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Project work suggestions

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We're going to have a project work in school in about a year. I've decided to make a computer game. It's a good idea to make things ready in time, because there is the actual game to be created and a full report of the actual game. I was thinking of learning 3d in this time we have and make an impressive 3d game for the project. But that is to hard to make by yourself especially with little experience. After some thinking I decided I would make a 2d game instead. I have experience with C++ and SDL but want to make this with OpenGL aswell. The school i'm going to is not a game programming school or something like that. However, I still want to make some good impressions and be considered good at what i'm doing. Although the code alone would make normal people think that, I want them to be amazed by the game itself aswell (appearance and gameplay alone). Do you think a 2d game is a good idea or should I make something more flashier? I always thought of the possibility that someone may believe or know that 2d games can be made so easy with a game maker that they won't even believe that the game is well done. I can always make a game on the basis of my opengl book for example, but that's not the same thing. I want it to be code that i've done 100% myself, so I also have a complete understanding of the game's structure and design and not least that I know myself that i've done it. In addition, I want it to be something I can be proud with and show to the rest of the world. So now when i've decided to make a 2d game, there are many different types of games, like multiplayer games, RPG game with or without multiplayer support. Are these stuff too much or is it possible for someone like me to accomplish in about a year and a half with so-so experience and only have time for about 2-4 hours a day to code except for holidays? Maybe this is a stupid question, but I really want this project to be successful and ask you here for suggestions. I don't even know if one years prep time is enough for this. I was hoping to complete the game atleast a half year before the dead line so I can prepeare the report and other stuff. How do you plan for a project like this, what is good to do to prepare for it?

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How much do you want to do yourself? Do you want to do the engine and the game logic or just the game logic? Trying to do both (to good/high standards) is an extremely large task to finish in half a year unless 100% of your time is devoted to it.

Edit:
Those two came to mind which I think are the most important:
- Get a clear game design thought out and written on (e)paper. This should be set in stone before the project begins if possible.
- Get a stable toolset ready and know how to use it.

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I have never used a game engine before actually. Maybe now is a good time, is it a good idea to use an engine in a project like this? I always thought of using engines like not doing any code by yourself. I mean, instead of explaining all the good parts I found out how to do and the solutions I found by myself, I will just tell which engine I used instead which sounds less skilled somehow, but it would be really helpful if I could focus on the game logic only.

Do you know of any 2d engines I can use?

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Start small. Think of the simplest game you can think of.

Think of it as a 2^n problem.

The easiest game takes 2^0 time.
The next hardest game takes 2^1 time.
The next hardest game takes 2^2 time.

etc.

But if you add up doing the right game and a bunch of easier games, it ends up taking not much more time than simply doing the right game. Between the learning you do, the bits of code you can reuse, and the fact that harder games are much harder than simpler games...

And as a benefit, you end up with minigames you have done along the way, instead of one large incomplete game. :)

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I remember the old nintendo 8-bit console that had some games that contained many games in one. I remember playing some game with 10+ different puzzle games you could choose from in a menu. It's not a bad idea to do a game like that, it's not so hard, yet all the games make it become better.

In other words, maybe a game you can choose about 5-10 different games that is easy to make like pong, tetris, puzzle, space shooter. That way I don't have to learn tons of new things in order to create the game. I can also spend time making each game much better instead, since I already have some clue how to make them already.

Thanks for your help. I'm fairly certain that this is going to be my project work and that i'm going to stick with this. This idea will greatly reduce the time and the planning process.

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