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Hi everyone! - said the complete beginner

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Hi! ^_^

I've been working on the flowchart, game description, all graphics and sounds for an iOS (and hopefully Android) app.
I haven't been able to find answers to my questions on the net, and to be perfectly honest, I'm not even sure what search terms to use.

Maybe you guys can help me. ^_^

Please bear in mind, that I know nothing about programming. :(

Here are my questions:

1.) What format do I need to have my graphics in, so a programmer won't run away laughing when he looks at my project?

2.) Same question goes for sounds (both music and sound effects) and animations.

3.) If my game contains a few 3D elements, what format do they need to be in (I assume .obj, but I have no clue), and what about their textures?

4.) What else can I do to make the programmer's time as easy as possible regarding programming my game.
Here I assumed that programmers must be tired of people coming to them with no layouts of any kind, and starting with "Hey, I thought of this awesome game last night, can you make it?".
So I wrote a complete game description, almost finished with an all-scenario encompassing flowchart (this includes gameplay, menu navigation, backend, frontend, etc...), and am making all visual and audio arts as well.
Hopefully this will cut down on programming time, as well as keep frustration levels low.

How am I doing so far?

Thanks in advance for the help!

I'll probably remember a few more things tomorrow, but then I'll update this thread.

Nice to meet you all!

~ Liana

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1) A programming isn't wondering if your file format is silly, per se. They're wondering "Can I edit the image? Does the image contain the data needed (transparency/alpha channel/etc.)? Can I open the format in common tools (Paint, Gimp, Photoshop)? Is the image in a lossless compression format (so data isn't lost every time I edit and save)?"

2) Same for music, sounds and animation.

3) Yep.

Most of the common tools can open all the common formats, so in short, just pick one.

4) Pay them. Or start an open-source project (You'll loose a lot of control over the project, but you won't have to pay anyone).

It sounds harsh, but:

Yes, we all love to program. But all (most?) of us are busy on our own awesome projects. We don't have time to program every project random people want us to do - And if we tried, we'd never get anything done. So, the average programming greets any request along the lines of "Can you make my game for me?" about the same way you'd react to "I want you to create a portfolio for me. For free. And you have no clue who I am. But my idea is awesome."

Now for the good news:

You've done all the preliminary design work. If you're willing to share equally, you might attract a few programmers to your start-up. But like open-source, it'll no longer be just yours. Or even mostly yours.

If that's what you're planning, great. Otherwise...Don't be surprised if there's a lack of enthusiasm. :)

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[quote name='Liana' timestamp='1333335721' post='4927358']
1.) What format do I need to have my graphics in, so a programmer won't run away laughing when he looks at my project?

3.) If my game contains a few 3D elements, what format do they need to be in (I assume .obj, but I have no clue), and what about their textures?
[/quote]
For images you should use some kind of lossless-compression or uncompressed file format. Therefor artist often like TGAs, but PNG will do the job too, try to avoid jpg, because this will introduce compression artifacts.

For models/meshes you should use some kind of standard format. Wavefront-object (.obj) is very simple, but enough for textures, static meshes. Then there's .fbx and collada for more advanced models (i.e. including animation data).


[quote name='Liana' timestamp='1333335721' post='4927358']
4.) What else can I do to make the programmer's time as easy as possible regarding programming my game.
[/quote]
Well... cash, to be honest.


[quote name='Liana' timestamp='1333335721' post='4927358']
Here I assumed that programmers must be tired of people coming to them with no layouts of any kind, and starting with "Hey, I thought of this awesome game last night, can you make it?".
So I wrote a complete game description, almost finished with an all-scenario encompassing flowchart (this includes gameplay, menu navigation, backend, frontend, etc...), and am making all visual and audio arts as well.
Hopefully this will cut down on programming time, as well as keep frustration levels low.
[/quote]
It is hard to write down your requirements in a good way, when you never have worked in this context. Nowadays many small teams (and large coporations too) work with an agile development process, that is , you don't need to write as much as possible down (because most of this will never see the light of day), it is more important to get the basic/core ideas to paper and develop the program in coporation with your development team.

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Thank you so much for the reply! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/happy.png[/img]

Of course I would pay the programmer. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] I do a lot of art work, so I know what it's like when someone comes up to you and asks "Hey, could you design/draw/model this for me, you know, for FUN?" *giggle*

I was mostly wondering about how I need to get things ready to discuss with potential programmers, so that they don't run away screaming "OMG noob" when they see my plans and ideas [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]

One more question I thought of:

How does it get decided what is used in regards to putting the game together?

I've heard of Unity 3D, let's say the programmer wants to use that. Would I have to buy the program for the programmer, or would he already have it?
If he doesn't have it, how would I know if what he uses will do the job properly?
Or, since it's a iOS game, would he HAVE to use their SDK (?) and that's it?

Let me elaborate on a theory here [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

If I were to make a game that is comparative to someone looking at an aquarium. The background is the inserted piece of plastic at the back of the aquarium, depicting whatever (so it's 2D). Your characters are the fish running around inside (3D). That's a mix of a 3D and 2D programming job, right?
If a programmer were to program fish swimming about in this aquarium, is that considered a big job, or a small job?
(Sorry, this is the best comparative I could come up with, haha).

Please please keep in mind, that I know nothing about programming, so if I say something dumb, I don't mean to offend anyone [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

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You have to differentiate between tools and engines. Unity is an engine which you need to get your game running. So you need to buy any license which is needed to get it running (thought unity has some free licenses). So, first you need to choose an engine (or write your own one), because you need to pay the bill eventually. But as already said, many engines has atleast a restricted, free license available.

[quote]
If I were to make a game that is comparative to someone looking at an aquarium. The background is the inserted piece of plastic at the back of the aquarium, depicting whatever (so it's 2D). Your characters are the fish running around inside (3D). That's a mix of a 3D and 2D programming job, right?
[/quote]
Well... you have some art skills, why not draw some concepts ? Pictures are telling more than 1000 words, right ? What games are comparable ? From some post-mortoms I've read, I would guess that small games (iPhone games) are doable for 50k-80k & 4-12 month , smaller indie games (magika ?) for around 300k-500k & 12-24 month.

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@Ashaman: Thanks for the infos! :)
I do have concept art somewhere on my external HDD, I'll dig them out (hopefully today). ^_^

I can't really say comparative games, as I've not seen or played anything similar yet.

Wow so 50k-80k! Do programmers work for a per hour wage, or a per project/overall fee?

I do have another project that's pretty similar to the game Robot Unicorn Attack (it's 2D, graphics, flowchart, design, etc are all done, just need a programmer to put it together :D). How would that go over with regards to programming time and cost?

Again, sorry for my ignorance on what I feel like are completely basic knowledge. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img] [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/ph34r.png[/img]

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If you can do all the game art then you may be able to find a programmer willing to split profits 50 : 50. I wouldn't recommend hiring a freelancer for your first project since you wouldn't really know what you're doing, and you'll most likely lose all the money.

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I Am Not A Lawer, This Is Opinion:

1) Have a contract.
2) Have a solid contract.
3) Have a contract that spells out:
3a) Exactly the work to be done.
3b) Exactly what you will provide.
3c) The process by which the work may be modified, and the extent.
3d) The process by which the contract will be arbitrated.
3e) The compensation for the work as defined initially.
3f) A process for determining compensation for any modifications (at this point I can guess you've had people say things like "I know this is what I asked for, but can you just change it like this (for free)?").
4) Make sure you look over (on the internet, not just any website they give you, but you probably know that ;) ) the history of all potential programmers for hire.
5) Read up on programming itself. You should know enough to tell if you're being sold unreliable information.

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I have tried to look at programming, and I didn't even know where to start, to be honest.

So many different languages....
What should I look at to learn about programming for the iOS (Android too, but iOS for starters)?
I don't even know what kind of language people use for that, and what a typical programmer's workflow is like.

I looked into learning programming, but it feels very overwhelming, and between doing great graphics, sounds, menus, music, designs, QA and bug testing PLUS programming, it would sap the living life out of me to do it all myself. Especially that I highly doubt I could learn any sort of programming sufficiently enough within a relatively short period of time, to complete all the work by myself.

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[quote name='Liana' timestamp='1333398259' post='4927624']
I have tried to look at programming, and I didn't even know where to start, to be honest.

So many different languages....
What should I look at to learn about programming for the iOS (Android too, but iOS for starters)?
I don't even know what kind of language people use for that, and what a typical programmer's workflow is like.

I looked into learning programming, but it feels very overwhelming, and between doing great graphics, sounds, menus, music, designs, QA and bug testing PLUS programming, it would sap the living life out of me to do it all myself. Especially that I highly doubt I could learn any sort of programming sufficiently enough within a relatively short period of time, to complete all the work by myself.
[/quote]
True, and I didn't suggest you do it all yourself - just to get a high-level overview, so you can tell if you're getting a snow job. :)

You could also just interview some programmers and ask us questions about stuff you don't understand. At this point, I'm at the limit of my knowledge; I've never hired a programmer. :)

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Any suggestions on where to get such overview of what programming for the iOS entails?

I have never even talked to a programmer, what should I ask them?

*feels very confused*

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[quote name='Liana' timestamp='1333402043' post='4927640']
Any suggestions on where to get such overview of what programming for the iOS entails?

I have never even talked to a programmer, what should I ask them?

*feels very confused*
[/quote]
I Am Not A Jobs Professional, This Is Opinion:

Someone here should be able to do that. Might be usefull to start a specific thread for that - I've noticed that it makes people more likely to respond to follow-up problems.

1) What's your favorite iOS game and how would you write a clone of it? Give me a five minute layman's (or laywoman's, in your case) description (I firmly believe that I never understand anything well enough until I can explain it to a layperson).
2) What problems would you forsee in getting the game to completion? (You're looking more for intelligent analysis of problems and problem-solving capability here, than any specific analysis. The ability to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses is a must)
3) How would you port the game to another platform? (What you're looking for here is, do they program *in* a specific platform, or *into* a specific platform? That is, to analogize in graphics terms, do they think of everything as Photoshop, or can they think in terms of image editing? The reason you want this is, 1) Being able to sell on other platforms increases profits; two, it shows good practices; three, it shows they plan for the future).
4) How much time a day do you spend reading computing blogs, books and other resources? What are your favorites? (You want a number that indicates they do self-study and keep up their knowledge, but one low enough to indicate they don't that when they should be working. And that they aren't approaching burnout. You can also check out the blogs they mention and possibly other resources, depending on availability. You can also check, at least, to see if they read (or at least know the names of) iOS resources and if those resources sound "intelligent")

That should help get you started.

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Ah thank you, this is very useful! Makes perfect sense ^_^

I'll gather the materials I have and willing to share/demonstrate my points with, and then start a new thread with those questions in mind :)

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Wait.

Have you ever had a job? That's the best way to enter the industry, and get yourself familiar with the workflow, and the best thing is [b]one of your colleagues will be a programmer, and you two might become best friends and start your own project together![/b]

You don't go through this contract stuff if you don't even know what's going on.

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@Alnite: No, actually, I never had a "regular job".
I am self employed.

One thing I do have going for me is that due to the nature of my work, which is in the entertainment business, I have access to advertise my games to a couple hundred thousand people who actually read/listen to what I write and say.

I researched a bit about how to advertise your game(s), and a lot of forums and places agreed that one of the most difficult things is reaching a lot of people who care about what you have to say.

But all this is in the future, right now I'm concentrating on familiarizing myself with what's needed to find a good and respectable programmer, who hopefully won't laugh at my idea, or try to rip me off.

To be honest, I don't think I have much of a future in a day-to-day job (my current work wouldn't allow me to hold a steady job anyway).

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[quote name='Liana' timestamp='1333379724' post='4927516']
I do have another project that's pretty similar to the game Robot Unicorn Attack (it's 2D, graphics, flowchart, design, etc are all done, just need a programmer to put it together [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]). How would that go over with regards to programming time and cost?
[/quote]
When you're able to create art, you are already in a good position, but never underestimate the work you need to commit in a project. You need to manage your team, you need to create art, you need to design the game, you need to do PR, you need to a business, you need to get in contact with a lawyer etc.

When you have a small game, a good idea and a good understanding of what you want (hopefully feasable), try to get some motivated people on board. A coder, an additional artist or a businessman, some people you can trust. This is not easy, but it get a lot easier when you have already art, concept shots, a presentation video, game design etc. Freelance coders are not that cheap, a professional coder earns around $80-120k in a year, a freelance with equal qualification will take more. Thought some motivated student will do the job for less.

When this is first game, the game you always have dreamed of, try to make an other game first !

A simple iOS game, which uses similar techniques, just to get enough experiences. All on a very short, good planed timeline (4 month). This helps you to get a feel of all the pitfalls, the time commitment, working in a team, managing a team, handling the overhead etc.When you do the art, you should be able to get a coder for 50% share on board, just for your exp-project.

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@Ashaman: Thank you for the tips!
I do wish I had a 100k to throw away at my game, but alas, that's not the case :(

I do have 2 little pre-games I want to do before the "bigger one", and now I'm working on the arts and such of those games.

I didn't know that it's this difficult to find a game artist actually. :)

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[quote name='Liana' timestamp='1333467916' post='4927897']
@Ashaman: Thank you for the tips!
I do wish I had a 100k to throw away at my game, but alas, that's not the case [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/sad.png[/img]

I do have 2 little pre-games I want to do before the "bigger one", and now I'm working on the arts and such of those games.

I didn't know that it's this difficult to find a game artist actually. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]
[/quote]
Getting a programming partner seems the way to go, then. Artist and programmer is worth a 50/50 split. Without a programmer, no game. Without good art, no/very little sales.

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Yepp, it seems like that would be the best way to go :)

Thanks everyone for all the advice! ^_^

Now I just need to find a good programmer *giggle*
Easy as pie *NOT* :P

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Liana,
Since you mentioned Unity3D, I suggest you quickly hit the Unity site and register the engine for yourself. They currently have a promotion where you get the basic free version of Unity PLUS you can add on[url="https://store.unity3d.com/index.html"] iOS and Android support for free[/url] as well. This will save you $800 if you decide a month from now that that is what you are using.
The promotion ends on the 8th so it's definitely worth acting on it today. (Also, once you get it, install and activate your serial number immediately. If you activate it after April 8th you may not be able to access your bonus licenses)

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Heh, we've been so focused on programming that we forgot the other solutions: Game Makers.

Benefits:
100% ownership.
No need to pay a programmer.
You have to learn a lot less programming than if you programmed it yourself.

Of cousre, there''s
Downsides:
100% blame. ;)
No professional programmer working on your project.
You still have to learn how to use the game maker and choose a good one.
The better the game maker, the more programming you'll need to learn.

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