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Advice for a complete and utter newbie?

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Hi everyone.

I'm new to the forums here and I thought this would be a good place to pick the brains of some people who actually know what they're doing.

Let me preface by saying that I have absolutely no knowledge of or experience with anything related to game development apart from the fact that I interviewed to be a tester once a few years ago. As I peruse the forums I feel like a deaf person trying to learn an alien language by listening to it. I really feel terribly out of place within this community.

Having said all that, I've got some ideas that I think have great potential in my head and I want to get them out.

The idea that I want to start with is a game that utilizes a conversation system similar to Mass Effect or one of the Quantic Dream games where the player is given a choice of different tones of response rather than a dictation of the actual spoken line, and a limited amount of time in which the player has to make his/her choice. The dialogue and cutscenes are presented as sort of animated comics akin to Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slNAKgByNRU

Periodically throughout the story the player will be presented with difficult choices that will affect subsequent events and ultimately the ending.

The problem I'm having is that, like I said, I have no knowledge of any aspect of game development and I have no idea where to begin such an undertaking.

Can anyone help?

TL;DR
I have no experience or knowledge making games and I want to make a sort of text-based choose your own adventure game, but I don't know how to do it. Can anyone recommend a good program for a total beginner to learn and create on?

P.S. I'm really looking forward to spending time with this community and learning as much as I can. So I thanks in advance for any help!

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Welcome. You should check out Ren'Py. It will provide you with a relatively simple way to quickly see your ideas come to life. As you get more advanced you can start integrating Python code into your scripts. Eventually you may want to leave the confines of Ren'Py and start coding directly in Python and using a more complex library like Pygame, pyglet, or even Panda3d.

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hey greatreddragon,

First of all welcome to gamedev. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of content on this site and for good reason. Making games is hard, and will require a considerable amount of time regardless of the path you choose to take with making your project come to life.

Unfortunately there are no easy paths to making game, only slightly easier. You basically have one of two options if you want to make a game. You can choose to use some kind of third party software to aid you in this, like GameMaker or Multimedia Fusion 2 for example, or you can choose to do things from scratch.

The pros and cons?

Using already built software packages that don't require much technical knowledge will allow you to prototype things quickly and make something. You will however be severely limited on what you can make. I am not full certain if the type of system you are thinking of making is even possible with those software packages as I have not used them personally.

The other route is much more long an arduous. If you choose to make things from scratch you will have to essentially become a programmer before becoming a game developer. There are wide variety of frameworks and languages that help you in this area, but the most important thing to remember is that at the end of the day you will have to become a competent programmer who knows his way around the language / libraries you are interfacing against to make the product come to life.

My reccomendation? Pick up a book on C# and XNA 4.0 and study that for a few months and try your best to make a game.

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If you just want to make one simple game I advise to use some kind of GameMaker that requires no knowledge in programming. If you want to build a more complex game you'll eventually need to learn a programming language, but please understand that unless you are studying computer science or have too much free time, it can take several months/years before you can even build a game that is a little more challenging than pong.

You realy need to like the programming itself if you want to follow this path, rather than just wanting to learn it to complete your game idea.

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Thanks for all the help and tips everyone. I can tell I'm going to like the community here even if I don't understand any of the jargon (yet). :)

While I have everyone's attention, I want to ask about Flash. I have another idea for a Flash-type game but that could also work on a mobile device with a touch screen. Do developers still make Flash games and if so, does anyone still play them? Would it be doable to try and get a Flash game known and out there? Or should I work on learning Java so that I can put out my game as an Android app or the like?

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