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Isometric hack and slash, from scratch

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Similar questions have probably been asked before many many times, so I'll add my own  :P


I have some coding experience; C++ and C#. Most of this comes from school which I did several years ago, I'm a bit rusty now.

Anyway, modifying games has always been a passion. But sometimes I just wanted to do more, and some hardcoded stuff couldn't be modified. So I wondered: hey screw this, why I don't make my own version of the game then?


So yeah. Let's say I want to build up (I will probably not be alone in this) from scratch an isometric game, in 2D, like Diablo, Diablo II, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, you get the idea hopefully. These kind of games are way easier than the modern ones, and I honestly prefer these.


What's the best way to start? I perfectly know that I should start by creating smaller applications and smaller stuff, so I can learn better my tools and all the stuff related to the game. But I want to have a bigger and clearer picture of what I'm going to do, what I'm going to use, etc.


While I do know something about programming in general (classes, objects, functions, etc), I have absolutely no idea about the graphic engines and stuff like that. OpenGL? DirectX? I just know the names. Also, I have a license of Visual Studio, do you reccomend getting Unity or Unreal Engine, since these are more geared towards videogames? Remember that these kind of games are not that complex though, maybe one of these engines can be useful or simpler to use?


Anyway yeah, your typical beginner thread. Hope I posted in the correct forum, thanks a lot

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Hey there KDN :)


As a major Unity fanboy, I'd recommend that over Unreal for a 2D project, and definitely over building your own engine, that way you can get to the game making faster! The Unity vs Unreal question is generally just personal preference however, and a full detailed list of pros and cons for each engine is but a quick google search away. 


Assuming you're going with Unity, the asset store has some really good isometric packages to help you get started. If you're not too keen on spending any money (don't blame ya), there are a number of online tutorials that can help you both get started with Unity as well as create the game you're trying to build. For a more Diablo-styled game, I'd recommend watching this playlist on youtube, as well as checking out Unity's very own tutorial section here. This can help serve as a sort of starting point to making the game you described.


Best of luck!

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What is your previous experience? Those kinds of games aren't as easy as you suggest, and your success will be highly dependent on your skill level.

Given your statement about being a beginner, you've got your work cut out for you. It's likely that some people will advise you to start simpler, with Pong or something. To that I say, "pshaw." Go ahead and work on your isometric h&s.

In this day and age, there isn't much to differentiate between an isometric and other types of games. Even assuming a true orthographic projection, you still will likely use many of the same tools as you would for any number of other styles. Inity, unreal, cryengine, etc are all suitable, as are open source engines such as urho3d.

There are many questions to ask yourself. Orthographic projection (such as original diablo) or perspective third person (diablo 3, path of exile)? Tile based or freeform? Randomly generated levels or static prebuilt? Traditionally animated 2d sprite character or fully rigged 3d character models? (from personal experience, rigged 3d models are significantly preferable if you plan to do paper-doling of equipment.)

Your answers to these questions will inform your decision making. If you go a full traditional 2d route, you will want to choose an engine or a set of libraries to facilitate that. Even in 2d, you will want a framework with strong shader support, since you're probably going to want to do things that shader make simple, such as elemental halo effects.

I have written a bit about various aspects of isometric game creation in my journal (link in my sig) if you are interested in reading some stuff. As well, feel free to pm me directly if you wish. I'm always happy to help.

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