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Scalable game design software for indy developing

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I'm looking for a learning path for making smaller video games.

My current plan is to use gamemaker for a bit, and then move on to Unity when I feel like larger-scale projects with more 3d etc. My only concerns about this plan is that there may be a better alternative to gamemaker that will help me get used to the java/c# used with Unity. I'm also a bit concerned that Unity isn't compatible with Linux, which while not a game-ender, bugs me since I'd like to eventually make my games cross-platform.

I'm also looking for direction in software for making simple 3d models. The quicker the learning curve the better. Any software for making sprites/skinning other than Photoshop/Gimp/etc would be great too.

As far as sound goes, any software that an un-trained guy can use to make simple sound effects and music would be great. Since this is going to be the most likely area I'll be looking for outside help, and web resources for sounds/music would be great too.

I realize this is yet-another-noob post. I'm just trying to come up with a learning-plan. Keep in mind that I'm just looking to reduce the learning time as much as possible, but also want to be able to work on projects with small groups in the future, as well as projects with network infrastructures. Commercial skill-sets aren't really important to me. I'm not trying to build up a resume to work with a big studio.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

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If I'm not mistaken Gamemaker has its own scripting language which has some object oreinted functionality. Using that scripting language should give you a little taste of what you can expect from full fleged programming languages. I would suggest doing some side tutorials purely for learning C#/Java before diving straight into Unity. Although Unity is not compatible with Unix systems it's not a huge deal. I would think that anyone using Linux would also have either a Mac/PC or be using some emulation so they could still run games.

For 3D modeling Blender is an excellent tool. For 2D Photoshop/GIMP are good for raster graphics. Illustrator/Inkscape are good for vector graphics. For audio I would reccomend Audacity for recording/raw editing and a freind of mine has told me about LMMS for digital sound composing. You probably want to get a microphone and either an electronic piano or Keyboard-midi controller.



I would say hands down the most difficult part is going to be trying to learn programming/art/music all at once. It might be easier to tackle one problem at a time and devote your full attention to one subject. So you could focus on programming while using placeholder art or start making art/audio and use a simple game engine to test that.

What exactly is your aim? What do you want to learn most about?

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Hi,
Game maker is a great tool for making games. It is deam simple to understand and to use ,but very powerful. Do not judge the engine by the samples on the developer website . It is capable of mush more. I recomend starting with Game maker because it will give you a good knoledge about how a game engine works.
Unity is a profesional engine and yes, it is not so easy to learn. It is a
large step from Game Maker to Unity, but It seams a logic step for me.

I think 3D modeling is dificult by its nature, Because it is a large field. I think that the easiest software for modeling is AC3D (google it), but for animation I recomend Blender.

I sugest you to find a modelling artist to work with you in your projects.

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[quote name='NickGomes' timestamp='1329770995' post='4914941']
What exactly is your aim? What do you want to learn most about?
[/quote]The short answer is "I want to learn to make games". The design aspects interest me the most. I have some interest in coding as well of course. As far as the art goes, I'm more looking to make simple models for simple games or place-holder art at the moment. Same with sound.

Cactus is one of my inspirations for game design. I've also been recently re-motivated by the game "Gunpoint", and the projects generated by the Mojam @ humblebundle.

[url="http://cactusquid.com/"]http://cactusquid.com/
[/url][url="http://www.gunpointgame.com/"]http://www.gunpointgame.com/
[/url][url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5lMvaQv2tw"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5lMvaQv2tw[/url]
[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxxptviGJJQ"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxxptviGJJQ[/url]

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Agreeing with the others: Game Maker sounds like a good fit with your needs, and the provided scripting language "GML" will expose you to basic programming concepts to help prepare you for a transition to Unity at a later stage. There are certainly other options out there when it comes to similar software packages, but honestly you'll be better off starting in any of them sooner rather than spending your time looking for a "perfect" package, and Game Maker is very capable and well enough supported that it should make an excellent choice.

[url="http://www.blender.org/"]Blender[/url] and [url="http://www.wings3d.com/"]Wings3d[/url] are both good options for creating 3d content. For alternatives to PhotoShop and GIMP to create 2d content you might look at[url="http://inkscape.org/"] InkScape[/url], [url="http://www.getpaint.net/"]Paint.NET[/url] or [url="http://www.humanbalance.net/gale/us/"]GraphicsGale[/url].

I'm not sure about free/cheap audio/music tools, but if you're willing to spend a small amount [url="http://www.image-line.com/documents/flstudio.html"]FLStudio[/url] is a capable and easy-to-use package you can use to create music. If you're looking to outsource your audio you could advertise to hire a contractor using [url="http://www.gamedev.net/classifieds"]our Classifieds system[/url] (or similar things elsewhere) or could purchase sounds from sites such as [url="http://audiojungle.net/?ref=jbadams"]AudioJungle[/url] or [url="http://www.soundsnap.com/"]SoundSnap[/url] -- search "royalty free" or "stock" to find similar collections elsewhere.


Knowing a bit of everything can be good, but I'd advise not trying to concentrate on everything at once -- maybe learn some very basic audio and then put it aside, learn enough to do your own graphics (there are some good tips in the article "[url="http://www.gamedev.net/page/resources/_/creative/visual-arts/better-programmer-art-r2594"]better programmer art[/url]") for now, and spend the majority of your time working with Game Maker to actually create games and learn some programming basics.

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I've seen many students jump from Gamemaker and Gamemaker script to Unity3D and Jave with little difficulty (OK, so a few students heads exploded, but that's normal in the game industry).

Gamemaker is an excellent start, as long as you keep your projects within what Gamemaker can easily do. It teaches the basic concepts of asset management, variables, events, etc. which all serve as an excellent foundation and reduce the learning curve for Unity3D.

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