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FedGuard

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Hello all,

 

I would like to start off with thanking you all for this community. Without fora like these to assist people the already hard journey to making an own game would be exponentially more difficult. Next I would like to apologize for the long post, in advance...

I am contemplating making a game. There, now that's out of the way, maybe some further details might be handy.

I am not some youngster (no offence) with dreams of breaking into the industry, I am 38, have a full-time job, a wife, kid and dog so I think I am not even considered indie? However I recently found myself with additional time on my hands and decided I would try my hand at making a game.Why? Well mostly because I would like to contribute something, also because I think I have a project worth making (and of course some extra income wouldn't hurt either to be honest). The first thing I realized was, I have absolutely no relevant skill or experience. Hmm; ok, never mind, we can overcome that, right?

I have spent a few months "researching",meaning looking at YouTube channels, reading articles and fora. Needless to say, I am more confused now than when I started. I also bought some courses (Blender, Unity, C#) and set out to make my ideas more concrete.

I quickly discovered, I am definitely not an artist... So I decided, though I do plan to continue learning the art side eventually, I would focus on the design and development phase first. The idea being, if it takes me a year or more solely learning stuff and taking courses without actually working on my game, I would become demoralized and the risk of quitting would increase.

So I thought I would:

1: Keep following the courses Unity and C# while starting on the actual game development as the courses and my knowledge progress.

2: Acquire some artwork to help me get a connection with the game and main character, and have something to helm keep me motivated. (I already did some contacting and realized this will not be cheap...). Also try to have the main character model so I can use it to start testing the initial character and game mechanics. For this I have my first concrete question. I already learned that outsourcing this will easily run up in the high hundreds or thousands of dollars... (lowest offer so far being 220 USD) I am therefore playing with the idea of purchasing https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/animations/medieval-animations-mega-pack-12141 with the intention of then have an artist alter and/or add to the animations (it is for a Roman character so some shield animations are not going to work the same way.). This way I could start  with the basic character mechanics. Is this a good idea, waste of money,...? Any suggestions? I then have a related but separate question. Is it a good idea to buy Playmaker (or some other similar software I haven't yet heard of like RPGAIO), and using this for initial build, then changing/adding code as the need arises?

3.Get a playable initial level ready as a rough demo and then starting to look for artist for level design and character/prop creation.

...

 

I would really appreciate some input from more experienced people, and especially answers to my questions. Of course any advice is extremely welcome.

Edited by FedGuard
new info

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If your goal is to strictly be a game programmer / designer then you should continue learning Unity with C# and just use free assets or cheap packages you can find online to help with this process. I would urge you to get a very good understanding of the entire process from a design and programming standpoint before even considering bringing an artist or spending money on art. Once you're well versed in C# and how Unity works, then you'll need to create a detailed design document for every aspect of your game and all the assets you'll need, then seek out 3rd party help. Making a game isn't cheap, and having to go back and 're-do' things will cost you even more money.

If you have other questions feel free to ask. :) 

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Hi Rutin,

Thank you for your advice, I am still adding to my GDD (although I didn't call it that I did have a document already, albeit not that detailed) on a daily basis.

As I understood it you need to work on the basic player mechanics first. And to do this you need the basic functions and linked animations. Or am I wrong? I do understand that a free character can be used in the early stages, but those won't do all the things I need my character to do. Or am I wrong?

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20 minutes ago, FedGuard said:

As I understood it you need to work on the basic player mechanics first. And to do this you need the basic functions and linked animations.

I wouldn't say you have to work on that first, this depends on your design document and how you wish to work through everything. At some point you'll need the player to be able to walk, and perform actions, it's up to you if you do this before programming menus, or even level design. Some people will make a blank level which is essentially a hollow cube or a plane and work on all the player mechanics, other people design a level then load in a player and work on it. If you have a bigger team then one person or several people are working on the level, and the other people are working on player mechanics in placeholder levels. There are countless workflows.

20 minutes ago, FedGuard said:

I do understand that a free character can be used in the early stages, but those won't do all the things I need my character to do. Or am I wrong?

You can make a place-holder perform all those actions, yes.... The only thing you'll need to change is when you bring in your final character, you will need to have animations that match your desired actions and alter your code if needed. Since I model and animate myself, I use placeholders that are lower poly as I can get them in quicker, but roughly the same size as my finals so it's very easy to port over my rigs to the final mesh with all the animation data.

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First thing is that you havent given enough information about the game you want to make for us to give good advice about it.

Second thing is that I would recommend tackling this like any other problem... you break it down into small pieces that get you from nothing to the full thing, and then you do each of those on their own.  In other words, you need to build up to the thing you want to do, especially when that thing is a highly complicated one like building a game.   Of course if the game is a very simple one, then that's different, but refer to #1 above.

However, I'm going to out out on a limb and guarantee you that making the game you're trying to make it 100x harder than you think it will be.  So my advice is the game as it is for anyone trying to learn to make games while they're also learning to program, start small and get the programming side of it down.  Build a very simple game.  This will allow you to get better at C# (or whatever you use) and the tools, while also learning some basics of how a game works.  Most importantly it teaches you how hard it is to actually finish a project.  Once that's done, you pick a more complex game that builds on what you just learned and adds some new element.  Rinse.  Repeat.

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Thank you for the replies. I apologize, I indeed did not provide very detailed information. It will be a choice-based ancient Rome style RPG (Witcher-style) with some altered mechanics in which you follow one character from adolescence to death. I have made some simple games through the courses and are continuing that journey. I was thinking (based on advise I read elsewhere) that I would indeed start on getting all player-related mechanics done first, before starting on levels, sound etc. So I thought it would be necessary to have a character or placeholder that can effectively do all/most of the actions the main character will do, in order to effectively test/adapt them. Then I could start building from there, like inventory mechanics, diary, stats and attributes etc.

To that regard I was wondering if it would be worthwhile to purchase the two abovementioned asset packs since it would help me relate the mechanics to the code and to start off with a playable placeholder that can do most of the actions required. But if I understand it correctly, you are advising me not to invest in that at this time?

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11 minutes ago, FedGuard said:

To that regard I was wondering if it would be worthwhile to purchase the two abovementioned asset packs since it would help me relate the mechanics to the code and to start off with a playable placeholder that can do most of the actions required. But if I understand it correctly, you are advising me not to invest in that at this time?

The only thing I said about holding back was on actual final assets until you know what you need so you don't go off spending a ton of money; As you've stated this isn't your first project so you should have some idea of what is required. Beyond that it's up to you... As long as you have a clear idea of what you're doing, then start in anyway you want.

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26 minutes ago, FedGuard said:

To that regard I was wondering if it would be worthwhile to purchase the two abovementioned asset packs since it would help me relate the mechanics to the code and to start off with a playable placeholder that can do most of the actions required. But if I understand it correctly, you are advising me not to invest in that at this time?

Whether specific animations are necessary depends on how important animations in general are to the game.  For example, if all the characters were just models moving around in the world with no animations whatsoever, would that affect the gameplay much?  Why not just prototype the gameplay like that?  This is what I mean by breaking down things into smaller components.  If you try to do too much all at once it will be a frustrating thing.  But if you can decouple things that arent inherently dependent on each other, and just do one at a time, things go much more smoothly.

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3 hours ago, FedGuard said:

So I thought it would be necessary to have a character or placeholder 

Search "Unity standard assets" or "Unity essential assets" it has all the basic assets for games. It is provided for free

In fact grab any assets that interest you from this list provided by unity: https://assetstore.unity.com/publishers/1

It also has some shaders and effects that you will probably use long after the prototype stage. The nice thing is that these assets show how Unity expects its engine to be used.

 

One thing you will realize about games is that the visual part is only feedback. You could easily program the full game with only cubes. Art only serves to show the player what is happening in the code.

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