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What do i need to focus on?

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Well, i'm going to school for a computer Science degree. I want to develop games as a hobbyist and maybe some day make some money off of it.. the best i'd hope for is somewhere around the Rune scape level, except probably lower. I've taken a couple of classes on C, and i took a class offered by nintendo.. kind of like a workshop thing, except it lasted over a couple of months. It used a sort of game maker type of thing. I really don't want to work with a game maker again, i kinda feel like i'm developing skills for far to specific of a task. I also learned a little bit of 3ds Max, i've begun to learn to use some video editing apps in my spare time. Special effects not just cutting and adding sound. So maybe i could make a cool splash screen or something >_> I also took a visual basic class but it was all window apps. Click a button and do this, interface with a mysql database. Funny enough i haven't learned how to use mysql yet. I have a buddy that wants to make games for a living, and we plan on making some games together in our spare time. Kind of a garage games mentality i guess.. Now i was under the impression if you want to make a video game you needed to use an already existing game engine, but i ran around the beginner faq which talked about making games using a language. So i'm guessing it's practical to make a game with just a language. We plan on starting out using Java(i don't know it, he does) and building a game engine from the ground up, Which apparently he can do, we'll starting out with very very small games of course. Personally in the long run i aspire to make something close to Diablo 2, at least game play wise. I don't imagine it'll ever hit as intricate or large, but hopefully we can get some of the basic functionality. Anyway, lets say i wanted to create Act 1 of Diablo 2 from the ground up, with 1 character choice and a possible multiplayer option.. what would i have to learn?

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Literally from the ground up, eh... well, first you have to learn how to get raw silicon chips, then dope them with chemicals to produce lots of transistors, then get a whole bunch of the transistors and figure out how to make them work together, write an operating system, learn a few things about CRT monitors so you can build one.......

This is an over-dramatization of course, but the point is that there is very rarely any point in starting from the ground up, unless you are the first one to do it. If you want to make a diablo game, then try... hangman. Or battleship. In text. Those were some of the first games I ever made. Once you're done with that, you will want to either learn to use an existing engine, or learn a graphics API (directX or openGL).

This is if you are interested in programming, mind. If you are interested in doing something else, then focus on that. While your buddy is making the text games, figure out how to use some graphics program really really well. Or making 2D art in paintbrush/photoshop/whatever.

It really boils down to 2 things:

1.) Focus on one particular aspect of game development.
2.) Start with something really simple, trivial even.

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learn C++ or some other high level language, learn it well, learn a graphics API like DirectX or OpenGL, make a basic game with it but never finish it, (repeat this process about 10 times or so), then before you know it you'll be a senior in college like OMG WHAT DO I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE...............

errrrr, at least that's what I did.

Code all the time and you'll get better at it, that's the best advice I have. (you should read articles about coding too)

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>> MilfredCubicleX

Thanks! i've been thinking about grabbing those C magazines. Thank you for giving me a direction to go in.

>> MortusMaximus

1) Isn't that only useful for someone who want to go in to the game industry? That or someone working with a large team who will have everything else covered..

2) I've done it! In fact a lot of people offer this advice, my problem is where to go after that.. but don't worry about it i got my answer.

"learn C++ . . . . learn a graphics API like DirectX or OpenGL"

I didn't really see the need for sarcasm though.. i can't imagine anyone would learn how to make micro chips in order to make a video game.. The only reason i thought it was a viable option was because the FAQ for beginning programming stated different languages to start in. I always thought you were supposed to pay some company a large some of money to use their game engine.. or download a free one.

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C++ is used a lot in the industry, but that doesn't mean it's also a good language for you guys to start out with. At work, I use C++ daily, but if I want to create some small games quickly, I use either Flash or Python + Pygame (and a lot of Python and sometimes C# for tools). I can't say much about Java, as I've only used it a few times in school, but if your friend thinks he can write some games with it, then sure, go with Java.

However, he doesn't need to write 'an engine'. Engine is a broad and somewhat vague term, but what it often comes down to is 'common functionality', in other words, those things that you can use for multiple games, such as rendering, sound, input handling, collision detection, whatever your games need. So, instead of writing something that you can use for multiple games immediatly, just write what you need for your first game (e.g. just build a game) and then, once you've finished that (and gained some experience from it), build a second game (reusing parts of the first game where possible, writing new code where not).

And yes, if there are libraries that make development easier, just use them. There's no need in writing things from the ground up if others have already provided a solid groundwork. Especially if you're still learning how to build games there's no need to make things more complicated than they already are.


So yeah, good luck with your endeavors. :)

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thanks captain!

yeah i guess ground up was maybe the wrong term to use. All i really meant by it was building something using a language instead of a pre-existing game engine.

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Quote:
Original post by Sinuath
>> MilfredCubicleX

Thanks! i've been thinking about grabbing those C magazines. Thank you for giving me a direction to go in.

>> MortusMaximus

1) Isn't that only useful for someone who want to go in to the game industry? That or someone working with a large team who will have everything else covered..

2) I've done it! In fact a lot of people offer this advice, my problem is where to go after that.. but don't worry about it i got my answer.

"learn C++ . . . . learn a graphics API like DirectX or OpenGL"

I didn't really see the need for sarcasm though.. i can't imagine anyone would learn how to make micro chips in order to make a video game.. The only reason i thought it was a viable option was because the FAQ for beginning programming stated different languages to start in. I always thought you were supposed to pay some company a large some of money to use their game engine.. or download a free one.


1.) By one aspect, I meant programming, or using modeling programs, or sound, or voiceacting, etc. etc. You said that you have been experimenting in a bunch of different things, which is good, but ultimately if you split all your time trying to master everything, you will get good at it, but you won't be great at any one thing (unless you are some sort of super human).

2.) Well, you could try writing a simple ASCII graphics engine. That is really the first thing I ever did with graphics. I read character and color information from files, then displayed different objects to the screen. Once you get things of equal size working properly, try working on having a background, with objects on top of it, which introduces the concept of z-buffering... (I recommend c++ for writing this, if you are going to).


I didn't mean any disrespect by the sarcasm, that was just an attempt at humor on my part, and to illustrate that it's not necessarily a good idea to start from "the ground up". I understand that's not what you meant but... well, it was late ;)

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Quote:
Original post by MortusMaximus
Quote:
Original post by Sinuath
>> MilfredCubicleX

Thanks! i've been thinking about grabbing those C magazines. Thank you for giving me a direction to go in.

>> MortusMaximus

1) Isn't that only useful for someone who want to go in to the game industry? That or someone working with a large team who will have everything else covered..

2) I've done it! In fact a lot of people offer this advice, my problem is where to go after that.. but don't worry about it i got my answer.

"learn C++ . . . . learn a graphics API like DirectX or OpenGL"

I didn't really see the need for sarcasm though.. i can't imagine anyone would learn how to make micro chips in order to make a video game.. The only reason i thought it was a viable option was because the FAQ for beginning programming stated different languages to start in. I always thought you were supposed to pay some company a large some of money to use their game engine.. or download a free one.


1.) By one aspect, I meant programming, or using modeling programs, or sound, or voiceacting, etc. etc. You said that you have been experimenting in a bunch of different things, which is good, but ultimately if you split all your time trying to master everything, you will get good at it, but you won't be great at any one thing (unless you are some sort of super human).

2.) Well, you could try writing a simple ASCII graphics engine. That is really the first thing I ever did with graphics. I read character and color information from files, then displayed different objects to the screen. Once you get things of equal size working properly, try working on having a background, with objects on top of it, which introduces the concept of z-buffering... (I recommend c++ for writing this, if you are going to).


I didn't mean any disrespect by the sarcasm, that was just an attempt at humor on my part, and to illustrate that it's not necessarily a good idea to start from "the ground up". I understand that's not what you meant but... well, it was late ;)


1.) well i can respect that, i work harder on syntax that anything. It's just maybe 10% of my energy goes to small projects like video editing. Not saying video editing is easy but i don't spend a whole great deal of time in it. The whole undivided thing is something i can understand to, that why i'm down to team up on making small games.. i doubt it would even be possible to make a good game all by yourself.. well i want to be the guy turned out pretty good.. and that one that took one guy like 5 years.. cave crawler or something?

2.) Now that's what i was looking for, a simple ASCII graphics engine. Sorry to waste peoples time with this question, but whenever someone asks where to begin all you ever hear is "learn a programming language" or "learn to use a game engine" or "use game maker" It became kind of hard to know where to start..

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My honest opinion is to ditch the idea of java, and use C# instead (which is similar). Then you can use XNA, SlimDX, or the Tao framework for the fun rendering/sound etc. You might as well just throw yourself in the deepend and get cracking. It's worth keeping the scope of the game down (i.e. don't plan for a GTA4 killer, but keep it simple. really simple), and add gameplay features as the prooject develops (since you'll have idea's for things that are easy to add). It's very possible that the first game you write will be of debatable quality, but you've got to start somewhere.

Using an engine at this point is likely to do more harm than good tbh. Infact, it's best to ignore the whole engine part for now, and concentrate on writing the game.

Developing a game is not the easiest thing to do, but with some effort it's quite good fun and very rewarding. The pro tip is to get used to using google to find out what you need to know....

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