Hello, starting first project, looking for advice in language and tools

Apprentice
Posts: 17
Joined: 2008.01
Post: #1
Hello!

First, what I am striving for. My favorite game of ALL TIME was Matt Burch's original Escape Velocity. Not the sequels, not the plugins for the original game to be used on the sequels engines (there were differences!), but the actual original. I think it was ahead of its time, and gave me many many hours of play.

My goal is to make something similar. 2D, overhead, dunno yet if it will be space themed, or sea themed, or air themed, or land themed, or what, but the basics will be the same. The ability to select missions, the ability to choose who likes you by your actions, getting affiliates, freestyling or following the story line.

Just as important to me in this project is the same thing EV offered, user customizability. I was able to make plugins for the game in the 6th grade. That's pretty darn good. Of course the resource editor and resource forks are no longer really used, but it would be fantastic if the game were easy to add to.

Now where I am coming from. I am a fourth year university student, I have taken several classes in C++ and java. I have never dealt with graphics aside from a tiny bit of Java swing gui work. I have done a little with haskell, too.

So what do you recommend?

I think I wish to work with python for simplicity of end users making their own plugins, extensions etc and it's platform independant. Java is tempting because I know it, its platform independent, is backed by a large bank account (constant updates and won't be going anywhere).

As a user, I have had more problems with java and python programs though. First times opening python wouldn't work because the toolsheds who programmed it assumed I had pyopengl and pygame on my computer and didn't bundle them with the game. I have had java crash more times than I have had games like reckless driving and EV crash (though reckless driving no longer runs on my versions of OSX it seems, and EV is long gone Sad)

In line with Java, I could work with Processing. I've messed around with that a few years back, but it's still got a few issues, and releases aren't super fast in coming out. But it's damn fast to program in.



Lastly, I don't mind shelling out $70 for REALbasic if the consensus is that it's worth it. I do like the idea of not needing an interpreter, even if python and java come with 99% of computers these days, it'd be nice not to have to deal.

Honestly, I'd rather not deal with objective-c. I know its a great language, but I don't really like C that much. Power is awesome, but it can be a grumpy language at times, and it's lack of rules make it more difficult to debug. I'd rather have a language be too picky about how I do things than spend a week debugging something the language allows but doesn't do what I want it to.


I realize this project can take well over a year, and I am fine with that. If it never gets out of beta, thats fine, its still something I am accomplishing. So while I may be going in over my head, I'll take it one step at a time.

Any suggestions on languages, or any tools that would help out with this?
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Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #2
Sounds like you've pretty much got stuff covered there.

Certainly either Java or Python would be a fine choice. Java performs better and has better tool support for large projects (Eclipse), which may be worth considering.

Whichever you choose, the shortcomings you've perceived as a user are not inherent in either language. You'll be able to make either natural, double-clickable apps with no dependencies. Most of your users will never know which language you used (and the ones who do will only know because they poked around inside the app).
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Apprentice
Posts: 17
Joined: 2008.01
Post: #3
While I may be stuck on G4s for the time being, this is a long term project, and I doubt by the time it gets far there will be many with computers slow enough to struggle with a 2D game, but its a good point.

I like python in that there's less object oriented push, whereas java pretty much requires you at least attempt to go with an OO design...


edit: I swear I had an account here a few years ago, was there a member purge or a database loss or something?

edit 2: Now .py scripts are opening with BuildApplet instead of the python launcher by default. I can fix this easily, but not all end users can. Is this something that would be preventable from my end?
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Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #4
You might be surprised how much of a performance penalty boxed floats with a crappy garbage collector are Wink

.py file association isn't relevant for end-users, 'cos that's not how you'll be shipping the game Wink We can talk about bundling up a python app in some other thread, at a more relevant time, or you can google py2app (dunno how much that relies on PyObjC).

Carlos deletes inactive members regularly for absolutely no apparent reason.
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Apprentice
Posts: 17
Joined: 2008.01
Post: #5
Thanks! I have a gift card, plus I am a student, so REALbasic wouldn't cost me much in the end at all... is it worth it? Is it fast? How is the graphics package on it?
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Member
Posts: 749
Joined: 2003.01
Post: #6
Consider Blitzmax too, a powerful and easy language for 2D games ($80). Cross platform too. Used by quite a few full time indie game developers.

©h€ck øut µy stuƒƒ åt ragdollsoft.com
New game in development Rubber Ninjas - Mac Games Downloads
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Apprentice
Posts: 17
Joined: 2008.01
Post: #7
I will check it out, thanks. I kinds want to stay away from anything game specific because I want to get more into programming in general, and focus on one environent.
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Luminary
Posts: 5,143
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #8
I very much doubt REALbasic is worthwhile. There used to be a couple of people around here who used it, but they've moved on.
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Apprentice
Posts: 10
Joined: 2006.01
Post: #9
Check out pyglet, supposedly a much faster, cross-platform python based dev kit. It just hit 1.0.

http://www.pyglet.org
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Apprentice
Posts: 17
Joined: 2008.01
Post: #10
Sweet! Checking it out now!


Seriously, thanks for the help and guidance, everyone
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Moderator
Posts: 680
Joined: 2002.11
Post: #11
Musenik Wrote:Check out pyglet, supposedly a much faster, cross-platform python based dev kit. It just hit 1.0.

http://www.pyglet.org
That looks neat. I might switch over to that full-time now - I tried to go to Python once with PyGame, but it had too many shortcomings. I can put more trust in something OpenGL-based.

My web site - Games, music, Python stuff
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Apprentice
Posts: 17
Joined: 2008.01
Post: #12
Think I am gonna go python for now, though things may change. To start I am making a yahtzee based game.

I think I am also gonna start with pygame for now, just to get the feeling of graphics. I don't currently have GCC on this machine (just got it setup), and thats needed for me to setup pyglet in python2.4 . Once python 2.5 gets more packages and I switch to 2.5 I'll probably give pyglet a better look for my end project.

I like the fact that it's default is buffered.
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Moderator
Posts: 680
Joined: 2002.11
Post: #13
I just started checking out Python and pyglet in depth for the first time, and I find it to be superior to BlitzMax in every respect except speed. The speed difference is probably negligible, though.

I think Python+pyglet just became my environment of choice. Thanks, Musenik!

My web site - Games, music, Python stuff
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Sage
Posts: 1,482
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #14
Shock Comes with the Pymunk/Chipmunk wrapper. Heh. Though it sounds like they are dissatisfied with it. Wonder if that is Chipmunk or the wrapper at the cause...

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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Moderator
Posts: 529
Joined: 2003.03
Post: #15
With a good plugin, like John Baelstri's SuperSpriteSurface, REALbasic is not too shabby for 2d games.

The builtin controls for graphics and 3d are lacking though...particularly in the speed department.

BlitzMax is fast and easy to use. And one license gives you all 3 platforms(Mac, Win and Linux.) Only problem is that it doesn't cross compile. Also, you can't build for Mac Intel on a PPC or vice versa.

"Yes, well, that's the sort of blinkered, Philistine pig-ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage."
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