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deepg

Start game programming

26 posts in this topic

[color=#333333]Hello there![/color]

[color=#333333]I am currently caught in a big loop where i am re-searching all over the place to see what fits my situation the best.[/color]
[color=#333333]I currently know PHP, HTML and some mySQL.[/color]

[color=#333333]I am looking to start developing games where the user can play it on their web browser (no download needed) but i also would like it to be a multiplayer game.[/color]

[color=#333333]The way i want it, is that i would like to game to be integrated into my website and the website into the game. [/color]
[color=#333333]I am also looking to have a couple (not one BIG game) other games, that use the same backend (to connect to the website, the user base, etc).[/color]

[color=#333333]I was wondering what language is best to hit this with as i do not want to look back, in the future, and have to re-code everything because that X language cannot offer X feature.[/color]

[color=#333333]Any help would be very nice of you.[/color]

[color=#333333]Thanks[/color]
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I'm no expert, but you'll probably want to learn either AS3 or Java.
AS3 is pretty novice friendly and it's what "flash" games run on. Flash games are pretty B/A but support mainly 2D with some theoretical 3D coming out in probably five years.
Java is what MineCraft and RuneScape run on.
There seems to be a lot of technology coming out soon though, I think Silverlight is Microsoft's attempt at competing with AS3. Google around "browser game programming languages".

Unity also runs in the browser, and it's done in C# I think. That's Microsoft's attempt at competing with Java. Everyone loves C#, especially beginners. It's really the closest thing to what my dream language would be. It's kind of new though, so there isn't a whole lot about it. At least you know what you find won't be outdated lol. Also I don't know of any games that've successfully used Unity for browser games but I'm not into the whole Unity thing so I wouldn't know.



So yeah, look up Java example code, check out Unity, and hit up AS3 example code.
You have a lot of choices here.

Good luck soldier.
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I asked around and i was told
[left]Silverlight is a really pain to work with.[/left]

[left][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3]Also, don't most of the stuff java can do on the web can be done with CSS/HTML5?[/size][/font][/color][/left]

[left][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3]Thanks[/size][/font][/color][/left]
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I'm not too sure about 'web games' as my expertise is not in that department, but I've heard good things about HTML5 for games.

Check out the following site for resources: [url="http://html5games.com/resources/"]http://html5games.com/resources/[/url]
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I am currently really unsure on what to do.

Would HTML5, PHP, Flash and javascript be "powerful" enough on the long run for me?

Meaning, later on, when i start getting use to game development, i would want to create more and more complex games for my site and i am scared that i won't have in knowledge the right languages to do so.

Am i completely wrong?

Thanks
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I wouldn't worry about later on, worry about today. Right now I'm assuming you have an empty portfolio for developed games? Make a few games in HTML5 or whatever you choose. All the skills and concepts are always transferable down the road.

Everyone starts some where, and in all honesty don't worry about powerful enough if you haven't reached the limits that language/engine has to offer. More advanced programmers know several languages. I started with BASIC, didn't like it for games and went to C++, learned C and C# as well, plus HTML/CSS/Javascript/PHP so never think you're stuck with one option, always remember nothing you have learned is a wasted effort.

What is important is to start making games, however you decide to accomplish this task doesn't matter.
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Javascript is probably the future, as disturbingly stupid as that is. Than again, you strip away all the DOM related garbage, and aside from some seriously stupid scoping and allocation rules ( it's farrrrr farrrrr farrrrrrrrr too easy to mute out an existing variable, or worse, create a new global by accident ), it's a pretty interesting language.


As every single company on earth seems to be betting the farm on HTML5/Javascript ( Microsoft and Adobe both ), it seems a pretty good bet that Javascript is going to be a very viable choice in the future. I did a [url="http://www.gamefromscratch.com/post/2012/01/31/Network-programming-with-SFML-and-Nodejs-Part-1.aspx"]tutorial recently[/url] on using Node (Javascript server side ) for game networking with C++ on the front end, and my god is it easy with Javascript. Currently I am working on a cross platform project using Titanium ( again Javascript powered ) and I am very impressed.
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[quote name='deepg' timestamp='1333004407' post='4926244']
Meaning, later on, when i start getting use to game development, i would want to create more and more complex games for my site and i am scared that i won't have in knowledge the right languages to do so.
[/quote]

Programming skill and improper requirements will restrict you more than language knowledge will.

Frankly, the 'must run in a web browser' is a huge restriction on what you can do; far more than your language choice will ever be.
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Between Javascript and PHP there is very little that you won't be able to do. With the relatively recent addition of HTML5's canvas tag, there is a huge move towards browser-native game development. As an example, take a look at this project: [url="http://www.adityaravishankar.com/projects/games/command-and-conquer/"]http://www.adityaravishankar.com/projects/games/command-and-conquer/[/url]. It's a lot of work but, as Serapth said, JS is the future and it's definitely powerful enough for what you're looking to do
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Would PHP, JavaScript and HTML5 allow the multiplayer/online game play?

Also thank you very much for all your comments and help!
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I agree with Black Rook. Once you know one language the next will go much easier. It's not like you are stuck with one for the rest of your life, you'll want to learn/use more sooner or later anyway. I started out with C++ and spend some time with C# later on, now I'm simultaneously learning C#, Python, PHP and Lua while mastering my C++ skills along the way. Just focus on making games. The language is only a tool.

[i]Would PHP, JavaScript and HTML5 allow the multiplayer/online game play?[/i]

Sure it will, but if you realy plan to do something big like an online rpg you might want to use something like Java. I think HTML5 is mostly a replacement for flash used in small action/arcade games.
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Some say having this done in JavaScript/HTML/PHP will be a real pain.

May i ask why they would say so?

It do-able but more complicated or it's just longer to code?

Thanks
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[quote name='deepg' timestamp='1333061084' post='4926474']
Some say having this done in JavaScript/HTML/PHP will be a real pain.

May i ask why they would say so?

It do-able but more complicated or it's just longer to code?

Thanks
[/quote]

HTML5/Javascript support is a bit shaky still so getting things working properly on all major browsers takes alot of extra work, (If you restrict yourself to HTML4 then things get alot smoother but it isn't anywhere near as flexible)

using PHP as the backend is suitable for turnbased or tickbased multiplayer, for realtime multiplayer you probably want a server written in Java/C++/C#/Python/etc instead and might want to consider not using JavaScript at all since you pretty much want to use websockets for those games (and websockets are still not widely supported) (For multiplayer games using javascript you're pretty much restricted to using ajax to interact with php/asp/jsp scripts if you want it to work on most browsers)

Also, as for the post earlier that said flash might get 3D support in 5 years: Flash got support for hardware accelerated 3D in Flash 11 (Released in October 2011) so it is allready a viable option for browser based 3D games, (Allthough Unity is easier to work with), Flash also handles both sockets and asynch web requests well enough so you can quite easily make a multiplayer game using it.
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Alright thank you very much for your reply.

May i ask, why i should not just aim at using C# or Java?

Thanks
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[quote name='deepg' timestamp='1333063249' post='4926478']
Alright thank you very much for your reply.

May i ask, why i should not just aim at using C# or Java?

Thanks
[/quote]

For browser based games C# and Java works fine aswell using Silverlight / Applets, the installbase for the browser plugins however is signifificantly smaller than that of Flash(and noone wants to download stuff for a browser game, the main point of them is that they just work) and they are harder to work with so unless you have very specific requirements i wouldn't recommend either of them for a browser game. (For the server both are good options though).

For downloadable games on the other hand C# and Java are far better off (The installbase doesn't matter then as you can bundle whatever you need with your installer)
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If you want to make a multiplayer game embedded in a web browser you aren't going to get much more powerful than Flash/Java, Java especially should be an obvious contender since Runescape uses it, an MMO played in-browser that QUITE a lot of people play, thus it's obvious the requirement to download/update Java isn't that big a hurdle for players. That said there are quite a few multiplayer/MMO style flash games out there so that isn't out of the question either.

Really though you're not being specific about the requirements of the game here; are you looking for simple 2d? 3d? Images strung together like many of those "turn based" browser game sites out there? Multiplayer is just a point of functionality it doesn't neccesarily mean a real time connection like Runescape would imply. You could call something like Kingdom of Loathing an MMO if you wanted to.
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Ah sorry for not being too specific.

The game i would like to be building are online real time based.
Meaning playing online with other players, rating/score changes depending what the user does, etc etc.

Basically, a multiplayer game just like runescape where you can play with other players.

Thanks
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[quote name='deepg' timestamp='1333073130' post='4926523']
Ah sorry for not being too specific.

The game i would like to be building are online real time based.
Meaning playing online with other players, rating/score changes depending what the user does, etc etc.

Basically, a multiplayer game just like runescape where you can play with other players.

Thanks
[/quote]

[url="http://gamefromscratch.com/post/2012/03/29/I-want-to-make-an-MMO-Now-what.aspx"]Read this[/url], Mozilla just released exactly what you are looking for, a browser based game called BrowserQuest, with full source code available. Its HTML5 based with Node on the back end.
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For gaming it seems like Javascript is going to be the wave of the future and while HTML 5 really introduces cool new features with animation capabilities and interactivity, sometimes these things don't last (too early to tell right now), my suggestion is that if this is the first game you are developing do it in the programming languages that you are familiar but at the same time start learning what Javascript can offer in this area of programming and try to implement it where you can. Find a decent book that can help with some insight on Javascript and start playing around with the structure, you can find tons of examples online if you take the time to look around. Never limit yourself to what you already know because there really is a lot to learn.
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[quote name='deepg' timestamp='1333073130' post='4926523']
Ah sorry for not being too specific.

The game i would like to be building are online real time based.
Meaning playing online with other players, rating/score changes depending what the user does, etc etc.

Basically, a multiplayer game just like runescape where you can play with other players.

Thanks
[/quote]

Then you pretty much want to use Unity, Java, Flash or Silverlight (With Java and Silverlight being the most flexible and Flash having the largest installbase), If you think you can get away with requring a download and installation for your game and need to use OpenGL4/DX11 features then Java or Unity pro is the way to go, If DX9/OpenGL2.1 level features are enough then Flash, or the free version of Unity is good enough. (Unity is probably the easiest option out there for this kind of thing), I wouldn't use Javascript for a serious project today, (It might end up being the standard way to do webgames in the near future though and it can do some really amazing things if you don't mind wrestling with the inconsistent browser support)

The server can be written in almost any language (Allthough php is a bad choice for it as its not really designed for that kind of use)
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I would like to thank you all with all the help!

I decided to give it a try, using HTML5 + JavaScript.
I finished learning HTML5, practicing here and there and i am now in the middle of my JavaScript reading.

After much work put into it, i am starting to wonder if JavaScript is going to be fast enough for my online/multi-player needs.

Can anyone help me out on this?
How can i know if this will work fine for me and what are the steps to be taken?

Thanks once again!
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[quote name='deepg' timestamp='1333470194' post='4927907']
How can i know if this will work fine for me and what are the steps to be taken?
[/quote]

Prototype, measure, extrapolate.
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Also, profiling. A good code profiler is almost guarenteed to speed up your program - And don't forget the uttility if just timing functions and printing the time it took.

That's how I got one function down from 1.76 seconds per iteration to 0.09 seconds per iteration. :) (It had lots of memory allocations)
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[quote name='deepg' timestamp='1333470194' post='4927907']
I would like to thank you all with all the help!

I decided to give it a try, using HTML5 + JavaScript.
I finished learning HTML5, practicing here and there and i am now in the middle of my JavaScript reading.

After much work put into it, i am starting to wonder if JavaScript is going to be fast enough for my online/multi-player needs.

Can anyone help me out on this?
How can i know if this will work fine for me and what are the steps to be taken?

Thanks once again!
[/quote]

Performance wise it depends on several factors:
1) Which browser the users is running (Javascript performance varies greatly between between browsers, newer browers tend to perform alot better in this area).
2) How much actual work you need to do on the client.
Quake 2 has been ported to Javascript and runs well in chrome and firefox (not at all in IE since it requires webgl) so you can do quite alot on the clientside of things without running into performance issues.

The big problem for an MMO is scalability and that is mostly a serverside and network problem, The actual performance of the language implementation you use isn't all that important as long as you can throw more hardware at it(and hardware is cheap), The biggest concern should always be bandwidth for a project like this as it is awfully expensive. Bandwidth requirements doesn't increase linearly, doubling the number of players will more than double your bandwidth needs (worst case is just over 4x the bandwidth for 2x the players) so for any game at the MMO scale (thousands of players) this is critical.
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