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distilledwater71

Unity
Can a non-programmer make games?

26 posts in this topic

I am a computer science major right now, thinking that this is the normal path for an aspiring game developer, but it just isn't clicking for me. I don't like it at all. But I still really want to make games alone without having to partner up with a programmer for it. Could someone like me still make good games using engines like Game Maker and Unity without having a serious, hardcore knowledge of programming?

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No... it's not very possible.

 

The basic knowledge is things like creating a console application. The advanced knowledge is creating actual applications. And then Expert and Master is actually building your own systems.

 

If you do not have someone without advanced knowledge in computer science, then your project will be doomed from the beginning. You can live without a really good artist, and you can live without a decent story writer. It all comes down to how good your programming team is to your game's idea.

 

Granted, the API is a gimme. You still need to know how to manipulate the computer to get simple things done.

Edited by Tangletail
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If you do not have someone without advanced knowledge in computer science, then your project will be doomed from the beginning. You can live without a really good artist, and you can live without a decent story writer. It all comes down to how good your programming team is to your game's idea.

 

 

 while I agree with your previous statement, I disagree with this one. Virtual games are a unique combination of art and technology. While it is true that you can make the individual parts without need of another's help, if they don't fit together well, the game will be shit. Unless you yourself are both an artist or programmer, you cannot live without one.
 

 Game developing is like a teamsport for nerds-~ it's best done with a team. If you really wanna go solo, (not Han Solo), you have to know some programming. While it is indeed possible, with current engines on the market to make games without either programming or art knowledge and skill, it will, at least, not be as good as when you are making it with people that "know stuff" a truly good game requires at least a programmer and an artist.

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Usually coding will come up in one way or another. For instance even RPG maker has a few different series of more "casual-ish" rpgs like Aveyond(that have made some pretty good money as far as I can tell.) Game maker is the same way really. The thing is even using progressively more tools that remove the coding requirement, you'll probably have to learn some scripting at the least if you want to put unique behavior in your game.

Coding is always kind of there it just matters how much you'll delve into it. Of course there is an ENORMOUS gap in the knowledge required to throw a game together with an existing tool vs starting from scratch or libraries. Like Apoch said, if it really became an issue you could always look for someone to collaborate with.

Learning a little coding knowledge isn't bad though, it helps give more perspective on games and works your brain to react to logic better.

EDIT: If you're not much of a programmer there's always the possibility of switching your major. Just do what you're happy with, not what you think will be the best thing. Edited by Satharis
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No... it's not very possible.

 

The basic knowledge is things like creating a console application. The advanced knowledge is creating actual applications. And then Expert and Master is actually building your own systems.

 

If you do not have someone without advanced knowledge in computer science, then your project will be doomed from the beginning. You can live without a really good artist, and you can live without a decent story writer. It all comes down to how good your programming team is to your game's idea.

 

Granted, the API is a gimme. You still need to know how to manipulate the computer to get simple things done.

 

Disagree. If you're doing anything within the role-play genre, as an example - story comes first, second, and third. Without that, you have no game.

Pretty graphics and fluid motion can only take you so far.

 

If you don't handle the programming, it has to be handled by someone else. Two main possibilities: a teammate or a toolkit. Unreal has blueprints, Game Maker has it's drag and drop stuff. Pretty much every 'engine' has some sort of scripting capability. It's a bit like asking, "What do I need to know to make a movie?" A whole hell of a lot, actually if you're talking from writing the first draft of the screenplay through the filming to the final post-production editing (and don't forget marketing).

 

Games are a lot like that - there is no 'one thing' that makes or breaks a game: it's the sum of a whole lot of things that need to work together. You can be 'weak' in one or two areas and make up for it in others (so long as they don't completely suck), but the better you or your team are overall, the better the game will be.

Edited by Mouser9169
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I am a computer science major right now, thinking that this is the normal path for an aspiring game developer, but it just isn't clicking for me. I don't like it at all. But I still really want to make games alone without having to partner up with a programmer for it. Could someone like me still make good games using engines like Game Maker and Unity without having a serious, hardcore knowledge of programming?

My next door neighbour just started making games using a 2D game engine and although he doesn't know any programming, he's doing ok. Every now and then, I take a brief look at his games and give him some advice on problems he's having and that seems to help a lot. 
So, I think it will be a lot harder, but if you can have people look over your code or give help every now & then, IRL or online, you can do it. Definitely would recommend initially making 2D games using a pre-made engine to start off with though. You might consider to start out by making some clones of basic games, such as pong, asteroids and city defence.

Personally, I use GameDevelop for making 2D games ( http://www.en.compilgames.net/ ) for which I'm just about to finish up some major tutorials on how to make some of these games on scratch (going up on Youtube this Easter weekend). My neighbour is using construct 2 and he seems to find that fine too. Unity I believe, is a little more difficult for the beginner (that is just my two cents though).

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It's possible to make games solo without being able to program; HOWEVER, not being able to program severely restricts the range of ideas you are able to realize alone.

Giving more information about the types of games you'd like to make would make it easier to give a specific answer and help direct you to the appropriate tools.
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I am a computer science major right now, thinking that this is the normal path for an aspiring game developer, but it just isn't clicking for me. I don't like it at all. But I still really want to make games alone without having to partner up with a programmer for it. Could someone like me still make good games using engines like Game Maker and Unity without having a serious, hardcore knowledge of programming?

I do believe Unity still requires some scripting and game maker would likely limit what you can do to a small set of standard game mechanics. Programming to making games is like understanding how to write/play music to making music. There are ways to get around it but you will be essentially mixing other people's music and or code in order to create a derived work. You will not be able to truly create something which is unique and it will always be a re-mastering  of other people's work.

Edited by SteveDeFact0
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Yes.

 

Even if you don't code, for the tiny bits you might need, game coders are usually cheap or free. No-one gets a nobel prize for game coding, it's just not that hard.

 

Knowing about coding certainly helps a lot though.

Edited by catslap
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Simple answer, no. More complex answer, yes:

 

A game is really an abstract concept, many things can be considered "a game". A game involves creating an experience, and that is a broad field. Anyone can create a game by this logic. What you're really asking is, can someone without programming knowledge create a playable game with existing tools, and the answer to that is yes. Programming itself is often a case of learning about logical thinking - maintaining an understanding of how your code translates into the user's experience, and how your systems work with one another, and any potential APIs. As a programmer, one doesn't possess any ability a "non" programmer does not, they have merely developed the line of logical analysis further, to enable them to express their thoughts in another language, on another architecture.

 

For example, I specialise in Python, but I have a good grasp of many other languages. After learning how programming necessitates a certain mindset and adopting it, it was far easier to learn new languages, and even the difference between typing, interpreting and additional language capabilities did not prove to be too challenging to grasp, given the initial toolset that I had learned.

 

You will need to program in order to develop a game. A game requires some form of interactive experience, and interactive experiences need to be designed. However, programming is a diverse and loosely defined concept, and there are many restricted and abstracted programming environments which enable you to write "code" through a more visual approach.

 

Such examples include Blender Game Engine's logic bricks and Hive nodes (which are currently quite young in implementation), Unity PlayMaker and UScript, UDK's Blueprints / Kismet, the list goes on.

 

Ultimately these translate, like programming languages, into machine code,the difference is the semantics. With all of these systems, there comes a price. Typically, more complicated programs either do not translate into visual languages, or they do so poorly. It may be  that on occasion, you require someone else to implement logic into a visual logic editor for you (e.g writing a new node), which limits you as the developer. 

 

My advice would be to understand to adopt the programmer's mindset, even if you don't intend to write complex programs any time soon.

 

I wish you the best!

Angus

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Yes.

 

Even if you don't code, for the tiny bits you might need, game coders are usually cheap or free. No-one gets a nobel prize for game coding, it's just not that hard.

 

Knowing about coding certainly helps a lot though.

I have yet to hear of a game coder being free. Now if you mean the programming API. Then I can see that.

 

But a program that programs a game for you (besides game maker, whos highly limited without the pro license), that allows you to sell commercially, or someone who is programming your game for you... you are probably going to pay a pretty penny for that.

Edited by Tangletail
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If you are looking at Unity as a engine there is a fairly 'code free' plugin called PlayMaker.

 

http://www.hutonggames.com/

Well may have been exaggerating the 'code-free' part but this could help you visualize the whole system better.

 

Dunno how much this will help your cause but I couldn't see it making it any worse.

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No-one gets a nobel prize for game coding, it's just not that hard.
That was a very, very bad call to make dude.

 

So it would seem if the bubble that comes up telling me I'm hemorrhaging reputation actually means anything 

 

I've got three client projects at the minute, one is avionic, so meets DO-178B, only a few thousand LOCs but many man years of work by excellent experienced engineers to meet the safety critical cert, the next is being dropping into an explosive environment so has to be ATEX certified and the start-up self test code reflects this, the last is SIL3 (dramatic loss of life on failure) and has to demonstrate thread safety on two processors running operating systems while performing extreme DSP, the test rig alone cost over $1M of software dev. But you suggest that whacking a texture to a screen with some noddy logic to drive it is trivial compared to real world software and gamedev throw their toys out of the pram :/

 

Besides, the answer is still true, you don't need coding to make games, and I haven't met many rich game coders. 

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Here is a little encouragement. You don't need a serious, hardcore knowledge of programming to make a video game...honestly! Just try to view your mistakes as a learning experience instead of giving up. I live by this saying: if you tell yourself you can't, then you won't because you have mentally decided that it's impossible.

 

I have not been formally taught how to program in C++ and I would not consider myself a professional programmer, yet I have been able to build a functional game prototype from nothing (it currently has animation, game states, and keyboard and mouse input) and with nothing but the information I happened upon on the internet.

 

I could suggest thenewboston on YouTube for very intuitive C++ tutorials that aren't bogged down with unnecessary and incomprehensible jargon. Furthermore, the videos are short and focus on a particular topic (which is good for me!)

C++ Tutorials: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvC1WCdV1XU&list=PLAE85DE8440AA6B83

 

I saw someone mention Lazyfoo and that is also a good resource. http://lazyfoo.net/SDL_tutorials/ Please feel free to contact me if you need more references.

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It is great to know that there are quality games out there which were developed entirely using engines. That really gives me a lot of hope. :)

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I pretty much use Game Maker and a program called Scirra Construct 2. For Game Maker, I use scripting in the form of its GML language to get results. Scirra Construct 2 uses a drag-and-drop style event system that isn't too bad.

 

Almost never are my limitations in game logic (the code of the game you write). My limitations instead are in three areas:

 

1. Bugs in the actual program, or at least in Scirra Construct 2 and exporting, which set back my project.

2. Cost of the program. In the case of Game Maker, I'll have to pay an additional $200 to export to Android.

3. Art. If my art isn't good for the game, people are going to complain a lot more about it than me using Game Maker or Construct 2.

 

By the way, I don't consider myself a truely good programmer. I am a jack of all trades person, with okay scripting skills, basic programming skills, novice design and story skills, basic art skills, and a pretty large knowledge of computer hardware.

 

The issue isn't even cut and dry. It's not:

 

People who use creation software are beginners.
People who don't are experts.

 

It's more like:

 

Some people use creation software and are beginner scripters.
Some people use creation software and are expert scripters.
Some people code from scratch and are beginner programmers.
Some people code from scratch and are expert programmers.

Etc.

 

The vital question, since there's nothing necessarily too wrong with game creation software like Game Maker, becomes...

 

Should I use Game Maker or code more from scratch?

 

For this question, it will be up to you and you'll probably get many different answers.

 

Hope this helps :).

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You know - just thought I would mention - I hated computer science.. It just wasn't a very fun or challenging program at my University. I got my degree in something else instead that I was more interested in while learning to program on my own.

 

I love programming and I have made a lot of stuff by now!

 

My point is that just because you don't like comp sci doesn't mean you don't like programming or coding in games. Go ahead and get your degree in a program that is interesting to you at the University you are attending - but try learning some programming on your own for fun. I think you will be surprised at how much fun stuff you can do without needing a computer science degree.

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