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Sir Ando

Complete beginner, need help with developing an engine

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I'm interested in programming a new engine for a commercial game a few talented friends and I plan to make after our next translation project is complete. It already has English graphics so there's not much to do for me for those months.

It will be a text and story heavy game, with gameplay similar to older Fire Emblems.

So I need:

-a dialogue system

-grid and turn based maps (while pixel art, should be 3D in order for it to be tilted slightly instead of having the straight top-down view, perhaps with 3D effects such as cinders flying about)


-combat animations separate from the map (a blackout followed by a new screen)



I think those are the most major functions of the engine I want.
Is there a specific language I should do this in? Are there any pitfalls I might stumble into?

Also yes, while platforms such as SRPG studio exist, they really don't look great, and as the graphics person, I don't look forward to working with that. I have a bunch of ideas we’d need our own engine for.

(and yes I know this sounds overly ambitious)

thanks in advance!

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I think when you say engine, you have a different idea of what an engine is than i do.

If you mention making an engine around here, you usually mean a renderer, entity component style system perhaps, subsystems to manage audio, gameplay scripts, etc.

What you're asking for are a set of components to add to an existing engine such as unreal engine or unity, that allow for creation of a game, plus the art work. That's a lot of stuff.

Before you think about what language to use, consider making sure you have knowledge and experience in the tools you're going to use. If you don't yet have this experience, get some experience first otherwise what you're asking to do is akin to trying to build a skyscraper when you haven't even learned the basics of structural engineering. I'm not kidding, game development is HARD but very rewarding...

Once you've done this, create a short document of 5 pages or less documenting the rules of this game, the general loop the player progresses through. e.g. "player explores, finds enemies, gets experience, levels up" or such. This is your game design document. Don't bloat it out with back story, concept art etc, these come later, or maybe you don't need them at all ever in the case of things like concept art.

Consider buying existing off the shelf components to add to unity or unreal engine, and adjusting these to suit your game, never under-estimate the time this would take to do from scratch (perhaps decades).

Good luck!

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Hmm, I agree, what I need isn't a new engine the way you describe it. Basically, I want my own game instead of what SRPG studio would restrict us to, which is just free modding of what the devs made, with custom characters etc.
it's not really a new engine, but I do need the game to run on my own code, with the functions listed above, which, as you mentioned, I could most likely buy or download. At least some of them.

So I guess my question is more about which language I should use to write those pieces of code, and if there are common mistakes a beginner would make associated with them.
(Do keep in mind that my AI will be quite a bit more complicated than "hit them hard" and will require pretty fast execution.)

That being said, which engine do you recommend?

And thanks, we'll need it!

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This depends what your experience of programming languages is.

Unity uses C#, and is generally easy to pick up if you have previous experience in programming. Unreal Engine 4 uses C++ and is generally less friendly for a beginner, but extremely powerful for those with experience.

I'd recommend starting out with unity, if you have some programming experience. If you don't, just put your project on hold for a few months while you learn the basics, and believe it or not once you have the basics down you can kind of learn as you go, it will just take a lot longer (i mean a lot longer - don't expect to get this project finished within a 3 or 4 year time frame).

A wise man once said it takes 10,000 hours of experience in a field to become an expert, that's 3.5 solid years of practicing your craft, including time for breaks, holidays, and assuming an 8 hour full time day. If you are doing this on the side, double that timeframe.

In the end though, its not how long it takes, but the end result and the journey taken to get there right? Above all, have fun!

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Posted (edited)

I have, looks at scribbles on hand, 65816 experience!

On a more serious note, I know a bit of C++ and am currently working on a program which takes pixelized letters in hex data and combines them to word images readable by the SNES (which is definitely not as simple as throwing the data one after the other).

I can write some practical tools but haven't done any kind of game related code yet.

Although if C#/Unity truly is easier, it's probably a better idea to go with that.

A few of my friends and my brother do know how to program so I can ask for quick assistance if I do get stuck somewhere down the line.

Edited by Sir Ando

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I'm a UE4 fan myself. UE4 comes with Blueprints, which is a visual node based scripting language designed for non-programmers. You can build full fledged, high performance, AAA quality games using only the blueprint system. Not a single line of C++ needs to be written if you don't want to (I have some talented friends who work almost exclusively in blueprints). It's easy enough that non-programmers can use it to contribute to the game logic, so one person doesn't necessarily have to make everything happen (which is good! spread the workload, grow team talents, and lower risk!)

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