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DaveDubKing

Direct Programming vs. Creation Tools

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Hi, All,

I'm here primarily interested in 2D platformers and other sprite-based affairs. I'm getting started on some things; I've been coding for years, but haven't really gotten into the hard DirectX stuff that would be required for game creation on Windows. I'd kinda like to learn the low level C++ to be able to do this sort of thing properly. That said, I've heard from many that the general creation tools (a la Game Maker, Construct Classic, etc.) make the low-level coding portion non-time-effective in this day and age. I don't want to waste time if the creation tools readily available will increase my productivity (this is basically only in my spare time), but I don't want to use a tool that isn't going to give me the performance that my own design would.

Your thoughts?

Thanks,
David

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OK, the basic thing is that for a 2D sprite based platformer on a modern PC platform, it's very hard to create a design that won't run at vsync even with GameMaker or some other similar tool. I've created bullet hell games, platformers and other similar games with GameMaker and never ran into a situation where performance was the reason I wanted to port the game to another language.

However, it's not a perfect system, and eventually you will want to try other things like a general purpose programming language. For example, GameMaker doesn't scale up very well if you want to create truly huge worlds, because of how it organizes levels and things like that.

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I use to think that I should use GameMaker and other tools because I didn't want to waste a lot of time coding. However, I had always thought "I wish I could change this feature" or "GameMaker is limiting my ability". When you program your own tools, or games, you're able to add and remove features without being stuck to a concrete structure. I was able to hit a point where I designed, and programmed my own level editors, and yes it took a lot of time, but you end up building a large code base which speeds up development! Not to mention the tools you make will greatly increase productivity!

I took the coding path because I not only enjoy creating games, but I want to be in as much control as possible when it comes to developing. This is why I enjoy using C++ for all my projects.

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"Being in control" is just a matter of choosing the right tool for the job -- C++ is hardly ever that tool for an indie developer. There are plenty of choices for 2D if you want large worlds, normal side-scroller, bullet hell or mostly any other type I can think off -- from TGB to GM to XNA to... you get the point.

Tools are just that, tools. Use them wisely and only after considering the limitations first (yes, C++ does have many limitations and so does anything else -- learn to deal with it).

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OK, the basic thing is that for a 2D sprite based platformer on a modern PC platform, it's very hard to create a design that won't run at vsync even with GameMaker or some other similar tool.


You can easily run into framerate problems if you're doing complicated AI or software rendering effects, even in C++. Admittedly, it's not something most games have to worry about, but it is a problem I've run into before.

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Well technically, the part with the ai isn't really a platformer. It's more like a minigame.


Edit: It appears that there is no way to specify a time offset since the forum software automatically converts all youtube links to embeds. Anyway, the part I'm talking about starts at 2:11

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Yeah, you're going to have to say what time index the AI comes up, because I'm not watching this guy die at the same spot over and over again.

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You're saying the ship battle is causing a slow down??? Something must be horribly wrong if a few entities are causing a hick-up. Are you some how re-creating objects? Are you looping un-needed AI checks?

I've worked on games with hundreds of checks programmed with C++, with no issues. The first cause of a hick-up I found was re-creating images in memory over and over by mistake, or forgetting to free memory. There could be a lot more wrong than just AI code.

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No, the main problem is that I was just trying to search too deep and with too many branches. I eventually got rid of the problem by lowering the max number of branches when searching.

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