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One of three game designs

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I've begun the process to startup my own company. My only funding is coming from Self-Employment Benefits from the government. So my first game is based on the Konquest game for KDE (linux). A simple turn based strategy game but mine is web based. I'm about half way towards getting it releasable and I'm getting some valuable project management experience, even if the only programmer is myself. But after this, I want to start my first major project using a game engine of some kind. I've currently decided to use Half-Life's Source Engine. But I first need a game to develop. And so far I have 3 that potentially can become my first PC game. What I would need are suggestions on which I should do, and what I would need (other team members etc) to create such a game. Candidate #1: LL: Nova Complex - The game is a Thriller First Person Shooter with Coop ability. It is squad based and will feel very similar to Republic Commando for the Star Wars Franchise. I'm guessing this will be the best choice as it simply is a standard FPS with coop, (where no real multiplayer security features need exist). Candidate #2: RTS Sandbox - I loved the Dungeon Keeper / Evil Genius style of games and would love to make my own if not for the sake of having a bug-free game in that style. Now I say bug free as both games seemed to have serious game crashing issues that were never patched. Candidate #3: Team / Class Multiplayer - Something along the lines of a multiplayer Alien vs Predator game (if anyone has played those old games). a few "species" with several classes to each, all unique. Sort of like a Team Fortress except that one team has completely different classes than the other. With all games, the intent is to sell this game at the end. With a good team, is a one year goal unrealistic? What should have been completed in one year? Which one should I choose? And who would I need? I have plenty of programming experience but I am rusty with C++.

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I think all the designs would work, as long as you put enough effort, and energy into them, but if it were me, I would either create some rough design documents for each one, then see which one seems most appealing, or reasonable, or I would chooes the first one.

If your planning on realeasing the game in one year, then you would need a working game, that is appealing and worthy of purchasing, which means youll probably need a publisher. So I would say a working game, and a publisher.

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I'd say that one year is very optimistic, if not naïve. Depending on the art direction you're going and how technically advanced you wish to go of course. I've seen Half-Life (1) mods taking multiple years. The two small mobile games I was working on during my internship took several months longer than expected, due to technical difficulties (build once, debug everywhere). I guess in your case, the art side may take more time than you'd expect by now. Again, depending on what direction you want to go and what people you work with.

I guess most plannings are too optimistic anyway. :)

Perhaps it's interesting to know that some teams made mods to prototype their game idea's. The Ship, built with the Source engine, did this, they first made a HL mod. Oh, from what I've heard about Garry's mod (a sandbox HL2 mod), it incorporated Lua scripting recently so perhaps that's a usefull rapid prototyping tool.

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A mod using HL would be a good starting point to base your game off of.
Question: Would you be actually building the game FROM the HL mod, or simply using the mod as a example? I don't know if its legal, or if any licensing fees may be involved, but wouldn't you think there would be?

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I'm in the process of trying to find out licensing fees for the Source engine.

I've even thought of maybe gathering just all programmers. I would forget about all other aspects of the game: art, sound, models, except for maybe level design as it is really needed in single player let alone multiplayer. If I have enough levels to work with, I would just concentrate on the programming. (I'm not abandoning them just doing "my" half first)

If I can get everything or close to everything the way I want, I can then recruit other team members who can turn the game which looks like S*** into something great. I would also have something to show to prove that the project is almost done and would be foolish to abandon at this point.

I'm not sure how this strategy will work, if at all.

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It is very possible, just remember that you double development time that way, since you are basically ignoring the "pipelining" principle of game design (= specialised groups of people working simultaneously on different parts)

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Well my first goal is to come up with a design document. Is this something I can do after I gather part of the team? or is it better to have it already. I can make one but it's not going to be long at all, 20 or so pages I'd think. I'm very sure there's a lot I'm overlooking that could be added. But I'd need others to chat with in order to fill the rest out.

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I would definitely be most interested in the second one. I love the crafting and defense of dungeons.

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Which of the three would be the fastest from a programming point of view? Assuming all other aspects take the same about of time compared to each other.

I could see the coop being the fastest except for storyline details

Strategy Sandbox is just completely different in my eyes and could potentially take much longer.

The Teambased one could be a little slower than the coop except for the part where every class starts getting balanced.


I want to start a project that I can get done sooner without rushing. What are some completion times for fps compared to rts' and class based mods?

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