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geofan

Engine Options for Complex Quiz Game w/o Coding?

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Hello. I'm brand new to this ominous world of game development. For the last few days, I've read articles and watched videos trying to decide if I have the ability to create the type of game app for iOS and Android that I'd like and also if there is software that would allow a non-coder like me to do it without several months of learning curve. Since I don't plan to be a steady app developer it will most likely be a one-off project, so learning coding languages just for this one app is probably too big of a time investment and diversion from what I already have on my plate.

The app I want to create is for a very limited audience, and I don't plan to make much if any money from it, so I don't want to put too much money into it. Off the top of my head I'm thinking it would be foolish for me to invest more than about $300 in software and whatever else I'd need to bring the app to the app stores.

 

Anyway, here's what I'm trying to do. I know it's possible, but is it possible for a guy like me without any experience?

-There would be an image (hopefully full-screen) that corresponds to an exact value within a limited range of continuous (non-stepped) values. Using some sort of continuous slider, the user would input his or her best guess at the value. Scoring would be based on how close the user's guess is to the image's exact value. After guessing, the game would move on to the next image, and so on.

-The images have no moving parts. Although I'm willing to settle for 2D and no rotation, I'd like for the images to be 3D and for the user to be able to rotate the images along the XYZ planes so that they see the same image from different camera perspectives.

-Although the inventory of images can be limited, the game would need to randomize the image inventory so that the quiz game is different every time it's played.

-I'd want the number of possible images to be at least 100, but the more the better, so I'm curious about file size issues. All of the images would be made up of the same few elements, so I'm guessing that there's a lighter-weight way to have potentially nearly infinite numbers of images by programming a randomness of the relationship of these elements to one another. I'm also guessing that this relative geometry that would also determine the exact value for the user to guess would be the much more difficult route for a non-coder.  

-It would also be nice to allow users to draw or write on the images any way they'd like before entering their answers.

 

I have lots of ideas and I'm sure lots of issues, but these are the main ones.

Any thoughts you can offer me on which of the above ideas are too big for a beginner to take on and which software is likely to match what I'm trying to accomplish would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading such a long question!

Jeff

 

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Sounds curious, so, you're associating a number with an image and people are supposed to guess the number?  Are there "clues" to the number IN these images?  I'm just trying to figure out what the proposed game-play actually is here. ;)  There are a few engines that allow you to perform some game construction without actual code, but I'm not sure any of those are going to present less than a few months of learning curve.  Unity3D, and UE4 are the only two I know of actually, but I've not explored much.  I'm sure there are some smaller ones out there that have friendlier interfaces and whatnot..

Honestly, you might have better luck with that instant gratification itch if you offered your $300 to contract a hobby programmer for a side gig.  Doesn't sound too terribly complex of a concept, though I'm sure I'm missing something game-play wise...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Septopus said:

Sounds curious, so, you're associating a number with an image and people are supposed to guess the number?  Are there "clues" to the number IN these images? 

Thanks, Septopus. Yes, exactly. The images will contain clues that allow the users to guess a number or other value.

I was looking at Unity and possible visual scripting with Bolt or something similar, but the couple of videos I saw on Bolt was like the presenter speaking a foreign language. Unity looks very attractive to me being that it's free and very capable, but I'm sure it would take me many months to figure it all out.

Buildbox looks like it's marketed towards non-coders like me, but it looks rather limited and that it probably wouldn't cover what I'm trying to do.

There also appears to be quizmaking software, but again they seem limited and not geared towards what I want.

I love learning new skills, but maybe you're right that I should find a hobby programmer who'd be interested in collaborating.

Edited by geofan

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Thanks, Septopus. I'll definitely consider it. Although I wanted to release this app at the same time as another project I'm working on, I may be willing to wait and learn more about game development in my spare time.

I'm also looking at Construct 3 now to see what it has to offer.

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There are lots of options out there, I wouldn't be surprised if you found an app/engine that will do what you need.  Just take some footwork, and maybe somebody else will pitch in a few ideas, still a little slow from the holidays around here. ;)

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Apologies if this has already been covered, but another variable is what devices/platforms you'd like to target. You mentioned app stores, but if you're still looking for feedback on this, maybe you could specify exactly what devices (mobile, desktop, etc.) you want to target and how you'd like to distribute the app.

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Zakwayda, yes I'm still looking for any feedback anyone would like to offer.

As for devices and distribution, I don't know anything about what's involved. I was just thinking any phone or tablet running iOS or Android. Desktop would be nice also, but it's not essential.

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29 minutes ago, geofan said:

Zakwayda, yes I'm still looking for any feedback anyone would like to offer.

As for devices and distribution, I don't know anything about what's involved. I was just thinking any phone or tablet running iOS or Android. Desktop would be nice also, but it's not essential.

I do see that you mentioned iOS and Android in your original post, but thanks for the extra info - that helps clarify things further.

These are just ideas and opinions, so make of them what you will.

First, separate from the development process itself, publishing to stores like the App Store and Google Play can itself be non-trivial, as there's a variety of technical and logistical aspects to deal with. Plenty of people do it of course, but it's worth keeping in mind that it's an additional challenge on top of developing the app itself.

For that reason and others, it seems like you might find creating a browser-based app to be an appealing initial strategy. This would bypass most of the complexity of distribution and might allow you to reach your intended audience more quickly. There are many game engines that target browsers, including Construct, which you mentioned you were looking at.

2D would probably be easier than 3D for various reasons, although 3D is certainly an option provided the engine you're using supports it. File sizes shouldn't be an issue under normal circumstances, I don't think. Drawing or writing on the images/visuals, as you mentioned, sounds significantly more complex implementation-wise than the rest of what you described.

As for an overall strategy, I agree with Septopus that outsourcing and/or collaboration might be your best bet if you don't have a lot of time to develop the necessary skills yourself.

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Posted (edited)

In addition to everyting @Zakwayda said, platform comes into play when you are evaluating an engine as only a few of the big ones will build for "all" platforms.  Almost all of them that aren't strictly for mobile platforms will build for some form of Desktop, so no worries there.  But some only build for specific platforms like Desktop & Android, or Mac Desktop & IOS so it's important to keep in mind.  Another thing at the end of all of this is distribution, if you want to put it on GooglePlay or ...Apple's Store?..(not an IOS user obviously..)  haha..  There are some fees involved there, so check out those sites.  Android you "can" distribute w/o Google Play, but I don't think you can with IOS apps..

Edited by Septopus

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