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game development questions

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I'm a newbie and just have some newbie questions that most of you would probably consider stupid questions. But please just bear with me and my inquiries. Are all top of the line games (S.T.A.L.K.E.R., HalfLife2, World of Warcraft, etc.) made from scratch using coding languages such as C+, C#, or javascript? If so then they're development teams must be HUGE (like 50 people) to complete games like that in the amount of time that they do. Right? And do they use modeling programs to make their 3d models or do they use the coding for all that too. I understand that games have engines, however I do not understand what the engine is in relevance to the game. How do game engines differ, etc. If you guys could clear this up for me I'd really appreciate it. I have done some modding with Freelancer. The game is extremely easy to modify since all that is required is understanding the .ini files and how they work. Hierarchy type of stuff in a way. Once you understand where to look, its almost becomes second nature. I was wondering if it was possible to make a game entirely with .ini files. Does this differ from the game engine or is it part of it? I am considering about learning the Dark Basic Pro language and have been reading around in forums. People are either for Dark Basic Pro and say its excellent for learning or are against it and say that it is extremely handicapped. I have also been considering C# and downloaded Visual C# Express edition from the Microsoft Website but have read somewhere that I should use Visual C# .NET. Whats the difference? As you can see I'm quite confused. I really don't know where to start and would like to know more about programming and game development before rushing in. Any and ALL help is greatly appreciated. I'll accept constructive criticism as well. Just don't bash me too hard. :)

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Original post by Nehemiah
Are all top of the line games (S.T.A.L.K.E.R., HalfLife2, World of Warcraft, etc.) made from scratch using coding languages such as C+, C#, or javascript? If so then they're development teams must be HUGE (like 50 people) to complete games like that in the amount of time that they do. Right? And do they use modeling programs to make their 3d models or do they use the coding for all that too.


Some games are "made from scratch", some are not. In the games industry and in the software industry in general there are Middleware developers. What they do is write software that other companies purchase and expand to create their own software. For example ID software (see: Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake), is primarily a middleware developer. What they do is write a game engine that lots of other companies liscence and use to create their games. ID just happens to also make full games with their own engines too. Sometimes they will even contract another company to use their engines to create full games (see: Enemy Territory Quakewars). Depending on the complexity of the software, some companies can be very small (20-30 employees) to very large (100+ employees).

And yes they do use 3d modeling software like Maya or 3D Studio Max. In the end, all 3D tools do is output a set of points. It is up to a game companies to custom software to load that data into their games.

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Original post by Nehemiah
I understand that games have engines, however I do not understand what the engine is in relevance to the game. How do game engines differ, etc. If you guys could clear this up for me I'd really appreciate it.


The "engine" typically refers to the portion of the video game software that controls rendering. However this term can also refer to physics, AI or all of the above. What makes engines differ is what algorithms they implement and what hardware they support etc.

For example people used to like the water rendering in Source Engine, but now they would insist that the water rendering in Crysis is far superior. These differences are due to what we refer to as the [grapics] "engine".

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Original post by Nehemiah
I have done some modding with Freelancer. The game is extremely easy to modify since all that is required is understanding the .ini files and how they work. Hierarchy type of stuff in a way. Once you understand where to look, its almost becomes second nature. I was wondering if it was possible to make a game entirely with .ini files. Does this differ from the game engine or is it part of it?


A game engine consists of source code and tools that allow you to create content (ie maps, models, scripted events) that can be loaded and run by the engine. Modding is a lot like working with a very limited engine.

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Original post by Nehemiah
I am considering about learning the Dark Basic Pro language and have been reading around in forums. People are either for Dark Basic Pro and say its excellent for learning or are against it and say that it is extremely handicapped.


Darkbasic will probably offer more instant satisfaction, ie. you can get stuff on the screen quickly.

Overall I think C# will teach you concepts that will be reusable. Its concepts can be applied in your understanding of other languages in the future. Also C# is known for being friendly to beginners. Look into the XNA toolkit.

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Original post by Nehemiah
I have also been considering C# and downloaded Visual C# Express edition from the Microsoft Website but have read somewhere that I should use Visual C# .NET. Whats the difference?


Visual C# Express is the freely distributed version of Visual C# .NET. The former is a perfectly fine.

[edit]

Wiki-Wiki

[Edited by - fpsgamer on August 4, 2007 12:23:36 AM]

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Original post by Nehemiah
I have done some modding with Freelancer. The game is extremely easy to modify since all that is required is understanding the .ini files and how they work. Hierarchy type of stuff in a way. Once you understand where to look, its almost becomes second nature. I was wondering if it was possible to make a game entirely with .ini files. Does this differ from the game engine or is it part of it?


I assume that these .ini files contain mission scripts and affect NPC behaviour in some ways? Either way, such files (whether they have the .ini extention or a totally different one doesn't matter) are by far not everything there is to it. Think of the worlds you're running and flying through: these were modelled, perhaps in a specific level-editor, perhaps using an existing 3D modelling package. Think of the sounds, the textures, the character animations, and so on. These .ini files probably have more to do with the game-code than with the engine.

Quote:
I am considering about learning the Dark Basic Pro language and have been reading around in forums. People are either for Dark Basic Pro and say its excellent for learning or are against it and say that it is extremely handicapped. I have also been considering C# and downloaded Visual C# Express edition from the Microsoft Website but have read somewhere that I should use Visual C# .NET. Whats the difference?


It depends on what you want. Are you looking to create some small games quickly, or do you have a long-term goal?

Quote:
As you can see I'm quite confused. I really don't know where to start and would like to know more about programming and game development before rushing in. Any and ALL help is greatly appreciated. I'll accept constructive criticism as well. Just don't bash me too hard. :)


I'd say, go mod some other games. Half-Life, Unreal... take a look at how to create levels for them, or models, or how to modify their game-code. I've done it for about 6+ years and it has given me a lot of insight into how games are (or can be) structured - which helps me now when I'm programming games, even though I mostly made levels and models in that time.

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I have a dream if you would call that a long-term goal. I hope to eventually, possibly, maybe, join a development team and be part of the creation of a post-apocalypse mmofps/rpg type of deal. Basically I would really like to turn this dream into some kind of career. But for now I just wanna learn simple stuff like pong and pac-man.

I'm still wondering though, should I even learn Dark Basic? Or should I just start with C#? I figure it would be a good idea to learn some C language somewhere down the road. I don't know if programming would actually be my thing seeing how I've never really tried it, I'm just really interested. I already know a good deal with modeling. I'm no pro but I know enough to get by.

And thanks for both of your guys responses. It's extremely helpful to me. Sorry i couldn't respond quickly but after I made the post my sister needed to do her homework and fell asleep shortly after.

Oh yea couple more things... Would getting a college degree be important if I wanted to make this into a career? Is it possible to get into a development team just on ability and skill alone?

Thanks again guys.

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Would getting a college degree be important if I wanted to make this into a career?

Yes. Very.

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Is it possible to get into a development team just on ability and skill alone?

Thanks again guys.

Hobby development teams, yes. Commercial teams, chances are extremely low. In general, you will be bottom of the pile in CVs/resumes without a degree.

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I appreciate the honesty yaustar. I was hoping that wasn't going to be the answer but somehow I expected it. Everything nowadays requires college degrees. :/ It makes sense though cause I guess most top development teams probably get resumes and applications by the loads. :)

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I appreciate the honesty yaustar. I was hoping that wasn't going to be the answer but somehow I expected it. Everything nowadays requires college degrees. :/ It makes sense though cause I guess most top development teams probably get resumes and applications by the loads. :)

If you don't have a degree, the best chance you have of entering the industry is through someone (friend) that is already in it. They have to be fairly high up to make a difference though.

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I'm a newbie too with dreams of working in the game development industry and I'm learning C# right now. It's been great so far. I strongly recommend it.

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It shouldnt be such a pain to learn about your own hobby from experienced seniors: i find out it takes me the least effort possible(talking about a degree!). Maths and general programming are important to all of us and should not be considered grim trolls :( Furthermore you can attend hobby development teams while u study, thats not so bad! :)

forest

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