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Thread: A Newb Looking for the Right Direction

  1. #1
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    Default A Newb Looking for the Right Direction

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to the site obviously, but I'm also new to game development in general. Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely clueless. I do have some skill in programming, 3D animation, drawing, and writing, but there isn't much to show yet.

    My problem being, I can never focus too much on one aspect without the fear of me putting too much effort in the wrong thing. Here are some examples:

    I can code in C++ and C#, but can do little beyond making basic console applications. I stopped putting effort into person study for this because I will soon be returning to school to study computer science as a major and figured I could focus on it then. This just did not feel like I was doing anything relating to gaming. I did not see how to tie this in with the development. Is this even necessary?

    Another example is I started working in Blender and started designing and animating 3D models. I also understand a little about the Blender game engine, but it just seems too... unprofessional whenever I view the other's finished projects. It's like the engine itself will lag up whenever someone makes something on par with the 360 and PS3 consoles. I dunno. I am still working on animating and modeling in this program as of right now. I am NO advanced user, but I can make a decent model.

    The most recent thing I did was download the Lite version of Unity, because it was something that I learned of here on IndieGamer when I was browsing the forums. I am completelyh clueless on how to even get started using this, and each tutorial I find always assumes you have some idea of how the program works. The only thing I know about it is that models can be made in blender and imported into via fbx format. (I googled that to make sure I was not wasting time in Blender as well)

    I'm also a fairly proficient writer, and my drawing skills are above the average persons.

    What I am asking you fellow game developers is where should I go from here?

    I want to be a game designer/developer/maker as both a hobby, and hopefully one day as a career. As of now I am trying to find some direction, but if you can't tell, I am a little lost...

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    Bin unity and come back to it in a year or two. In the meantime get a basic 2D framework. Buy some books on general game development for beginners. Make a pong game, then make a snake game, then tetris.

    Don't give up, if you put in several hours a day for a few years you'll soon be a game developer.
    Regards,
    Paul Johnson

    [Great BIG War Game: iOS | Android] [Great Little War Game: iOS | Android] [Fruit Blitz: iOS | Android] [Yachty Deluxe: iOS | Android]

  3. #3

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    Listen to Applewood he's one of few very experienced people here, who is willing to give help away.

    I can only add this. There is a big myth going on in the world that making games is fun, it is not. Whoever says it, is a newbie or a liar.
    Making games aint fun at all, playing games is. Even if you have a well established studio with a good workflow. The bigger you are the bigger problems you have.

    It is good to have a bit of skills in all aspects of game development, however you'd better be polishing one of them. There is no such thing as multi talented guy who does it all.

    So get better at what you do best, get small gigs to get the insight of how the system works.
    After some time when you feel you've got all the knowledge you might want to try to make a small project.

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    First thing that sprang into my head is exactly what Applewood has suggested, a good book or two and putting it into practice with a few simple games.

    Only thing I'd add is, I wouldn't put off studying C++ at home even if you're going to learn it in school. Getting ahead on coding will leave you room to put more time into the topics you're weaker on and even if you understood 100% of the material you're taught in the programming side of a comp.sci course (language, data structures, algorithms), that's only a start in terms of the wealth of topics game development opens (audio, graphics, ai, maths, physics, collision detection, networking).

    My problem being, I can never focus too much on one aspect without the fear of me putting too much effort in the wrong thing. Here are some examples:
    This is imo why Applewood's suggestion of a few books and then making several games is important. It's only when you go through the process that you start to realise the topics you've only a rudimentary knowledge of and need to spend further time researching/experimenting not to mention all the little details that the book glossed over.

    I can only add this. There is a big myth going on in the world that making games is fun, it is not. Whoever says it, is a newbie or a liar.
    There are moments of "fun" but they're interspersed between lots of hard and sometimes tedious work.

    Not sure if you'd call it fun, enjoyment or just a buzz, but the "fun" for me with programming is a combination of the challenge and the lots of little rushes when you've struggled over a technical issue and finally found a solution, or squished a bug that caused you hours/days of headaches. Games bring an extra rush though, ship day :) potentially followed by a rapid drop off as reviews/sales figures come in and you start the cycle again ;)
    Last edited by Gary Preston; 03-27-2012 at 03:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gamer247 View Post
    I can only add this. There is a big myth going on in the world that making games is fun, it is not. Whoever says it, is a newbie or a liar.
    Making games aint fun at all, playing games is.
    I appreciate your advice and will definitely look into this more, but how can you say that something like this is not fun? Yeah, I've done lots of tedious work. I learned how to program basic applications, that was somewhat tedious. I learned how to model in Blender, that was somewhat tedious as well. Hell, I've even put time and effort into my drawing and that was all tedious. But I would never say that I didn't have fun with it. This is my passion! I wouldn't have stuck with trying to do this for the past six years if I felt I didn't get some sort of reward and entertainment out of it.

    I'm aware there are those out there who would argue that no work is fun. But to me, knowing I am working on my passion helps to break the monotony.

    Ok, I'll cut the B.S. now. Thanks everyone, for your advice and I'd appreciate any more that you may have for me.

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    If it isn't fun, why are you doing it? It's *work*, yes. But that's true of anything.
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    I'm doing it because this is what I'm good at. And it is good money if you break through.

    Have you ever wondered why everyone is not making games if it is fun?

    As I said it is mainly a pain, don't make me come down to things like how one of your programmer's, artists or musician's home suddenly got burned in an accident and he can not do any work for you and all the work he has done was lost. After that your story designer pops up and says these and those things are not good and we need to redo it be cause it is actually someone's rip-off but he didn't know it till now. Then your shadder programmer lurks in and says those 3d models are not good since his engine can't process them for no reason and he can not figure it out. After all of that your secretary catches cold and you have to deal with the phone calls and meetings. Oh wait a minute did you pay for the parking space for your employees? Then your team leader says he got a better contract job from EA. etc...

    The only satisfaction I get is when I show off my game to friends before it goes on general sale. And after that of course the money you make, but is different it is like drugs - after each title you want to make more money then previously.

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    Just recently one of our freelancers sent us an email that his house got robbed all his stuff also his wife's laptops and PC's were stolen. Just like that our complete 11 levels with animations and code of my next game walked out of the studio to the internet. Now I have to keep an eye on all new games and if I find that someone uses our content send the lawyers to that country and put them in prison.
    I'm not joking about the stolen game content!

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    Let's just agree that fun is a subjective term.

    I don't care what the risks are, I just want to work on video games. My dream is to one day make a game that is entirely my own! It'll take years, but I am willing to sacrifice my personal time for it. I've always told myself, even if I can't make it in the industry, I'll still do it in my spare time.

    I'm going to learn programming as my major focus so it's not like my actual career will be far from my own personal interest.

  10. #10

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    Good luck. Last but not least, you are not the first one here to post about your dream.

    Remember what I said is meant to prepare you, even the negative advice usually turns out to be the right one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gamer247 View Post
    Good luck. Last but not least, you are not the first one here to post about your dream.

    Remember what I said is meant to prepare you, even the negative advice usually turns out to be the right one.
    lol I say it would be sad if I were the only one on a forum about game design to post my dream of being a game designer.

    I believe the only negative advice you can receive is being told that there is nothing you can do. I take everything with a grain of salt, so any "constructive" advice some gives is always a help.

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    I actually agree to an extent with g47. You can enjoy your work generally and it's still better than cleaning bogs for a living, but 90% of your day, even as an indie, is spent doing crap-end jobs. Adding robustness to a menu is only "fun" when you do it the first time, for example. And debugging network time sync issues isn't fun to even the most dedicated massochist.

    Hobbiests get to just do the fun bits and move on, but to make a living doing this is a different kettle of fish entirely. "Dreaming" indicates the former, but this forum is intended for the latter, hence the bent on advice you'll get here.
    Regards,
    Paul Johnson

    [Great BIG War Game: iOS | Android] [Great Little War Game: iOS | Android] [Fruit Blitz: iOS | Android] [Yachty Deluxe: iOS | Android]

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    For me, satisfaction comes at the completion of the project and the completion of milestones.

    It is less satisfying when I'm not challenging myself in some way.


    There's nothing stopping you from learning on your own except yourself.

    I am a part-time instructor in a Video Game Sound Design degree program and let me tell you: The students who are not motivated by the work--those who won't do the work outside of school--do not belong in the Game industry, and definitely will have issues in Indie work which is the basis of experience for developers of any discipline.

    You have to have (even a strange if not masochistic kind of) a love for doing this work at all odd hours of the day, evening, weekend, etc.

    Because when you start out, there won't be people telling you what your next step is, no matter how much school you take, at some stage, you're going to have to figure that out on your own, and you can't do that unless you're entire attitude is about engaging the work itself.

    I can also tell you that you won't get anywhere until you focus on one thing and master that--otherwise it will be a meandering sort of venture depending a great deal on chance and the forces of whimsy to actually make headway or inroads into this industry.

    I have a BA in Creative Writing. However, when I was at my University, I took courses in coding Java, C++ (enough to almost minor in it, but I wasn't there for a CSCI degree, I just had an interest in it), Calculus, Physics, Astronomy (for fun), I took illustration courses, 3D modeling and animation with Maya, solo singing courses, film courses, political philsophy, and I almost double majored with a degree in Japanese, etc.

    The whole time I was there, I taught myself--on my own time--stuff I would eventually need to use for my current business like (survival) HTML, PHP, CSS, Javascript, and a tiny bit of SWiSH; as well as fundamental stuff like Music Theory, Music Technology, Recording Engineering, Orchestration, Sound Synthesis, Video Game Audio Technology, etc.

    Now I spend half my time creating music and sounds for games and half my time teaching in the first accredited Video Game Sound Design degree program in the US--and I still find time to continue expounding my self-education with Unreal, Unity3D, WWISE, FMOD, etc, etc, etc...

    You have to WANT to engage the journey itself--happiness comes when you make headway in the journey that is your life (which is a much bigger picture than your job).

    Challenge yourself, by yourself.
    - Dan

    Composer

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    Quote Originally Posted by gamer247 View Post
    Just recently one of our freelancers sent us an email that his house got robbed all his stuff also his wife's laptops and PC's were stolen. Just like that our complete 11 levels with animations and code of my next game walked out of the studio to the internet. Now I have to keep an eye on all new games and if I find that someone uses our content send the lawyers to that country and put them in prison.
    I'm not joking about the stolen game content!
    Bit late for this advice now I know, but for others reading this, consider enabling file vault on your Mac for full disk encryption (since lion, SL was home only I believe). There are also free tools for windows available that will do the same and many linux distros have the option to also do it. I'd be annoyed if our work projects were stolen and released on the net, but I'd be even more worried about all my financial information and 3rd party information I've to keep hold of, FDE provides a little extra protection.

    Whilst on the subject of encryption, CrashPlan is worth considering as an encrypted backup solution. Free for home users and cheap for business use, supports dead simple automated backup to local USB drives and other machines (including remote which is handy for any remote teams) or to their cloud service.

    I actually agree to an extent with g47. You can enjoy your work generally and it's still better than cleaning bogs for a living, but 90% of your day, even as an indie, is spent doing crap-end jobs. Adding robustness to a menu is only "fun" when you do it the first time, for example. And debugging network time sync issues isn't fun to even the most dedicated massochist.
    Having spent a morning debugging collision detection code which was great fun to implement, but a pita to fix ;) I concur, but I'd still rather be doing this than application programming or a non-programming job.

    Balancing games is one of those things I'd often class as tedious. It's fun for a while, then after replaying the same part for the umpteenth time and still not being happy with it you start to lose the will to live and that's before you reach the testing phase (which we're currently doing on one project and is perhaps the most tedious part of all imho).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Applewood View Post
    I actually agree to an extent with g47. You can enjoy your work generally and it's still better than cleaning bogs for a living, but 90% of your day, even as an indie, is spent doing crap-end jobs. Adding robustness to a menu is only "fun" when you do it the first time, for example. And debugging network time sync issues isn't fun to even the most dedicated masochist.
    Perhaps "fun" isn't the right word, then. "Passion" might be better. Make games not because you're good at it but because you want to make games. There's no sense in slaving at something like this for the equivalent of minimum wage - cleaning bogs isn't much fun either, but it's a lot less effort.

    It's similar to being in love. The start of the relationship is romance and flowers, but after a while it's dull and dependable. Trust me on this - I'm a professional cynic. :-)
    www.bytten.com - Independent Game Reviews.
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    Trust me, I don't do this for minimum wage!

    After getting on for 30 years this is just a job now. Granted its a job I'm still interested in doing well etc., but that should apply to any professional doing any skilled job. All this talk of "dreaming" just cracks a wry smile then makes me feel old.
    Regards,
    Paul Johnson

    [Great BIG War Game: iOS | Android] [Great Little War Game: iOS | Android] [Fruit Blitz: iOS | Android] [Yachty Deluxe: iOS | Android]

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Preston View Post
    Bit late for this advice now I know, but for others reading this, consider enabling file vault on your Mac for full disk encryption (since lion, SL was home only I believe). There are also free tools for windows available that will do the same and many linux distros have the option to also do it. I'd be annoyed if our work projects were stolen and released on the net, but I'd be even more worried about all my financial information and 3rd party information I've to keep hold of, FDE provides a little extra protection.

    Whilst on the subject of encryption, CrashPlan is worth considering as an encrypted backup solution. Free for home users and cheap for business use, supports dead simple automated backup to local USB drives and other machines (including remote which is handy for any remote teams) or to their cloud service.
    We quickly learnt these kind of things so we give our freelancers some chunks of our games to work on and then we put them together in the studio.
    It wasn't the whole game that went to the internet, just 1/5 of it. However we estimate it cost us about 7000 $.
    It is not a big problem anyway. This stuff does happen just not really often.

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    about having fun doing videogames, I know people actually "having fun" in their work, they work with games but also video editing, commercials, multimedia, IT.

    so probably having different goals can improve the "fun" thing. I think also that working in a team (social interaction) can make less boring the coding work. just my 2 cents.

    but if you prefer to code than working in a post office, than there must be a reason.
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