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Help a newbie with language choice and expectations

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Hello all,

My question is going to fall under the which language/engine to use, with specifics.

I have a couple of ideas that would merge later on if interest remained. One would be 3d, the other could start off non-3d but would merge with the 3d aspect at some point. These ideas aren't just "wake up and want to program games"; these have been brewing for years.

Experience wise I've done some rather complex things in PHP/MySQL/JS; I've coded through some cool tidbits in actionscript, fixed/updated some VBscript, and things of the like. C++ makes my head throb (which is ok - no pain no gain), but I can't say I've stayed interested in C++ long enough to do anything with it.

My game ideas fall into RPG, with economy, items and resources ruling the day; but I can't neglect visuals for any length of time. In the past I have partially built some of my ideas with PHP/MySQL, but they are limited and my ideas have matured since then. I'm also thinking possible MMO functionality, with parts of the game playable via web page.

I've been comparing languages and engines a little bit, and have a short list:

Panda3D/Python
Blender/Python
JMonkey/Java
Lightweight Java Game Library/Java - Because I love minecraft and it has inspired me to get back to my ideas.

I guess it is a really short list.

Some specific thoughts:

I would like to build and test the non-3d game logic as quickly as possible, while jumping between it and the visual, 3d part. I know I will be more productive in the game logic area, and with that, I think firstly Python would be a good fit to move from what are essentially web technologies that I'm currently experienced with into something more substantial.

Furthermore, I'm wrapped up into several creative things right now: including web design, photography and limited music production, so whatever platform I choose should be able to help move me along quickly as my time is well divided. I also want to have realistic expectations, and plan accordingly. While I'm productive in some cheese languages, a programmer by definition I am not.

My concern if I am able to bring a project to an open testing phase, will be with performance and end user hardware compatibility (hence my short list), and the probability of being able to determine and fix these issues in a higher level framework. Add to that, where am I going to be if the project takes a couple of years? I don't want to be Duke Nukem, or any of those games that by release time, the game technology is outdated.

I'm revisiting the idea of programing a game becuase I'll have some help in the graphics department, so now maybe a good time to do this.

I'd appreciate any thoughts.

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3D, most likely multiplayer, and one facet of the game (economy related) could be played in a browser - but not the whole game.

I'm reading about unity right now; thanks!

It's unfortunate though. The questions I'm asking and the research I'm going, it seems that C++ is the only way to go. I had read that something like Python mixed with C++ where performance is concerned is common, but now I'm finding that to be more fantasy than practice. I think C++ would be too cumbersome at this point, with the time available, to see any results.

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[quote name='trowtlip' timestamp='1333994158' post='4929620']
My game ideas fall into RPG, with economy, items and resources ruling the day; but I can't neglect visuals for any length of time. In the past I have partially built some of my ideas with PHP/MySQL, but they are limited and my ideas have matured since then. I'm also thinking possible MMO functionality, with parts of the game playable via web page.
[/quote]

Nail down your ideas (on paper). Scope creep will kill any project, regardless of technology. They'll change as you learn, but be wary of trying to do something when you're not sure what it is.

[quote name='trowtlip' timestamp='1333994158' post='4929620']
I would like to build and test the non-3d game logic as quickly as possible
[/quote]

Good. That's the core of the game, so it's best to know if that works earlier rather than later.

[quote name='trowtlip' timestamp='1333994158' post='4929620']
I think firstly Python would be a good fit to move from what are essentially web technologies that I'm currently experienced with into something more substantial.
[/quote]

Very likely.

[quote name='trowtlip' timestamp='1333994158' post='4929620']
My concern if I am able to bring a project to an open testing phase, will be with performance and end user hardware compatibility (hence my short list), and the probability of being able to determine and fix these issues in a higher level framework. Add to that, where am I going to be if the project takes a couple of years?
[/quote]

I suspect that it will take at least a couple of years. The idea sounds fairly ambitious and programming is not something you can learn (and apply) on the job without a lot of growing pains.

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