Making computer games

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Making computer games

I was wondering if anyone here has any experience making games. I'm thinking of doing one as a bit of a hobby, I've never done anything like this before though. I've done a bit of programming but nothing as complex as the game I'd like to make would have to be.

I'm thinking of making a platformer, but not really a classic platformer - a modern one with 3D graphics (insofar as this makes sense in a platformer). Kind of like Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. So basically the gameplay is still 2D but the graphics are 3D (or a good imitation).

I want to get the full experience and really know what's going on in the inner workings, so I want to build it from the ground up - in C++ or something - rather than use one of those game-making utilities on the net. I realize that this may be difficult, but that's part of why it seems like a fun idea.
 

Gertlex

Banned
Have fun thinking about it.... Not trying to be evil, but it's not a small task. Start small perhaps. I've done a couple small games, first a text based version of the card game Pyramids, and then a simple graphics based pipe game.
 
I have to agree with Gert, it is really more work than you are thinking. The programming is huge, you have to get everything working together such as physics and then come up with rules for what actions effect what graphics and what objects plus come up with things like health and score etc.

Stagecast creator is probably as complex as you really want to get.
 
My most 'complex' game was written in Java. It was a simple random number generator where you guessed a number, and it told you if it was higher or lower than the number it picked.
 

Freet

Diabloii.Net Member
Do you have any idea how many programmers are required for a moderately complex game? And these are people that do that stuff for a living. You will be calling people my age 'sonny' and still not be done with the basic script.

Anywho, I wish you the best. It will be an interesting project if you can donate the time it demands.
 

Carino

Diabloii.Net Member
I've made a mario style game, breakout, pong, stuff like that. Im studying computer science so I have a fair bit of knowledge with programming. If you don't have much experience then its going to be a while before you make any 3D platformers. First, learn a good beginner language, then once you have that down start off small. I would recommend making games such as pong, then pac man and perhaps tetris.

This way you will get the feel of how to create a basic game then you can expand on this. Most games are created using the same kind of design, so its good to learn the basics and learn them well.

A good language to learn would be C# or java. Both are object oreinted and aren't too hard to learn. C# is pretty much a mix of java and C++.

Anyways, I'm rambling, start small then work your way up. It is a lot of fun though, it allows you to be very creative.
 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Yeah, I know it's an enormous task, that's why it's a hobby rather than something I'll knock together in a few weeks. I'm thinking long-term time investment (ie years).

Maybe I'll try to get an ordinary 2D side-scrolling platformer working first, and then see about the 3D business.

I am aware of a program that uses C# for programming, it's called XNA

http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/xna/faq/

I looked into it, but it's certainly over my head so far
That looks interesting, I might give that a try.

I've made a mario style game, breakout, pong, stuff like that. Im studying computer science so I have a fair bit of knowledge with programming. If you don't have much experience then its going to be a while before you make any 3D platformers. First, learn a good beginner language, then once you have that down start off small. I would recommend making games such as pong, then pac man and perhaps tetris.

This way you will get the feel of how to create a basic game then you can expand on this. Most games are created using the same kind of design, so its good to learn the basics and learn them well.

A good language to learn would be C# or java. Both are object oreinted and aren't too hard to learn. C# is pretty much a mix of java and C++.

Anyways, I'm rambling, start small then work your way up. It is a lot of fun though, it allows you to be very creative.
How difficult was the Mario-style game? What language did you use? Sounds like a good place for me to start.

I'd rather stick to the one language, so I'm thinking of using one of the varieties of C or if I have to one of those games-programming thingies that's built on it. I've had passing experience with C++ but I never learned any of the more complex stuff, this was just for my undergraduate astrophysics subjects. But the best way to learn a language is to try to do something with it, so I'm thinking if I just hurl myself at it I'll eventually make headway.



 

PlagueBearer

Diabloii.Net Member
Do you have any idea how many programmers are required for a moderately complex game? And these are people that do that stuff for a living. You will be calling people my age 'sonny' and still not be done with the basic script.
This is true, and it's one of the parts I like least about the industry: it's too often more science than art. My advice to you is this: find a friend who LIKES programming and pull him/her into your project. While that type sits there typing in whatever brand of jibberish Hal is in the mood for, you can focus on the fun part (art and design).



 

WebDragon

Diabloii.Net Member
I decided to do something similar not too long ago. I was thinking about a text-based rpg with just a few graphics using Visual Basic. I ended up making a calculator. Not a very good one...
 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Not very encouraging. Oh well, I love a challenge.

You don't even want to finish your PhD, do you?
Heaven forfend.

This is true, and it's one of the parts I like least about the industry: it's too often more science than art. My advice to you is this: find a friend who LIKES programming and pull him/her into your project. While that type sits there typing in whatever brand of jibberish Hal is in the mood for, you can focus on the fun part (art and design).
That's alright, I enjoy getting my hands dirty. I'm a mathematician after all, I like to make sure every little thing is in order before painting the big picture.



 

ffejrxx

Diabloii.Net Member
i made break-away pong and blackjack games for ti82-85 calculators back in '95
was fun only took 5-6hrs to code and debug them
also earned some good points from my basic programming teacher in high school
 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Argh, stupid Microsoft. Okay, I have a slight problem; I downloaded Microsoft Visual C++ and it refuses to install, claiming it doesn't support Windows 98 (what a load of crap, it supports 2000 and there's bugger all difference - they just don't want to have to provide product support and twist my arm to buy an upgrade into the bargain). Is there any way around this?

Failing that, what exactly do I need to make programs in C++? I just write plain text files and then run them through some kind of compiler to make an executable, right?
 
Argh, stupid Microsoft. Okay, I have a slight problem; I downloaded Microsoft Visual C++ and it refuses to install, claiming it doesn't support Windows 98 (what a load of crap, it supports 2000 and there's bugger all difference - they just don't want to have to provide product support and twist my arm to buy an upgrade into the bargain). Is there any way around this?

Failing that, what exactly do I need to make programs in C++? I just write plain text files and then run them through some kind of compiler to make an executable, right?
Actually there are lots of differences and the .Net/Visual Studio stuff uses a lot of core services and a lot of the APIs not found in 98.

Coincidentally I just saw a commercial for a game design degree. . .two guys got their degree in two years doing night courses and are now making 90k+ a year part-time.



 

WebDragon

Diabloii.Net Member
Actually there are lots of differences and the .Net/Visual Studio stuff uses a lot of core services and a lot of the APIs not found in 98.
True. Also, you might have problems with Visual C# and co if you don't have the .Net framework installed.

Coincidentally I just saw a commercial for a game design degree. . .two guys got their degree in two years doing night courses and are now making 90k+ a year part-time.
Game design degree? When you can get your forensic science degree in 18 months, 2 weeks a month, 3 days a week, 40 minutes a day?!

I can do science me!



 

Carino

Diabloii.Net Member
How difficult was the Mario-style game? What language did you use? Sounds like a good place for me to start.
It took a while to make, and i used C++. Its a good game to make because it teaches you about drawing multiple layers to the screen, scrolling backgrounds, collision detection, animation, stuff like that.

If youre not much of an artist then your probably going to run into the problem of not having any sprites for your game. I'd just recommend googling for free sprite pages and going from there. Animating the characters is also a pretty big task if you have never done it before.



 

Johnny

Banned
I suggest just making a mod for an existing game using the games engine, AI an 3D models with mayby a few reskinnings here and there.
 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Actually there are lots of differences and the .Net/Visual Studio stuff uses a lot of core services and a lot of the APIs not found in 98.
I'm sure a simple patch could correct anything like that, if anyone could be bothered to make it.

Coincidentally I just saw a commercial for a game design degree. . .two guys got their degree in two years doing night courses and are now making 90k+ a year part-time.
Lucky bastards. But how can you make games part-time? I always hear that game programmers sacrifice their entire private lives to get games made.

It took a while to make, and i used C++. Its a good game to make because it teaches you about drawing multiple layers to the screen, scrolling backgrounds, collision detection, animation, stuff like that.
That sounds perfect, you wouldn't be able to give me the source code, would you? That'd be extremely helpful.

If youre not much of an artist then your probably going to run into the problem of not having any sprites for your game. I'd just recommend googling for free sprite pages and going from there. Animating the characters is also a pretty big task if you have never done it before.
That's something I'll worry about later, I think - the biggest challenge will be getting the basic game running, graphics will be a much smaller issue.

I suggest just making a mod for an existing game using the games engine, AI an 3D models with mayby a few reskinnings here and there.
Oh, I've done stuff like that before.



 
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