Posted by: Eddie | May 12, 2009

Gearing up for Game Development

Ok, once again I’m going to take a shot at doing some hobbyist game development.

First, I have my graphics toolset lined up:  Lightwave v9.6, pmG Messiah, and Houdini Apprentice Master.  Those should have me covered well for general modeling and creation in Lightwave, character animation in Messiah, and rendering in either Lightwave or Messiah.  I can mess around in Houdini for various effects and such, although the limited export capabilities of the Apprentice Master edition may limit how much I can realistically use it.

As far as my development environment, I’m torn between Unity 3D, Blade 3D, Torque X v3, and maybe even Esperient Creator.  First I have to decide if I want to do a 2D or 3D game.  If 2D I think Torque X will have a leg up, but if I want to go 3D then it will be a much tougher choice.  Unity is excellent, and I’m really coming to respect the flexibility of Blade as well.  Torque X doesn’t have all the legacy stuff of the older Torque engine, but it also seems the least polished of those 3 at the moment.  Finally, there’s an outside chance that I could use something a little simpler like Esperient Creator.  This would be the case if I end up wanting to concentrate more on the art assets and having fun creating those, and perhaps have a less sophisticated game, but much easier setup for something simpler.

I’ve got some learning ahead of me for Lightwave, Messiah, and Houdini (quite the understatement…), and once I’ve learned the very basic stuff on each of those (which will still take two to three weeks) I’ll hope to have my thoughts a little more organized on which game engine to use.

The only game on the near horizon that will take me away from this is the Sims 3, so I don’t think I’ll have lots of distractions.  Plus, Russ is in the thick of rehearsals for Moonlight and Magnolias, so I’ll have lots of evenings and weekend time free to really get going!

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Responses

  1. Sounds like a lot of work ahead. Do you have any idea what you want to make? What kind of game?

  2. That’s an excellent question. I’d like to start with something simple like a puzzle game that’s a variation of some common type (“match 3” style like Bejewelled, or maybe something inspired by Peggle) to get used to the tools, asset pipeline etc., and work out any kinks before trying something ambitious.

    My much more ambitious goal is to design an RPG-style game in which to experiment with generated quests and content that would actually be interesting to play while avoiding the ‘kill x of y’ sort of standard quest.

    Definitely a lot of work ahead, so once I’ve come up with my initial puzzle game idea and have some beginning comfort level with the 3d graphics packages then I’ll use that to start experimenting with the various engines and pick which one to use.

  3. Yeah, it is usually a good idea to start small and expand later. Too many great ideas won’t make it anyway. The famous rule 80% of all ideas won’t make the actual implementation.

    Why do you want to do 3D for your first game? Is it because you are already are somewhat experienced in game development and want to try something new?

    I am rather a 2D guy, but that also is because I haven’t really found anything I really wanted to do in 3D.

    • I think I will be starting with a simpler puzzle-style game at first, and whether it’s 2D or 3D will depend on what game design I think up. My first instinct is to head to 3D because I tend to have more fun and enjoy 3D games more as a player, so I think it might be more enjoyable to work on one. But, if my design lends itself well to 2D then I’ll certainly go with that if it feels right.

      I’m just waiting for inspiration to strike. My mental processes tend to be most effective “in the background”. I’m not a more traditional programmer who takes a problem and chops it into smaller and smaller bits to solve it, I tend to keep expanding and brainstorming more and more until an “A-Ha” kind of moment happens. So, I’m getting into learning the 3D graphics programs I mentioned before, and am hoping that my subconscious will suddenly spit out a cool idea some day. 🙂


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