To start development

“Are you going serious about this”,

“Yes”

an inner conversation i had a week ago.

Greetings! i start with an intro on picking the first tool for game developing, if you want you can skip all the way down to the “code-name: lonely dancer report” to know about my game or alternatively just read the first part.

So if you followed my advice and actually started to learn how programming works you should at least know how a game should work, computers are really stupid, they wont understand basic instructions like “jump” or “show a cave” or “put an enemy over there”, all they can do is turn things on and off, is just that they think so fast that when provided with the right sequence of on and offs they are extremely efficient even to handle a vast world simulation.

the work of a programmer is to take human instructions and write them in a way a computer understands.

“Does that mean i have to break down every single part of my game to basic output instructions?”

Yes and no, you need to specify the instructions for them, but the most basic instructions on games (like drawing the polygons) are more often than not identical so you don’t really need to write those, you can simply get what they call a “game engine” which will save you a lot of troubles there are many out there for you to grab, perhaps too many, and you cant really start working on your game without one so, how do you choose one?

To be honest, its really a trivial question there is no perfect engine and any one should be enough to do anything you want if coded correctly, so there are just 2 factors to consider how comfortable is the designer with the engine, and  what game you plan to develop.

phoenix-wright-objection

“if any engine can do anything then the game should not matter!”

Let me explain before you condemn me, its true that in theory you can use any engine for any purpose, however they are indeed different in how they handle everything and thus are many times optimized in favor of one feature so its important that before you go and grab any engine you first nail down (even as a concept) the most important features of your game, you want a huge open world? beautiful graphics? complex storytelling? a lot of weapons with different stats? expressive characters? 3D? basically what will your game be about without telling the story, for example “The Legend of Zelda” is not about saving a princess, its about exploring the world solving puzzles and defeating enemies, “Mario” is about jumping and avoiding obstacles, “Call of duty” is about using different tactics/weapons to survive in the warfare and kill the bad guys, “counter strike” is about shooting and helping your team to get victory. try to fill the blanks of the next sentence “my game will be about *blank*, so i will also need to *blank*” try to make a list, try to be clear and look for an engine that can the fill those needs easier.

But don’t forget the other part, how comfortable are you on said engine. if you have never touched an engine you can get used to almost any but look for easy to use (intuitive) ones, i also recommend that you pick popular ones as more people using them means its easier to get help but that is up to you, also don’t get tricked by features you “might” need if it is not on your list, and you didn’t just forget to add it you wont be using it almost for sure. and last but not least pick one that fits your budget, there are many free ones, but you might want to pay a bit for a feature and remember to read the terms, some of them charge royalties once you’ve released the game.

a few i suggest you check out Unreal engine 4, Unity 5, Cryengine, Godot, Grit, torque 2D.

there are many more,but those grabbed my attention. so go ahead and download one (or search others) and mess around with it, see if you like it.

CODE-NAME: LONELY DANCER REPORT:

Now for my own game I picked unity, for various reasons, but one of the biggest was its community and the fact that it is free with no royalties, and for the past week i was messing around with it and managed to code a simple script to move the main character and camera the way i wanted (although using a prefabricated model, which will later switch for my own), currently I’ve also created bases of various environments and am currently working on the main menu, should be easy except i have in mind one particular feature I’m trying to figure out, but once i do the real very first part of my game would be ready.

i currently divide my “game developing time” (not to be confused with free time) between 3 parts:

  • learning C#: for scripting needed to make the elements of my game do what i want. (not that hard since i knew c++ already)
  • learning Unity specifics: buttons, capabilities, shortcuts, etc.(pretty intuitive for the most part)
  • learning modeling: to develop the aesthetics and the objects I’m going to have interacting with one another on screen (hardest part, it does not only requires a bunch of technical knowledge worth its own blog, it also requires a ton of talent and practice and even when the program is easy in a base (I’m using blender by the way) it has so many advanced features you need to memorize in order to use it to its max potential, but i like it).

anyway i believe that’s all i have to say for now it is actually more than what i expected to archive this week, so I’m happy with it, however i also expect to accelerate my development later on.

OK then, I’ll see ya next Tuesday!

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