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Intro and a few questions

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Hi all, I am a new member to gamedev, long time reader, first time poster. I have been working on a city building simulator, which will be a hybrid of many of the good games I've played over the years. I have developed a foundation for the housing structure, store mechanics, resource collection, etc. Then moved over to the graphics side, using GIMP, and come up with a decent tileset. Now I am currently working on the art for the buildings.

Just to make you aware, I am not a programmer, yet. The extent of my programming experience consists of Apple basic and Pascal, and after being exposed to these I decided that programming was not for me. I went in to electronics instead. I may end up having to learn programming at some point (with python currently leading as a topic of interest), but for now I am squeaking by working with programs.

GIMP seems to be a suitable graphics program, which I have had some experience with over the years and know enough to be dangerous. I have also recently found blender, which seems to be a more than capable 3D modeling suite, although I think it's overkill for an isometric city game. Blender does have a game engine built into it now, for a few revs it seems, which is a nice plus, but I have also looked at contruct classic and construct 2. Again, the constructs seem to be more suitable for my needs, although blender is just really freakin' cool.

So, one of my questions is regarding the use of open source and free or low-cost lisence game engines vs. more "professional" suites like unity. Do you really get that much more bang for your buck? There are a multitude of engines available, and it is somewhat daunting as a novice to even know what is worth it. I have looked at game maker, but it seemed a little dated feeling when compared to construct, which is why I'm leaning that way. If you would like to suggest any good engines that I have missed, what I'm looking for is something that would be under $1000 for a commercial license, good support, documentation, tutorials, etc., and I do also like the latest and greatest.

Another thing that I am currently looking at is the graphics, writing, sound, etc. Without currently having much money to spend on the project, I don't see many other options except becoming a graphics artist, writer, etc. I mean how feasible is it to think that someone may be interested in joining me in this project, and how much convincing do people need to realize that I'm not just some shmoe thinking it would be cool to make a game? So far, I've just been moving forward with the "show as much as you can" mentality, so I have been also trying to document my progress on a few wikis. Of course, doing it all by myself, I've found that it is a lot of work to keep up with everything.

So, every now and again, I just fallback and actually play some games, reach out to communities like I am doing here, and try to relieve some of the pressure that can build up.

I would appreciate any feedback and opinions that you are willing to provide, and I look forward to seeing how I may fit into this community.

<enter witty tagline here>

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A beginner starting with Apple or Pascal programming with no directive or initiative can easily break the fondness of computer programming as an interest, especially in games.

Have you tried a more objected-oriented programming language like C++, or maybe Java?

Because I would refrain from throwing the towel on game programming just from a bad first experience.

But as for designing ... you can work closely with game development if you're a graphic designer, and it can also be really fun if you truly enjoy it.

A few others you may like, or can look to are:

Irrlicht: http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/

3D Rad: http://www.3drad.com/

Gamebryo: http://www.gamebryo.com/

But not knowing programming will always be a barrier to demanding, top-notch game development, unless, of course, you use a program like this: http://www.3dgamestudio.com/

But that's pre-defined and coded templates of games, models, all in a drag-and-drop interface, and you're not really making them by yourself.

But if graphics are more your thing than programming, you should stick with Blender, tweak around with maybe 3D Rad and other modelling programs.

There's one called Autodesk Maya (graphics program) that is supposedly really good, and gives a free trial if you have the hardware/software to handle it.

Unfortunately, the commercial product is sold for over $3,000.00.

You can see it here: http://usa.autodesk.com/maya/

Hope I helped a bit.

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Hi Pointer, thanks for the feedback. I will check these out tonight. Ya, the programming was back when these languages were new, so I'm sure things have changed somewhat. Although, I'm sure programming can only change so much, it's lines of code. I guess I will have to breakdown and take a look at it for my own good anyway. I do have a reason to learn it now, which does put a different light on it compared to 20 years ago. Hmmm, object oriented, that does sound kind of interesting.

Thanks again for the input, and I will check these out :)

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Game engines ( http://www.gamefromscratch.com/page/3D-Game-Engine-Round-up.aspx )

That link has a list of most of the most populat game engines, their cost, links etc.
To answer your question, yes, there is value and bang for your buck, especially for commercial teams. You do get more from UDK than you do IrrLicht or BGE.
That said, Unity seems to straddle the line between affordable and professional extremely well.

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Actually, I was just about to recommend 3D Game Studio. It's NOT a completely templated game engine, though it does come with a bunch of template content you can use to play with/learn. If you're afraid of programming you can get an introduction to the C-family of languages through their scripting language, Lite-C. It's actually not bad. For the price and the fact that you can also get a free version 3DGS is a great learning tool. Technically, if you know C or C++ you could squeeze a commercial game out of it.

But as someone else said, trying Apple Basic and Pascal might be the reason you're turned off to programming. Try C# or C++... even C is good, though it's not object-oriented. For some reason, and I'm not alone, I just hate the syntax of languages that aren't in the curly-brace family (e.g., C, C++, C#, Java). You might be one of those people too, so you need to try a "better" language more suitable to your brain. :-)

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Hi Serapth and ATC, thank you for chiming in as well :) I will definitely check out the gamefromscratch engine line up, as well as that site in general. That alone looks like researching fun, good for a few hours at least. And it is good to know that the engines market seems to basically be competatively priced as a marketplace of its own. I guess marketing people do have their place, as well.

3DGS actually does look like something to look at, and I will download it and compare it to blender, at least. That should give me an idea of what I may be able to work with, given my lack of programming knowledge.

I did download and look at codeblocks, just to expose my eyes to the new world of programming, and I can at least still see. I should have learned by now not to speak out of ignorance, but what can you do. It appears from just looking at this that programming has changed, and I think I'm starting to understand why it is called "Object oriented" and "visual". The best I could gleen from taking a quick glance, before my eyes started to glaze over, is that it has become somewhat "modularized" (for lack of a better word). I may or may not dive into that pool, it looks rather deep.

As for now, as the events of the last couple of days have unfolded, I think I will go back to the drawing board and finish up a GDD. I wanted to actually include specifics to the point of numbers for all of the stores, decorations, resource collectors, min-max level progression, etc. But I think that would be overkill, and somewhat a waste of time, at this point. Balance will only be achieved in the game when I get a chance to actually put it into an engine and mess around with it. At least with all of this in mind, it gives me an even more clarified picture of what I would need in a GDD, for myself, and if a programmer were to become interested.

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CodeBlocks is good, but I prefer Visual Studio above any and all other IDEs. And the free Visual Studio Express editions are pretty damn good. You're unlikely to lack for any feature using an Express edition until you get into very advanced programming (likely at least one to several years down the road).

I love Visual Studio because I think (warning: personal opinion) that it is the biggest, baddest and most robust IDE you could ask for on Windows. I've developed everything from console applications, 3D applications, mobile device software and Windows applications to operating systems, compilers, assemblers and linkers with it. You can configure (and even extend) Visual Studio to do anything you want. It's just a bad *** IDE.

Therefore I recommend you at least give it and C# a look-over. I think you will love C#. It's a beautiful language; every bit as "powerful" as C and C++ and almost every bit as fast (sometimes faster). C# is just a very fluid and elegant way to turn ideas in your head into machine language, and make it run fast, efficient and stable.

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Everyone has their own programming language (s) of preference.

I agree with ATC on the curly-brace family languages, like C, C++, Java, etc. I, too, would turn away from programming if I would've started with Pascal(not that Pascal is bad, it's just that the syntax is not to my likeness).

Objective-C, Smalltalk, Visual Basic, etc. I also find those to be other dreaded syntax languages to me.

By combining programming language knowledge with graphics development, you'll be two steps ahead of many people in the computer-related fields.

Honestly, even basic knowledge of a language like C++ can open many doors for you with innovation and game development, and some people find that once they start learning and getting the hang of a language, they just keep going ... good luck.

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I agree with ATC on the curly-brace family languages, like C, C++, Java, etc. I, too, would turn away from programming if I would've started with Pascal(not that Pascal is bad, it's just that the syntax is not to my likeness).


(((((You) know)(what)((language I)(absolutely))(couldn't (bear))to(((((use)))))? lol... LISP... :-) It's one of those "love it or hate it" languages, and I hated it from first sight due to all the parenthesis and the syntax in general. Not saying it's a bad language, it's just the complete opposite of my taste.

I also hate the BASIC/VB syntax... It just seems very verbose and ugly to me. Whereas you can use a '}' in a C-family language, you have to type out an entire word to close in a BASIC-like language such as Visual BASIC. Variable declarations are also rather ugly and verbose to me...

Keep in mind this is just me ranting, expressing my own personal opinion and biases. I'm not saying any language, including VB, sucks. I'm just saying that I hate the syntax and think it's ugly/verbose. :-)

I think the OP will like programming a lot better when he tries a language like C# or C++ and sees how easily you can transfer between these languages; not to mention how incredibly powerful and practical they are!

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Hi all, I am a new member to gamedev, long time reader, first time poster. I have been working on a city building simulator, which will be a hybrid of many of the good games I've played over the years. I have developed a foundation for the housing structure, store mechanics, resource collection, etc. Then moved over to the graphics side, using GIMP, and come up with a decent tileset. Now I am currently working on the art for the buildings.


I'm just curious how you've been working on that without allot of programing knowledge? I don't mean offence by this i have a huge interest in simulators :P

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