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Interactive Tech Demos Turned Games

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So recently I began looking back on my past games that I have finished. Most of them being either very simple 3D wireframe games or 2D shooters. They don't look, feel, or really even play impressively at all. They seem very standard. However, to me, they are my pride an joy.

 

I am a programmer who is more obsessed with using the least RAM and the least processing power to get something accomplished. As a systems programmer or a backend guy, that's perfectly fine. But as a one man game development team, that leads to some interesting issues.

 

As of late, I have gotten ideas for some good games that I really want to make, however, I have a problem with getting past the "tech demo" phase and into the actual game phase. I spend more time developing memory saving algorithms or finding ways to cut down on processing and less time on developing a game. In the early stages of game development, this may not seem like a problem, however, I have been encountering this problem subconsciously for over 5 years now!

 

I have been programming for the better part of 9 years, and have over 5 years in game development, but still struggle to get a basic 3D game to come together using modern technology.

 

I have no problems banging out a flight simulator for a watch built out of 8 bit AVR chips. I have no problems rattling off entity code for 10,000+ enemies on screen at once. I DO have a problem with putting these things to use within a game. 

 

Not sure if I'm making any sense at all, but if you have any advice for how I can become a better game developer and less of a backend memory-fixer, please let me know. 

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I'd say that's fairly common with programmers;  many of us enjoy making it work, rather than making a full game.

 

Making an engine, a framework, or an editor can be a lot of fun for us;  that feeling of accomplishment is constantly being felt.  Once we get to the point where all our integral stuff is working, that's when we need to make the content for a game, and these thoughts start going though our head:

 

Oh damn...I gotta draw levels, make up a ton of enemies, get images for the enemies, work on animation timings, find sound effects, make a stupid menu...UGH!

 

If you want to go beyond that stage, it's really a matter of persistence and dedication; how bad do you want it?  I've honestly rarely gone past that stage, and if I did, it was fairly short (ie, only a few levels, and only a few enemies).  

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Even some mainstream games are nothing but full-blown tech demos with some levels and a story strapped on to them.

 

If you have a game idea and want to stop implementing performance improvements over actual gameplay, I think the best approach is to start using higher-level libraries/languages, or to ignore existing constraints (especially the self-imposed ones) in the lower-level environment of your choice.

Also, RAM is the fastest type of memory these days, so if I were you, I'd start concentrating on using more of it rather than less.
Plus, 32-bit and 64-bit CPUs (and soon 128-bit) can move 4 or 8 bytes (or 16 bytes if using SSEx) at a time faster than if you actually try to move just one byte, or try to access individual bits in a byte, so cramming as much data in the smallest possible amount of memory is no longer feasible...

 

You just have to start ignoring that itch. If you scratch it, you'll only make it worse. smile.png

 

And by the sound of your post, you also need a game idea...

Edited by tonemgub

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Even some mainstream games are nothing but full-blown tech demos with some levels and a story strapped on to them.

 

If you have a game idea and want to stop implementing performance improvements over actual gameplay, I think the best approach is to start using higher-level libraries/languages, or to ignore existing constraints (especially the self-imposed ones) in the lower-level environment of your choice.

Also, RAM is the fastest type of memory these days, so if I were you, I'd start concentrating on using more of it rather than less.
Plus, 32-bit and 64-bit CPUs (and soon 128-bit) can move 4 or 8 bytes (or 16 bytes if using SSEx) at a time faster than if you actually try to move just one byte, or try to access individual bits in a byte, so cramming as much data in the smallest possible amount of memory is no longer feasible...

 

You just have to start ignoring that itch. If you scratch it, you'll only make it worse. smile.png

 

And by the sound of your post, you also need a game idea...

I have plenty of ideas... Too many actually. The problem is I start making a game based on an idea, and then stop focusing on the idea about halfway down the road.

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