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cristycs

Web Game Development advice

14 posts in this topic

Hello, I am trying to become a game developer, I am a 2D/3D artist, I would like to learn a language where I will have alot of freedom, and be a language for the future (I want to help develop games similar to star trek - infinite space, dark orbit, battlestar galactica online, and more, I would like to start a project that looks like star trek - IS, i love 4x games) for developing 2d/3d games for the web, I know is a loong process and alot to learn but I have time 4-16 hours a day, all I need is to be pointed in the right direction. I know these are high expectations, but only this way I will become more than I can be as a developer. Thx in advance.
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I'd suggest:

Start with one of these:
Java
Objective C
C++
C#
This: HTML
And pick one high-level webpage language.

Right in there, you've got:
1) Any computer which can run the Java Runtime Environment (which is pretty close to all modern).
2) Apple's programming language for their computers.
3) The old standby. It's a very powerful language and has been around for 30? years, so it's not likely to die. Plus, learning it helps you learn a lot of the fundamentals that underlie higher-level languages, as well as some of those of lower-level languages.
4) Microsoft's programming language for their OS's. Also, the poorly-named Mono project provides portability for other OS's
5) Every single page on the internet is built on top of this (except the Flash pages, but that's bad practice, anyway).
6) Something to know so you don't have to mess with HTML too much, unless you want to.

Pick one from collumn A, one from collumn C and HTML. Probably best to learn them one at a time.

Also: Which language you learn first ultimately doesn't matter; learning programming is independant of the language. True fact: It takes an experienced programming no more than about a month to get up and running with a new language. Given that projects take[i] years, one month doesn't significantly matter.[/i]

...Also, broken italic commands.
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[quote name='Narf the Mouse' timestamp='1333322641' post='4927312']
Also: Which language you learn first ultimately doesn't matter; learning programming is independant of the language. True fact: It takes an experienced programming no more than about a month to get up and running with a new language. Given that projects take[i] years, one month doesn't significantly matter.[/i][/quote]
But (just to clarify) to takes someone new to programming much longer than a month to learn their first language.
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@Narf the Mouse Well I want to develop for the PC (and probably for the Android OS but the PC is my main focus), so from that list Java and C# looks the most appealing to me. How scalable is C++ when it comes to web games? how about python?

@Servant of the Lord I know it takes time, dosent matter if it takes even 1-2 years to be good at one or two programming language. I am doing this to extend my creativity.
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If you're writing web-based games, here is a high-level look at what you need to know:

[b]1) Client-Server modelling[/b]

Browser-based games, if they are to do anything ranging from storing high scores, to permitting multiplayer and persistent state worlds, require communication between "what the player sees" (i.e. the client) and "what controls the game logic" (i.e. the server). Often the logic is stored IN the client, as is the case with many Java or Flash games, but even "storing high scores" needs to talk to a server at some point.

[b]2) JavaScript[/b]

Until Google gets their development workflow for [url="https://developers.google.com/native-client/"]Native Client (NaCl)[/url] worked out, JS will reign as the "king of the browser-based functionality" languages. Learn it. Inside out. Closures. JSON. RESTful interfaces. Simulating classes. All the important HTML5(-ish) tags (canvas, audio, video, websockets, workers). This will take care of the client in your "client-server" model.

[b]3) WebSockets[/b]

Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 10 (i.e. the browsers that matter) all support WebSockets. Why? Likely because it is going to be the Next Big Thing in browser/server communication. Understand what it is, what it offers, and why it's probably going to be adopted sooner than [url="http://dev.chromium.org/spdy/spdy-whitepaper"]SPDY[/url] vs. [url="http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-montenegro-httpbis-speed-mobility-01"]S+M[/url].

[b]4) Server-Side (Scripting) Language[/b]

Your server needs to be able to run in a persistent "loop". Many server side scripting languages are more built for "one-off" executions. This includes PHP, and I would take a closer look at Python in this light, as it might be unsuitable (or rather, there are likely more suitable languages for this purpose). Think of a script which needs to run in a "while(server.active)" state, crunching incoming connections. Better suited languages would include C#.NET (or C# on Mono, if you prefer cross platform) and Java.

[b]5) Database and SQL[/b]

You need to store your persistent data in some form or another. My personal preference is to use an ORM layer which abstracts away from the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relational_database_management_system"]RDBMS[/url], and provides "object-like" functionality for manipulating table data.

For [url="http://tge.stormwarestudios.com/"]TGE's[/url] workflow and build environment, I use pure (i.e. library-less and toolkit-less) JavaScript (canvas, audio, video, client websocket, workers), [url="http://code.google.com/chrome/devtools/docs/overview.html"]Chrome Developer Tools[/url] (JavaScript debugging), [url="http://superwebsocket.codeplex.com/"]SuperWebSocket[/url] (server websocket), [url="http://monodevelop.com/"]MonoDevelop[/url] (C# on Mono IDE with debugger), [url="http://odx.codeplex.com/"]ODX.NET[/url] ORM layer, [url="http://www.mysql.com/products/community/"]MySQL[/url] and [url="http://www.mysql.com/products/workbench/"]Workbench[/url].

Of course, there are other configurations which can be used, it really depends on how painless you want your development to be. Remember, [i]the tools you employ must work for you, and not you for them[/i].
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[quote name='cristycs' timestamp='1333356999' post='4927408']
@Narf the Mouse Well I want to develop for the PC (and probably for the Android OS but the PC is my main focus), so from that list Java and C# looks the most appealing to me. How scalable is C++ when it comes to web games? how about python?

@Servant of the Lord I know it takes time, dosent matter if it takes even 1-2 years to be good at one or two programming language. I am doing this to extend my creativity.
[/quote]
C++: Very scalable. It's arguably the fastest object-oriented language, or among the top. The price of that is there isn't a lot between you and the bare metal, compared to something like C#. It's also hard to learn, generally. To do analogies:

C is a 50's chainsaw. It has no handguards or any real safety features to prevent you from from disaster.
C++ is a modern chainsaw. It has some pretty neat safety features, but it's still possible to have a major disaster. OTOH, it'll still cut nearly anything.
C# is one of those saws the doctors use to cut casts off. It's hard to have a major disaster in, but you can't cut near as much stuff (without addons and here the analogy breaks down).

Python: Python is not very scalable, although it gets more so if you compile it. It's usually interpreted, which means Python sits between your code and the comptuer, interpreting your code into things the computer understands. This is comparable to talking to someone through an interpreter. OTOH, interpreted languages run on anything that has an interpreter for the language.

C and C++ are compiled, which means that they're translated into code your computer understands. Much like talking with someone through an interpreter, knowing their language is faster and makes for better communication. OTOH, you have to recompile for every platform you support. Everything costs something.

C# is "JIT (Just-In-Time) Compiled", which means that your program is compiled while it's running. Once it's compiled, the code runs on the bare metal. The downside is that startup is a little slower and the .Net/Mono runtimes monitor the code, so that provides it's own small reduction. However, it can recompile for greater efficiency.
C# is still, in general and in usual, slower than C++ on a pure speed test. But it's also a higher-level, easier-to-use language and can interop with lower-level languages in .dll form (Dynamic Link Library, or a library of code you dynamically link to), if you really need the speed-up. C# is also memory-managed, and one of your first tasks in C++ would usually be to write or download a memory manager.

Java is comparable to Python in that it's interpreted, and people do seem to be doing intensive work in it. It's also fairly fast, as interpreted languages go.

Benefit of interpreted languages: You can often change the code while it's running. C# can do the same, in debug mode. C and C++ can *not*.
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@[url="http://www.gamedev.net/user/114106-stormwarestudios/"][color=#284B72]stormwarestudios[/color][/url] @[url="http://www.gamedev.net/user/100991-narf-the-mouse/"][color=#284B72]Narf the Mouse[/color][/url] some of the best advice I ever received from someone, thx for taking some of your time to replay.
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[quote name='Narf the Mouse' timestamp='1333395182' post='4927602']
[quote name='cristycs' timestamp='1333356999' post='4927408']
How scalable is C++ when it comes to web games?
[/quote]
C++: Very scalable. It's arguably the fastest object-oriented language, or among the top.
[/quote]
Your advice is very good and valuable, but just to nitpick slightly (We're on the internet after all [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img]), you didn't answer this question fully, but he has the impression that you did, so he's walking away with faulty information.

[b]Question:[/b] "[i]How scalable is C++ [u][color=#ff0000]when it comes to web games[/color][/u]?[/i]"
[b]Answer:[/b] Horrendous.

C++ is not made for web-based games, and if you want to get C++ games working in someone's web browser, you have to do weird stuff like having users download custom or uncommon plugins for their browsers just to play your game, presenting major security risks and driving away users, whereas some other languages (like Java) most of your userbase will already have the plugin installed.

C++ is not the ideal language for web games. Neither is C#, though C# is somewhat better (Unity plugin, and I don't know what else, but it seems Microsoft designed C# for web support as well). Python I don't have a clue about, though I imagine it's in the same boat as C#.
Java is much better suited for web games, at least presently.
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[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1333403480' post='4927655']
[quote name='Narf the Mouse' timestamp='1333395182' post='4927602']
[quote name='cristycs' timestamp='1333356999' post='4927408']
How scalable is C++ when it comes to web games?
[/quote]
C++: Very scalable. It's arguably the fastest object-oriented language, or among the top.
[/quote]
Your advice is very good and valuable, but just to nitpick slightly (We're on the internet after all [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img]), you didn't answer this question fully, but he has the impression that you did, so he's walking away with faulty information.

[b]Question:[/b] "[i]How scalable is C++ [u][color=#ff0000]when it comes to web games[/color][/u]?[/i]"
[b]Answer:[/b] Horrendous.

C++ is not made for web-based games, and if you want to get C++ games working in someone's web browser, you have to do weird stuff like having users download custom or uncommon plugins for their browsers just to play your game, presenting major security risks and driving away users, whereas some other languages (like Java) most of your userbase will already have the plugin installed.

C++ is not the ideal language for web games. Neither is C#, though C# is somewhat better (Unity plugin, and I don't know what else, but it seems Microsoft designed C# for web support as well). Python I don't have a clue about, though I imagine it's in the same boat as C#.
Java is much better suited for web games, at least presently.
[/quote]
...I tripped on an assumption, sorry - I was thinking he'd use C++/C#/Java/Python for the backend (or what runs on the server) and the weblanguage for the frontend (or what runs on the client).

*Embarrassed*
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Not a problem! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
We all make those assumptions; with newbies I try to be extra clear, since I get confused alot myself.

(For the record, [i]I[/i] assumed [i]you[/i] assumed he was talking about regular games and not web games, so assumptions are all around the table [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/laugh.png[/img])
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[quote name='Narf the Mouse' timestamp='1333395182' post='4927602']
Java is comparable to Python in that it's interpreted, and people do seem to be doing intensive work in it. It's also fairly fast, as interpreted languages go.
[/quote]

This is wrong and has been for close to 10 years now, Java is normally JIT compiled like C# (allthough it can also be precompiled just like C or C++ (but the native compilers for Java are pure crap compared to the JIT compilers so there is no reason to use them really) and has the same performance as you'd get with modern C++ compilers when it comes to arithmetics, IO, etc, (There are performance pitfalls with Java though such as expensive native calls, poor trig performance on platforms with inaccurate FPUs and writing cache friendly code in Java is fairly difficult as you don't have all that much control over how memory is allocated (Its not easy to write cache friendly code in any language though but lower level languages tend to give you more tools for it). And ofcourse, most importantly for game clients, the JIT compiler takes some time to do its thing and the slow start kinda sucks there (For the server side of things however that is a non issue as the server is meant to start once and then keep running for a very long time (The server is also far more likely to run on an architecture that actually meets the accuracy requirements Java puts on math functions making the trig performance problem a non issue))

It should be noted that there are JIT compilers available for Python aswell. (The reference implementation is an interpreter but its not the only implementation you can use, if performance with the interpreter is a problem you can use IronPython, psyco, etc instead)
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[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1333403480' post='4927655']
Neither is C#, though C# is somewhat better (Unity plugin, and I don't know what else, but it seems Microsoft designed C# for web support as well). Python I don't have a clue about, though I imagine it's in the same boat as C#.
Java is much better suited for web games, at least presently.
[/quote]

Can you qualify this statement? Specifically, why do you feel C# is unsuitable for web-based games? Are you talking client or server?

If you're talking client, then I wholeheartedly agree; Java or Flash are the ways to go. But server is a different story (as would be C++; for the most part, you require a HTTP, WebSocket, or CometD server for communications).
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[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1333403480' post='4927655']
[quote name='Narf the Mouse' timestamp='1333395182' post='4927602']
[quote name='cristycs' timestamp='1333356999' post='4927408']
How scalable is C++ when it comes to web games?
[/quote]
C++: Very scalable. It's arguably the fastest object-oriented language, or among the top.
[/quote]
Your advice is very good and valuable, but just to nitpick slightly (We're on the internet after all [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img]), you didn't answer this question fully, but he has the impression that you did, so he's walking away with faulty information.

[b]Question:[/b] "[i]How scalable is C++ [u][color=#FF0000]when it comes to web games[/color][/u]?[/i]"
[b]Answer:[/b] Horrendous.

C++ is not made for web-based games, and if you want to get C++ games working in someone's web browser, you have to do weird stuff like having users download custom or uncommon plugins for their browsers just to play your game, presenting major security risks and driving away users, whereas some other languages (like Java) most of your userbase will already have the plugin installed.

C++ is not the ideal language for web games. Neither is C#, though C# is somewhat better (Unity plugin, and I don't know what else, but it seems Microsoft designed C# for web support as well). Python I don't have a clue about, though I imagine it's in the same boat as C#.
Java is much better suited for web games, at least presently.
[/quote] Thx I decided to start with C# and Unity for web, C# with XNA for windows and Java for cross-platform including web, but I will start with C# because is easyer to learn. But in the end I will end un with C++/C#/Java, C# and Java being the main focus.

"I was thinking he'd use C++/C#/Java/Python for the backend (or what runs on the server) and the weblanguage for the frontend (or what runs on the client)."
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[quote name='stormwarestudios' timestamp='1333405141' post='4927665']
[quote name='Servant of the Lord' timestamp='1333403480' post='4927655']
Neither is C#, though C# is somewhat better (Unity plugin, and I don't know what else, but it seems Microsoft designed C# for web support as well). Python I don't have a clue about, though I imagine it's in the same boat as C#.
Java is much better suited for web games, at least presently.
[/quote]
Can you qualify this statement? Specifically, why do you feel C# is unsuitable for web-based games? Are you talking client or server?

If you're talking client, then I wholeheartedly agree; Java or Flash are the ways to go. But server is a different story (as would be C++; for the most part, you require a HTTP, WebSocket, or CometD server for communications).[/quote]
Client (hence the Unity Plugin comment). C# or C++ or even Python (almost any language, really) would work fine for a server, as you pointed out.
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[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1333404776' post='4927663']
[quote name='Narf the Mouse' timestamp='1333395182' post='4927602']
Java is comparable to Python in that it's interpreted, and people do seem to be doing intensive work in it. It's also fairly fast, as interpreted languages go.
[/quote]

This is wrong and has been for close to 10 years now, Java is normally JIT compiled like C# (allthough it can also be precompiled just like C or C++ (but the native compilers for Java are pure crap compared to the JIT compilers so there is no reason to use them really) and has the same performance as you'd get with modern C++ compilers when it comes to arithmetics, IO, etc, (There are performance pitfalls with Java though such as expensive native calls, poor trig performance on platforms with inaccurate FPUs and writing cache friendly code in Java is fairly difficult as you don't have all that much control over how memory is allocated (Its not easy to write cache friendly code in any language though but lower level languages tend to give you more tools for it). And ofcourse, most importantly for game clients, the JIT compiler takes some time to do its thing and the slow start kinda sucks there (For the server side of things however that is a non issue as the server is meant to start once and then keep running for a very long time (The server is also far more likely to run on an architecture that actually meets the accuracy requirements Java puts on math functions making the trig performance problem a non issue))

It should be noted that there are JIT compilers available for Python aswell. (The reference implementation is an interpreter but its not the only implementation you can use, if performance with the interpreter is a problem you can use IronPython, psyco, etc instead)
[/quote]
Thanks, I had somehow managed to completely miss that fact in my internet browsing:( (I use mostly C#).

Well, as they say, many hands make light work. :)

(Or is that three heads are bitter than one?)
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