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Luke Holden

Game idea and looking for direction

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Greetings. I have a game idea in mind, and looking for someone to recommend a game engine or steer me in the right direction. I am very new to game design and programming. Although I have over 5 years skill in 3d animation and modeling. Here's a breif explanation of the game.

Players can build an empire, and own cities. Like in cities XL. But on
a much larger map. They will manage their city like any other city
building game. The map size will be huge. About the side of California.

Players start off flying around in a jet, looking for a suitable place
to start a town. Like a pioneer. DIfferent parts of the landscape have
different resourses. Once the player finds a place, they land and begin
constructing a town. The player can walk around like a FPS game, and
also enter and exit vehicles.

Players can build more than one town or city. They can build a country
with borders and military. Military units can be purchased and
organized into armys. They can be controlled to move long distances
with a strategic view of the map. The units can be infantry, jet
fighters, tanks, and even large starships that fly in low orbit.

The game can be played online with other players in a mmo world.
Empires can form alliences, negotiate treatys, or wage war.

I would like the world to have no loading screens. I believe that would require a level of detail system that can handle it.

I have a demo reel of my work here


thanks
Roger0

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"I've never built so much as a shed, but I've decided to build the largest mansion I can think of. Where do I start?" you ask.

"Build a shed", I say.

Start with something much smaller. Like Checkers.

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"I've never built so much as a shed, but I've decided to build the largest mansion I can think of. Where do I start?" you ask.

"Build a shed", I say.

Start with something much smaller. Like Checkers.


I wont be able to build this for some time. I'm looking for advice on game engines I would be able to use for this game.

I will start on much smaller games. This project I described can be a driving force to get me to learn more.

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[quote name='Narf the Mouse' timestamp='1325375606' post='4898558']
"I've never built so much as a shed, but I've decided to build the largest mansion I can think of. Where do I start?" you ask.

"Build a shed", I say.

Start with something much smaller. Like Checkers.


I wont be able to build this for some time. I'm looking for advice on game engines I would be able to use for this game.

I will start on much smaller games. This project I described can be a driving force to get me to learn more.
[/quote]
Fair enoug, and I apologize for the mis-understanding. As explanation, programming forums always get a fair number of new members who show up, announce a new MMO and think they can just write one right off the bat.

Good to see you've got perspective. :)

For which engines could make an MMO - You probably want one that can handle the following; all else is secondary:

1) Large maps, scaled and transitioning. (Civilization, state and city levels)
2) Quick transitions and fast level display (combat maps). Relatively small maps are acceptable here.
3) Ability to handle lots of players in multiplayer.
4) Fully multi-threaded (by that, I mean seamless, scalable and throughout the entire engine).
5) Ability to run on networked computers.
6) Fast and efficient AI system.

I'd look at game engines used by existing MMOs. Even if they're not sold or rented (the cost would probably be rather large), you can still start collecting a full list of what you'd like for your MMO. Most MMOs are RPGs with rather simple AI, but there's still overlap, especially in 3,4 and 5.

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I wont be able to build this for some time. I'm looking for advice on game engines I would be able to use for this game.

Depending on how long "some" time is, this could be a pointless question. Commercial engines continue to build on themselves and new ones pop up here and there, if you're looking at a couple years from now, the best answer might be something that isn't available yet. Your assessment should be a combination of what you need it to do (like what Narf broke down for you in that list) and what you're capable of implementing/using.

And there's always the thought that if you get enough practice in making smaller games, you could forego the engine-selection process entirely and just straight-up code the game, but if by then it's still an mmo idea, you can pretty much write off ever making it solo.

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Wow! As BCullis said, it probably isn't available yet. I read up on an engine a few years ago which I believe was called Muon. It was basically a physics-centric game engine that promised streaming of large-scale environments. It went for about $150,000 for a license. However, it seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth.

What you're looking to do is big. Really big! I've done a lot of work with streaming content and LOD systems. However, orchestrating all the required systems into a functioning game is a f%@king nightmare! You need to coordinate between rendering, physics, entity (game objects, players, etc.), scripting, AI, terrain loading/generation and on and on. Coordinating all of these systems is a challenge alone but doing so with dynamic content is exponentially more difficult. Many of these have to operate in separate threads, drastically increasing the complexity of the application. And then you want to synchronize this data over a network of thousands of people? *face melts*

I've got a project that's been in the works for a few years and has a pretty ambitious goal. What I decided to do is to start off with a small subset of the game rules and build games that implemented only tiny parts of the overall design. The idea is to build the required technology piece by piece and be able to produce a stream of games, possibly generating some revenue along the way. So, I wouldn't want to deter you from your project. Far from it. However, pragmatism is going to be key to ever getting anywhere with a large project.

For the time being, I'd suggest getting into an engine, any engine. Unity always seems to be expanding and has a free version so you can get started right away. The commercial version ($1500) lets you extend the engine as well. So, although I haven't gotten into it too deeply myself, it does seem that it can potentially by used for just about anything you have in mind.

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Nice real, i bet you can get into some smaller game dev projects. Which i think you should and leave your game design for what it is, at least for now.

Like already mentioned, your game is huge. And like you started 3D modeling with extruding a primitive you would have to start programming by sending the text "Hello World" to the screen.

If you really want to give it a go there a a couple of options, but it will most likely take more time to get you on the same level of programming as your level of 3D is now.

1. Learn C++, this will be the most difficult path and unless you really want to get into programming AAA titles for big companies you should not take this.
2. Learn C#, Java, python, etc. These are more "forgiving" languages and should be less hard to learn. As for "1", once you know your way around in a language, you can start using libraries to make your life easier. XNA in conjunction with C# is a great tool, especially for beginners and when done right can do some pretty heavy work.
3. Learn a SDK like UDK, ogre, unity, etc. These are engines where you can build up pretty much any game you want. They all use scripting and often offer a visual way of designing gameplay and graphics. However without proper knowledge of the programming languages above a project your size is pretty much still impossible.

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