Sign in to follow this  
Chaduke

Fully integrated game creation systems

Recommended Posts

Chaduke    122
Driving home from work this afternoon I thought about the game creation process as it exists now from a variety of perspectives. I thought about the various integrated 3D systems like Max, Maya, Lightwave, SoftImage, Blender. Then you have the individual programs focusing on specific aspects of the process - Wings3D, Silo, Modo, Milkshape, Zbrush, DeepUV, UVMapper, Unwrap3D, CharacterFX. Next you have libraries that perform specific tasks like ODE, Newton and Tokamak for physics and OpenAL, FMOD and Miles for sound, Raknet, TNL for networking, Allegro and SDL for 2D. Next you have various engines like Torque, Crystal Space and Irrlicht as well as the high dollar engines used in popular games like Quake, Unreal, and Far Cry. Then there are programming systems that attempt to simplify the process a bit like Blitz3D, DarkBasic and Gamestudio. I began to imagine a system that had everything in one place. A system that opened up full screen with a tabbed menu across the top or side and a default world in front of you with perhaps water, land and sky. If you wanted to modify that you could hit a tab and tweak some sliders, or go deeper and add some scripting code as well as being able to visually modify the terrain. If you wanted to add architecture to the world you'd have a built in level editor with all sorts of pre-made buildings as well as the ability to create your own. Another tab would have a character editor that would give you some pre-made templates for creatures where you could enter all sorts of parameters like height and weight, color and bump maps, number of limbs, pre-made animation sequneces as well as the ability to go down to editing the model on a vertex level with or without symmetry if you desired. There could be a section for AI, ways for the character to defend itself and the animation sequences or sounds that went along with it. You could easily drag and drop your character into the game world and visually draw out its pathing. There would be a main code editor that would focus primarily on the game loop and help you organize various subroutines. Things like FPS, game speed (frame limiting), keyboard, mouse and joystick polling would be all built-in and turned on or off and adjusted in a GUI interface. Im imagining a section for a resource library where you can link to all your game assets like models, textures, and sounds and keep them organized in their own directory structure beneath the current project. I'm wondering if anyone has tried to create a system like this or perhaps is doing so now, or if we'll ever see something like this in the future. I'm wondering how many game designers would actually want to use a system like this if you could overcome limitations like speed, flexibility, team interaction and just the monumental task of programming this type of system. Looking forward to your feedback.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nilkn    960
The concept sounds good, but is inherently flawed.

The problem is a simple one of logic: specialization is inversely-proportional to generalization. What this means is an integrated game development environment such as the one you described would lack the flexibility for true creativity or atypical innovation.

Making such a program would require many assumptions to be made about the games it will make. You've already made quite a few.

However, if your game didn't require anything out of the ordinary, or any wildly specialized renderers (such as the one used in Morrowind where the world is broken into so-called "cells"), then the increase in productivity would be highly desired among developers.

So ultimately I think the utility of such a games IDE is fairly opinion-based, but definately worthy of discussion.

Edit: There's already a few games IDEs out there, actually. The most popular I believe is the aptly-named Game Maker, which seems to no longer be free. [sad]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Telastyn    3777
Things like this [though, admittedly not to this scale] have been tried before. They were all to one extent or another, a steaming pile.

Neverwinter Nights was the most recent example, and it did fare a bit better.

Anyways, the main part you seem to be missing is the actual game. In one way or another, there needs to be rules to the game. Neverwinter Nights, and various others got away with that by assuming the game is a certain type. RPG, side scroller, pinball... whatever.

To allow the creator to make the rules you need to allow for coding [for all purposes] and at that point, tying the various libraries available into a game isn't terribly more to ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chaduke    122
The general idea I'm thinking of is a system that focused on flexibility in terms of "game creation" rather than a multitude of parts that could be used for many other things besides games. In my opinion the creation process as it carried out now by a large percentage of individuals and teams is inherently flawed because the tools used are very multi-purpose. A huge part of the learning curve exists because artists, designers and programmers must figure out how to effectively use their chosen tools as they apply to game creation.
I'm imagining a system that allows you to create almost any type of game (well, primarily 3D based games) but with tools that adhere to specific guidelines in the context of the style of game being created. Something that exists with a flexible, easy to use templating system at the forefront that will allow you to go deeper into to the details as you desire and also as the system evolves.

Nilkn: I'm looking at GameMaker right now and so far it seems very close to what I'm decribing only it focuses primarily in 2D. Thanks for the link.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Such a tool would need to be as abstract as possible, as soon as you try to make assumptions about what the end games are going to be like the system breaks down.

In your first post, you mentioned terrain / water / sky but that assumes that the game will take place outside.

Really what you need is an underlying system which can deal with all the libraries / APIs your gonna be using.
Built onto that, you'll want Editors so that you can create content (including models / textures / sounds / maps etc)
Then you'll want game code, which should be created from scatch which describes the rules / workings of the game

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jsgcdude    250
You've had a good thought but don't forget the Blender game engine.

It's a good idea, but to be sufficiently general to allow the creation of any type of game then you take on nearly the same complexity as using a language like c++ or java or whatever and a game engine of your choice (irrlicht, crystal space for example). Tieing this into the Blender link, the Blender game engine uses python for scripting. Python is very powerful language. Also Blitz3d and Darkbasic pro get close to being an integrated game developement system, i've not used either; they both have some tools for content creation iirc. These Basic implementations are pretty 'advanced'; more powerful than qbasic from what I've seen.

Games are just hard, there's no way to get around that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Arelius    196
The closest thing I have seen (and likely the closest thing to ever exist) is virtools http://www.virtools.com/ however it is near impossible to create such an application that can ever really fully do what you want. Imagine the hassle of making it genereal enough so you could do MMOG's with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sriniatig    151
A lot of MMOG engines have the ability to drop in asstes and edit in realtime. A lot of engines support scipting like Python. MMOG engines has to have such a large design integration if it has to manage to create large worlds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this