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Proper game development (browser, flash)

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Hi, I am sure this question has been asked multiple times, but the answers I have seen have not fully satisfied the questions I have about game development.


I am currently learning javascript with codeacademy, and I have experience with visualbasic.net in the past. I will be going into a programming course this fall, but I want to get a head start on what all I would need to know to make a high quality (not perfect or the best) online game (both flash and browser based). 


From a coding and overall standpoint, what do I need to learn?


What languages should I/do I need to know?


Can I make a full browser based game with high quality purely in javascript?


Can I make a game purely in Flash Develop?


I want to know every single skill, tool, language, or anything else that it takes to make a high quality browser based game from scratch by myself, hopefully using flashdevelop, notepad++, or any other free tool.


I am not big on major graphics. I am fine with 2d, simple graphics as long as they don't take away from the gameplay. I would not be against using pre-made graphics. Maybe graphics similar but lower quality than http://www.kongregate.com/games/gameinabottle/gemcraft, or as clear but maybe less detail than http://www.kongregate.com/games/ArmorGames/sonny. Even something around http://www.kongregate.com/games/TogeProductions/infectonator would work.


I will probably aim for tower defense games, strategy survival, tycoon games, turn based strategy/level up games, etc. Probably will not aim for any shoot em up games, but I am interested in side scroller galaga type games.


So, where should I start?


And thank you in advance, any bit of guidance is appreciated


;tldr = What do I need to learn to make decent flash/browser based games from scratch using FlashDevelop/GameMaker, etc?

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You will quickly find that the 2 "game development studios" you mentioned are very restrictive, but are great for those that do not know how to write their own program.


 You may want to "take the plunge" and attempt to create your own games with out the "crutches"  - it will give you far more programming experience, and far more freedom to design whatever you want, however you want.


Edit: JavaScript is not a suitable language for games that have a lot of independent objects on the screen at one time. Games such as "tower defence" will lag out the browser very fast.

Edited by Shippou

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Okay, so what language(s) would be ideal then, as well as better studios to use?

 There are no "one size fits all" answers. All game studios have their limitations you must figure out how to work around.


First off, go learn how to program in JavaScript / HTML5 if you desire to make "simple web games"

Second, start creating very simple games - if you attempt to make a complex game as your first project, you WILL become frustrated and than burn out.

Third, continue to make your games more complex as you go along.


 Learning a programming language is not an overnight process, it will take time. Keep at it, and eventually you will have games good enough to publish and start to make money from.

 As time goes on, you may even have the urge to use a more powerful programming language happy.png

Edited by Shippou

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You don't need to write a TLDR in this forum. Most people here will read posts daily and try to understand what people REALLY meant.

Yours is really good though.


1. If you really want to learn Flash/ActionScript to make games for Flash Player, that's fine. It's a well proven solution, that may or may not work across all platforms. I know that Linux has an older Flash Player, so I have no idea what you can or cannot do there.

For reference, I just tried GemCraft and it worked just fine (Ubuntu 14.04)


2. You can make games with JS and some HTM5 magics yes:



I have no idea whether to recommend Flash for you or not. I have heard people want to get rid of flash, but I can't say I know why.

I can really only tell you that HTML5 development IS possible, and it will most likely work in all major browsers (with some minor quirks/salt)


But, what you can do is learn everything you can about web-development in general. If you are going to "programming school" as you say, you'll want a head-start.

Besides, with gamedev on the web you can simply paste a link to your friends and they can play your game right in their browser. I wish I had it as easy.


Btw. this is one of my favorite web games: http://candybox2.net/

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If you want to make a "high quality" game then you will  have to use a high quality tool. I recommend using a tool that will allow you to use DirectX 11 on Windows. Since this is the same type of power that Pro game companies use to make games like COD, Battlefield, etc. The programs that I know for sure allow this are Visual Studio C++ and Unity 3D. You can make impressive 2D games with both these tools. As far as using Javascript you should know that it will not be able to produce the same type of graphics as a C++ or Unity3D game. 


Read this


"WebGL Limitations

As for limitations, theoretically WebGL makes use of the same video drivers that are used by any desktop OpenGL application running on your machine. With that said, it is important to note that WebGL is essentially OpenGL ES 2.0 which imparts a few limitations compared to standard OpenGL.

For more information regarding OpenGL ES, you can refer to Wikipedia

Another limitation is your capability to reach a wide audience. Internet Explorer does not support WebGL (for obvious competitive reasons with regard to DirectX/3D).

In addition, there is the fact that WebGL applications are running a JavaScript engine, as opposed to a natively compiled desktop application. While Chrome's V8 engine has made incredible progress in improving JavaScript's performance, it is still going to be slower than a native app.

For a more in-depth analysis of these challenges and others, see: WebGL Challenges

In Summary

WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0, which is a slightly feature-reduced version of OpenGL. It also runs on top of a JavaScript engine, which is slower than native code. WebGL isn't equally supported or standardized between different web browsers.

Aside from the limitations imparted by the above, WebGL is capable of rendering nearly anything your GPU can render in a desktop application with the possibility of reduced performance.


So as you can see Javascript is limited to a version of OpenGL.

I'm not sure if Flash games can use DirectX 11, but a quick search with Google didn't help me find any information that said it could.

So if you want to learn to make 2D games and don't care about using the latest graphics capabilities on a PC, then you can stick with Javascript, Java, or Flash. If you want to eventually learn to make some bad ass FPS with amazing graphics then you will have to learn to program in C++ or learn to use Unity3D or another program that can allow you to use the latest DirectX





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I recommend using a tool that will allow you to use DirectX 11 on Windows. Since this is the same type of power that Pro game companies use to make games like COD, Battlefield, etc.


A beginner doesn't need to use the same tools as a pro developer. DirectX and OpenGL are both powerful yet complicated tools.

Try out HTML5 and javascript first and see if it works well for you.

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So, where should I start?


To avoid burnout try reading:

How to Be Highly Productive
Set a Deadline
Removing The 'Tech' From 'Design Document'
"The quality of your design increases directly proportional to the amount of time you spend away from the drawing board (aka your code editor)." 
Engage your imagination first.
Get a sketch book and write/draw everything down. Especially if it just a simple thot. You never know when you'll need it.
Then plan, plan, plan!
Doing a design document may seem a whole lot of work for nothing, but you need to establish the big picture first. Once you set out on the road to build a game your going to run into ten thousand questions. Doing a design doc will help you plan for and answer those questions ahead of time so you're prepared for them when you encounter them down the line. It also helps you foresee problems you won't see right away if you just jump in at the deep end.
Good luck.  Hope it goes gang-busters!

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