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BeefWelington

Getting Started in Two Dimensions?

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I basically have no experience with game development, but I've been playing games for a long time. Recently, I've been toying with a concept for a cool 2D game, and I've decided to look into how I might go about making it. Problem is, I've got no idea where to start. I guess I'll describe the game's requirements, and my experience with computers. The game is a platformer of sorts, so it'll be doing a bunch of side scrolling, maybe vertically as well, but in general will have that same "run to the right" idea as mario. Whatever code or engine I end up using, it doesn't have to be blazingly advanced, but I have a few basic requirements. There's going to be a lot of animations for my character, but part of the core design involves rotation and scaling of the character and his weapons of choice. So if I go 2D, I'll need something that's good at scaling and rotating sprites. If I go 3D, that won't be such a problem, but obviously it'll be more complicated and probably not so good for a beginner. My experience is pretty limited. I took a high school course in VB, but it went pretty slow and all I ended up learning how to do was to make dialog boxes for various mundane purposes. I've taken some Java as well, and after learning the basics of programming we got into drawing some objects on the screen, both in applets and the console. I think the most advanced thing I did was that I made a simple paint program where you could draw lines, circles, rectangles, and change colors. All of this was mouse based. So my main questions are: 1. What's a good base to use? I was thinking that it'd probably be a lot easier to do this program in flash, but I dislike the cheesy and simplistic effects of most flash games. Of course, since flash appears to be good with vectors and scaling and rotating, it might be what I need to look at, and I'll just have to modify the art style accordingly. In fact, the more I think about it, I like the idea of using flash for this project. 2. Provided I don't use flash, what language would be most appropriate for such a project? 3. Are there any pre-existing structures available to the community that I can take advantage of? I'm thinking of whatever the 2D equivalent is of using an existing engine to make an FPS. You know, like some foundation that's already been made for this kind of work. 4. If I wanted to have a more dynamic camera than the one found in most old-school sidescrollers, something like the zooming camera found in Super Smash Bros., would it be stupid to try to do that without using polys? I'm really trying to avoid polys as much as I can, as I've tried my hand at modeling and I just can't seem to get the hang of it. But if this camera idea turns out to be necessary, I guess I'll just have to suck it up. 5. Based on my experience with computers, how long do you think it might take me, working alone, to set up the basic game system? As in, designing and animating my character, and assigning his moves to keyboard controls. Adding levels and enemies will come later, but I think the real challenge will be perfecting the feel of the game's controls.

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You could use something like GameMaker, or, if you're intent on doing some programming, I would suggest a beginner-friendly language such as python/pygame. SDL is also a great (natively C++, but works in many other languages, such as the afore mentioned python) library for simple 2D graphics.

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Original post by BeefWelington
4. If I wanted to have a more dynamic camera than the one found in most old-school sidescrollers, something like the zooming camera found in Super Smash Bros., would it be stupid to try to do that without using polys? I'm really trying to avoid polys as much as I can, as I've tried my hand at modeling and I just can't seem to get the hang of it. But if this camera idea turns out to be necessary, I guess I'll just have to suck it up.


If it's a 2D game, don't think of the polygons as "modelling"; just think of the actual polygons. Draw your sprite, and then cut it up into flat-colour regions (this may impact your art style) and then approximate the borders of the regions with straight lines. Voila, polygons. In the "camera" code, you'll be setting up the polygons so that they always face the camera head-on, and using an "orthographic" projection (to avoid distortion at the edges). It's common to use 3D APIs (such as OpenGL, or SDL wrapping that, or PyGame wrapping *that*) for 2D games these days, because the technology has evolved with so much bias towards 3D.

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Original post by Driv3MeFar
You could use something like GameMaker, or, if you're intent on doing some programming, I would suggest a beginner-friendly language such as python/pygame. SDL is also a great (natively C++, but works in many other languages, such as the afore mentioned python) library for simple 2D graphics.


It's funny, right after I made the post I googled around and found Game Editor, which seems to be similar to GameMaker, and I've been messing around with their 30 day demo. Seems like it MAY have what I'm looking for, though it's still unclear.
-Or is GameMaker the only hot tool to own? I do need flexibility, and Game Editor seems a bit thin on that end.

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Original post by BeefWelington
It's funny, right after I made the post I googled around and found Game Editor, which seems to be similar to GameMaker, and I've been messing around with their 30 day demo. Seems like it MAY have what I'm looking for, though it's still unclear.
-Or is GameMaker the only hot tool to own? I do need flexibility, and Game Editor seems a bit thin on that end.


To tell you the truth I'm not very experienced with either. I've played around a bit in RPG Maker years ago, but other than that I stick to C++ developement. I know GameMaker has been recommneded by others before on these forums, so I'd say its worth looking into, but I couldn't say for certain how it compairs to Game Editor.

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