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leevan

how does one make a game?

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leevan    122
Hello everyone well, here is the question, I work in an animation educational facility and amongst the teaching staff we are planning to make a 3D game, none of us has any experience whatsoever in game production, so we are thinking to do it and learn from it. we are planning to make a game for pc. the game we are thinking to make is a very simple racing game in a round circuit with 2 cars which one of them is controlled by the machine and the other by the user. So i believe my questions are: 1. what hardware and/or software we may need? from what i understand we need a 3D software to develop our env and cars and also we need a realtime engine. that's all i know, is there anything else? 2. can you make any suggestions on the engine? should we pay for it, are there any useful free engines? 3. on a skill base, what skillsets do we need? (amongst the 5 of us we have an extensive knowledge of Maya, 3DS Max, mental-ray, Renderman (&RSL), C++ and compositing apps. 4. what typ of realtime skills or developing knowledge does it require? 5. i hear things such as openGL or directx programming for games, what do they mean and how do they affect our approach? 6. the racing game, do you think that would be a simple game for starters? do you guys have any other suggestions? 7. can you refer me to any document or book with similar topic, i've done a bit of research and most of what i could find was focused on game design as opposed to game production, so any help would be really appreciated. finally, I know this may be a very vague thread, but i really don't know the answer to these questions, i mainly want to know if it is actually something we can do it, or is it so ambitious? as you can see we know nothing about this business, so any help you can give us would be really appreciated..... leevan

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leevan    122
Well, Thank you erissian, I had a read through the doc and from what i understood we need to choose one of the two existing APIs, either direct3D or open-gl and apparently there is debate on which one, now i need to know a bit more , things such as other than making the 3d elements, what do we do next, should we make the entire programming for the game ourselves? (seems pretty stiff), or is there any a;ready commercial or free engine that can do parts of the work for us (if not all).
i think what i generally need is an overview of the steps one should take to make the game, i don't know how, let's say,

- Modeling the env and characters in 3d
- Texturing the models
- do the realtime shading (...? how)
- import them in the game engine
- define the logic and movements......
- work around the AI
- make the physics.......
- make the user input controls
...........
.........

i am sure there is another 100 bullet points, but i think if i know all the steps necessary, i can manage to assign a task to every one in my team and figure out how much time and resources do we need.


once again thanks for any advice

leevan

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yaustar    1022
Quote:
well, here is the question, I work in an animation educational facility and amongst the teaching staff we are planning to make a 3D game, none of us has any experience whatsoever in game production, so we are thinking to do it and learn from it.

What is your aim? To learn new skillsets such as programming? Or just to make a game?

Do you have a budget?

What is the skillsets and experience of the staff? Do any of you know how to program? If so, which languages do you know and how well?

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Thaumaturge    3826
If your aim is to create a game (as opposed to developing a game engine), then may I suggest that you look into the use of a game engine, such as Panda 3D?

It should allow you to spend more time concentrating on creating your game, instead of dealing with more tangential technical issues.

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Dark_Glitch    138
Quote:
[i]
- Modeling the env and characters in 3d
- Texturing the models
- do the realtime shading (...? how)
- import them in the game engine
- define the logic and movements......
- work around the AI
- make the physics.......
- make the user input controls


Well first I'd say modeling and texturing is the easiest part of everything you just listed.

Get a 3D modeler such as Blender (free) or Autodesk 3DS Max (expensive, but worth it if you have the dough). There are others out there, but I've only used 3ds max and Lightwave, but I recommend 3ds max. For texturing, this is a 'simple' matter of creating textures with some strong image creation software such as Photoshop CS3 or something.

Now the shading, importing, logic, AI, physics, and user controls are all programmer side stuff. If you want to make a game, you are gonna need a strong TEAM of people to get this done. You probably COULD make a game by yourself, but it probably wouldn't be a good idea depending on what type of game your aiming for. Most high end games are made by a great deal of people (see ending credits at the end of any commercial game).

Hope that helped.

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leevan    122
well

thank you guys for all the kind replies, many people (in different forums) asked me several question, so i am trying to reply those in here so they can help me better:

1 - what is our aim of making the game?
we obviously want to learn game programming, we come from a post pro/ vfx background so basically my plan isn't to make A GAME, it is more of learning how does one make it.

2 - Do we have a budget?
well, we can ask our facility for a budget but obviously we prefer to do it for free, what kind of budget are are talking about in here?

3 - Software access?
we have Maya, Max, BodyPaint, Photoshop, AfterFX and many other that all belong to the vfx production facility, but nothing specific to the game production facility.

4 - What programming languages do we know?
I'd say amongst all of us we know C++, Maya API, RSL, AS2,3. there might be some other stuff but without any practical background.

5 - Type of the game we are planning?
we don't actually know because we don't know the possibilties, But i am thinking of a racing game in a small environment, with only 2 cars competing each other.

Now I have a lot of question, I know these are stupid but i don't know the answers to them:

A - How to choose an engine or......?
many different engines have been suggested, how should i choose one? I almost know what i want, a car that needs AI and proper realtime shading, also i need a physics engine (nothing very fancy; maybe just a crash into a wall), but i don't know how to choose an engine, the thing is we can't go ahead and do all the programming ourselves but at the same time i don't want to use an engine that does everything for us, is there any middle ground? somewhere that we can learn bits and pieces of game programming while doing this game?

B - This is a very rough question, How long do you think this game would take to be produced (consider 4 full time people), a racing game with 2 cars and a small environment with a few streets, I'd like to know the time we need after the modeling and texturing phase. so once i have all of my models and textures, how many months would i spend to make the game (prog, ai, shading....)

C - Physics, i know this is vague to ask, but how do you make the physics for a game, lets say the car crashes into a door, is this something you do in the 3D app and then export to the game engine or ... how does it work ...........

D - Finally I'd like to put a proper schedule/ task list so i know how we should approach this, I am writing the schedule upon what i learnt so far, please do help me to fix it and make it accurate:

1. Game Concept and Game Design Documents
2. 3D! Modeling, Texturing
3. Game Engine
4. Importing the Models
5. Realtime shading
6. AI
7. Physics
8. Input Controls

I understand this list may look funny to some of you guys, but I appreciate any help i can get to make it perfect......

Thanks a lot everyone



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yaustar    1022
Quote:
Original post by leevan
1 - what is our aim of making the game?
we obviously want to learn game programming, we come from a post pro/ vfx background so basically my plan isn't to make A GAME, it is more of learning how does one make it.

Learning how to make/develop a game is not the same as learning how to program. If the actual aim was to learn how to program, then any proposed solutions/answers should cater for that and look at engines/SDKs/libraries/tools that favour developers who want to code.

However, if the aim is learn the development process of a game, then we should look for a solution that favours your strengths and minimise the amount of work and time in the areas that the team is less experienced at.

Quote:
2 - Do we have a budget?
well, we can ask our facility for a budget but obviously we prefer to do it for free, what kind of budget are are talking about in here?

How much money can you spend on software.

Quote:
A - How to choose an engine or......?
many different engines have been suggested, how should i choose one? I almost know what i want, a car that needs AI and proper realtime shading, also i need a physics engine (nothing very fancy; maybe just a crash into a wall), but i don't know how to choose an engine, the thing is we can't go ahead and do all the programming ourselves but at the same time i don't want to use an engine that does everything for us, is there any middle ground? somewhere that we can learn bits and pieces of game programming while doing this game?

How a look at the Torque Game Engine or Unity.

You can probably get a much cheaper academic license to work with. They both should tick most boxes on your list without having to go through the process of integrating many different libraries together. This allows to focus on actually making the game rather then trying to get an engine to work.

The question is whether you are focusing on making the game or making engine/framework.

Quote:
B - This is a very rough question, How long do you think this game would take to be produced (consider 4 full time people), a racing game with 2 cars and a small environment with a few streets, I'd like to know the time we need after the modeling and texturing phase. so once i have all of my models and textures, how many months would i spend to make the game (prog, ai, shading....)

Finish the game to what level of finish? Are we talking about a full frontend? Network play? How many different game modes? How long is a piece of string?

This is virtually impossible question to answer without knowing a LOT more about your team and project requirements.

Quote:
C - Physics, i know this is vague to ask, but how do you make the physics for a game, lets say the car crashes into a door, is this something you do in the 3D app and then export to the game engine or ... how does it work ...........

Depends on how you want the physics to act and what libraries to use. Most libraries run a 'physic's simulation' which contains all the physic objects in the game world. Every object in the game world that has a physical presence has a rigid body in the physics world and the world deals with all the collision detection and reactions according to the rules you have set in the world (e.g Gravity of the world, mass of each object, size of the rigid body, etc).

Quote:
D - Finally I'd like to put a proper schedule/ task list so i know how we should approach this, I am writing the schedule upon what i learnt so far, please do help me to fix it and make it accurate:

1. Game Concept and Game Design Documents
2. 3D! Modeling, Texturing
3. Game Engine
4. Importing the Models
5. Realtime shading
6. AI
7. Physics
8. Input Controls

I understand this list may look funny to some of you guys, but I appreciate any help i can get to make it perfect......

Thanks a lot everyone

This is personal opinion but I would focus on the game, controls and physics from the start even when writing the design docs. Prototype and experiment early, once you found a concept/prototype that works, build the game round that. The nice side effect is that it gives you a chance to get used the tools early in the project.

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