C++ newbie and the Irrlicht engine

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Byte me, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. Byte me

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    Hi everyone!

    I've been making games with Game Maker, the best one was an Arkanoid clone, even sold a few copies of it, but now I want to learn something more powerfull, I want to make games I would buy (3D stuff...) not games for the 40 year old soccer moms.
    The thing is I only know a bit of Basic, Cobol ( :eek: ) and Html, and nothing about Visual Basic, C++, Java, etc. I know C++ is VERY hard to learn, but I'll try, how long did it take you guys to program efficently with that language? I've looked at the Irrlicht engine, it's free and looks very powerfull, anyone here use it? Do I have to be a C++ genius to use it? Some of the tutorials seem kind of easy...
    Does using a third party engine make it easier to program in C++?

    Help, I'm confused :confused:
     
  2. Valen

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  3. Sean Doherty

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    Download Blitz3D demo and run the tutorials (especially the flight sim); I am willing to bet it will meet your needs.

    www.blitzbasic.co.nz

    Also, you may want to purchase a copy of David Michael's "The Indie Game Development Survival Guide" before you start working on a game that is in direct competition with the commercial market?
     
  4. Sunshine

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    I have been coding C and C++ for about 15 years, and am only recently begining to get to the point where I can make what I want. (Of course I wasn't focusing only on that, I wish I had been!)

    As for your comment,...Just send the soccer moms to me ;)
     
  5. grimreaper

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    Novice programmers make the mistake of thinking that its the languages that are hard to learn. In reality programmers need two sets of skills: 1 - knowing the syntax of a language, i.e. learning the tool; 2 - learning how to describe, analyse and solve a problem using the tools (languages, etc) available.

    The second skill is much harder than the learning the syntax. C++ is not as hard as you think. It is mastering it that is difficult. Infact, most people just give up and learn Java... :)

    grimreaper
     
  6. Nemesis

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    ByteMe, if I were in your shoes and want to get up and running making and selling a larger game with your existing knowledge, I would go for Blitz3D. I haven't tried it myself, but it seems capable of doing some nifty stuff plus it gives you a great deal of control with it's Blitz Basic lanuage.

    Check out some screenshots here:
    http://www.blitzbasic.com/gallery/gallery.php

    Not to discourage you, but if you go the C++ route you'll need to be prepared to dedicate time to learn all about OOP and C++ before developing anything sellable or at least playable. That means learning the language itself, integrating some 3rd party libraries like Irrlicht (assuming you don't want to take on building your own 3d / sound engine as your first sub-project :)), building small prototypes to try things out etc. What I mean is that you could go this route.. it will just take you longer to get concrete results.
     
  7. Mark Sheeky

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    Good 'serious' games are all about good content: graphics and sound, and after those two gameplay. Everything else, including how you make the game, is not very important.

    Mark
     
  8. Byte me

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    I don't want to make such games alone, I want to learn enough so I can join a team :) Also making a comercial quality type game is not on my plans for the next few years, but that's ok, this is only a hobby for now, I can wait.

    Blitz 3D is ok, I've tried the demo version, but if I'm going to spend some time learning something new, why not learn c++ right away and have something I can put on my resume? I know I'm not stupid and if I want to I can learn it.

    The problem is that when I made my arkanoid clone (sold 30 copies in total :D ) I got to a point where I really hated what I was doing, I mean, I was making a game I would never buy, it was too simple and...well... too arkanoid for me... :eek: and that wasn't very motivating.

    I can make tetris games, arkanoid games, 2d shooters games, columns games quite fast but I don't wanna make them for much longer, I'd rather go the hard way and learn c++ now, maybe in a few years time me and a couple of friends can make something good out of it (I'm not thinking of Doom4, don't worry, something small).

    As for the Irrlicht engine, does anyone here use it? I see some of you like the Torque engine, but I heard it's quite difficult for begginers...
     
  9. Sean Doherty

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    I use Irrlicht , it is a good graphics engine with triangle collision detection; but it is not a complete game engine. Therefore if you go Irrlicht you will have to learn C++, Object Oriented Design, Design Patterns, fmod for Sound, a physics engine of your choosing, a network engine, and Irrlicht. Also, the Irrlicht community does not seem have enough active member to answer the questions posted to their forums.

    Maybe CAS will comment on your 30 sales of an arkanoid clone? However, I think that is pretty good considering the number of arkanoid clone and it was your first game. If you release your seconds game and it sells well more people will buy your arkanoid clone. Most independent games have a sales cycle of four years.

    I guess the bottom line is that it depends on your goals; if you want to learn all C++ so you can get a job in the game industry; I would recommend that you skip Irrlicht and learn DirectX or OpenGL. If you want to develop and sell Indepent Games with the goal of working for yourself someday it would seem you have a good start.

    What type of game do you want to make?
     
  10. Byte me

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    I know Irrlicht is not a complete game engine but I think it does make things easier by taking care of complicated graphics routines. You're right about the Irrlicht community being too small, I has expecting a lot more people...

    I'm quite happy with my 30 sales, when I started making my game it was supposed to be freeware, but then I realised I could probably get 5-10 sales and so decided to sell it, so far I've made $439 ;)

    My long term goal is to develop and sell my independent games, but not as casual as the typical 3-color-things, arkanoid clones, etc. In the future that market will probably be dominated by a small number of companies (Real, Popcap, etc) leaving no room for small independent developers.
    Besides, I don't like those games, and to work on something I don't like can be quite painfull, specially the last 20% of the game. Simple casual games I can make with simple tools, but if I want to make semi-hardcore games I'll need better tools, don't know if Blitz 3D/DarkBasic/others are capable of that.

    The games I want to make? I LOVE FPS but I'd be stupid to try to compete with Doom 3 or Half-Life 2, but maybe a simple, shorter (and cheaper) FPS/TPS would appeal to those hardcore gamers who used to have time to play, but because of work, wife, kids, etc, no longer can... Well, I don't have any exact projects right now, but that's something I'd like to try in the future with a small team.
     
  11. Sean Doherty

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    Your aiming at the wrong market! The hard core gaming market is the home of the commercial games. That said, if you want to make a FPS get Torque you can probably make the entire game, network code and all, without modifying anything but script. There is a big leaning curve to using Torque; I just started larning how to use Torque yesterday; and I am thinking of doing a game in Blitz3D just to provide a break for my mind.

    That said, there are some very good things coming down the Torque sales channel.
     
  12. Nemesis

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    I think FPS's have been overdone to death and beyond. From the reviews, even Doom3 itself, while an artistic masterpiece in terms of atmosphere and immersivenes, doesn't bring anything significant to the gameplay. It's basically an FPS designed to scare the life out of the player with its use of shadows etc. While Doom3 will certainly leave its mark, it will be but a blip compared to the original Doom.

    The nice thing about indie games is that they satisfy a customer base with a taste for variety. I think I can reasonably claim that today's tripple-A games are either FPS's, RPG's or RTS's, at least as far as the PC platform is concerned. I think it doesn't make much business sense to go for such a market.

    Speaking of targeting wage slaves with little time on their hands, keep in mind that most decent FPS's, RPG's and RTS's allow you to save anytime, anywhere, hence the argument doesn't quite hold water. Do you really want to take on the giants of the industry at their own game?

    As for choice of language, well.. if you're in no hurry, that learning c++ is a worthwhile investment of your time. It will let you scale up to some reasonably challenging projects. Having said that, the scripted languages are catching up fast so you may still want to consider those anyway. But if you want to have something to brag about, learn C++ ;)
     
  13. Byte me

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    I know people who no longer buy retail games because they only have a few minutes a day to play. They say "why should I spend $50 on a game I'll never finish because of my lack of free time? I just play the demos". What if they could buy hardcore-style games, but smaller and cheaper than the average $50 game with 30-40 hours of gameplay? Not just FPS, but all kinds of games.
    Check this article: http://money.cnn.com/2003/06/18/commentary/game_over/column_gaming/
    That's something I'd like to do :)
     
  14. Nemesis

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    It seems to me that it hints a a mid-market between casual and hardcore, which is what we're planning to target. However, we were mostly aiming at the gamer who used to love console gaming 5-7 years back at the dawn of 3D or the peak of 2D.

    It's probably wise to check out some of the larger scale projects in a similar vein to see what the success rate is.
     
  15. Jack Norton

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    Check my game UBM, isn't really casual... is very hardcore (wow what a term!), still sells better than many "soccer mom" games ;)

    (wonder why garage games didn't accepted it... uhm... :rolleyes: )

    Anyway I agree, making a casual game nowadays and hope to get sales without putting it on Real or BFG is quite difficult...
     
  16. Coyote

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    That's my market, too --- a lot of us a targeting the ever-widening gulf between what I consider the "advanced" (hardcore) gamer with tastes for the extreme, and the 'novice' gamer for whom clicking on shiny objects with a mouse is a pretty novel gameplay experience.

    You can target the market from either end... either the former-hardcore game who has since "gotten a life," or you can target the former-casual gamer who is starting to gain a taste for games with a little more depth and greater level of interaction.

    The problem that you are going to face is that you are facing competition from the big guys themselves --- in the form of discounted AAA games selling for $9.95 - $24.95 on the shelves of Wal*Mart. These are last year's bestsellers which are in every way superior to your little indie offering, with a price equal to or less than your own. While you may not need to be superior to the latest AAA extraveganza, you DO need to be superior to that multi-million-dollar supergame from two years ago. If you are starting on a new game TODAY, you need to look at what's currently on the store shelves, and realize THOSE are going to be your competition at your price point when you finish your game. Do you really think you can take them on in their own turf?
     
  17. Sean Doherty

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    I would tend to agree! I actually purchase very few games because I just don't have the time. That said, I have a lot of friends who purchase FPS; but they never play the single player missions.

    I guess the good thing about FPS is the fact that you can play a quick game in just a few minutes. So I don't think it is necessarily the size of the game; but the learning curve combined with some unique element.
     
  18. Sean Doherty

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    Jack,

    I havn't played UBM (and it is not on my site?); but I not sure I would call it a hard core in the sense typical or technical sense. Rather, UBM has a very focused and specific audience; perhaps the audience is hard core as it relates to boxing?

    So maybe it is to specific for Garage Games and I aso read that Garage Games generally doesn't take games unless they are multi-player.

    Eitherway, I will have to make a point to give UBM a try.
     

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