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RobotGymnast

Engines & Designers

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I've long held the belief that programming a game from the ground up (or using an engine) is better than using one of those "Designer" programs that lets you move around objects, change attributes, and add behaviors without touching the code. I've mainly held this belief because I've found that people my age who "make games", can't make a simple change (e.g. "that's a cool 2D game, can you shift the camera a bit?"). However, I do recognize that more advanced and pricy designer programs are rather powerful, although I've never used one. Is my assumption correct? Or should I drop half the time I spend coding an invest that time into learning to use a GUI that does it for me?

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It depends on what you want. If you just want to make a game for fun then game making software might be perfect for what you want. You will have to examine their capabilities to see if it can accomplish what you want. If one day you want to develop games professionally then get a degree in Computer Science and write games in your free time.

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Original post by c_olin
It depends on what you want. If you just want to make a game for fun then game making software might be perfect for what you want. You will have to examine their capabilities to see if it can accomplish what you want. If one day you want to develop games professionally then get a degree in Computer Science and write games in your free time.


That's the impression I have; but WHY can professional games not be developed with pre-existing design software?

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Original post by RobotGymnast
That's the impression I have; but WHY can professional games not be developed with pre-existing design software?


There's a ton of gray area in this thread. What's "design software"?

Perhaps you've heard of Unreal? In my mind it's editor qualifies as "design software" (Unrealscript, Kismet, etc). A lot of professional games are made with that...

-me

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Original post by Palidine
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Perhaps you've heard of Unreal? In my mind it's editor qualifies as "design software" (Unrealscript, Kismet, etc). A lot of professional games are made with that...


I get the impression it's not used in place of code, but rather as graphic & data design, and has a code interface (like Boost or DirectX) for physics & graphics programming. I haven't looked into it though, so I could well be wrong. If it's used to develop games mainly by scripting, then that answers my question.

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When a game is "designed" or "scripted", those designs or scripts generally fit into some kind of framework - assumptions about what kind of game we are making or how it works. Some tools emphasize ease of ability to work within the framework; others emphasize power to alter the framework.

Ultimately this boils down to "use the right tool for the job". We can sort tools into rough categories to a certain extent, but honestly I don't think this is a very interesting observation.

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Original post by Zahlman
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Some tools emphasize ease of ability to work within the framework

I guess that's more the kind of tool I've encountered and seen used

Quote:
Original post by Zahlman...others emphasize power to alter the framework.


I would be interested in finding out more about those. Thanks for the distinction; that's not something I'd previously thought about.

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Depends on your targets...
From a commercial point-of-view, I'd say buying an engine license can be a good option. After all, the primary goal is to sell a product, not satisfying the ego of the programmers.

If you are more interested in the creative aspect(story writing, sound, drawing, modelling & mapping), yet again an existing engine or framework can save lot's of time (and frustration) and therefore might get you more motivated.

If you are just interested in the techniques and like programming in general, like many people here do, making your own engine (or trying to) is the way to go probably. Small chance you beat CryEngine 3, but at least you had a good time and learned a lot, right?


That said, the tools must fit your needs of course. Plenty of engines to make a shooter, but if you are planning a cricket sports game, or something very specific like a Sim game, I doubt if existing engines are flexible enough... Scripting can bring you far, but complex AI, completely new rendering techniques or super fine-tuned physics (Super Mario, sport/racing games) are craftwork.

Rick

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Original post by spek
Depends on your targets...
From a commercial point-of-view, I'd say buying an engine license can be a good option. After all, the primary goal is to sell a product, not satisfying the ego of the programmers.

If you are more interested in the creative aspect(story writing, sound, drawing, modelling & mapping), yet again an existing engine or framework can save lot's of time (and frustration) and therefore might get you more motivated.

If you are just interested in the techniques and like programming in general, like many people here do, making your own engine (or trying to) is the way to go probably. Small chance you beat CryEngine 3, but at least you had a good time and learned a lot, right?


That said, the tools must fit your needs of course. Plenty of engines to make a shooter, but if you are planning a cricket sports game, or something very specific like a Sim game, I doubt if existing engines are flexible enough... Scripting can bring you far, but complex AI, completely new rendering techniques or super fine-tuned physics (Super Mario, sport/racing games) are craftwork.

Rick


So a fair summary would be: if you want to make a game similar to popular ones (e.g. shooters), pre-existing commercials engines are fine; if you want to do something different, you may have trouble with engines.

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