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Author Topic: Making a video game  (Read 597 times)

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Online InkiduTopic starter

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Making a video game
« on: December 23, 2014, 09:34:24 AM »
I've no small amount of trepidation, but for a while I've had my vision of a space-based 4X game. So this is probably just idle fancy, but I'm wondering how hard it would be to learn how to program a game where the end-product would look like something akin to Battle of Wesnoth. I know that a lot goes into making any game, but I wouldn't even know where to start (which is probably a telling sign in and of itself).

So I was hoping to kind of call on the combined knowledge of E to sort of tell me how monumentally stupid this idea is for one person to undertake. (Read: Where would I even start?).

Thanks.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2014, 10:03:50 AM »
I know that the little Oni has been picking up some of the basics of programming from Khan Academy.  I think it may be lessons in Java, so I'm not sure about immediate practicality, but it would start giving you the rudiments of how to organize code. 

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2014, 10:28:34 AM »
I know that the little Oni has been picking up some of the basics of programming from Khan Academy.  I think it may be lessons in Java, so I'm not sure about immediate practicality, but it would start giving you the rudiments of how to organize code.
Java. Does Khan Academy have things you can just read? I'm not really able to look at a lot of videos.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2014, 10:30:17 AM »
It's more of a 'hands on' sort of thing - actually writing simple programs, moving things across the screen, detecting collisions and so on.

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2014, 10:36:55 AM »
It's more of a 'hands on' sort of thing - actually writing simple programs, moving things across the screen, detecting collisions and so on.
Hmm... well I'm trying to set up more of a strategy game, but if I were to do this beggars can't be choosers. :\

EDIT: To elaborate more: I would need to code a generator that could create a galaxy to play in, motion itself could be very simple. just things moving on hexes and whatnot. Then I'd have to code an AI that could actually play the game.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 10:40:20 AM by Inkidu »

Offline Blaskovich

Re: Making a video game
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2014, 11:45:57 AM »
Creating a game from scratch with no team and no experience is a lot more work than you're imagining.  What you're talking about would probably take several years to learn to code from nothing if it were your actual job and you were working on it all day, every day.  I can't imagine how long it would take as a spare time project. 

I'd recommend trying out GameMaker or Unity.  They have free trial editions, and you can get a taste of developing your own game without worrying about learning to program all the tedious back end stuff.  That should give you some valuable experience on the true scope of what you're trying to do, and probably offers the highest chance you'll get of seeing your dream come to fruition. 

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2014, 11:59:05 AM »
Oh, I'm pretty aware of what it takes to make games. That's why this is basically just a question thread. Maybe I can parse myself out as an idea guy. :P

Offline Oniya

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2014, 12:34:51 PM »
Having a good idea behind your game is a great place to start.  If you are interested in learning game programming, though, you should start simple and work your way up.  Programming an AI is going to require decision trees that help the computer determine the optimal move, and the more types of moves you have and the longer the average play-time, the more complicated this becomes.  Checkers is easier to program than Chess, but harder than Tic-Tac-Toe.

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 01:07:10 PM »
Having a good idea behind your game is a great place to start.  If you are interested in learning game programming, though, you should start simple and work your way up.  Programming an AI is going to require decision trees that help the computer determine the optimal move, and the more types of moves you have and the longer the average play-time, the more complicated this becomes.  Checkers is easier to program than Chess, but harder than Tic-Tac-Toe.
It's probably not for me. I don't even know the first thing about programming. :\

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2014, 01:17:44 PM »
Then start with the ideas.  Break down the gameplay itself into steps (spend resources, move units, engage opponent, that sort of thing).  Bounce ideas around here - maybe even in World Building.  Heck, make a paper/cardboard model and work out rules and such for table-top play.  Then try pitching it.  There are game-writers on sites like Kongregate or ArmorGames and forums where there's probably places to discuss game design in general - maybe a good place to look for the people who can program.  (There are probably a few around Elliquiy too, but you find more apples in an apple cart than in a fruit salad.)

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2014, 02:47:48 PM »
Then start with the ideas.  Break down the gameplay itself into steps (spend resources, move units, engage opponent, that sort of thing).  Bounce ideas around here - maybe even in World Building.  Heck, make a paper/cardboard model and work out rules and such for table-top play.  Then try pitching it.  There are game-writers on sites like Kongregate or ArmorGames and forums where there's probably places to discuss game design in general - maybe a good place to look for the people who can program.  (There are probably a few around Elliquiy too, but you find more apples in an apple cart than in a fruit salad.)
That's actually something I can do. I'll probably open up a World-Building thread to work it all out.

Offline Renegade Vile

Re: Making a video game
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2014, 07:31:41 AM »
I've no small amount of trepidation, but for a while I've had my vision of a space-based 4X game. So this is probably just idle fancy, but I'm wondering how hard it would be to learn how to program a game where the end-product would look like something akin to Battle of Wesnoth. I know that a lot goes into making any game, but I wouldn't even know where to start (which is probably a telling sign in and of itself).

So I was hoping to kind of call on the combined knowledge of E to sort of tell me how monumentally stupid this idea is for one person to undertake. (Read: Where would I even start?).

Thanks.

As you have already guessed here, a tremendous amount of work goes into making a game; any game really (at least anything beyond a simple Flash platformer or something along those lines). Especially if you have no experience coding, scripting, designing and more. However, it is anything but impossible. Even before my bachelor in video game programming I started fiddling with it using applications like RPGMaker. Given that the genre of game you are aiming for was once a fairly common one, I wouldn't be surprised if similar applications exist. These have an expansive user interface that takes away a lot of the nitty gritty of coding. Any customization work would then have to be done using scripting of some sort, if the tool allows for it.

I saw someone suggest Unity, which is always a good choice since C# is a fairly user-friendly language to code in. I would steer clear from C++ unless you are first going to spend a few years mastering the language. I would also steer clear from doing anything that has you directly communicating with DirectX or OpenGL (rendering software) as that is quite complex as well. I think it all boils down to how much time you are willing to invest.

I suggest starting simple. Learn Flash or Java/C#. From there, try to find a tool that does a lot of the rendering theory for you, since those are courses in and of themselves. Once you have that, start implementing your design.
To pen down the nitty gritty of your game, both setting and mechanics-wise, there are a wealth of Game Design Documents you can find online. Any will do to organize your thoughts and write down requirements, but there are templates intended for specific genres. So, if you can find one for your genre, prefer that one over others.

There is a lot more that I can give in terms of hints, but really, if you want to get into video game development, start very, very simple. Make games like pinball, pong, pacman and the like to learn the basics of elements such as a render loop, CPU time and physics (yes, even in a strategy game like yours you might need some collision checking). Once you get the hang of those, you'll be able to start more ambitious things. But starting out with a full-fledged game like this will quickly leave you overwhelmed.

Addendum: As lady Oniya pointed out, if you do not mind handing the reigns over to someone who can already code, places like NewGrounds are good for pitching ideas to programmers and scripters. It may take some time to find someone whose curiosity is piqued by your idea, but not impossible. Just make sure that, whoever you find, is clearly passionate about it. If they aren't, try to make them passionate. Otherwise, odds are they will drop out and the next coder you find either has to start over from scratch, or make sense of what the other has already done (not always easy if the former programmer hated commenting code...).

I think this has also come up, but be aware that the biggest challenge with a strategy game that is not purely two player, is the opponent AI. You will want to not make them predictable, which means not only make decision trees (there are plenty of articles and books on these kinds of algorithms to find) but also adding some kind of randomization element in the mix. This is no small undertaking and will require a really good programmer to get done properly.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 07:38:28 AM by Renegade Vile »

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2014, 10:48:43 AM »
There are a lot of IT e-books for free on here.
http://it-ebooks.info/

Maybe it would give you some insight or information on different languages and topics. If you search title with the word 'game', it turns up quite a few hits.

I'm not sure how above board that site is but it's one that has been heavily recommended to me and is quite often used among techie people.

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2014, 11:01:02 AM »
Yeah, I think I'm going to work out the pen-and-paper concept and try to pitch it to an indie studio or something before I try delving into programming it myself. I think a good heuristic for my own ability is that I'm only vaguely aware of C# or C++ or what have you. I was actually thinking about doing it in ASCII like many a roguelike is done. I mean that style doesn't have to be used for roguelikes does it.

Just looking at the tile sets for things like Dwarf Fortress people are always willing to add in graphics and whatnot to something they like. I'm not sure. I just kind of want to tinker around with everything I want to accomplish.

Though unlike Dwarf Fortress, user friendliness will be one of my top concerns. :P

I need to get it to a kind of proof of concept state.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 11:05:30 AM by Inkidu »

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2014, 11:09:09 AM »
There were several old ASCII strategy games.  There was one I remember called 'Hunt the Wumpus', where you wandered around a 20-room map and could 'hear' the creature if it was in an adjacent room (and then shoot it or run away - assuming you picked the right direction.)

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2014, 01:34:00 PM »
There were several old ASCII strategy games.  There was one I remember called 'Hunt the Wumpus', where you wandered around a 20-room map and could 'hear' the creature if it was in an adjacent room (and then shoot it or run away - assuming you picked the right direction.)
That's what I figured.

EDIT: Just so everyone knows. I've completed my first pass through the bare-bones outline of all that I want to work out and accomplish. So it's my first small step.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 02:15:12 PM by Inkidu »

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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2015, 11:58:20 AM »
Hairy sent me a link for something cool that might be of some use to you:
https://stacksocial.com/sales/the-name-your-own-price-game-design-bundle

It's basically training including lectures and stuff in game design, however it's a site where you can set your own price (and pay what you want). I think you have to pay over $8 something to get all four apps/courses, but you could set $0.01 and get 1 by the sound of things - if I understand it right.


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Re: Making a video game
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2015, 12:02:53 PM »
It doesn't sell the software - only the video lectures.