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Old 29-05-2003, 06:09 PM   #1
lockdown2000
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Lightbulb How to make a game.

First off, I would ask this be made a sticky as there are too many a thread about wannabe's thinking a 3d game is as easy as 1, 2, and 3.

Let's start off then shall we?
What is a game? Webster's says: "1 a (1): activity engaged in for diversion or amusement"
And that is EXACTLY what it is.

What's the first thing you need to know?
You CANNOT start off thinking 3d games are easy to make. This is a common mistake among people just starting with 3d. There are a lot of parts that make up a game. You need to know how to program, you need to know how to model, you need to know how to texture, you need to know how to PROGRAM, and the last is you need to know how to PROGRAM.

Why is programming so necessary?
Well think about for a minute. You need to know how to make your game know how to make your character walk, talk and interact. 3d modeling doesn't DO that for you. CODE does that for you.

Next on the list, and I guess the main "tutorial" will start here, is
What programming language should I know, and how long will it take?
Well...You need to know a LOT of programming languages. Companies like blizzard and ea games or sierra don't hire programmers who know one language, unless they are exceptionally skilled and have actually ADVANCED the language. No they are looking for men and women who know plenty of programming languages and can be flexible between them.

What is the best Programming Language to know, and how should I go about starting?
Well I personally started with BASIC. Basic is a simple code language comprised of IF THEN ELSE OR END etc etc statements. Basic is well basic. If something happens then this happens. Have a TI calculator or a graphing calc? Those have BASIC. Start learning there. Search google for it. There is a ton of stuff, BASIC is quick and can do a lot of stuff.
BASIC LANGUAGE LEARNING TIME/MASTERING TIME: 1 1/2 YEARS.

Now, when you know basic fairly well, why don't you make a guessing game with it? Guessing games are GAMES as they are an "activity engaged in for diversion or amusement." Make it so it picks a random number from 1-100 and then if you guess to LOW or to HIGH it tells you which way to guess next. Then have it continually track how many times you have been guessing and at the end tell you how many tries it took you. Now for every one that doesn't know how to code, making something keep track of YOU may blow your mind, but it really isn't hard if you understand what your doing, that's why it should take you a good year to learn BASIC.

After that, why not try making a ROLE playing game with BASIC? With crude MAP graphics you can "access" and items you can pick up, and then make the ultra crude AI. (By the way if you haven¡¦t figured it out, this is sort of the path I took ). So make it so, you have to "fight" monsters, and they attack you back, and you can use spells and they can use spells to. Learn how to make your game be able to SAVE and LOAD. Make a menu system.

After that, I'd say you're pretty much done with basic, and making all those games and stuff, should take you another couple months.

So what do I do after Basic is done?
Well¡Kyou pick another language to learn. Learn JAVA. Java isn¡¦t that different from BASIC, just a few more lines of code here and there. Again, learn how to make a guessing game, then maybe a role playing game. However, because Java is more advanced you can start learning some DRAWING skills. Experiment with trying to draw a simple 2d box, and then figure out how to make that box "3d" Once you've mastered that art why don't you try to make another game. Like BATTLESHIP. Have a user interface, more Complex AI, (I'll explain in a few) and graphical ships? Have it so you can add your ships, rotate them, and have the computer know when you are "trying" to cheat by stacking them or whatever. Then have the computer arrange his, and then start the game. Now by COMPLEX AI I mean, have it so when the computer gets a HIT, on its next turn it checks all surrounding squares until it gets another HIT, and then have it so, if the hit is below, above, or to the side, then instead of continually checking all the squares around it check the squares above, below, or to side depending on which way the originally second hit was discovered. And then maybe you will want to make a CHEAT system in which you click CHEAT and it quickly lights up where the enemy ships are so you can kill them and end the game. After ALL this, there is still more to do. You can learn how to make graphs, import data <-- VERY IMPORTANT, as you ALWAYS need to import data into GAMES! Etc etc.
Learning time for Java: 2-3 YEARS. Maybe more, cause I am still having fun with Java.

Ok, so I have BASIC and JAVA under my belt, can I start NOW?!
NO! How many languages are out there? Like 20-30???? You only know 2! I suggest learning more languages and in this order: C/C++, Visual Basic <-- that one strongly as most of your games I will be explaining later will be made easiest with it. ASM (Assembly) and you should have learned HTML sometime ago, and then learn FLASH. And if you know HTML learn, DHTML and XML. Those are languages that take away JAVA imports into HTML. So instead of making APPLETS for HTML you can write the JAVA strait into the HTML with some .class files running somewhere else. This is good as you do not have to one, load an applet, and wait for the applet to load .class files etc.
Time to learn all this: This is the bulk and really should take like 6-8 YEARS!

Now I am old, old man. Can I make a game now?
Well yes, depending on what kind of game. 3d? Not yet my friend. You have to start SMALL. I recommend FLASH for this, but I suppose you could use VB. Make a SIDE SCROLLER! Those are fun! Make a space ship side scrolling game or something. You should have enough coding knowledge to do this all by yourself now. After you make a scrolling game, try to make a scrolling game that includes a UP and DOWN. So you can climb ladders and push buttons and all that good stuff. After that try making a full blown out game. With an introduction, plot and levels.
Maybe after FLASH, you should go back to VB. Learn how to do the same things with VB and import data etc. VB is easy to use graphics and make games, because it uses Direct X to power the graphics of your games, which is very very nice.
Time to do this: 2-3 years.

I am on the verge of death; can I make a 3d game now?
Well, no Do you know how to 3d render? If you don¡¦t you have to learn. 3d rendering to ME is an art you can NEVER master, as it is continually advancing and changing. You can be very good but you can never be perfect.
Learning 3D: The rest of your life

Well once you have enough 3d under your belt, which is up to you, you can make a GAME! A 3d game! First off, you will need a 3d game engine. I would suggest NOT making your own as they are difficult to make. Very difficult, I would say don't even try. Find one on the internet, do a search with google. Once you find that engine, try figuring out how it works, look at the code and UNDERSTAND it. Once you have the game engine, make some models, texture those models, and make sure your game engine is capable of handling the amount of polys. Now get a CREW. You don't think Blizzard and Sierra make games by themselves do you? They have hundreds and thousands of workers making their games. So you need a good sized crew, 10-20 DEDICATED people. Well yeah, you now have set up a little business that is going to try to make a game. Have fun. Remember making a game isn't easy. Making a game takes a couple years in itself, and unless you're going for crap/demo game then it should take a couple months, but that is lame as you are just wasting your time. All in all, this process should take:
9-10 Years in itself.

So now you're probably 30-40 years old and are very mad at me for making you wait so long. By that time there is probably 4D or something. :-P Well that's how it goes. Thinking of making a game? Start with the BASICS and work your way through the ladder.

Last edited by lockdown2000; 29-05-2003 at 08:21 PM..
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Old 29-05-2003, 08:05 PM   #2
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Old 29-05-2003, 08:23 PM   #3
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Sorry, I fixed all those odd ASCII goof ups. Office XP and this thread dont like to agree O'well I fixed them.
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Old 29-05-2003, 09:23 PM   #4
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AMEN AMEN!
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Old 30-05-2003, 03:10 PM   #5
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Hum...you might also need some other stuff besides the technicall skills, like some PR skills, leadership skills, empathy, etc.

Oh, and a very important thing: A GOOD IDEA FOR A GAME!.... no point in starting a game without one of those....
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Old 30-05-2003, 04:06 PM   #6
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Lockdown - I loved your post! I've been programming since 1983 starting with Basic on the C64. Now I know several languages. For game programming, the most important is probably C\C++ with a dash of assembly where needed. (which means you need to know all of it because you never know just which dash you'll use.)

Anyway, one very important factor you left out - MONEY. It takes a lot of money to purchase the right tools and equipment. The compilers, the 3d modeling software, paint software, sound software, and a powerful PC to run them on. Then as you are learning how to use all that stuff, you still have to upgrade all of the above as you progress (i.e., the years go by learning)...a very, very expensive proposition.
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Old 30-05-2003, 05:57 PM   #7
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Lol, hm..money could help. LOL....feel free to enlighten new people. Add whatever you want. Yippie.
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Old 30-05-2003, 07:40 PM   #8
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I have to say your wrong on the programing side of things. I know very little c++ and almost no ASM. I am proficient in Delphi and BlitzBasic only and my game is coming along fine. Screenies:





It was written in like 6 hours. Fair enough i dont expect the actual game to be finished till 2005, but the main menu is fully functional and the first scene works fine. because the first scene is up and running i already have functions written to allow for animation/movement of chars and speech. I would agree that programming is the last thing to consider tho. At the moment i am lacking in 3d skills(is why i am here). I can do scenery/terrain e.t.c(hence the menu image) but not character modelling/skinning. If ne1 is interesting in helping with the 3d side of things jus give me a yell and i'll explain some more about the project .

:: Edit ::

I forgot the rest . I would agree with that a few years ago it would be wise to know C/C++ and ASM but now i dont think it is neccasary at all, unless you are working for a major software company that may be considering porting it to other platforms. Even then Delphi games can in theory be ported to Linux if OpenGl is used. Nowadays theres a wealth of languages out there specifically for writing games, be them 2d or 3d, i dont see why you would have to make it harder for yourself by insisting on writing it in C just because it is assumed to be the greatest language(it isn't, by far )

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Old 30-05-2003, 08:30 PM   #9
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Arius - I would agree with you to a certain extent. I've been keeping my eye on Blitz Basic for a while now and have dozens of games that I downloaded written in it. Many of them are of a high quality. Don't be fooled though, it is still a programming language (actually, a 'scripting' language may be more accurate)with classes and functions built in for handling game related needs.

As Lockdown pointed out, you are better off NOT creating your own 3d engine and should use someone else's. In a sense, using Blitz Basic is using someone else's 'game engine'. ..and just for the record, the vast majority of BlitzBasic games fall into the retro remakes category. I have yet to see one that blows the doors off of what is possible.

The only area I disagree with Lockdown's assessment would have to be in regards to the amount of time you would have to spend learning these things, but I knew where he (she?) was coming from. Back in the day, we didn't have the same resources that are available now. If we had those same resources back then, I'm sure Lockdown would probably shorten up the timeline.

One of the HUGE hurdles that needed to be overcome back then was that these things you take for granted now were EXTREMELY guarded secrets in the 80's and early 90's.

So, yes, you can create a 'decent' game in record time nowadays with someone else's game engine, but those tend to be all the same and have a cookie-cutter feel to them. You will be limited by what you can do based on the limitations of the engine you are using.

I believe Lockdown's post was referring to the 'wannabees' who pop in with no knowledge of programming saying that they want to write the createst game in the world. That's a bit niave and needed a reality check...
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Old 30-05-2003, 08:39 PM   #10
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Your right, and i do realise its just an engine. My point is that your average programmer cannot alone write the next generation of games. If you simply want to write a game and have a general idea of what you want then these languages/scripters are the way to go. I mean i could quite easily write a decent quake clone(provided i had the models) which at the end of the day is the kind of thing most amateurs want to do. Those pictures above were produced on a 233MMX with 64meg of ram and a kyro2 gfx chipset. So on my measly(pathetic ) spec i'm getting quite good results. If you want to write the next mind boggling game that breaks all expectations then by all means learn to code. But even the best programmer in the world couldn't do it without a team of experts in the field of programming, storywriting and art. So unless your part of a software giant such as square or rare there is little to no point in learning to write games in C/C++, unless you actually want to go into the games industry in which case you'd be better off actually taking some kind of games creation in C++ course at university. If your like me and you just code for a hobbie and for entertainment, then software like blitzbasic is the way to go. Thats all i was trying to say lol
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Old 30-05-2003, 08:49 PM   #11
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Has anyone in this thread considered the mods? for instance counterstrike its just a modification to half life...and its soo cool...or the dungeon siege angine, or NWN these game are sohighly "moddable" that u can make a whole new game from it....of course doing a counterstrike out from half life requires a lot of skill and programming (scripting) knowledge....but its faster then designing a new game from scratch using someone elses engine....right?
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Old 30-05-2003, 08:54 PM   #12
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Arius - Sorry if I left a negative impression. I totally agree with what you are saying. I'm also running solo here and having to 'do it all' is a real drag. I get caught up writing code, then realize I need to do more graphics, then I'll be cranking out the graphics, but want to see it how they will run with the code that hasn't been written yet. Back and forth I go, getting burned out in the process.

Personally, I think the guy who came up with Blitz Basic is a genius. Unfortunately, I have gotten so used to writting my own code that I would get frustrated using it whenever I ran into a limitation.

BTW, your screenshots looked cool... Looking forward to seeing the finished product.
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Old 30-05-2003, 09:15 PM   #13
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Nah you didn't leave a negative immpression Its jus its very hot an humid where i am an unfortunately if i cant learn box moddelling or get some1 to do it my game is dead so im a lil touchy lol. I've tried running through the tutorials section but im not very good at max so they're not of much help lol
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Old 30-05-2003, 09:44 PM   #14
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Ha! I think you and I are at the same point. The tutorials make it look easy. I read that the easiest way to model using blueprints is to create 3 boxes and put an image on each (front, side, bottom, etc.) so that they will always be to scale with your box. Unfortunately, when I apply the texture (i.e., image) to the 3 boxes, I can't see the image, just the generic texture color. Frustrating...

Yes, I'm new to the 3d modeling thing using 3DS 2.5. I used to use RayDream Studio. I should probably splurge and get the latest version.
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Old 30-05-2003, 09:48 PM   #15
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lol yea exactly!, i've got all the code sussed, its just the modelling now. I did manage to get through the "Box modelling a spaceship" tutorial in max5, but when it comes to characters i suck, even if i can eventually model one i've got to animate it
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