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Higher Level Tools

5 posts in this topic

Hello friends.

I am struggling to write an acceptable 2D game engine using C++ and Direct3D11. I am iterating on the areas of efficient bitmap rendering, input, and bitmap motion. I am also trying to continually re-architect my game's application structure to better reflect my latest education in programming principles and best practices. However, as the days roll by, I realize that I have nothing to show for my efforts. If given an unlimited time horizon I am sure I could invest myself completely in one tiny niche of video game development and run out of time on earth before I found the solution to every problem within that niche. However, this is not what I want to do. I want to make games. And given my current level of C++ expertise I have chosen to continue my C++ engine only as an educational project with which I will toil daily, but not obsess over. I now want to learn a higher level tool.

I have been considering the pros and cons of three alternatives. C# and the managed .NET framework, owing to its accessibility (I currently use VS2102) and apparent favor within the (more professional side of the) industry. My second alternative was Java. I was surprised to learn recently that Minecraft was programmed in Java. I did not think such a game (although some may question the apparent lack of complexity as a negative, I feel that it ultimately adds to the games interactive appeal, and thus why it is such a successful game; after all, making people happy through interaction is what we are all after in the end isn't it?) could be programmed in a JIT compiled and managed language like Java and C#. My final option would be to learn Unity. This would be the yin to my C++ yang. From what I understand Unity is a primarily visual development medium with programming access only at the scripting level. While this is not what I ultimately want to be developing with, I feel that learning from a professional, yet accessible tool like Unity would give me the ability to gain knowledge of the inner workings of a game on the product level. The ability to pull back from the programming and find out what my system really needs to be, regardless of performance or other considerations.

One last thing to consider. While I like to think of myself as being intelligent, I do not think that I would rank any higher than average among the ranks of programmers reading this site. In fact, my intelligence might even be below average around here. I sometimes feel that C++ is an ingenious language written for geniuses. I would like, one day, to be one of them, but for the time being, I would also like to consider some remedial options.

If you have any advice for me as to which of the three alternatives I should take, please leave a response. I live in Vietnam, and am going to bed shortly, but I will be up in the morning to read them and hopefully make some time management decisions that will take me in a new direction.

Thank you so much for your time.

- Dave Ottley

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[quote name='KingofNoobs' timestamp='1352827505' post='5000618']
I am struggling to write an acceptable 2D game engine using C++ and Direct3D11.
[url="http://scientificninja.com/blog/write-games-not-engines"]Write games, not engines[/url], and accept that there are gaps in your knowledge where some of your choices may be sub-optimal. If you keep re-writing every time you learn something new you will never finish a game. If something works [i]well enough[/i] for your game just leave it as-is and fix it for the next one.

[quote name='KingofNoobs' timestamp='1352827505' post='5000618']
I did not think such a game [...] could be programmed in a JIT compiled and managed language like Java and C#
[url="http://clicktobegin.net/programming/myth-java-not-suitable-for-games/"]Myth: Java not suitable for games[/url]. A lot of people prefer other languages, but Java is perfectly capable of producing great games. C# is also very capable.

Consider also point #2 in my list of [url="http://clicktobegin.net/productivity/reasons-you-arent-a-successful-indie/"]reasons you aren't a successful indie developer[/url]: players simply don't care how your games were made, and any tool that can create your game -- and many of them are more capable than a lot of people would have you believe -- is worth using.

Any of the options you've listed are perfectly capable, and we don't know your specific requirements and can't tell you what your own preferences are. You should really make your own decision, but remember that you don't need to use a lower-level language, and that you need to keep your real priorities in mind -- if you want to complete a game you need to make that the focus and work on a game rather than an engine, and accept that not everything will be perfect.

That being said, my suggestions would probably be C# with XNA, or Unity.

Hope that's helpful! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

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If it's simple 2D you want, I would recommend one of the .NET bindings of SFML or SDL.
So easy! You'll be able to focus on the game you wanna make, and not worry so much about the engine.
The above advice on making a game, not an engine, whilst it gets slugged around a lot on this forum (some people just wanna explore/understand game engine technology, and that's fine too), I've found it to generally be good advice.

But sure, Unity and XNA are also a good choice - really powerful and can do a LOT for you (maybe a little too much for a simple 2D game?). Edited by archanian

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I use Game Maker myself. I had used C++ for years and similar to you never got around to actually finishing anything. GM is much more capable than people have made it out to be, and the last couple of years it has gotten much more advanced, including simple exports(if you buy the expensive version) to Android, iOS, HTML5, and even the new Windows 8. Also, it has an integrated scripting language(gml) that is similar to C/Java. It doesn't support all the features of said languages, but it can do much more than the "drag n drop" that people think about when the hear of Game Maker.

[url="http://www.yoyogames.com"]http://www.yoyogames.com[/url] is the website for the downloads, where you can try a free version of GMStudio, so you can get the idea, and take a look at the scripting too.

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[quote]If given an unlimited time horizon I am sure I could invest myself completely in one tiny niche of video game development and run out of time on earth before I found the solution to every problem within that niche.[/quote]

This is also known as re-inventing the wheel, and is to be avoided, whenever possible.

[quote]I did not think such a game.. could be programmed in a JIT compiled and managed language like Java and C#.[/quote]

On resource-rich modern computers, you can write wonderful software in almost any language. Remember, most of your code isn't extremely time-sensive to begin with, and even when it is, the algorithm is usually more important than the language. High-level languages can help the programmer complete a project more quickly and with fewer bugs.

[quote]From what I understand Unity is a primarily visual development medium with programming access only at the scripting level.[/quote]

It supports C#, which you already noted is a programming language. Also, with Unity Pro you can plug-in C/C++ when you really feel you must. Edited by CuriosityKills

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Unity3d does indeed support C#, though for the most part you wouldn't need low-level access, rather you only need to code higher level things. Unity3d can do 2D, either via 3d looks/2d gameplay, or using quads as sprites. In any case, it is more meant for 3d, and so will require workarounds to get 2d to work, for example putting constraints on movement and rotation on the rigidbodies. It isn't all that much, but it is something to consider.

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