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agm_ultimatex

Where to start

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Hello, A friend of mine and myself have a general idea of a game in mind. We are still deciding on exact direction and so forth. It's idealy a multiplayer RPG. I'm just wondering whats a good place or area to start the development? Thanks.

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Well, certainly not posting the question in "Game Programming".

Besides, a good start point is knowing what you want to achieve (what's the game about, how should it feel to play the game, how shall it work in a general sense).

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I would say the first thing you do before diving head first into development is finish the pre-development. Like lucem described in the previous posting, what do you want to achieve? Try to finalize as much as you can on paper or in a document before actually starting production on the game. This will save you many headaches once you start the production phase because you should have a much clearer path laid before you.

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Quote:
Original post by agm_ultimatex
A friend of mine and myself have a general idea of a game in mind. We are still deciding on exact direction and so forth. It's idealy a multiplayer RPG. I'm just wondering whats a good place or area to start the development? Thanks.

First, write a GDD.
Then make a TDD. In the TDD, examine all the technical challenges - that'll tell you which parts of the project you two can't do yourselves.
Secondly, you need either money or other people to volunteer. Recommended reading: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson16.htm

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Don't start with development. Start with conceptualization.

The game design process is pretty rigorous, especially if you're intent on creating something that people will actually enjoy (the goal of games). Begin by creating an overall "design document." While your first game project should not include every aspect of a professional design document, it's still a good idea to include many aspects to get the hang of things.

Do so in the following steps:
1. Create a high concept. This is usually just one, two, or three sentences describing the overall feel to the game.

2. Create a scope document. This is your first working document. The idea is to expand upon the high concept to flesh out the main goals of the game without going into too much details. You should include things like the platform (PC/console), players (single/multi), genre (action/adventure/puzzle/etc), goals, special features.

3. Write up a game design. While that probably sounds pretty broad, it's quite specific and detail driven. This document includes things like game summary, outstanding aspects (what makes it unique?), game story, backstory, main players, characters (NPC or other players), weapons, buildings, structures, any other objects in the worlds, conflicts, resolutions, controls, and different game modes.

4. Set up your specific in game data. Using excel or some sort of spreadsheet (you can hand write it if you want), make sure you give specifications to any in game objects that require certain numbers to operate. For example, you'd keep track of how much health certain monsters and players would have, their damages, intelligence levels, and anything else you can think of.

5. Think of the technicalities. Up until this point, you shouldn't even think about the which code or algorithms to implement. This is where you begin to sit down and think about which technology you're going to use for certain parts of the game. Primarily you should focus on:
- Rendering - 3D? 2D? Isometric?
- System Architecture - Windows specific? Linux specific? Platform independent?
- Scripting - Python? LUA? Either for interfaces? AI?
- Networking - LAN? Internet?
- Sound and Music - Establish mood and necessity of types of effects and music
- Artificial Intelligence - Just enough to convince? Pathfinding? Aiming?
- Animation/Characters - Sprites? 3D models?
- User Interface - Dependent on an interface or can do without one?
- World System - Static field of play? Scrolling 2D background? 3D immersion?
- Database System - How to store game data/resources, usernames for multiplayer stats, etc.

6. Finally, think of the player. Define a set of rules that the player must follow in all situations. Think of what happens when a player does X to Y. What happens if he does A and B simultaneously? How will the menus work when the player interacts?

Obviously, that's a lot on your plate for your first game, and most can probably be left out. The point of showing you all of this was that there's a lot involved and you should probably always take everything into consideration if you want to make it a good habit. You will thank yourself after you've established all of the above and have a solid working blueprint for your concept.

Reference reading: Game Design: A Practical Approach

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