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Old 07-13-2010, 10:29 AM   #1
jebbers
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Default Making games from home - Questions

I'm not interested in making big console games, I mainly just want to make small, innovative games on my own - and hopefully make some money doing it. I'm not worried about designing games, or artwork, or level design, or theories on what makes games fun. I'm comfortable with all of that. What I do want to know about, however, is this:

1) Which game development software W (torque game builder, gamesalad, etc) has your highest recommendation?

2) While I make small games using software I mentioned in question 1, I also want to learn to how to program. With the end goal to program my own games. So:

a) Why do people say to learn multiple languages?

b) Is Flash going to be on its way out since apple's iDevices don't support it?

c) How is scripting different across different programming languages? What commonalities are there?

3) Why do people want to work for big companies instead of making great indie games with a small team of people? It seems you can make a lot of money if you can make a game that's good enough. Am I missing something here?

4) Can I be good at scripting without learning any programming languages? Any tips or resources you can recommend for a scripting beginner?

Last edited by jebbers : 07-13-2010 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:58 AM   #2
yaustar
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1) Depends on the project. For example, using a 3D engine/toolset for a 2D game doesn't make sense.

2) a) It is just natural for a professional programmer to be exposed to new/different languages all the time. You usually learn one main language first (in my case, C++) and you just try new things (in my case, Lua, C#, Python, Actionscript).

b) Maybe but unlikely. HTML5 is 'supposed' to be the Flash killer but I personally can't see it happening soon. Flash is only going to be a problem if you intend to publish for an iPlatform but even then, there are ways round this to a degree.

c) How is German different to English? As for commonalities, too broad a question. Some languages are similar, some are completely different.

3) Not all indie games make money. An extremely high percentage fail to break even. Even with a good game. Good games do not always mean good sales.
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaustar View Post
1) Depends on the project. For example, using a 3D engine/toolset for a 2D game doesn't make sense.

2) a) It is just natural for a professional programmer to be exposed to new/different languages all the time. You usually learn one main language first (in my case, C++) and you just try new things (in my case, Lua, C#, Python, Actionscript).

b) Maybe but unlikely. HTML5 is 'supposed' to be the Flash killer but I personally can't see it happening soon. Flash is only going to be a problem if you intend to publish for an iPlatform but even then, there are ways round this to a degree.

c) How is German different to English? As for commonalities, too broad a question. Some languages are similar, some are completely different.

3) Not all indie games make money. An extremely high percentage fail to break even. Even with a good game. Good games do not always mean good sales.
Re: #1, I forgot to mention that I'm most interested in starting with 2D games.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:34 PM   #4
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For which platform? How much programming do you want to do? What kind of 2D game is it? Free or non free? Do you need anything extra? Physics? Particle effects? Etc.

There are lots of considerations that are a factor in what technology you use. There is no one 'super' answer.

4) No. Scripting languages ARE programming language in the strictest sense. If you are scripting, you are programming.
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:59 PM   #5
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Yaustar basically answered everything as I would have, but I'll just expand on #3.

People want to work in big companies for a number of reasons. Such as:
  • Larger companies means they are more stable and less likely to go bankrupt (I have yet to resign from any games industry job, they have all either run low on money or been taken over by someone else)
  • A bigger team means you can work on bigger games. Current AAA console games take a LOT of man-years to complete, and who wants to work on a poor game?
  • In a bigger team there's more room to specialize. You could be just "an AI programmer", rather than having to program the Ai, the tools, The physics and everything else.
  • Big companies have big marketing budgets. You can make a great game that is everything you wanted it to be, but if you can't effectively tell people about it, you're not going to sell much.
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Old 07-14-2010, 05:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claxon View Post
Yaustar basically answered everything as I would have, but I'll just expand on #3.

People want to work in big companies for a number of reasons. Such as:
  • Larger companies means they are more stable and less likely to go bankrupt (I have yet to resign from any games industry job, they have all either run low on money or been taken over by someone else)
  • A bigger team means you can work on bigger games. Current AAA console games take a LOT of man-years to complete, and who wants to work on a poor game?
  • In a bigger team there's more room to specialize. You could be just "an AI programmer", rather than having to program the Ai, the tools, The physics and everything else.
  • Big companies have big marketing budgets. You can make a great game that is everything you wanted it to be, but if you can't effectively tell people about it, you're not going to sell much.
In response to your four points:

#1 - Making games independently means you can do it part-time, and supplement your income with other jobs and talents. Especially good for the self-starters out there. So stability isn't as big of a worry as it would be otherwise.

#2 - Big, AAA games are great, but in the big games it's extremely, extremely rare to actually work on a project that you're passionate about. When you make games independently you can make whatever you want, at the pace you want, without anyone telling you what to do. Calling indie games "poor games" is something I couldn't disagree with more.

#3 - I agree here, however, with a little creativity and interest in making games off the beaten path, you won't have to perfect every aspect of game design yourself. Just find a few like-minded individuals, or become a jack of all trades, and that's often enough.

#4 - Marketing online is easy thanks to all the social networking tools available, and by going indie, you have a billion different platforms to put your game on. And you can certainly get a ton of sales from these. Not along the lines of a Gears of War, but certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Overall, I feel that if you're smart, talented, and persistant you can succeed as , and even thrive, as an indie developer. But, I've got a way to go before I can test out this belief.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:32 AM   #7
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#4 Not if you don't get noticed. Everyone else is doing the same thing, what would make yours different from the rest?
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:07 AM   #8
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Just want to clarify that a company can be a decent size, with great resources, and still be indie. Three Rings Designs, Icarus Studios, Turbine and CCPGames are or were proof of that.

Other reasons why some people may want to work for big companies instead of making indie games* with a small team of people:

- Medical and other benefits are usually better or at least present

- Networking opportunities are often greater

- The tools at your disposal (software, hardware, work environment) are often superior

- The chance of your project seeing the light of day, although not guaranteed, is much higher


*= I left out the word 'great' in that paraphrasing because, if I read you correctly from your posts in this thread, it seems your view is that indie games are great and big AAA games are mass-produced commercial stuff.

Your last four points apply if this is something someone is doing as a hobby and not professionally. In that light, comparison to working in a corporate is rather irrelevant.
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