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biggara

Getting Started

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biggara    100
I know this has been asked 1000 different ways and had nearly a million different answers, but how do I get started? Is there a tool that I should use that fits my specific strengths?
Background:
I am a RPI graduate, with a BS in electronic media, arts and communications.
I work as a system administrator for a construction company for lack of a better term.
I would say i have medium to fair skill in: vbscript, vb.net, c++.
I am familiar with Maya, Photoshop, Final Cut, MS SQL, Gimp
I have done a few administrative things in Python, C#. (copy files, count files, move files, list files with certain ext, ect)
And I have tried to start using, but just cant get the ball rolling in: Blender, Unity 3D.
I took psych classes on Game Design (not video game just reg game theory), character design, and human factors in design.
I like to think I have a fair to strong knowledge on computers in general and networking.

The low down:
I want to get started. I have a friend with nearly no technical background who has a great passion for games. We have played around in map makers like forge and he always comes up with some good stuff, and we come up with great stuff together. I need to get him up to speed and take myself to the next level. I am also trying to do this on a $0 budget. I thought that I could just pull all my maya knowledge into Blender but it feels completely alien to me. Unity 3D seems great but I haven't committed because I am not sure if its the way to go. Gimp seems like a fair substitute for photoshop. Both my friend and I work full time and have children, I think it is something we could do, I just don't know how yet. Do we just get started with a GDD, and learn the tech stuff on the fly with our pet project?

Any help, advice would be welcome.
Thanks,

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Telastyn    3777
[quote name='biggara' timestamp='1333116325' post='4926683']
Do we just get started with a GDD, and learn the tech stuff on the fly with our pet project?
[/quote]

No. By all accounts, you have a few years before there's the programming skill to get a non-trivial game project off the ground. Learning involves a ton of iteration and mistakes. Your project can't survive that process. Start small. There is nothing here exceptional that would make the common advice invalid.

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Serapth    6671
[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1333116854' post='4926689']
[quote name='biggara' timestamp='1333116325' post='4926683']
Do we just get started with a GDD, and learn the tech stuff on the fly with our pet project?
[/quote]

No. By all accounts, you have a few years before there's the programming skill to get a non-trivial game project off the ground. Learning involves a ton of iteration and mistakes. Your project can't survive that process. Start small. There is nothing here exceptional that would make the common advice invalid.
[/quote]


It all depends on the degree of what medium to fair means in this statement: "
[left]I would say i have medium to fair skill in: vbscript, vb.net, c++",[/left]
[left][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=4]I do however agree with the start small comment. But then, he never specified the scope of their first project either.[/size][/font][/color][/left]



[left][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=4]Your list of tools seems about appropriate. You very much can make a game using Blender/GIMP, although it will be painful at times. To add to the list of freely available applications to check out, also see Inkscape ( vector graphics ), Wings ( 3d modelling ) and Audacity ( audio ). [/size][/font][/color][/left]
[left][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=4]Keep in mind though, just becoming "competent" with a 3D package is a year(s) long task, much like the programming side of things.[/size][/font][/color][/left]

[left][color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=4]Keep in mind though, in the grand scheme of things "a passion for games" + 5 cents will net you a nickel. Making games in obscenely complicated work requiring a ton of [/size][/font][/color]perseverance[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=4].[/size][/font][/color][/left]

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menyo    972
If you want to make games i would say get visual studio for C# and XNA. XNA is a very nice library and you can jump right into game logic rather then creating an engine. Off course there are plenty of other libraries like SDL or complete engines like UDK but i would really advice you to look into XNA. I went with XNA and i'm very happy with it. Since you have some experience with C# and C++ you should have no problem jumping into some XNA tutorials there are plenty of them around.

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biggara    100
Menyo,
I may be able to get running in XNA with a few tutorials and what not, thanks. I am familiar with Visual Studios also at least 2003, 2005. Can I get by on the express versions? I have 2003 or 2005 on my work laptop, and its fully loaded, c#, J#,C++, vb. I will look into that though thanks. Any resources you used for getting started? Thanks again. Has anyone here worked with unity or is that the cheaters path? I know the level of designers on here are much better than the boards I have been stumbling around.

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StayFly    177
Hey, biggara i am a noob to this and I am trying to teach myself.

But if you where to ask me I would say Use Unity it's perfect for starters. Easy to import assets. A matter a fact unity has assets that you can use right off there website free assets to use that you can put into your game and flip a profit off of. Also unity has the asset store which also has free stuff too.

For getting started in unity check out 3dbuzz
http://www.3dbuzz.com/vbforum/sv_home.php

Some of the tutorials you have to pay for but their unity stuff is free.

Good luck and let me know how it works out for you.

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biggara    100
Ryan,
Awesome find, that site has a little help for xna, unity and more, i will check that out. Since you are into unity, I will match your contribution with this link
[url="http://walkerboystudio.com/html/unity_training___free__.html"]http://walkerboystudio.com/html/unity_training___free__.html[/url]

:-)

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jbadams    25713
[quote name='biggara' timestamp='1333476009' post='4927945']
Can I get by on the [visual studio] express versions?
[/quote]
Absolutely, yes. The express editions are very capable, and there are no licensing restrictions preventing the creation of commercial products.

[quote name='biggara' timestamp='1333476009' post='4927945']
Has anyone here worked with unity or is that the cheaters path?
[/quote]
Unity is an excellent option, and there's no reason to consider it "the cheaters path"; it certainly does provide a lot of existing functionality out-of-the-box, but if you're comfortable with using Unity there's absolutely no reason you should waste your time re-creating the basics rather than getting into the specifics of your own game right away. The official documentation is of good quality, and the unity community is active and helpful.


I'd personally recommend Unity, but if you don't find it comfortable C# and XNA would also be an excellent option that you should be able to get up and running with fairly quickly given your background. Start small and produce a couple of little practice games before jumping in to your dream project -- just completing a small game (even pong or tetris) with all the polish and details will teach you a lot of helpful things about work-flow and about how to structure your code, as well as likely getting a few inevitable mistakes out of the way so that you've already learned from them when you approach your dream project.

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KorangarDev    355
Yep, if you really want to get started right away, XNA and Unity are the way to go I hear, though I think XNA might be easier. Unity confuses me, personally.

That's if you're really bent on 3D.

You could try to learn Objective C and XCode for iPhone projects.
Or Action Script 3 for flash games. Those are rather viral and even marginally profitable.
Or just make 2D games with XNA, which is also a good way to make money.


Personally, I'm going the directX route, which is what XNA is based on, via SlimDX. I don't recommend this route!
Problem is, I want to use the new technology that isn't available on the XBox. Plus, no tutorials in C# for this, which is the language for me.


I also do not recommend using C++ or Java to make games with. You really don't need that much power just yet since you don't have a fleet of artists, and more importantly you need to get going straight away. Use C#. A little slower now because you have to learn it, but "you'll get much faster production once you get it" is what I keep hearing over and over.


Also check out Blender for modelling 3D stuff. It's not my favorite but it's an alternative and you could check it out.

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SimonForsman    7642
[quote name='biggara' timestamp='1333476009' post='4927945']
Menyo,
I may be able to get running in XNA with a few tutorials and what not, thanks. I am familiar with Visual Studios also at least 2003, 2005. Can I get by on the express versions? I have 2003 or 2005 on my work laptop, and its fully loaded, c#, J#,C++, vb. I will look into that though thanks. Any resources you used for getting started? Thanks again. Has anyone here worked with unity or is that the cheaters path? I know the level of designers on here are much better than the boards I have been stumbling around.
[/quote]

Unity is definitly not "the cheaters path" , a good developer will use whatever gets the work done, (Your customers want a good game, they don't care how you made it) and for many projects Unity is very hard to beat.

There are only 3 reasons i can think of not to use Unity:
1) You're more interested in doing low level programming than in making games. (This is fine aswell, , you just have to start alot smaller and accept that your games probably won't be as big or that they will be fairly outdated techwise by the time they're released)
2) Your project has requirements that Unity can't meet. (In which case a different, most likely more expensive engine would be the first choice)
3) You've found another engine that is easier to work with and also meets your requirements.

As far as C# goes the express edition is fine, the language features are the same in all editions of visual studio (AFAIK) and the professional ones primarily add productivty and collaboration features to the IDE.

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