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josh2006k

Starting a game

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I've been playing with a video game idea for the last two years or so. I really really would love to put it in motion, but I definitely lack a lot of information regarding even just the most basic beginnings of a game. If someone can tell me what kind of team I would need (with what skills) to create an MMORPG type game, I want to create an open environment with huge character customizibility. When I think of my game, it brings to mind something like Second Life meets Vanguard, with a large community feel. I don't necesarily need a lot of content or lore, but a world that can be built in that is ran by communities of people. If someone can point me in the right direction to get started I would extremely appreciate it. My desire for this is not from a financial profitability but a game that I would truly enjoy to play, and I know that other people would enjoy as well. Thanks in advance.

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The thing with MMORPGs is that even small ones require an enormous amount of work.

RPGs are hard to make. Networked programs are hard to make. Open and persistent worlds are hard to make.

ORPGs = RPG + Networked + Open persistent world
ORPGs = Very hard to make

Even 2D ones are difficult, but going 3D just adds to the complexity. Large video game companies invest upwards of 200 million USD, and have teams of 50-250 people working on it for 3 or more years.

But I understand you aren't talking about, "OMG! I'ma make the next big WOW or The Old Republic!". Even so, it is a vast undertaking. As a programmer of 7 years, I personally wouldn't anything more than a small 2D one at my currently level of experience.

However, if you still want to proceed, this is what you need:
A) The determination to stick with it for over 5 years.
B) The knowledge of how to program.
C) The willingness to take baby steps.
D) The determination to finish projects that you start.

Start learning programming with the Python programming language.
After you go through Dive Into Python, and maybe a few other tutorials, start making simple games.

Games like these (in growing difficulty):

  1. A text adventure game.
  2. Pong or Tetris.
  3. Then znake.
  4. Maybe a maze game next.
  5. Then make a small game like a top-down shooter.
  6. Then work on a small 2D turn-based RPG.
  7. Then work on a medium-sized 2D action RPG.
  8. Then work on a simple and small 3D exploration game.
  9. Then work on a simple 2D online game.
  10. ...and etc...

It doesn't have to be those exact games, but something like that path is reasonable. That path alone will take you at least 2 years, but it's quicker than trying to rush ahead and then after wasting time, finding out you have to follow a path like this anyway.

You're in it for the long haul. But you'll hopefully find (after a year or so) that you actually enjoy programming itself, and not just for making games. This will help ease the pain of such a long time to reach your goals.

One of the most important things you'll need to learn, is to start on small projects (very small), and complete them, without canceling the project and moving on to another project because you got bored.

Best of luck on your journey, traveller. I hope you achieve your goals. If you focus on it hard, I think that even though you may not reach the exact goal you intended to, you'll still feel the journey was worth it and you'll have alot to show for it. I'm finding my travels worth it, without a doubt - though I procrastinated a bit too much along the way.

If you need help with Python-related questions, ask in the forums and someone here will be glad to help.

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Yeah definitely not looking for something that is going to be the next WoW. I've poked around Second Life and found it too immature, but the concept of being able to create and sell has captivated me. I wanted to expand that into something that could evolve and grow, where the community of players build the world that they play in. I played a game a few months ago that I cannot remember for the life of me now, that had the start of something like what I wanted, open world, ability to create small towns. I'm looking for something less focused on quests and dungeons, and more on crafting and community. An elected governement, tradesmen, shops and homes, etc. Really I have no intention on creating the game myself, more so being the creative driver behind it.

I guess if you could expand some on your post, knowing that I myself do not wish to create it alone. If I was a gaming company and wanted to create this, what kind of skilled people would I be looking for? I have great computer knowledge when it comes to hardware, OS and networking, but the programming side I know nothing. I was thinking about compiling my information on the game I wanted to create and starting a project on Kickstarter, but I don't even know where to begin with who I am looking for. Anyways a lot of rambling, any info is good info though and will start me in the right direction.

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Really I have no intention on creating the game myself, more so being the creative driver behind it.

Well, that's kinda a problem. Everyone has ideas, but few people have the knowledge on how to make the ideas. So if you gather a group of people with those skills, you have to convince them to contribute their time and skills to make your idea, when they'd rather work on their own ideas with their own time. Usually the 'convincing' has to do with money. Either that, or they themselves are also wanting to make that kind of game, and have their own ideas with it, so your creative 'driving' will have to play nice with everyone else's 'creative driving', even when the dozen or so people on your team want to creatively drive it in different and non-compatible directions.

Hey, I'd love to be able to sit down and tell others how to make the games I want to have made. smile.png Seriously, I'd love that. I have more ideas that I am actually able to make. While working on my own project, I have 40 or 50 other ideas for games I have to discard. The problem is that every artist, musician, storywriter, 3D modeller, level creator, script writer, and programmer also has 40 or 50 ideas they want to make, and you and I have nothing to offer them to get them to work on ours.

You really have to bring something to the table aside from just ideas. And, no, "Management"/"Leadership" is not bringing something to the table, unless you actually have real-world experience managing a programming team, otherwise what most people think is "Management" everyone else calls "Bossiness" and "Control issues". It's just the (pretend) "Manager" is blind to that.

KickStarter is not a good idea in this situation. Why? It takes alot of money. That money will be wasted because the project will fail. The project will fail
If you are able to get the project half-way completed on your own initiative and on the initiatve of your team without KickStarter funding, then it'd be fair to go to KickStarter to get the money needed to complete the project. Otherwise, you are trying to convince people that you know what you are doing when you really don't, and their money will be lost.

What you need to bring to the table is either lots of non-crowdsourced funding (because if you're going to gamble someone's money on your ideas in a field you've never worked in before, the right thing to do would be to gamble your own), or alternative programming skills.

I guess if you could expand some on your post, knowing that I myself do not wish to create it alone. If I was a gaming company and wanted to create this, what kind of skilled people would I be looking for?[/quote]
I haven't worked on a project of the scale you are talking about before, so I can't speak from real-world experience. I have worked on a smaller team hobby project before, and this is only some of what I encountered:

1) The project leader must work full-time on it, or the team falls apart.
Far too frequently, I was having to IM the project leader while he was at his job, with "Hey, the server is down again, I can't work on maps.", or "Guess who's scripts just put the server into an infinite loop?". I'm talking two or three times a day, while the project was in early development. and three or four times a week after it got more solid. Towards the end of the project (three years later), it got alot more stable... but still unstable enough that the leader finally cracked and wrote a tool so I could remotely restart the server without his assistance. Except sometimes the tool couldn't restart it either, so I still had to contact him. tongue.png

2) The programmers must work full-time on it, or the team falls apart.
3) The small 2D online game was worked on and off for four years.
Right there, assuming you have only two programmers, you need enough money to support 3 people (the programmers and the project leader) for a minimum of two and a half years.
Alternatively, you must have enough people working on it that if one programmer leaves, all the bugs and unimplemented features don't get frozen for two months while you recruit a new programmer, and another two months while the new programmer familiarizes himself with the code base and tools (and another two months, if it's a poor programmer, as he absolutely insists on rewriting things completely differently, simply because he "has to").

4) You need more than one artist for each type of media in your game. (Music, sound, textures, 3D models, 2D images, GUI elements, etc...).
If you have one GUI artist, and he has to return to college after summer vacation, or suddenly gets a job offer, and your GUI is left half completed, or fully completed, but you add new GUI needs later in the project, will the non-GUI artists be skilled enough to fill the gap or will the end-result GUI be a hodgepodge of high quality and low quality? Better to have two GUI artists, and standardize and document what the needs of the project are, so even if both artists leave, a third can read the documentation and understand what they were going for.

5) The people must be skilled.
It's alright if some people are learning as you go (in fact, I'd encourage it, for their benefit - you always have an excess of easy tasks that need to get done anyway), but you have to have some people that actually understand how the project functions and are able to do the real heavy lifting. You don't want the growing pangs of young programmers to make the whole project feel their beginner mistakes as they learn.

6) The project must be well-organized, well-documented (the tools, who's working on what scripts/maps/whatever, what issues still need work, etc...).
7) The team must be able to communicate easily and frequently to coordinate with each other. (Instant messengers and a private forum worked for us)
Though we politely worked alongside each other and worked out issues easily and friendly, we accidentally intruded on each others work pretty frequently. "Hey Bob, accidentally overwrote your scripts again.", "Hey Sam, I mistakenly erased the starting area of the game... again.", "Hey Kevin, I made a tweak to one of your scripts and now they no longer run, and I forgot what I changed.", "Hey Sam, I moved your script from script #271 to script #284, I hope it didn't need to be at that exact spot" (Oh, but it did. rolleyes.gif).

Anyway, I'm rambling on.
To sum up: You have to bring something to the table yourself. That something can't be money from KickStarter, because that money isn't yours, and you'll underestimate the cost and effort, and lose the supporters money. Plus, the other members of the team could just go to KickStarter themselves. That's not the hard part.
You can't bring just ideas to the table, because the other members could just follow their own ideas, which is much more fun.
You have to take your time and work your way up. You can't expect loyal obedience without compensation, unless the project is heavily underway already because of your hard efforts (because then the compensation is getting to be a part of something cool and fun after the rough and tumble and hard sweat and labor and buggy crashy tools is over).

It's your idea, so you have to carry the heaviest part of it. That heavy part is getting the project working (even if buggy and unstable) before recruiting others.

I mean, sure you can try. You can convince people to give you money, and to invest their time and effort. You can gather a team, you can plan it out, and you can be the "Leader" and the "Idea guy", but when the project collapses, note that you didn't just waste your own time, you wasted your entire team's time, and all your supporters' money, and all you can say for it is, "Oops, my bad. I didn't realize it would be this difficult. Sorry guys. : ). Hope you recupe your monies and the three years of your life! Seeya!". dry.png

On a project like what you want, you can't shortcut it, and you can't expect others to do the heavy lifting for you. Note: I don't consider map making heavily lifting. I call that fun. I don't consider creative ideas heavy lifting, I call that fun. You can't do the fun, and just have others do the real work. It just wont sustain itself, and the project will collapse. However, if you set yourself up to do the majority of the heavy lifting on your own before even recruiting others, then you also get to choose and lock in place the creative ideas and be the leader of the project.

That's just how it works. wink.png Creative people need practical skills to back them up. You can learn those practical skills. And if you do learn them, you'll even eventually find that the practical skills themselves are creative and fun, though it's still work.

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