Comments on Walk before you run


I think part of the problem when people want to get into game development is that they simply expect that just because they like to play games, it means they will like to make them. Playing games and making games are two completely separate things.

I am a member on several indie development websites and too many times I see people posting the same question as above and get flamed (although, never by me 😊). I think part of the reason is because when people post comments like that, it sort of degrades what indie developers do. It sort of makes developers think “People think you can just sit down one day and make the type of games I make? They don’t realize all of the hard work, planning, careful optimization and other hours of work I put into this?”, which is frustrating to think about.

A lot of people think that they’re going to be making a 3D game within a few months of learning a programming language. This is hardly the case. you are going to need to make many 2D games (and I mean many) before you’re going to be ready to make a 3D game. This usually frustrates people because most of the time people want to make the next best first person shooter game, but it’s true. You have to crawl before you can walk.

If you really want to make a game, the very first thing you should do is figure out what part of the development process you will be. Don’t just go around saying “Hey guys I want to make a game! Who wants to help?” That will get you nowhere. You really need to say “Hey guys, I am a great artist, here are some samples of my work! Would anyone be interested in making a game with me?” Making games takes a lot of work, even if you have a huge team. A lot of people get over optimistic and then get really frustrated when things don’t go as fast as they want to. When I make games, the levels are comprised of java.awt.Color.CYAN rectangles until the entire game is done, and then I end up putting the graphics in once the engine is completely done.

Another thing people should realize is that you can really help yourself by making your game engine multipurpose. Once you write an RPG engine, you can make about 10 different RPG games on it without having to really change a lot of stuff in it. Just make new maps, new graphics and maybe add a few new features and voila, you have a new game.

In this article you mentioned a lot of books. However, most people do not want to read a whole book. Yes, books are important and if you want to learn how to program, you’re inevitably going to have to read a book or two (or at least quite a few online tutorials). However, just reading books isn’t going to get you to be a great programmer. You really need to practice. A book will teach you syntax, which is very important, but programming will teach you how to work through problems and find a solution. You’re going to spend countless hours debugging a small trivial issue that you would have never expected.

A great place to start off is definitely getting some sort of game making software that has the engine done for you. This will give you a basic idea of how you should be thinking when you’re making a game. Although they’re very watered down, they will definitely help you in the long run. While making your game you’ll think “Oh yeah! I remember in that game maker they handled the battle system like this!”

Anyways, nice article.

-- zlools 2017-10-02 07:24 UTC

Well, I will only speak from the “programmer’s point of view” since I am not an artist and my game design skills are rather basic… for now 🙂

As the previous commenter said, there should be pointed out that there is a big difference between programming something in general (like a phone agenda, for example) and making a game in special (let’s say – pong).

But even before you get to do a pong clone you may need to play around with some text game of sorts… cause pong does need some math in there – in the way the ball hits the walls and all that 😀 (it’s a little bit easier from technical point of view to have a black screen with text saying: ‘You are in front of an empty hut. You can go inside, or go west. Where do you want to go now?’ ‘Click W for west, N for north…’)

Then there is a big difference between making a pong clone and a full blooded rpg. Even when I think at the most basic rules (stats – strength, dexterity etc that goes into complicated fighting equations) gives me a headache. And on top of all of that add some fancy 2d gfx 😀

Then there is an even bigger difference if it goes 3d. You go straight from Ultima clone to… Quake style. And that is painful, indeed. It was painful even as a player to make the transition from 2d to 3d. The camera movement seemed to blow my mind every time – I wanted to feel like a player, not a cameraman 😀 (well, you get used to it at some point…)

The best example that comes into my mind at this point is the way Bioware moved from Infinity Engine (Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale etc) to Aurora Engine (Neverwinter Nights). The fact that they added a third dimension changed everything. They had to double/triple their team. They had to do custom tools to make levels. And they were even more ambitious than that – they wanted the players to be able to make their OWN levels and play online. Basicaly, they spent a few years on the engine alone. But after that… you could with the help of a small team make full games using their NWN engine. And there are people still doing it.

And yet, in NWN the multiplayer part is rather “poor”, you cannot have more than 50-100 players in one area I believe (and I am being optimistic here, I am not sure if most areas can handle more than 10-15 players at a time).

And now… let’s move to the “massive multiplayer” part. If you got here, it means you are way beyond all the problems that were described before :D. Oh, and you may as well add many others that appear only now – in a MMORPG you have a persistent world, interactions you cannot even predict sometimes in the design phase, economy problems, server problems etc.

But if you got here… I guess you are on your way in making the next WOW clone… in about 20 years or so :D. Of course, there are exceptions even here – the guy who made “Love” is an outstanding one. Oh, and a special mention – Wurm Online (there were 2 guys there, I believe).

-- Nightwrath 2017-10-02 07:24 UTC