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Beginner Advice - 2D, Turn Based, Combat

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I’m looking for some advice on getting started in game development. I have a small amount of programming knowledge (Java) and am working my way through a book on games development in XNA through C#. I have made a few very simple games to date: a word matching game, a tetris style game, and am currently fiddling with a simple version of battleships.

What I’d like to look at next is making a simple turn based, 2D, combat game (just the combat section for now). I have a basic story, and some notes on game logic. I’d like to develop the game with rudimentary graphics which I’ll make myself, and then involve a proper visual artist later if the project looks like it’s worthwhile.

Any general advice, or pitfalls I should be aware of?

More specific questions:

  1. Any rules of thumb for deciding on the tile size?
  2. If I make a prototype and then get a graphics person who believes the tile size should be changed, how much work will be involved in making the changes?
  3. How simple (or difficult) is it to move from 2D to isometric?
  4. To what extent do engines like Torque simplify and speed up the development process?
  5. Does Torque (or any similarly cheap engines) come with a graphics library I can use?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thank you!

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