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fields.of.elysium

Total beginner and naïve idealist here. Advice needed.

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Hi all,

So I am a long-time gamer and have a burning inspiration to create the games in my mind; the ideas for which haunt my thoughts and dreams. The problem is, I know almost nothing about programming. I was hoping for some advice on which programming language to learn in order to one day develop a primarily text-and-menu-based management game, with character and item databases, statistics, random events, etc. I imagine they can all do that, but ease of use is probably important for me.

 

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Hi!

As you just mentioned programming, here are some tips to learn. I learned to program by writing games. It’s a great way to start! If you really are an absolute beginner I would recommend you start small. Something like Python is in my opinion the best programming language to learn for beginners. It will teach you the fundamental bits of programming that you absolutely have to know (variables, functions, classes). Just write some simple things, and eventually build up to something bigger. Maybe you could do a text adventure game? They can be fun yet simple to make. There’s also libraries like pygame which are great for beginners. Aside from that things like JavaScript can be good to make a browser based game.

I’m not really sure what you mean by one day develop the game but my advice would be to take it slow in the beginning. Really though if you want ease of development a pre-made game engine might be your best bet. Honestly for that I would recommend Godot. It’s gotten so good recently.

Hope this helps.

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24 minutes ago, Nucleartree123 said:

Really though if you want ease of development a pre-made game engine might be your best bet. Honestly for that I would recommend Godot. It’s gotten so good recently.

I second Godot. I'd say it's overkill for a text-based game, but it's pretty slick and it's only getting better.

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Thanks so much for the guidance, guys.

6 hours ago, Nucleartree123 said:

Just write some simple things, and eventually build up to something bigger. Maybe you could do a text adventure game? They can be fun yet simple to make.

Actually text adventures were exactly what I originally had in mind and figured might be sufficiently accessible. Recently though I was inspired by a game called Age of Gladiators - elements of which also reminded me of football manager and other management classics.

While those are very stat-based, I would like to create a game that uses similar stats behind the scenes but which maybe feels more intuitive, where you don't have perfect information. You would have to slowly discover through various means what are the skills and traits of your team (be it gladiators, footballers or whatever). I would like the 'world' to feel alive with various news events (economic, political, etc.) that have effects on game economy, available of resources, etc. Then there are the text-based elements which may include decisions to be made when a certain event occurs, which can have variable choices based on the player character's (coach, lanista, whatever) stats or even moral inclinations.

I feel these elements are all relatively 'easy' to code without 3D elements and such. As I am a nobody with no funds to offer, no one is going to code this for me, no matter my ideas. So, if I have to do it myself then I'd like to pick a language or engine that can well achieve this and which I could learn in a reasonable amount of time. I did to a bit of Turbo Pascal back in high school and I'm fine with advanced Excel, so I do have some foundational understanding of variables and functions, but creating a serious game is terribly daunting :)

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Take a look at some tools like rpg maker and game maker. I've not used these myself, but i've been told they are very accessible and will get you into making simple games very quickly.

Personally I use Unreal Engine 4, but i would definitely not recommend this for someone starting out. The vast amount of features in it and the scattered documentation make it extremely daunting even for people who've been creating games for many years.

Similarly, unity is great but will assume that you already know how to program to make good use of it. I don't think it was mentioned, have you already learned any programming at all? You said you know almost nothing, is that completely nothing, or do you know the basics of variables, loops etc in one or more programming languages?

Hope this helps!

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Thanks all. Godot looks very interesting. Are you hamstrung if you use a game engine and then later discover it doesn't really support all the desired features or those you decide later to add?

RPG Maker was mentioned and actually I have that already. I got it (MV version) the last time I had this burning desire to create a game but never got a chance to use it. I downloaded it again the other day and tinkered with it but it felt like I needed to 'hack'/force the software to do things it wasn't intended to do, making its user-friendliness rather moot.

9 hours ago, Brain said:

I don't think it was mentioned, have you already learned any programming at all? You said you know almost nothing, is that completely nothing, or do you know the basics of variables, loops etc in one or more programming languages?

High school computer science (nearly 20 years ago) included things like boolean algebra, logic gates, logic trees, etc. In Turbo Pascal we did the basics of 'while' and 'repeat' loops, types of variables, etc. I understand the idea of a function as well, more so from Microsoft Excel i.e. re-usable code that takes your input variables, manipulates the data somehow and returns an output. Nested ifs, true and false, etc. So I guess I have some foundation but no I don't know the correct syntax to actually achieve any of this in any programming language. I've done very basic macros and used some API scripts also, in Roll20 (virtual table-top for roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons) where I have managed a campaign as a DM. So world-building and characters are more my thing :)

If I were to try using something like Godot, there is some support for it out there? Code samples? I don't really understand what it means to use a 'game engine' as opposed to coding from scratch, but I guess it means there are already some functions or scripts or features established that you can call upon instead of writing them yourself? The Godot website lists GDScript, C#, C++ and visual scripting as options to use - what would be best for my purposes? Thanks again, sorry for the endless questions. I'm sure I'll be full of questions for a long, long time if I dare to embark on this journey!

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4 hours ago, fields.of.elysium said:

Thanks all. Godot looks very interesting. Are you hamstrung if you use a game engine and then later discover it doesn't really support all the desired features or those you decide later to add?

If I were to try using something like Godot, there is some support for it out there? Code samples? I don't really understand what it means to use a 'game engine' as opposed to coding from scratch, but I guess it means there are already some functions or scripts or features established that you can call upon instead of writing them yourself? The Godot website lists GDScript, C#, C++ and visual scripting as options to use - what would be best for my purposes? Thanks again, sorry for the endless questions. I'm sure I'll be full of questions for a long, long time if I dare to embark on this journey!

With any game engine, you can be Hamstrung (unless someone has made a plugin that addresses your issue), but I can't imagine a situation for your game idea where you would be limited by Godot. I recommend starting in (and staying with) GDScript, as it's more in tune with the heart of Godot. It's not much different than any other language, to be honest. Syntax may change between languages, but game programming logic won't.

I had a lot of fun playing around with Godot.

However, I will stress that I feel HTML and JavaScript would be the easiest way for you to make your game. NW.js and Electron allow you to package webpages as a standalone executable (glorified Chrome browser) or you can host your game online. Being online is a great way to test your game, as nobody has to install a thing to try it out. (Of course, your source code is way easier to view though.) Unless you have plans to have characters run around in a 2D or 3D environment with NPC and enemies running amuck, you may actually find it more time consuming (and potentially more difficult) to make your game in Godot.

Don't get me wrong though, Godot is fantastic.

https://medium.com/rock-milk/why-godot-engine-e0d4736d6eb0

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On 6/6/2019 at 1:04 AM, Guy Fleegman said:

However, I will stress that I feel HTML and JavaScript would be the easiest way for you to make your game. NW.js and Electron allow you to package webpages as a standalone executable (glorified Chrome browser) or you can host your game online. Being online is a great way to test your game, as nobody has to install a thing to try it out. (Of course, your source code is way easier to view though.) Unless you have plans to have characters run around in a 2D or 3D environment with NPC and enemies running amuck, you may actually find it more time consuming (and potentially more difficult) to make your game in Godot.

Thanks Guy, this sounds like the right path in terms of the benefits of web usage and the fact that I don't plan on 2D or 3D environments; at least not yet :) So this brings me onto deciding what to proceed with within JavaScript. Some research reveals GDevelop and Construct 3 as possibly the most suitable; at least that'd be my limited and uninformed assessment. Do you have any thoughts on it? Otherwise, thank you for all your help and I suppose it's time to start familiarising myself with JavaScript. Where to start...

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