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Huge game projects - David - Dec 10, 2002 06:41 PM

Why do people with no development experience always try to tackle enormous projects that 'redefine the face of gaming' and break new ground in AI and all that?

What happened to 'hello world' and all the other steps between 'total newbie' and 'programming god'?

Huge game projects - OneSadCookie - Dec 10, 2002 06:56 PM

It's a question I'd like to know the answer to as well... We've had a real crop of them recently.

I suspect it's because people's ideas for games are spurred by the games they have most fun with, which tends to be the big-budget games from the big-budget developers. They think, "I'd like to do something like that but with this changed...", and bingo -- a big-budget idea.

I think a lot of people go wild from that point, too -- "this changed, and that, and the other thing..." and end up with something not only big-budget, but computationally infeasible.

That, and a basic lack of understanding of computer science theory (computability & complexity in particular).

It's been said before, but I think it bears saying again -- everyone's first game should be Pong.

Huge game projects - jamie - Dec 10, 2002 06:57 PM

perhaps they don't know enough not to tackle that kind of project until they do!


after all there are so many games available, they must be easy to make right? (kidding)

Huge game projects - aarku - Dec 10, 2002 07:03 PM

You guys are making me feel bad.. hehe

I have suffered with this affliction by working on a game for oh... maybe 5 years now? Oh well, it is cool and slowly getting there. I'm plugging away at it now and then in between schoolwork.

But it's like I don't want to abandon it because I've spent so much time in it, and it isn't getting finished and now I have to port it to X on top of finishing it. Argh.

I am soooo just making a little arcade game after this. It'll be a cinch.


Huge game projects - henryj - Dec 10, 2002 07:26 PM

It's similar to newbie's fascination with writing an engine. Ya can't tell 'em.

They just have to do it to realise what a pointless exercise it is.

Quote:I have suffered with this affliction by working on a game for oh... maybe 5 years now? Oh well, it is cool and slowly getting there. I'm plugging away at it now and then in between schoolwork.

5 YEARS!!! You must have to world longest attention spanSmile

Huge game projects - skyhawk - Dec 10, 2002 07:53 PM

OOH! I just got a revolutionary idea for a game that would change the UNIVERSE as we know it! It would be a game... in the 4th diminsion! (for those who don't know, the 4th diminsion is NOT time, but it is another diminsion like the previous 3 that is perpendicular to all 3, aka reality) and it doesn't really matter what the game idea is because people would be so blown away by the graphics in the game their minds would explodes whil their wallets would fly into my closet! MWA HAHAHHAHAHA

Huge game projects - Carlos Camacho - Dec 10, 2002 09:24 PM

You must be playing Black Shades so much David because you now have ESP powers. I was also thinking the same thing as of late.

My two yen. I recall when I was in JHS (long ago, in a galaxy far far away) that I too dreamed of making games and a company. I said prouldy to my mother, "I am now a game developer and CEO of my own game company." (She then said, "That's nice... now go clean the pool.")
I would spend 1/2 the day working on art for the game's tapes (no floppies back then.) And half the day getting little squares to move.

So, I encourage big dreams. That said, some people do need a reality check it seems. I agree that the way to making games is by starting small and building on what you learn. Too many people want to go from zero to Quake 7. Since we have "wise" people here, let us do our best to try to show them how to go about making their dreams of making games come true. If we keep turning away or slapping down people with dreams, we will never grow the community.

Switching sides (yet again). This is aimed at the people David is taking about....

If you have a "killer" idea, that will make up become down, day become night, minus become positive, then great. But don't be suprised if people ignore your posts. As an artist, I'm never going to waste my time with someone who might code the game to the graphics I make. (Did that, don't want to go there ever again.) For coders, they don't have time to waste on artists/designers who don't have a portfolio. So, SHOW links to what you are talking about, present your case in a logical/professional manner and aim for something that CAN be done, not something that REALLY requires 20 people and $3 million dollars.

I also want to say to designers/artists/coders. Make a name for yourself first. Release code, game assets, etc.. Then people who have talent, will seek you out.

Summary - Let's keep everyone's dream alive. As this community grows, we will no doubt draw on the many people who PLAY games or create MODs that want to MAKE games. For those that are dreaming big, take a moment to think hard on what you propose. Making a game isn't an easy task. Many components must be met in order to see it through. I should also plug Inkubator. A great place to get your feet wet before trying to conquer the world alone. Oh, my marketing side wants to speak: Don't make a "Company" until you are truly ready to call it, and run it like a "company." (I recall a post from years back.... "My new company is called "name", it use to be called "x-name", and WE started out as "x-x-name." But WE didn't like it, thus the two name changes. How many people in our company? Oh, just me. Na, WE haven't finished any games...." <-- that is a clipping I keep with me. (No, I didn't write it. Wink )


Huge game projects - David - Dec 10, 2002 09:32 PM

One way to deal with feelings like "I want to make this game, but with x and x and x changed." Is just to make a small game with those changes.

Like black shades!
I was just playing some fps games and realised I wanted:
ïsome form of easy melee attack
ïless repetitive death/pain animations
ïmore 'satisfying' killing (if a game is an fps, then shooting people should at least be fun)
ïless lame gibbing (i.e. I think guts splattering that added together would be larger than the person being gibbed are a bit silly)
ïa working crosshair-less aiming system

So now that I made this simple fps with all these changes (at least I think so) I have all those things flushed from my system and can make a non-fps game Smile

Huge game projects - jamie - Dec 10, 2002 09:34 PM

ah i feel so refreshed, the voice of reason!


Huge game projects - David - Dec 10, 2002 09:39 PM

So anyways back to the point, I think if you are playing a game and have ideas that you think would improve it, then you can just make a game using those ideas and don't bother with all the millions of dollars of content.

And massively multiplayer rpgs are NOT POSSIBLE for anyone with a limited budget so that should just be purged from everyone's short-term plans Smile

If your first game looks like it will take more than a year than you should probably re-plan it to take less, because
A) If you're anything like me you will get amazingly sick of working on your game after the first year or so.
B) New games will come out in that time period which will add that much more competition and raise expectations
C) Things like OS X might come along which require time
D) You get more experience out of writing a few smaller games than one large one.
E) First games are always pretty bad so it's better for it to be a small project than a large one.

Huge game projects - Michael - Dec 10, 2002 10:43 PM

I'm going to also speak up in favor of small games, for a different reason:

When I started writing my uDG entry, I said to myself, "I'd like to make a game where the player flies around a scrolling, tile-based maze being chased by enemies that move kind of like they did in that other game that I wrote five years ago..."

Then, I sat down and, in one afternoon, wrote a program that did just that. The objects were drawn with FrameOval and the walls with EraseRect, but it was still a functional mockup of what I wanted the gameplay to be. So in a few hours, I discovered that what I was trying to do was possible and wrote a program that gave me some idea of what would be required and what problems I might have.

Being able to write small games is also a great aid to creativity. Back when I was first learning to program, every week or so I would get another cool idea and say "I want to make an Invaders game" or "I think I'll make a Hamurabi clone" or "I just want to play around with these graphics liraries to see what they can do." So after I had only been programming for a year, I had written dozens of simple games and started others only to discover that they weren't feasible. And as a result, now if I want to write just about any sort of program, I have a general idea of how I would do the graphics, interface, etc.

Huge game projects - Darkgold - Dec 11, 2002 12:00 AM

Quick suggestion for those newbies who want a big rpg(not mmorpg, just rpg). Because that seems to be what they want to do. Go download METAL and do some stuff there for a couple of months. And if you still want to do it let me give you some advice...because I AM making an huge very careful how you write the code for it, because if done wrong, you will have no hope of ever finishing it(unless of course this is a lifetime project). try programming something that builds the thing for you(I know this sounds wierd but I'm just really bad at explaining) this way you give the program some image files and a text file and builds the level for you. This is what I'm doing and it works GREAT. In fact it would only take a week to add an interface to it and have people able to make rpgs without any programming knowledge at all(this is what I'm going to do after I finish my game).
So you can either take my advice and do that or you can wait for me to finish mine and use that, if you don't mind waiting till summer.Rasp

Huge game projects - Justin Brimm - Dec 11, 2002 03:44 AM

The first thing newbies must realize is that, your not going to create a masterpiece that redefines gaming as we know it. That said, they should not feel discouraged, as it is these extravagant ideas and dreams that keep many going.

If your as new as new can be to the world of game programming, don't even attempt to make a simple game. Learn the basics of the language and run through every tutorial you can get your hands on. When your confident and competent enough to understand how your code works, yet still need help here and there, you can begin writing small programs that test what you can do.

These small programs don't need to be anything special. They can test animation routines, or physics and collisions to any other number of things. You keep working on these small little applications until you have fairly good knowledge of what your doing, and then you can begin working on small games. Don't expect to create anything ground-breaking, or even that exciting (aside from your joy of creating something that works) right away, or even anytime soon.

Create a small space invaders type game, or a board game. Even though these games may be small, it doesn't mean you can't think up something new that hasn't been tried to much before; every time you finish one, access what you learned and then move onto something a little harder and a little more ambitious than the last.

Make sure you keep all your code from all these little projects, for you never know when you can just reuse it again. Eventually, when you have a couple notches under your belt, try to create a small game that you plan on actually releasing. Once you've made some money (not as easy as it sounds) and have a couple games out, you can try even more ambitious projects, although you must remember to not get so ambitious as to tackle something that you can't do on your funds and by yourself.

If your lucky, good at what you do, or both, you might eventually reach the point where you can actually hire someone to also work on projects with you (make sure they're fully competent in whatever they do).

What it all boils down to in the end is how much commitment and patience you have, along with how well you can program and do whatever else you do.

Huge game projects - Carlos Camacho - Dec 11, 2002 05:18 PM

Great posts by Michael and jbrimm.

I think we need an article called "Learn to crawl before you walk". Take the advice of the two people above, along with Davids... make the case on HOW to go about becoming a game developer. The two (or three) should email each other, make an outline, write the sections and then send it to me. It is the ONLY way we can help "these" people who want to be General before even going to Boot Camp. with said article, we can simply post "Read this article first...."

Anyhow, we always need content. So get to work boys and girls.

Huge game projects - FCCovett - Dec 11, 2002 06:02 PM

"Yexi" took me almost two years to complete, and it's not half of what I wanted it to be when I first started it.

I've been directing corporate presentations that cost tens of thousands of dollars for over 6 years, with at least 5 people working together on a given project (coders, copywriter, proofreader, producer, art director, voice artist, sound engineer, music composer, etc...).

For "Yexi", I tried to get a team of friends to collaborate at first, but it turned out to be a nightmare. It is my opinion that, if you are not paying high salaries to a competent team of skilled professionals (and they understand that your are the boss), you are better off flying solo. Wink

Well, if you aim for the stars, you might end up hitting the moon... or just shooting out your own foot. Smile