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David_Supina

Can you help me plot out a long-term plan?

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David_Supina    133

There was a period in my life where the plan was to be a game designer. I would get my foot in the industry through a writing position, and try to move into design eventually. Eventually, though, plans changed. A lot of it had to do with burning out on video games, becoming sick of unimaginative sequels dominating the industry. Some years later, though, independent games have started to spark my interest in games again, and I've actually started having fun playing them again. But the big thing that's gotten me excited... is the Occulus Rift. I desperately want to be able to develop games for it.

So the plan is to become a hobbyist developer, grow my skills over a period of several years, and get to the point where I can contribute to a wide variety of areas of development, and use leverage that into being able to assemble a small team to work on an immersive, lo-fi, personality-heavy VR project on the Occulus Rift, or whatever is the best version of that sort of technology available by the time I'm ready.

This is where I need help. I can find the information I need okay--if I KNOW I need to learn DirectX, then I just need to find a consensus good DirectX book. But is it DirectX, or OpenGL? And then there's the problem of learning "programming"--there are so many different subjects under that very general umbrella, most of which I know little about, so what's relevant to learn? What isn't?

With that in mind, here are my current strengths:

I am a strong creative writer, having worked on novels, plays, poems, and short stories. I am very confident I can put together a strong story with interesting, well-written characters.

I have a background in music and composition. I can put together music for my game without much trouble.

 

I have written design documents in the past.

I have dabbled in programming, and learned concepts about object-oriented programming, as well as basic syntax for C++, C#, Python, and maybe one other. I find it pretty intuitive stuff.

Here are my weaknesses:

I cannot draw. At all. I will need to work with an artist.

I've dabbled with programming, but being generous, I'm intermediate level at best. This is my primary growth area.

I've wrestled with design concepts before, but I have never faced the restrictions of actual limitations of implementation, or ensuring that my designs were fully detailed enough to be implementation-ready in every area.

I know music, but I have no idea what's actually involved in sound engineering. Not sure if this is something that I should learn or look for support from someone else.

 

----

So what I'd like to do is grow in my ability to program to the point where I can at least contribute to a 3D project for the Occulus Rift in the area of programming, as well as use my skills in music, design and writing. What I think I'd like to do is work on a series of increasingly difficult projects. Here's what I'm thinking so far:

I would like to start by creating a text adventure game using Quest, which takes away most the necessities of programming such a thing. This would allow me to do it as a one-person project, plan out a design completely, and implement it.

After that, I'm thinking of working on a graphic adventure game. I feel this would keep things fairly simple from a programming perspective, be in a genre I enjoy playing, allow me to stay within 2D, which should be easier to create, and be a smooth transition from the design of the previous project. But if I'm going to do that, what do I do it with? Do I use an existing engine? Would it be be better to build the engine from scratch (though that sounds... tedious)?

After that, I'm not sure. I'm wondering if it would make sense to do these projects within Unity, since that seems to be compatible with Occulus, seems well-supported, and would allow me to develop in both 2D and 3D. But even if that's the case, what exactly should I be learning there?

I realize this is a pretty long post, but if you've read this far, I appreciate you caring long enough to get to the end. I would appreciate your insight, because I really do want to do this, understand that there are no short-cuts, and that ultimately, I want to contribute something creative and beautiful to the world. Thank you very much, in advance.

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tgraupmann    112

Here's a tip.

 

Some years ago, Torque3D made the mistake of ditching OpenGL for DirectX. This resulted in future stupicide because with a cross-platform engine it prevented porting to Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS. They made some attempts to correct their mistake, but it was too late. There's been a KS attempt, but interest failed.

 

You might as well take the route of Unity and make it easy on yourself.

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Buster2000    4310

If you want to be a games designer then use Unity, Gamemaker, RPG Maker, Adventure Game Studio or something and create games. 

 

If art is a weakness then try making a game using limited art assets.  You can also check out

 

Do not worry about DirectX or OpenGL unless you want to be a programmer.  Pick a higher level engine and just make games.

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David_Supina    133

If you want to be a games designer then use Unity, Gamemaker, RPG Maker, Adventure Game Studio or something and create games. 

 

If art is a weakness then try making a game using limited art assets.  You can also check out

 

Do not worry about DirectX or OpenGL unless you want to be a programmer.  Pick a higher level engine and just make games.

 

I'm looking at becoming a hobbyist developer. I guess what I want to do is limit the amount of outside input necessary to build a functioning game. I want to grow as a programmer so that I don't have to rely exclusively on others in that area to create games. Plus, programming is just fun.

I don't want to be a "game designer" per se. I want to be able to build games. I want to develop my ability to craft them. I want to be able to do a lot of the things necessary to put them together on my own. And maybe at some point in the future, I'd look at being part of a project larger than a few people.

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kop0113    2453

I guess what I want to do is limit the amount of outside input necessary to build a functioning game. I want to grow as a programmer so that I don't have to rely exclusively on others in that area to create games. Plus, programming is just fun.

+1.

If you can get away from relying on products like Unity and sticking with core technology then it will certainly help you keep up as technology evolves (which is why we don't teach Unity at University).

 

If you enjoy programming and can do this, then you are in a very good position. Personally I would go with OpenGL since it is immediately portable but at the end of the day, the two APIs are very similar so porting between them is much easier than people make out.

Edited by Karsten_

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David_Supina    133

 

I guess what I want to do is limit the amount of outside input necessary to build a functioning game. I want to grow as a programmer so that I don't have to rely exclusively on others in that area to create games. Plus, programming is just fun.

+1.

If you can get away from relying on products like Unity and sticking with core technology then it will certainly help you keep up as technology evolves (which is why we don't teach Unity at University).

 

If you enjoy programming and can do this, then you are in a very good position. Personally I would go with OpenGL since it is immediately portable but at the end of the day, the two APIs are very similar so porting between them is much easier than people make out.

 

 

I think using a pre-existing engine like Unity would be a good stepping stone, but your point about not relying on transient technology is well-taken. So, perhaps look for a good book on OpenGL after getting my feet underneath me a bit more?

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ISDCaptain01    1496

Your only going to overwhelm yourself. Choose only ONE concentration and practice it. Be either a programmer, artist, writer, but be good at it. Im only concentrating

on the programming side and theres so much to learn in only one field, I would have long burnt out if I also tried to do art at the same time. If you want to be a programmer. fine than use the low level stuff like libraries and APIs. But if not, stick with using an engine like unity to get the game rolling out.

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Nathan2222_old    395

Do not develop games because games are already created by multimillion dollar corporations.


That's the worsssttt!!! advice i've ever seen.

@david_supina: If you can't draw and want to do 3d, look for a reference photo of the object (that's what i do with human characters, cars etc.).

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David_Supina    133

Your only going to overwhelm yourself. Choose only ONE concentration and practice it. Be either a programmer, artist, writer, but be good at it. Im only concentrating

on the programming side and theres so much to learn in only one field, I would have long burnt out if I also tried to do art at the same time. If you want to be a programmer. fine than use the low level stuff like libraries and APIs. But if not, stick with using an engine like unity to get the game rolling out.

 

I think to some extent, programming is simply the practical application of design. I am trying to focus in on one thing; programming. I already have established skills as a writer, and I already have established skills as a musician (not to mention I'm still attending university for it). I don't think it's too much to look to designing and implementing that design with code while using skills I've already established over several years.

 

And again, I'm not looking at this as a short term project. I'm kinda thinking two to five years to get to the point of feeling really confident with my programming ability.

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Ben Burt    373

I would echo the thoughts of others with the "stick to one field". It sounds like you have 2 very good fields to bring to a development team.

 

There is of course an advantage with what you want to do by learning to program so that you can bring prototypes together and see where your music and writing fits in to the flow. I would recomend looking at SDL/C++ together if you are interested in OpenGL/DX work (this is where I am at now is learning SDL/C++ so if you are interested in a learning partner feel free to PM me).

The big problem of trying to be the music, writing and programmer on a project is that each section plays it's own large role in any project and so you may find yourself getting too stuck in to one part and then neglecting the others.
 

If you need/want ideas of where to start with games the following link is quite good (found from another GD.NET topic http://www.gamefromscratch.com/post/2013/08/01/Just-starting-out-what-games-should-I-make.aspx)

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