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  1. #1
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    Default After 9 Months of "Game Developent: My Current Impression

    9 months ago, I didnt even know what a game engine was..

    But eventually, I discovered UDK, and started gathering information about what I needed to learn.

    People , after that, immediately started telling me how impossible it is to make a game on my own, without a team. That it would take 5+ years just to master the skills that I would need to make a game (Graphic design and programming), let alone make the actual game.

    I'm going to spare you the timeline and just say that I have about 3 months experience with UDK, and 3 months experience with Maya (taking breaks into account).

    I'm already at the stage where I feel like I can make any common man-made object, textured and all, Import my meshes into UDK and make a small town.
    Have I mastered this area of modeling? No way! but I feel my skill is sufficient for my needs.

    Character modeling's next, which I expect will really kick my arse, but I still don't expect it to take me a year to learn how to do, ye know?
    4-5 months, at the worst, and then my modeling journey will have ended. Again, will I have top-notch skill? Probably not, but that's ok.

    Same thing goes for Action Script programming.

    Point I'm trying to make is.... game development, for the most part, appears to be a walk in the park. It's totally labor-intensive and often tedious, but once you understand the obstacles you're bound to face, it's a breeze. With good planning, those obstacles will be overcome.

    The only challenges I expect to face in the future all refer to resources.
    • Finding good references so I dont have to screw around for hours trying to figure out all the right proportions.
    • Finding high quality textures that fit my needs.
    • Tracking down the right sources to learn from.


    Those things are always going to be a pain, I fear, unless I find a torrent with 9 million textures and references or something <_<

    So, my message to all yous is... "It's not as complicated as it looks from the outside".
    While I'm sure I'm in for a couple more surprises, I dont believe anything will keep me from learning how to AND making a game within 2 years.
    And I'm considering a rather large Sandbox-style game.

    Screenshots from the Hogwarts stuff I'm working on.
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    This Image Was Automatically Resized by using the Screenshot Tag.  Click to view the full version

    If anyone would like to work some sort of project together, or have a team in need of some extra hands, I'm a fair interior-modeler and composer.
    And that's all i have to say for now, forum!

  2. #2
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    I looks kinda of ok, for an old ps2 game :2

    No offense but it does take a lot of time to make something good.
    When your skills get to a certain point you will see that getting better is much more difficult than before, and then is when you will see the difference in skills.

    Doing a game is certainly not as difficult as people think, but doing a good game is.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saishy View Post
    I looks kinda of ok, for an old ps2 game :2

    No offense but it does take a lot of time to make something good.
    When your skills get to a certain point you will see that getting better is much more difficult than before, and then is when you will see the difference in skills.

    Doing a game is certainly not as difficult as people think, but doing a good game is.
    I definitely agree with you. That's why I mentioned my skills definitely wont be "refined", but they will be sufficient.
    PS2, though? Really? I would've thought "late-Nintendo 64" lol, so that's a step up.

  4. #4
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    The technical side, though it does take time and patience to grasp, isn't what makes a good game. How will the level be designed to raise the level of fun and make it interesting? (layout, not actual visual design) what are the features and how are they implemented? There's more to games then just learning how programs work. I'm sure many people can learn that, but creating something that's fun is not something that a few months of learning how to model or write code can teach you.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JessieG View Post
    The technical side, though it does take time and patience to grasp, isn't what makes a good game. How will the level be designed to raise the level of fun and make it interesting? (layout, not actual visual design) what are the features and how are they implemented? There's more to games then just learning how programs work. I'm sure many people can learn that, but creating something that's fun is not something that a few months of learning how to model or write code can teach you.
    I'm actually making the game specifically for myself. I thought I mentioned that, but I guess I didn't, lol...
    I agree with this too, by the way. I guess I forgot that most make games for OTHER people to play xD

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunatorra View Post
    I'm actually making the game specifically for myself. I thought I mentioned that, but I guess I didn't, lol...
    I agree with this too, by the way. I guess I forgot that most make games for OTHER people to play xD
    Wait you can't make a game for yourself, you are breaking the internet!

    Someone please call the cops.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunatorra View Post
    Point I'm trying to make is.... game development, for the most part, appears to be a walk in the park.
    Now don't get me wrong - I'm going to be critical - but I want to begin by saying that I commend you on your enthusiasm and progress, and especially on your "can do" attitude. Two of the most important traits of an indie developer are the ability to learn on your own, and the drive to do the hard work. The lone dev faces a daily struggle to get out of bed and tackle that ever-expanding list of todos, often with no pay and no acclaim until the dirty deed is eventually done.

    I'll suggest that the responses you received 9 months ago were the jaded replies of those who knew the trials that lay ahead. Rightly or wrongly, they intentionally shatter the illusions of inexperienced hopefuls who come and go like the wind. Doing so seperates the wheat from the chaff.

    From such baptisms of fire, Pheonix's can and do emerge. I think you're beginning a journey down this road, so take heart and brace yourself when I give you my honest critique: So far you've modelled some static meshes and placed them into a level.

    That's a huge step forward, but just the tip of the iceberg. I'm not bashing you, I think you've done a great job and should keep it up. But add on the five months you predict for skeletal animation, and a few more for basic scripting and... you can see how this is starting to pan out?

    While on the subject of scripting, I think I'm entitled to a little rant...

    (Rant hat on)

    A lot of people approach scripting by modding a few classes, changing a few properties and generally butchering some tutorial code with copy-paste until they get it working.

    And then they think they qualify as game developers.

    The truth is most of them couldn't develop their way out of a box. They lack the most important aspect that separates a developer from a hack; the ability to engineer a solution to a problem. Very few will finish their project, let alone make it into the industry.

    But I can guarantee most of them will claim to know it all after a few weeks.

    (Rant hat off)

    Phew, I got that out of my system. I'm certain anyone who specialises in a particular field of game dev could tell a similar story. Which brings me to my main point in all this...

    There are many facets to game development. Each facet requires particular skills, knowledge, patience and above all experience to produce a quality release. Quality and release are the key words here. From the germ of an idea to fully-fledged game design, from technical programming to gameplay scripting, from concept art to texturing and modelling, from character development to rigging and animation, from level design to the mystical art of cinematic lighting, from sound design to music composition, from the initial prototype through the many iterations of playtesting and balancing... from that first light-bulb moment to a completed final release you can proud of.

    In short, never underestimate what's required. All of the above can easily take 3+ years of your life when working alone, and anyone who says different either hasn't come to terms with that, or has set their standards very low.

    Keep it up, you're on the way.

  8. #8
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    Its not hard once you (truly) learn it. It just takes time.

    Me and a friend of mine have been working on and off with UDK for the last year. While we can individually make high quality stuff (textures, shaders, models, animations, sound etc) we can't even begin to hope to populate a full, big level in a reasonable amount of time. We also have regular jobs so that also affects us, but it wouldn't change the outcome if we didn't.

    You can make something like Dungeon Defender quick, if you already have lots of experience with UnrealScript and your game's art style doesn't require high quality stuff (ie stylized), but even that can go so far. They worked on that for how many years again?
    Last edited by sbetween; 05-05-2012 at 05:11 AM.

  9. #9
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    From nothing to that in 9 months? Really nice. Keep at and you'll be really good in few years

  10. #10
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    I'm just going to jump in and leave this here:

    "There's a big difference between making a game, and making an environment in a game engine."
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  11. #11
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    While what you've done is good, what you have made is not a game yet.

    Using UDK also has the benefit of making things feel easy; because that is what it is designed to do. A lot of the technical difficult problems have already been solved for you.

    However, with that said, I'll be interested to hear your thoughts when you've finished making a game.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunatorra View Post
    I definitely agree with you. That's why I mentioned my skills definitely wont be "refined", but they will be sufficient.
    PS2, though? Really? I would've thought "late-Nintendo 64" lol, so that's a step up.
    Well they say the artist always see the worst in his own work.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambershee View Post
    I'm just going to jump in and leave this here:

    "There's a big difference between making a game, and making an environment in a game engine."
    I think that completely depends on the genre of the game! For example I wouldn't say that Dear Esther is that much more than a stunning environment in a game engine. At the end of the day it all depends on the scope of the project how much time and skill it is going to take to finish it. Having said that some of my favourite 3D iOS games have a rather minimalistic scope. So finishing one of those in UDK in 3 years starting from reading your first tutorial to release should be perfectly possible.

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    I wouldn't say Dear Esther is a game.
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  15. #15
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    That's kinda narrow-sighted.

  16. #16
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    LUNATorra
    excellent man,
    yip im in the same boat, i started with udk in september, thou i had worked with half life engine b4.
    am making my own game, pretty much the works mesh textures, models etc,
    im basically just making a kismet game, i have no coding skills, but kismet as so wonderful and am amazed at just how much you can do with it.
    here you can take a little look at what ive bn doing since i started

    http://www.sagamedev.com/forums/topi...im-working-on/

  17. #17
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    Eight years later, still learning here

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhist Punk View Post
    LUNATorra
    excellent man,
    yip im in the same boat, i started with udk in september, thou i had worked with half life engine b4.
    am making my own game, pretty much the works mesh textures, models etc,
    im basically just making a kismet game, i have no coding skills, but kismet as so wonderful and am amazed at just how much you can do with it.
    here you can take a little look at what ive bn doing since i started

    http://www.sagamedev.com/forums/topi...im-working-on/
    Holy! You made all that? Static meshes and skydome? That's good business, lol.

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    Last edited by lunatorra; 05-05-2012 at 01:39 PM.

  19. #19
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    i think i mentioned this the last time, from a jack of all trades, have fun and try to enjoy its a long road we follow don't give up.

    to qoute jetfire
    Eight years later, still learning here
    same here mate and i still have a long way to go
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  20. #20
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    Game development moves so fast, you'll never stop learning.

    Quote Originally Posted by BmB23 View Post
    That's kinda narrow-sighted.
    Is it? An interactive experience it may be, but it's not really a game as it lacks the required structure of rules and objective
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  21. #21
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    I think we're about 20 years past that definition of "game".

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambershee View Post
    Game development moves so fast, you'll never stop learning.
    Quoted for truth

    Quote Originally Posted by ambershee View Post
    Is it? An interactive experience it may be, but it's not really a game as it lacks the required structure of rules and objective

    Well games do revolve around decision making just as much as they do structure and rules, it totally depends on how you want things to play out. For instance as kids you might have played guns or dolls, you simply play around and theres no real structure and rules are minimal and creativity is let loose where as something like handball or chasey are more structured.

    @OP: you spelt development wrong in the title

  23. #23
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    Heh. Welcome to the community. [the mystic art of cinematic lighting... LOL]

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    Quote Originally Posted by MonsOlympus View Post
    Well games do revolve around decision making just as much as they do structure and rules, it totally depends on how you want things to play out. For instance as kids you might have played guns or dolls, you simply play around and theres no real structure and rules are minimal and creativity is let loose where as something like handball or chasey are more structured.
    That doesn't translate well to video games does it? By definition they are limited by strict rules and structures. Only way of tapping the creativity of a person is to give him some tools that you have designed. Dear Esther does neither. You just walk and look around.

    As a medium games need interactivity. Journey has it (just enough). Dear Esther doesn't (0). Walking and looking around isn't interactivity.

    Yes, if you approach it with right mindset, it might be a great experience. There's that. But that doesn't change the fact that it isn't a game. An architectural simulation also allows you to walk around and look, it doesn't become a game if you add narration/music to it. It might also become a unique experience with right atmosphere, but again, thats not a game.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunatorra View Post
    Character modeling's next, which I expect will really kick my arse, but I still don't expect it to take me a year to learn how to do, ye know?
    4-5 months, at the worst, and then my modeling journey will have ended. Again, will I have top-notch skill? Probably not, but that's ok.
    Good work on what you've done so far, but I really have to say Character modelling will take far longer than a year! You may even spend just a year learning anatomy before you even start doing anything. Also, as a tip don't even try box modeling for characters! Get your hands on Zbrush if/when you have the money.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derp View Post
    Good work on what you've done so far, but I really have to say Character modelling will take far longer than a year! You may even spend just a year learning anatomy before you even start doing anything. Also, as a tip don't even try box modeling for characters! Get your hands on Zbrush if/when you have the money.
    I've actually already read an solid anatomy book (recommended by one of the Zbrush author's I own books from) so I've already got my foot in the door. I also have a much larger book with really good visual representations of the muscle/bone structure and how they appear on the surface. Lots of fun stuff.

    I made sure I was prepared before I even opened Maya lol.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RNG View Post
    That doesn't translate well to video games does it? By definition they are limited by strict rules and structures. Only way of tapping the creativity of a person is to give him some tools that you have designed. Dear Esther does neither. You just walk and look around.
    Which is once again an incredibly shallow view. Welcome to 1979.

  28. #28
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    It's not shallow, it's simple definition.

    It doesn't mean that Dear Esther is bad or somehow weakened as an experience, but it isn't a really game, more a virtual experience or a visualisation. Any architectural visualisation has the same level of interactivity as Dear Esther - often in fact more, but that doesn't make them games either. In real-life, football is a game - but walking through a football stadium isn't, even if a match is playing whilst you're there. The exact definition of a game is pretty hazy, but almost everyone will agree that there has to be some kind of boundaries / limitations and rules as well as some kind of objectives. The way I see it, if you cannot win, it isn't a game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambershee View Post
    It's not shallow, it's simple definition.

    It doesn't mean that Dear Esther is bad or somehow weakened as an experience, but it isn't a really game, more a virtual experience or a visualisation. Any architectural visualisation has the same level of interactivity as Dear Esther - often in fact more, but that doesn't make them games either. In real-life, football is a game - but walking through a football stadium isn't, even if a match is playing whilst you're there. The exact definition of a game is pretty hazy, but almost everyone will agree that there has to be some kind of boundaries / limitations and rules as well as some kind of objectives. The way I see it, if you cannot win, it isn't a game.
    I half agree with you/RNG, and half agree with Bmb/MonsOlympus

    I don't believe there has to be a winning condition in order for it to be a game. Like, think of Grand Theft Auto without the missions. It would definitely still be a game, even if you couldn't "win" it.

    However, if something doesn't challenge you in any way and it doesn't present any type of story to feed your escapism, i wouldn't consider that a game...

    The line is kind of blurred though when you're given a character to control in 3rd person, because the character itself would be a story telling element.

  30. #30
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    oh my what have I started? Anyway Dear Esther has been very successfull on the Steam platform. So that kinda proves that gamers want such experiences every now and then. Thus an aspiring developer COULD start with just environment creation skills. I don't want to start a wave of such game ideas now... they would fail anyway for various reasons. All I was trying to say was that it is possible. In fact this is true for other disciplines as well since there are games that consist almost only of programming etc.

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    Conversations naturally devolve, hehe. I've also spent far too long hearing these sorts of arguments and have come across some pretty well explained examples in my time. Everyone has their own take on it however, including myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by lunatorra View Post
    Like, think of Grand Theft Auto without the missions. It would definitely still be a game, even if you couldn't "win" it.
    GTA, even without the missions is still presenting a game - it still has the rules and boundaries that you expect. The difference therein is that it is up to the player to establish their own objective, and set their own criteria for success and failure. You could probably make a game out of Dear Esther (such as trying to escape the environment), but it's pretty limited in scope there.
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  32. #32
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    Dear Esther is great, have you seen the walkthrough?

    -Pun intended-

  33. #33
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    In a nutshell for something to be qualified as a game it must give you the ability to make decisions.
    If you can't make decisions, it is not a game. Not that everything that allows you to make decisions are games.
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  34. #34
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    An alternative definition to winning could be participating. It could be argued that you don't even participate in Dear Esther, since you're more of a witness or observer.

    Its a wonderful experience which I enjoyed, but I wouldn't classify it as a game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambershee View Post
    It's not shallow, it's simple definition.

    It doesn't mean that Dear Esther is bad or somehow weakened as an experience, but it isn't a really game, more a virtual experience or a visualisation. Any architectural visualisation has the same level of interactivity as Dear Esther - often in fact more, but that doesn't make them games either. In real-life, football is a game - but walking through a football stadium isn't, even if a match is playing whilst you're there. The exact definition of a game is pretty hazy, but almost everyone will agree that there has to be some kind of boundaries / limitations and rules as well as some kind of objectives. The way I see it, if you cannot win, it isn't a game.
    Once again, super shallow and outdated.

    "Game" is just a term, we no longer define it as "a set of rules with a winning condition".

    That is the shallow definition that no longer covers even a fraction of the subject as it is today.

  36. #36
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    Its nice to see someone else doing a project single handedly. I wouldn't call it a walk in the park, but eventually as your skill increase you feel as though you are only limited by the hours in the day.
    Want to collaborate? Want to chat UDK? Message me on Skype, Craig Delancy. Check out my UDK Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/xblBlack...ew=0&flow=grid

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    For some people a game is simply an interactive expeeience, its not about winning or losing but the journey. I'm not going to sit here and try to tell people what they think agame is, I can only go by the true definition and give people the right to their opinion. Architectual visualization walkthroughs are simulations not art as in game art even though the content might be visually appealing, we still call commache, tfx etc games. A game doesn't have to replicate real-life, myst for exaple is an interactive experience but I doubt you'd take anything away from one of the best games of all time.

    I guess for me there are games out there that involve alot of cutscenes and the level of interacivity does go past button presses some argue these arnt games simply linear or pattern traversal since there is little descision making at all. I can see both sides and when someone asks me to play it means we are going to get our game on.

  38. #38

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    I think the main point was lost a while ago though, that creating a simple level being easy doesn't mean making an entire game is just as easy.
    I'm making a game!

    http://www.desura.com/games/modulated
    Click the link above to read more!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonsOlympus View Post
    myst for exaple is an interactive experience but I doubt you'd take anything away from one of the best games of all time.
    I would agree about Myst's pedigree, Riven and Exile are two of my favourite games. But to downgrade it to an 'interactive experience' is to undermine one of the founding pillars of the adventure game format.

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    You can beat Myst so it's a game.

    Think of it like this there' are games and there are toys.

    A pogo stick is a toy. It's great fun, you can hop around do tricks and etc but it's not a "game".

    A pogo stick race is suddenly a "game", why? Because it has win and losing conditions.


 
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