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Journal FortKnox's Journal: Messing With Gaming Engines 11

I have no idea why it came back to me.

The desire to be in the gaming industry.

For some reason, I found myself writing to Havok, asking if they'd considered licensing the Havok Game System to an individual for experience using the engine.
Then I looked at Garage Games, and at their $100 per developer license of the Torque Engine (with the stipulation that any games you want to publish, you have them publish it for you).

Its been a while since I considered writing a game from the engine level.
Mods, muds... Sure, but that doesn't involve the skills required to make a full game from the engine level on...

I haven't felt this way since senior year of college when the Verant rep kept dis'ing me on an interview (supposed to do a phone interview, but didn't call when he was supposed to. I skipped all my classes and sat by the phone waiting. All in vain. He emailed me his apologies, and said he'd call on another day. Same thing. I said "screw it, I don't wanna work for someone that treats me like crap").

What's bugging me the most? I haven't even played many games lately. Why would I have a desire to create them???
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Messing With Gaming Engines

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  • I sort of felt similar a while back. I started out writing a free Palm game - Jumpman Zero. It was much more successful than I'd hoped (about 20,000 downloads all told), and was really a satisfying project. Now I'm writing a PC version (again free - in VC++ 7, starting with just DirectX).

    It's a lot of fun. You don't need an engine, 10000 polygon models, or permission from Garage Games to write a game. Just sit down with an idea and start.

    It's a lot of fun - and lots of the frustrations from the past (fiddling with different soundcards, writing ASM code for painting bitmaps) are pretty much gone. And there's plenty of good tutorials and sample code out on the net. You can produce and distribute something neat without all that much headache.

    • Yeah, the only problem, though, is that I haven't used C++ in a few years (granted, I've been using Java, so its not like I've been dumbed up). Need to code some stuff in C++ just to get back into the swing of things.
      • The only hard part is right at the beginning.

        Getting back into C++ will be easy, as long as you get some sample code to get you started with the oddities of Windows programming in general... It's not like you really have to be up on the syntax of inheritance in order to start writing a game. Just put one statement in front of the next and start writing.

        Drunken Hyena has a set of tutorials that get through the process of initializing a window and starting up DirectX.

        http://www.drunkenhyena.com/docs/d3d_tutorial.ph tm l

        Once you've got through that stuff, you're picking low hanging fruit - you can pretty much just get started writing your game (or whatever).

        When you want to add sound or music or bump mapping or whatever else, there's great articles at GameDev.net and the DirectX SDK (free download from MS) has lots of great samples too. I was surprised out how easy lots of this stuff is.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert and I'm not doing anything complicated. No pixel shader programs or reflective, translucent water. But it's not that hard to get started and produce something entertaining. It'll be fun - get going!

        • Damnit, quit getting me excited about this. I was half expecting people to discourage me :-D

          I've got VC++6 (although I have to dig out the disks). Would I be better with another IDE? What do you recommend? I don't like shelling out cash, if that's possible.
          • It and VC++ 7 (.NET) are the only environments I've done modern C++ programming in - so I don't really have anything to compare them to. That said, I've never really had any problems with either.

            VC++ is also somewhat of a standard, which means that you can find examples that will typically work without hassle (often they'll even come with a .dsw - how convenient!). This is key for me, as there's nothing I hate worse than trying to figure out how to arrange my directories (or whatever) to get sample code to compile.

            Again, I recommend the Drunken Hyena tutorials. He keeps the source length low enough that you can actually keep a handle on what's going on.

            Damnit, quit getting me excited about this.

            I wish everyone was excited about writing games - then I might have something decent to play.

          • I am also very interested in writing games...

            I was walking down the DirectX path, until I discovered SDL [libsdl.org].

            When I realised that using SDL would allow anything I wrote to port very easily to other OS's I decided to give it a go. I was very pleasantly suprised. Its *very* easy to use, and there are plenty of libraries which sit on top. You can also use VC++ or MinGW. I recommend MinGW, unless you are already well acquainted with VC++.

            And if you want 3d...

            Afer using SDL, I decided to learn OpenGL, which is a very good idea. I had not done any 3d for about 8 years, yet I found OpenGL quite easy to learn. Its easy once you start, you can get a 3d cube demo up in less that 15 minutes using SDL!

  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @10:51PM (#4333540) Journal

    I don't think the desire to create games has anything to do with playing games, any more than the desire to paint is linked to the desire to see a painting. Game design (from a programer's point of view--don't get me started on non-technical "professional game designers") is one of the best outlets for a nerd with a creative side.

    After all, what is a game? If you look at enough instances you come to realize that it's pretty much whatever the designer wanted to make and call "a game." Compare that to the definition of art, and contrast it with the definition of (say) an inventory management system, and I think you'll be onto the reason technical game design so addictive.

    -- MarkusQ

  • What's bugging me the most? I haven't even played many games lately. Why would I have a desire to create them???

    I'll bet it's because you're not finding anything new under the sun. Why else would you be reloading System Shock 2? I keep Jedi Knight around for the same reason. It's the old adage: Most software gets written because a programmer has an itch he needs to scratch.

    I think it's something about SS2. Nothing quite like a game with a real plot to get the creative juices going 'n'at. The final fate of SHODAN had me projecting the story in an interesting direction.

NOWPRINT. NOWPRINT. Clemclone, back to the shadows again. - The Firesign Theater