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cjb5790

First time poster, need help starting off.

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cjb5790    122
Alright, please don't be annoyed by my, probably and mostly, very stupid and noobish questions. I'm 16 and I take a vocational course for Interactive Multimedia, under that category is Game Desin/Development. This class is suppose to give us a heads up on the future and get us in a college mind set, so come time to start sending out applications, we've got that little bit extra experience under our belts. A little background on me, being 16, I've grown up in the ever most changing, yet greatest, time for video games, PC and console. I started playing Super Nintendo when I was 4. Just recently though I've been looking at everything it takes to make a story come to life through the X, Y, B and A buttons. I have some background in C programming, I can do plenty with the Adobe Suite, Flash and I;ve been toying with 3d Rendering using Cararra 3D. In high school they always tell you to pick something your good at and make that your career. Like that one quote, "The one thing you wake up and can't wait to do, that should be your hobby." Well, I would love to pursue Game Development on a higher level. Currently, I'm only a junior, but for our senior year, we are required a final senior project. I know the great time and effort it takes to put something like this together so I want to get a head start, get the basics out of the way and really start jumping into the challenge. Here is where the questions start: What programs do you use to create models, maps and whatnot? Is the programming portion, just for the actions that take place in the game? I'm assuming yes, and then you use a compiler to put the actual game "footage" with the programming? Basically, how does it work? I want to get a full understanding of this, I really do want to make this my future. I'm sure I will have many more questions, just please be patient with me. I'm just having trouble understanding how to creat, for example, Master Chief and then make him walk in a vast environment freely...Thank You, sorry for the long read.

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Hushed    132
Quote:

What programs do you use to create models, maps and whatnot?


Alot of people I know, use Blender: http://www.blender.org/

There are many programs that you can use to make models. Im assuming you want to make a 3d map, I believe you will need a pre-built engine, or need your own editor to create maps that are playable. Otherwise, you can just model the map.

Google: "How to create a 3d model" ; " 3d Modelling Software"

Quote:

Is the programming portion, just for the actions that take place in the game? I'm assuming yes, and then you use a compiler to put the actual game "footage" with the programming?


Im thinking you want to create a game. So, the programming portion will not only deal with the actual actions, but everything else that happens, from when you start your program until you end it. Err, yes you would use a compiler to execute your code. I dont know what you mean by footage, but if you just want master chief walking around on his own (the user controls nothing), you could just model the scene, then animate it.

Quote:
Basically, how does it work? I want to get a full understanding of this, I really do want to make this my future. I'm sure I will have many more questions, just please be patient with me.


Since I cant explain to you exactly how to make a game, ill give you the most generic/helpful advice anyone will give you, start small then work your way up.

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cjb5790    122
I know my questions are very vague...yes, I want to create a game, absolutely. I actually have Blender installed on my PC, read about it last week. But how do I create a 3D environment, then create characters, vehicles and place them in that environment for use? How would I create a fully destructable environent? Do I create the 3D renders of everything I want in the level, then use C++ to add actions? Say, "if you pick up the candle stick you can wield it as a weapon" ??

Thanks for your help, and sorry for being so uneducated.

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Hushed    132
Quote:
But how do I create a 3D environment, then create characters, vehicles and place them in that environment for use?

In a game, that would be done using a Level Editor, I believe.

Quote:
How would I create a fully destructable environent?

Learn a programming language. Learn how to use a Graphics Library. Create an engine that allows the environment to be destroyed when certain actions are performed on it.

Quote:
Do I create the 3D renders of everything I want in the level, then use C++ to add actions? Say, "if you pick up the candle stick you can wield it as a weapon" ??

You will need to learn how to program to create an engine that can do this.

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cjb5790    122
I'm reading the articles on this site, and seeing what all it takes from start to finish. I really want to gather a list of all the software I'll need, and what order I have to do things in. I need to learn all the terms as well...how would I go about creating an engine?

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Hushed    132
Learn a programming language. If you cant build a shed, how do you think you will be able to build a mansion? Learning how to do things takes time.

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cjb5790    122
Okay, I've been reading up on C++ and I'm working on learning it...after I do, where will that get me? By learning a programming language, what can I do?

Let's take this 1 step at a time. Please don't get irritated by me. lol

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EmrldDrgn    198
I doubt that you could get a game of the complexity you seem to be envisioning ready by the end of your senior year. Now, a simple (or even not-so-simple) 2D game, sure. But I seriously doubt you'll be able to get Master Cheif to do much of anything in time.

My advice: First, learn some language. It doesn't really matter which, although in this case I'd advocate C#, since there's some excellent materials available for free aimed at precisely what you want to do, and it's a fairly quick language to learn and use. Next, since you don't really have the time to learn DX, MDX, or OpenGL, you'll probably want to use an existing engine (or XNA, which I've heard is really simple), so study up on that. Finally, you will begin work on your game, running into huge numbers of problems along the way. ASK QUESTIONS. Then listen to the answers and use them to problem-solve.

Another thing: Think about all the things involved in a game. There's coding, which you don't know how to do yet, but could probably learn in time. There's artwork, which you seem to know how to do. There's design, both of the game and the levels within it. You could make a decent showing at that, I'd guess. There's also audio. Are you a musician? Can you produce the audio required for a game? There are several other things I'm probably forgetting at the moment, but you see my point, right? There's a lot to be done. If you really intend to do this, I'd say... get right on it!

Just in case you do pick C#... Link to VC# Express. Link to the learning site. Link to XNA.

It would appear that the excellent videos I learned C# from are no longer where they used to be. That's really too bad... they were quite simple. As it turns out, neither are the simple 2D game tutorials I had in mind either. This seems to be a good resource, but I haven't used it myself, so no promises.

Good luck to you! Hope I helped.

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I_Smell_Tuna    96
If you looking at getting in to game development it's best that you start at the beginning. :) The best thing you can do right now is go pick up some books on game development, study how game engines are created, what components are required to make a game, all that good stuff. You can't have a game without your game engine so that should be your first priority, check out your local book stores, in these last few years they've started carrying quite a few books.

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cjb5790    122
That definetly helped! Thanks guys! I plan on running on to Borders alter on today and picking up what I can. I really just want to get started on something here, wheter it's knocking out a 2D game or starting some 3D things. I'm not really worried about if I get something major finished by senior year, just as long as I can show colleges what I have and what I am capable of. Thanks for the links and great advice. I've got a lot of learning to do...

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cjb5790    122
Right now I'm sitting on a Mac, so I'll have to wait to get home and run these apps with my Vista machine...but another question while I'm at it. XNA is a simple engine for me to use, right? OpenGL, DirectX and whatnot are stronger more difficult engines, correct? I guess I shoukd probably google what exactly a game engine is, but maybe you guys can explain it better. if I were to create an engine of my own, how would I go about doing it? What software and what knowledge would I already need? How would I go about using DirectX or OpenGL?

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cjb5790    122
Looking over the 2D games on the Microsoft site, Space Blitzer to be exact. I notice that you DL a package that contains the Sprites already made...I'll do this and start learning but just so I have te knowledge, how would I create a sprite of my own?

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cjb5790    122
Again, sorry for all the questions...I've seen online someone created a 2D version of Zelda:OoT for PC. To create this, was it basically usng Sprites and programming the different actions available using the Visual C# program?

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ShotgunNinja    102
Heh, I'm 15 and a sophomore, and in the same mind set as you. I too want to be a game designer/programmer. I have a few things to share with you:

First off, a fun and relatively easy 3D engine to get started on is the Source engine, the one used in Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source. I've heard people say that it's unreliable, but it's also very easy to make a game that works the way you want it to. Almost all of the programs required for developing for the Source engine can be downloaded from the Steam engine, a free online game-distribution program available from www.steampowered.com . Once you have Steam, you can buy Half-Life 2 off of it and download it, then download the Source SDK that is packaged with it. The only programs you need at that point are Microsoft Visual C++ .NET (Source SDK has a built-in system for *.vcproj and *.sln files), any program that can edit 32-bit Targa files (such as Paint Shop Pro or GIMP), Nem's Tools (Crafty, BSPViewer, VTFEdit, and TerraGen), Audacity (for sound editing), and maybe the free trial version of XSI Mod Tool or XSI|SoftImage.

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ShotgunNinja    102
Also, a good place to start with 2D programming is the ProjectFun lab, available at projectfun.digipen.edu . It's sponsored by DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington, the home of Nintendo of America, SCEA, Valve, Gearbox, and many other large game companies. They created a program that lets you make simple 2D games with minimal programming, and get online lessons with a professional game designer/programmer and DigiPen professor. It's really cool, but the program is a bit broken in places, such as the fact that it does not come with it's own compiler, it uses it's own engine, and the booklet that comes with it is very poorly written. And it doesn't support 3D, at least not on it's own. If you want to make a 3D game with it, expect to be using NotePad to edit the game's confusingly arranged .cpp files much more than the actual program itself. But for 2D games, it's a great place to start.

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cjb5790    122
Nice to see someone around here like me, seems like you have alot more knowledge though. I'll be sure to check those things out. I had read about the Source engine, but the thing is, I don't want to create a new map for an existing game or anything, completely from scratch for me. I like to think I catch on quick, I just like to have a full understanding of everything before I do it. I know I am asking all these questions and you think I shouldn't be worrying about it right now, but that's just the way my min works. Thanks again guys. :)

What projects are you working on or have completed?

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Hushed    132
Use programs like paint to create sprites.

You could use C# to create something like this.

Gook luck! Just start learning, and it will come to you.

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TheUnbeliever    963
First, and possibly the most important, piece of advice: Slow down a little. You can be fast to catch on, but the field you're looking at is vast and intersects with a whole range of highly advanced regions of all sorts of other fields (which are at least as interesting as the game creation itself, IMMO).

I would argue that it is unreasonable for anyone to expect to have any sort of comprehensive knowledge of game development in one year. You seem to want to write a 3D game with realistic physics - this is good, and your enthusiasm in pursuing information related to this is to be commended. However, be aware that game development of this degree touches upon highly advanced regions of all sorts of different fields. Let's take 'just' the physics for example.

For the basics, you will want to be familiar with numerical methods for the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations (as well as numerical integration and differentiation), as well as knowledge of linear algebra and geometry. Of course, that's just the maths. You'll want knowledge of classical (Newtonian) dynamics and kinematics of rigid bodies. Remember that this is just a few elements of the basics of one small part of the entire game and you'll perhaps realise the scope of what you're looking at. For more advanced stuff - I don't know exactly what's involved as I wouldn't consider myself remotely there yet - you're likely to be reading university and research papers.

What I'm trying to say is - don't try to tackle it everything, in depth, all at once (programming, physics, graphics, asset creation, design - etc.). I don't know what background you do have in programming. You say you have some experience with C - what kind of projects have you done before? How much have you done, roughly (a few thousand lines total, a few tens of thousands of lines total, or more than a hundred thousand lines total)?

I'm aware that there's not much concrete advice in here - I'm simply trying to impose on you the scale of what you're undertaking: it is not something that can be learned comprehensively in a year. In a year, assuming you can already program, you can probably be turning out decent 2D games with the bare minimum 'physics' required. Of course, you can focus on one thing and improve that, but I reckon that what I've just said is a reasonably challenging target to meet well.

Now, I'll take a shot at answering your questions.

Quote:
What programs do you use to create models, maps and whatnot?


I'm going to assume 3D here, just to give a full answer. Textures and other 2D art elements can be produced in just about any graphics editor - Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop (Elements) are standard editors, and I'm sure you'll have come across them anyway (because they aren't really related to games).

3D models are produced, unsurprisingly, in a 3D modelling program. These can often be used to produce and render scenes themselves - but what you'd be looking to do would be to produce a 3D model, and then export it to a file format which you could then read and reproduce in your game. A 3D model will normally have textures applied to it, so this obviously involves the previous paragraph.

Maps can be produced in a variety of ways. Some just use a 2D texture, and use colours to represent different items in-game. Others create their own file format (or borrow someone else's) and create (or borrow, again) a level editor for it. The level editor is just a friendly interface to the file format - which again, might just be that 2D texture. More complex things in maps which require interaction are often done using scripting languages - a script interpreter is often built into the game, allowing for easy expansion and debugging of some parts of the game logic.

Quote:
Is the programming portion, just for the actions that take place in the game? I'm assuming yes, and then you use a compiler to put the actual game "footage" with the programming?


The programming portion is for every single thing that happens in your game. Absolutely everything - it loads, displays and manipulates your assets; it controls the game logic; it controls physics, graphics and sound. Everything that happens in your game while your game's running is decided by the programming portion (the programming portion decides whether or not your game continues to run!). However, the programming can be alleviated by using a graphics, sound, physics API or library - allowing you to deal more with high-level logic issues than the actual implementation of such things as I mentioned above when discussing the physics (note: you still need to understand what they are, what they do, when to use them, and what their results are - you just don't need to write the code to actually describe how to do them).

Quote:
I'm just having trouble understanding how to creat, for example, Master Chief and then make him walk in a vast environment freely...Thank You, sorry for the long read.


That one sentence could inspire answers no longer than this one, or could be the full content of a 1000 page book.

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Xai    1848
Using an exiting Game Engine / API is a GREAT way to start acomplishing things soon. To write a 3D virtual reality simulation that lets someone "walk" and pick-up things completely from scratch takes YEARS. But there are many different starting points to help you out. You can use an existing libraries like OGRE and ODE and wired them together yourself (a lot of programming to learn), or use engines like Torque, Source or Unreal to build a whole game (not terribly hard if you want to do things that it is good at), or use a full game-sdk to create a Mod (like the Source or Unreal engines, but as a Mod of an existing game instead of a full game from scratch). Creating mods are the best way to start learning about what is really involved in making a program come together and "work". It basically covers all the things besides the programming of the game. The art, models, levels, actions, AI, rules, sound, music, etc. So you can simultaneously work on making Mod as 1 project, and learning to program as another. Some day down the line, your skills will meet up in the middle.

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cjb5790    122
Great advice guys, I can't thank you enough. I think for now, I'm going to focus on learning how to use Blender3D to it's capabilities and continue learning C#. My background in programming includes Visual Basic, creating program with a few hundred lines. Same goes for C...I'd love to have a 2D RPG done for my senior project, is it feasible? Assuming it's a realtively small game?

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Matt Carr    347
Considering your questions in this thread, I don't think it's feasible that you could create an RPG by yourself in a limited time. At the moment you should focus on learning what an engine actually is, what an API is and just what is involved in creating something as complex as a game. Simply rendering a single pixel on screen can be hell (unless you're using a pre-made engine and sometimes even then).

My recommendation would be to read up on C++ (or C# I suppose... but at the moment C++ remains the main games programming language in the industry) and get a few basic things running like text based number guessing games, etc. Learn about classes and functions and start creating more complex stuff. The you could read some tutorials on getting some basic graphics working using a popular API (DirectX or OpenGL). After that, make small games (Pong or Breakout are easy and a good learning experience. Then move on to something like Pacman and use a pathfinding algorithm like A* or Djikstra with the ghosts). After you've done that you can think about creating something like an RPG perhaps.

The above would take more than a couple of months more than likely, not including the RPG part. There's no quick way to make a game of any consequence, especially when you don't know the first thing about doing so. I seriously think you should try though, and put in as much effort as you can into developing programming skills. You might find it is or isn't your calling, but either way, you'll have a better idea of what it takes to make a game and where you fit into that. If you can't code, you can't make a game by yourself. If you can code but can't create art assets then you can't make a game by yourself. There's no hero game developers anymore that can do it all themselves in this high budget world (except a few anomalies) so while there's nothing wrong with creating small games by yourself, I think you'd be old enough to decide which path, programmer or artist (you can be a designer of some sort, but you'll need one of the 2 main skills to get there) you want to follow.

If my message is a little vague then I'll summarize: It's ok to be 16 and want to make games, learning some programming and how to do art will be great and you might be able to make something fun for your senior project; but in the mean time, think about what you enjoy most (if you enjoy any of it) when creating the game(s) and what you're best at and think about pursuing that beyond other areas because the industry is made up of people that are good at specific areas.

There are plenty of young people on the Help Wanted section of GameDev that want to get a team together to make some 'cool' game of some sort. Many of them first tried their hand at seeing how they could make said cool game on their own. When they realised they couldn't, they expect others to do it for them and they can just 'oversee' the entire thing and then reap all the phat loot at the end of the rainbow. You're not ever going to do that however because you're going to learn what needs to be done and then dive headfirst into it and start smaller than small and build your way up.

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cjb5790    122
You're right in all your assumptions. I know I can't do it alone, and I think by asking for all this help I've really determined Game Development is my future. It just comes naturally, in a sort...your advice has been great. It's al laboutl earning from here on out. Putting my drawings into 3D in Blender...getting C++/C# down to the T and creating some great Sprites for some smaller 2D games...how long would it take to make a Pong clone? Hopefully we can continue to communicate and you can see whatever I can come up with for a senior project progress, I certainly plan to work through the summer on my home PC (right now I'm on a G5 in a lab class), so wish me luck. Thanks Matt...

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Xai    1848
.cs is just a text file. I'm asusme you mean a C# source file (like for .NET programming. (Unfortunately .cs is also the file extension that the Toque game engine choose for their C Script game scripts - before .NET was released).

You make a .cs file with a text or programmer's editor. Notepad even, although you'll go crazy that way.

I use Visual Studio (you can download Visual C# Express Edition for free) and also SciTE (a really small fast editor that came with the ruby one-click installer package).

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