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Okay, I realize this question is probably far too general, but here it is anyway:

 

If I were to, hypothetically, want to try to make my own game, where should I start? What sort of things would I need? Basically, what should be early priorities and mistakes I should avoid?

 

Added information: I only have basic experience in 3D Studio Max and Maya, so I'm pretty much only useful with that.

 

EDIT: Some more added info: I'm probably looking for something 3rd person, adventure like. Coupled with my experience with 3d apps, I'd assume it's going to be in 3D. I'm looking at open source game engines for it. OGRE has caught my interest, so added question: anybody have any experience with that? Does it work okay or is it riddled with bugs?

Edited by TrueNeutral
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The hardest thing I found when making tabletop games was focussing on the game player. You need to be very very very clear about what they are going to get out of the experience and THEN see how you can turn your skills and tools to the job.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Okay, I realize this question is probably far too general, but here it is anyway:

 

If I were to, hypothetically, want to try to make my own game, where should I start? What sort of things would I need? Basically, what should be early priorities and mistakes I should avoid?

 

Added information: I only have basic experience in 3D Studio Max and Maya, so I'm pretty much only useful with that.

 

EDIT: Some more added info: I'm probably looking for something 3rd person, adventure like. Coupled with my experience with 3d apps, I'd assume it's going to be in 3D. I'm looking at open source game engines for it. OGRE has caught my interest, so added question: anybody have any experience with that? Does it work okay or is it riddled with bugs?

 

You are correct, this is a very general question. About 10 years ago I set out on my path to find these answers. Sadly, not one living sole was able to explain to me what was needed to be done. So everything I am about to tell you , I learned completely on my own.

 

Start by asking yourself these questions.

- Why do you want to make your own game?

- You plan on selling a million copies?

- Just for personal use? Just to say you did it?

- To help you get a job with a major game company?

 

The Quick and Easy Answer:

Don't make your 'own' game. Pick an engine (such as the level editor that comes with NWN2 for example), make some campaigns, make some more campaigns, then make a mod. Go through the whole thing too, don't just do them in succession. Make a campaign then set up a website for it and advertise and see if you it has the 'umph' to become popular. If it's fun for other people, this step should be easy.

 

After you have made several campaigns (that people like and play....if nobody likes your campaigns then your on the wrong foot to start) then try modding. Modding gets your feet wet with what it is really going to be like to code, add models, music and customs into your game.

 

The worst thing about this route is that you will find limits and you will want to break them. However, if you plan to use your creation to help land yourself a job, just be sure to pick an engine that most companies use (if it is even available, the Unreal Engine for example is pretty popular).

 

The Long Answer you Don't Want to Hear:

1. Pick a programming language. The language you pick is completely up to you but it does help to research which languages you will benefit from the most. After you have decided on a language, learn it, live it, breath it, talk it and dream it. You have to know it through and through to even have a chance at pulling this off. This will take a considerable amount of time, a few years at the least.

 

Learning the programming language is essential, especially if you are wanting to make your own engine from the ground up. Starting with a white computer screen and going into an level editor that was built for your game......so much is going on there. In most programming languages, Pong is over several hundreds of lines of code and that is just a black screen with a few white shapes and motion (sound if you want to get fancy).

 

You must take into consideration that when learning to program, you will not be able to simply jump right in programming 3d (or even 2d games) for that matter. That will be far to advanced if you have never seen the inside of a decent compiler. Once you get a basic understanding of a programming language then you can attempt games like Guessing Number, Coin Toss, Poker and Text Based RPGs.

 

2. You mentioned that you have some knowledge of 3ds Max....thats a good start. Keep learning and practicing everyday. Making appealing art that other people feel good about spending $20-$50 on a game is pretty difficult for someone with "basic experience". Just know, there is more to the art in your game than 3ds Max. You also have to think about textures, skins (for wrapping the models you make) and how lights effect colors....again, a lot of stuff to take into consideration. So pick up a copy of photoshop or some other similar program and start learning that (especially bump maps and wrapping).

 

3. Sadly your are going to have to compose your own music and sound effects as well. That in itself can be a difficult task for someone. Programs likes FLStudios is great for this, the only draw back is that you will be stuck with stock sounds and sounds made by other people (unless you have your own studio) so you may not ever get that sound 'just right'.

 

4. While doing all of the above, it also helps if you continue doing research (as in playing new popular titles). This helps keep you up to date with what most players may expect from any game as well as ideas for your game as well.

 

5. The last step is to combine everything into a single working game.

 

I spent 6 months making my own reflex game (kinda like asteriods) and ended up giving up on it simply because I couldn't make the art and music myself and didn't have money to hire anyone to do it. I didn't want to get sued for 'borrowing' stuff and most royalty free stuff is poor quality. Either way, it would be great to show to any potential employers. So keep everything you do, document it, back it up and make a portfolio!!!

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Bulletbutter makes a great point about what you want to get out of it. I'm dead keen on game purpose, structure and interface and things like that. Real top level stuff. Below that I think you could get project management expertise by doing a mod. Below THAT you could join a modding team, and I know there are modding types on this forum who would welcome the help. Below that you take on the techno-tactical level and learn a craft like 3D modelling or concept art etc.

 

I'm not certain how all this fits into a career plan. I'd guess that for career puirposes you're better off doing techno-tactical stuff. Games companies are big now, and you probably have to work the interior ladder to get into a position to use high level skills.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Wow, that is already a lot more information than I expected to get! Thanks!

 

As for the why and what questions, my answers are very simple. I want to make my own game because I think it would be an interesting project and a fun challenge. I want to make a game that I would enjoy playing rather than anyone else. I haven't given any thought to a possible career in game-design at all.

 

I have done some slight modding to WarCraft III (texture and model replacements, and some basic maps in the map editor), but that's the extent of my experience. And yes, my 3D Studio Max and Maya experience does include Texture Mapping, modeling, lighting and animation.

 

I can make some decent, if somewhat pedestrian music usually using a combination of Guitar Pro and Fruity Loops.

 

Also, I came up with this project with a friend of mine so it isn't all me. Originally, the idea was a mod, but we couldn't decide on the game (neither of us were completely satisfied with any one game we could think of) so instead we decided to try out open source engines. This is all new territory for us, so right now we're researching that. I think our major hurdle is that neither of us have experience programming anything (well except some HTML on his side and some Flash Action Script 3 on mine).

Edited by TrueNeutral
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Thanks for clarifying. the good news is that you should be able to meet those targets. I guess the most important thing is deciding how complex you want the game to be. I don't know how you'd track this, but coming up witha system for complexity would be great. It occured to me yesterday that such a system - if it had a numerical output- could be used to rate games. Given how autistic gamers are this could help push games complexity over games graphics.

 

Just some idle thoughts.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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The hardest thing I found when making tabletop games was focussing on the game player. You need to be very very very clear about what they are going to get out of the experience and THEN see how you can turn your skills and tools to the job.

 

Extremely well spoken, probably some of the simplest but to the point advise i've read in along time.

I came up with Crate 3.0 technology. 

Crate 4.0 - we shall just have to wait and see.

Down and out on the Solomani Rim
Now the Spinward Marches don't look so GRIM!


 

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Okay, I realize this question is probably far too general, but here it is anyway:

 

If I were to, hypothetically, want to try to make my own game, where should I start? What sort of things would I need? Basically, what should be early priorities and mistakes I should avoid?

 

Added information: I only have basic experience in 3D Studio Max and Maya, so I'm pretty much only useful with that.

 

EDIT: Some more added info: I'm probably looking for something 3rd person, adventure like. Coupled with my experience with 3d apps, I'd assume it's going to be in 3D. I'm looking at open source game engines for it. OGRE has caught my interest, so added question: anybody have any experience with that? Does it work okay or is it riddled with bugs?

 

You might want to start with 2D or you may never get anywhere.

 

I like Pygame because it's simple and intuitive to code and read, especially when you're wanting to focus on game design concepts and physics, not unimportant low-level code details, but you could just as easily use SDL in C++. OpenGL is viable but far more annoying, not least of all because it doesn't handle audio and input.

 

The first game you code will not be your best game, or your most fastest game, or your most well-coded game, but it'll be the one you learnt the most from. Don't expect it to be something you can sell or even give away for free. It might be, but you really should be aiming for increasing your experience the first time round.

 

http://www.pygame.org/news.html

Edited by Cwicseolfor

Anyone perfect must be lying, anything easy has its cost

Anyone plain can be lovely, anyone loved can be lost

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