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Thorien Kell

Recommendation of simple game design program

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Hello people.

I occasionally find in various PC magazines DVD ROMs packed with various trial software "Amazing Full Game Design Program" by which (and for just a modest fee) "everybody" (and his grandma) can learn to be a game designer and make terrific games with no learning and no trouble at all in no time. Yeah right : )

I always had certain affinity for world of game design. (If someone would give me 100 competent and experienced people AND unlimited funds MAN I could make a great game! : ) Every once in a while I return to this place, download some software and try to start from scratch, by learning C++ : ) You may guess how does it ends.

It usually give up in about month or two. I just don't have discipline (and time) for such a tremendous endeavor.

So... Being more older and hopefully smarter I changed my approach juuust a little: is there some simplistic and useful program (limited capabilities are OK) in which you can actually gain some interesting results fast (I must have something to [font=arial, sans-serif][size=2]trick[/size][/font] my short attention span : ) nothing of great commercial potential, more like some fun to pass the time. I even saw some programs for children game design IIRC, I could do this together with my son who seems to inherit my useless affinity : )

There are plenty of these programs on the market, I know once Dark basic and blitz 3d and torque were "popular".

Any thoughts on the subject, please?

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Do you want to design a game or make one? Or both? If all you want to do is design some game mechanics in theory, all you need is Microsoft Word. But I get the feeling that you want to actually develop something, in which case go and get UDK. It's free, it's versatile and it's well supported. There are easy to follow tutorials to get you started and you can do anything from new maps for Unreal Tournament to complete games of wildyl varying genres.

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Warcraft 3 map editor. It has extremely flexible scripting language (and still reasonable simple), you can do very nice things unlike other editors (like making units grow visually larger when they level up). The whole "Tower Defence" genre was first invented as Warcraft 3 scenario.

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OK, sorry. This is not a Game Design topic. This is a For Beginners topic. Thorien, you need to read the For Beginners FAQ (above), and [url="http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson56.htm"]FAQ 56[/url].

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Unity? I guess...
I've seen simple designs working in but a few lines of code.
If you want to design something complex as quickly as possible though, I went for Dark Basic myself for a fair amount of time, I guess it depends what kind of game you want to make.

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I would personally vouch for Game Maker. I used it rather extensively when I was working with middle school students and it is fairly easy to use. The visual scripting system provides fairly quick results but it also has a nice scripting system (GML) to allow for more sophisticated projects. [url="http://www.yoyogames.com/"]Game Maker 8[/url] . It is an interesting time for Game Maker as Game Maker for HTML5 should be released sometime relatively soon which will allow for using Game Maker to create web apps. The lite version is free and the standard version is a very affordable $40.

Construct is another (free) software: [url="http://www.scirra.com/"]Construct[/url] . They are also working on an HTML5 maker that should be neat but it will cost money. Construct 1 is open source though and still community developed.

I have also used Multimedia Fusion 2 : [url="http://www.clickteam.com/eng/mmf2.php"]Multimedia Fusion 2[/url] but the range of tools from them can run anywhere from $60 to $400.

Construct and Multimedia Fusion 2 are actually fairly similar... Construct was originally created by some of Multimedia Fusions' extension developers... As a result the workflows are fairly similar (although the tools differ drastically).

UDK is nice (I am using it currently), but I am not sure how "beginner" friendly it is. I am also not really sure how kid friendly either. Both UDK and Unity both require a good bit of programming knowledge to use effectively (although you can toy in the editor a good bit).

I honestly recommend whatever you start with the focus on 2D games at first. Making 3D games is hard... and I challenge anyone who says otherwise to provide evidence to the contrary. If you are not a 3D modeler or experienced with 3D math, you are headed for more frustration then fun. With 2D games you can create some crude graphics and be on your way! Game Maker, Construct, and Multimedia Fusion all have sprite editors or you can download GIMP, Paint.NET, or some other program (I don't recommend Paint).

For instance with UDK you are going to need to touch Unrealscript for a good bit of things... You CAN use Kismet (a visual scripting system) but in my opinion the ability to use it for somethings is more a proof of concept then an actual viable way to do things. Your kismet sequences are part of the levels your making so if you use it for game logic you will have to duplicate the kismet per level (as far as I have experienced). Unrealscript is similar to C++ and it is not very beginner friendly.... (This coming from someone who is currently and actively using Unrealscript to make a 3D game).

Unity has a lot of programming options but they will all require some pretty sophisticated concepts...

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I used to have DarkBASIC... fun times.

There are a lot of game engines out there. Game Maker is a 2D thing that is fairly easy to pick up. For 3D engines, there is UDK, Unity, old id Tech engines, modding games (Warcraft III, Starcraft II, Far Cry, Oblivion), all sorts of them.

Right now I use Unity, although I'm debating on whether or not I want to keep with it or not. UDK is, in my experience, a bit easier to pick up and run with, but I don't really like it (it's not a bad engine, but I found some things just extremely annoying with it). There's also Shiva, by Stonetrip (I think they're stoners, personally), which is fairly easy to pick up. I believe they still have a free version (it can't be used for distribution, more like a demo version that doesn't expire really).

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Unity, Flash, Gamemaker, RPGMaker, HeroEngine, RealmCrafter, UDK... it all depends on how much you're willing to pay, what type of game you're trying to make, and how good of a programmer you are without having to worry about all that low-level mess that the average C++ programmer does.

However, you'll be surprised to find that you don't need 100 expert developers for your title, even if it's a major blockbuster that will rival the games created by the big game development companies. A couple of intermediate-level programmers with a passion for it and a strong fondness for your ideas, a handful of capable 3D modelers or pixel artists (depending on whether you'll be 2D or 3D), a couple of competent composers (you're not looking for Mozart or Beethoven here, truth is that people care more about the feel and rhythm of the song than how talented the composer must be) and a moderately capable artist (either digital, hand-drawn, or hand-painted art will work fine) are more than enough to make significant progress; if not see your game to completion. Freelancers get expensive, but if you get people willing to work for royalties or resume purposes (there are PLENTY here); you can develop a game on the cheap.

My recommendation is to try to find a team here. If you've completed an actual GDD, or even just have a really solid background on how you want the game to be played and what the culture will be like and a basic story, you've got what you need to attract developers. However, you also need to be able to assist throughout the development process.

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[quote name='nfries88' timestamp='1310501792' post='4834481']
My recommendation is to try to find a team here. If you've completed an actual GDD, or even just have a really solid background on how you want the game to be played and what the culture will be like and a basic story, you've got what you need to attract developers. However, you also need to be able to assist throughout the development process.
[/quote]


The guy just wants to make games for fun and maybe with his son. He doesn't need a whole team to do that...

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First, I want to thank you all for answers, you were more then helpful.


About your questions, well yes, I always considered myself more of designer (because I'm obviously no programmer : ) although i have some very basic knowledge in graphical design and programming as well. For now obviously I had to do all work myself, design and actual game making. I can make no obligation to any team right now, my work will be to erratic at best. I just have too much obligations and real work in my life and my spare time is really minimal.

About game genre and technology, I'm interested exclusively in 2D games. For my needs 2D is more then enough. For type of games I would like to make for the beginning let's say that I would like to make some RPG strategy game, HOMM style. - map, cities, quests and that stuff.

I'm reading through links you provided. Many interesting stuff there, haven't finished reading all yet. Game maker does seem simple indeed but games I see on showcase there are ..well quite ugly and unappealing. Maybe I ask too much but it just isn't very stimulating. Obviously I'm looking for something free or a least free at basic usability level. If I get more interested and see that I actually spend time in program I could pay something. I'm not strictly against learning some programming too, but it would just be preferable if I could learn by examples and see results relatively quickly - if I go too basic, I just loose interest after some time.

Somehow you overwhelmed me with all possible choices, I kinda hopped one best program, which stands out but seems all to have their advantages. I will do some reading and studying. Thanks.

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