally chose to go with C++, as it's proper programming. Director and Flash work mainly on scripting languages, so there is still some element of programming involved, but it's more graphical design than anything else. You say you're "not suited to programming", have you tried it before? You might find yourself getting drawn into it, and find that you maybe actually are suited to it.

Flash and Director can't really be run as programs unless you have the viewer program to go with them, and it's rare to see one that's executable. They're mainly used on websites for a number of things, and as such you can't really distribute them as shareware. If you're into casual things, you might make yourself a little following, like David Firth did with his weird Flash movies.

However, you don't have to worry about portability as much, because they'll most probably be able to run in any web browser on any operating system, as Macromedia allow for this when they write the plugins. You will have to worry about portability if you're writing in C++.

C++ allows you to make a lot more powerful stuff, but you need to work really hard yourself to unlock its full potential. It's getting easier and easier though, people have written libraries like SDL (what I use), which makes creating games relatively easy. But you do need to know a small amount of the key C++ concepts first, you can't escape that.

I'll leave the decision to you, what I've posted here is merely my opinion and shouldn't be taken as fact.

Hope I've helped you, please ask if you have any other questions.

ukdeveloper.

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Heya,

Just wanted to post a response real quick to your message. In general, there's probably 100 to 200 people a week who post on gamedev.net with a message something similar to this:

"I'd love to make this really cool space simulation game, or a racing game, or a MMORPG, .... I don't have any programming skills, and I really dont have any artistic skills either, but I can sketch something up quickly. Finally, I'm not really interested in learning to program or be an artist, but I have lots of great ideas so I'd like to design the games and hopefully get other people to do all the work, and with any luck they'll do it for free."

I'm not saying this is bad, and I'm not saying it wrong to feel that way, I'm just saying its proven to be ineffective. In general, people who are on here as game programmers generally have more than enough ideas of their own to implement. Additionally, most people on here are not willing to do a game of the caliber usually desired by the "designers" for free. Finally, if a programmer volunteers to write your game for free, there's a STRONG chance they've got little experience and don't understand the full complexity and time commitment of making your game. The usual end result is that within 1 to 2 months the programmer(s) give up and your game never gets finished.

If you're seriously interested in making your games come to life, your best bet is to learn to program yourself, or plan on going to art school. There are also game design/development schools available such as DigiPen and FullSail.

Finally, take a look at these links, as they will get you started on your way:

How do I make games?
What programming languages should I use?

Good luck, and best wishes!
-jwalsh

EDIT: P.S. Please take this in the spirit in which it is intended. I am not trying to be rude or cause early frustration. Game development is a great journey to be on, I just want you to be aware of the realities of game development before you get mislead.

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If you want to program it, learn to program.
Otherwise, get in touch with a programmer, and discuss with him/her which language to use. ;)

They all have their different uses. If you want something web-based, Flash is probably the best option. It depends on what you want to target, and of course, what your programmer actually knows best.

If you want something that looks like a "professional game", C++ offers you what you need. It's the only proper programming language of the three, meaning it lets you do anything you like, although it's generally more work. :)

But if you're not going to program it yourself, consult your programmer on the matter. ;)

And finally, jwalsh has a very valid point, even if it might sound harsh.
Everyone's got ideas, so if that's all you can offer, you'll have a hard time finding a team to work with you.

The usual answer would be that you have to become either an artist or a programmer to get anywhere, but in your case, it might be possible for you to be a sort of producer. If you can make sure the game gets out the door and that lots of people are going to buy it, that's worth a lot too. If you can actually show the required professionalism and skills required to turn it into a project where money is involved, that's worth a lot, even if you have to get someone else to make the actual game. But keep in mind, this would mean making all the neccesary surveys and market analyses to estimate how well it'd sell, working out different ways to distribute the game, and make sure people actually find out about it.
It's a lot harder than just saying "Make this game, and I'll put it on my website so people can download it and pay for it".

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Wow, thanks for the fast replies! :)

Sorry if my posts are unclear, I don't write in a very logical manner lol. Just to clear it up; I do plan on doing the artwork for the games :) I also plan on being the producer mainly aswell and run the business side and everything.

I have tried Visual Basic in the past and I gained a basic understanding of it (writing a text adventure game that is lol) I also tried C++, but found it a bit overwhelming.

and btw Flash, Director and C++ are just ideas for platforms I can think of, if there are any better ones please feel free to share them with me :P

Thanks again

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Stick with the animation and show your leadership roles by getting the work done, right now I am in a game group that has nothing but producers and designers, idea makers, testers what ever you want to call them, but not ONE SINGLE PROGRAMMER or Animator ( i am the only one )!. Like said before: everyone can think of new stuff,..focus strictly on design and animation and let your work show your work ethic, then...you move up to bigger and better things( producing, lead design or other posistions ). Making a game isn't all about kool idea's those ideas have to be workable, usable, attainable and manageable. Trying to speak constructively here, but it is really anoying ( not YOU! ) when guys come on the forums with no skills but they want to make a game...ya get me!

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