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Can a talentless shmoe like me make a game?

LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Games and Technology
Lot's of threads on G&T come up with people saying "I have a great idea for a game! How can I get a publisher/some guys to make it for me? All I want to do is come up with the gameplay mechanic/story" that's not really the idea of this thread.

I know pretty much nothing practical about programing, I know the basics of HTML, but that is the most I know about programming. I know a fair bit about the principals of programing, but it's all second hand stuff from people that know more about it. I would say I am at typical geek level IT literacy, and really up for learning new things.

I am feeling creative. I have played a bunch of cool freeware games (thanks to the awesome indie games thread) and was particularly struck by "Passage" (which I can't seem to find a link for right now). I would really like to make some kind of game myself, nothing big or particularly fancy - just something expressive and fun to make.

Can anybody suggest any ways of making a game that even a talentless shmoe like me can produce something enjoyable with. Any software that can used to produce full little games? I am open to a wide range of styles of games, if there is a simple engine for things like text-based games, that would be cool.

TLDR - I am unskilled at programing but would like to make a game, not like gang of daggars lol.

LewieP on

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    GyralGyral Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    You know when you said "all I know is HTML" I got to thinking about how you would make an HTML game. All I could think of was a Make Your Adventure with links to pages based on your decisions.

    Sorry for the tangent. That is all.

    Gyral on
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    drhazarddrhazard Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Gyral wrote: »
    You know when you said "all I know is HTML" I got to thinking about how you would make an HTML game. All I could think of was a Make Your Adventure with links to pages based on your decisions.

    Sorry for the tangent. That is all.

    And yet, despite advances in other areas, this is essentially what most conversation-trees boil down to. It just goes to should that game mechanics can be seen just about anywhere.

    drhazard on
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    GeodGeod swim, swim, hungryRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    When I was younger, I used programs like The Game Maker(http://www.yoyogames.com/) or Multimedia Fusion (http://www.clickteam.com/eng/index.php). Both made it possible to make games without any programming knowledge, but there was still a limit to what you could do. You could try those out, I believe that The Game Maker is free still.

    Geod on
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    TechnicalityTechnicality Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I would recommend flash, because its as quick and simple as you can get (from my experience) without sacrificing flexibility or learning an obscure syntax which you can't use anywhere else.

    You can go all the way from simple branching animations with hardly any code at all, to messing about in 3d with papervision.

    Technicality on
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    LorkLork Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Construct is like The Game Maker or Multimedia Fusion, but free and open source. I only messed around with it for an hour or so before I realized that it wasn't suitable for the kind of game I wanted to make (looks like I'll have to suck it up and finish learning C++) so I don't know how good it is though.

    Lork on
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    HandkorHandkor Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    YES


    As for useful advice: Start small. Flash is a good idea and look for a hello world style tutorial and build from there. Develop in layer by building upon things you know and have done.

    Handkor on
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    Typhus733Typhus733 Yip! Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I'd also recommend looking into Python if you find any interest in the actual programming side, having used C++ and Python I find the latter a far easier and more intuitive language, at least for getting started.

    Typhus733 on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2007
    If you mean "I would like to make a cute little game for fun, or perhaps as part of a portfolio that I can use to get a job," then yes.

    If you mean, "I would like to make the next Halo single-handedly in my basement," then lololol.

    Though you could potentially make a decent game either solo or with a buddy or two and offer it up as XBLA fare. Several of the games on there have been made by teams of two or three, though they presumably knew what they were doing.

    ElJeffe on
    I submitted an entry to Lego Ideas, and if 10,000 people support me, it'll be turned into an actual Lego set!If you'd like to see and support my submission, follow this link.
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    DroolDrool Science! AustinRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    You sound like you want to make a full game, but have you considered getting your hands on a toolset for an existing engine?

    If your interested in an RPG the Aurora toolset is pretty powerful. You could make just about anything with UE3 if you spend enough time learning how to use it.

    Drool on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2007
    UE3 is fantastic, but it's pretty daunting. And unless you have some 3D graphics software, your game is going to be populated with UT3 characters.

    But man, their scripting and particle system tools are fucking faboo.

    ElJeffe on
    I submitted an entry to Lego Ideas, and if 10,000 people support me, it'll be turned into an actual Lego set!If you'd like to see and support my submission, follow this link.
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    DefunkerDefunker Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Depends on just how wet you're willing to get those hands of yours.

    Go check out the Torque engine. It's not required, but you can do A LOT with it if you're willing to learn some code. The company even offers up some generic models for sale. So if you're not the artsy type, and just want to prototype your ideas to see if they actually play out well, there you have it.

    http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque/tge/
    Free demos of the engine are available from there.

    Though if you're trying to make a FPS-ery game, stay the hell away from torque - I've heard. You'd be better off making a mod with the Source Engine (HL2, Portal, TF2) if that's the sort of game you're looking for. I think the tools to mod COD4 are supposedly on the horizon for release as well.

    Defunker on
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    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I recon making a mod for some existing game would be a good first step. If you take your choose your own adventure idea but wrap it up in a module for Neverwinter Nights (2) say, then you could really show off some flair (sp?) there.

    Rook on
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    templewulftemplewulf The Team Chump USARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Most of this has been discussed, but I'm going to illustrate a little spectrum of things you can do. Typically, the less experienced you are with programming, the higher (more abstract) solutions will be more appropriate.
    1. Mod a game (e.g. Oblivion or NWN)
    2. Use a specialized game maker (e.g. RPG maker)
    3. Use GameMaker or equivalent (this requires more rudimentary programming knowledge to operate the scripting language)
    4. Use a more generalized system that lends itself to making games (e.g. Flash)
    5. Get into programming, but with a complete engine (e.g. Torque)
    6. Get into programming, but with a good framework (e.g. XNA)
    7. Do everything the hard way, and make it yourself in C++ (not recommended)

    Since I'm a professional programmer, I've done the not recommended way, and even with my experience it was not fun times for all. XNA is pretty nifty once you've mired yourself in the depths of reinventing the wheel.

    Basically, I recommend modding a game first, then trying other solutions when it can't meet your needs.

    templewulf on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2007
    Defunker wrote: »
    Though if you're trying to make a FPS-ery game, stay the hell away from torque - I've heard. You'd be better off making a mod with the Source Engine (HL2, Portal, TF2) if that's the sort of game you're looking for. I think the tools to mod COD4 are supposedly on the horizon for release as well.

    My ex-company tried to make a FPS using Torque. It was a great system for throwing in some art and getting something functional working within a short time. It sucks as a real FPS engine. But for someone just tooling around, it's not bad. Note that I say this as an artist, and not as a programmer, though the complaints from our coders suggest what I just said.

    ElJeffe on
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    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Not an experienced programmer? Check.

    Wants to enjoy the gaming making process? Check.

    Wants to make something simple and fun? Check.

    I think Game Maker is the perfect match for you. It's easy to use, and you have the option of using code, but you're not forced to do so. If you want to make a game from start to finish with relative ease (relative ease in comparison to the alternatives, that is), and have fun doing it, I heartily recommend Game Maker.

    Zombiemambo on
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    HaximHaxim Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    You may also want to check out Adventure Game Studio: http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/ I believe it was used to make the recently released Art of Theft game, which I found to be pretty cool.

    Haxim on
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    SirUltimosSirUltimos Don't talk, Rusty. Just paint. Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I think Game Maker would be perfect. It's easy to learn and you can make some pretty cool stuff with it if you try. It also allows you to see results immediately, so it really helps you keep the motivation for your project which, trust me, will be a problem.

    SirUltimos on
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    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Another good choice would be the Scrolling Game Development Kit, an obscure game creation engine made by one of the users on the last forum I visited. It's come a long way since I last tried it, but I remember it being very easy and fun to use.

    Click.

    EDIT: Looks like SGDK2 came out, check it out here.

    Zombiemambo on
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    XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I also hear well of Game Maker.
    Need to try it out myself.

    Xagarath on
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    MechMantisMechMantis Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Haxim wrote: »
    You may also want to check out Adventure Game Studio: http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/ I believe it was used to make the recently released Art of Theft game, which I found to be pretty cool.


    EDIT: Durr, I cannot read the site before I open my mouth.

    MechMantis on
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    XagarathXagarath Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    MechMantis wrote: »
    Haxim wrote: »
    You may also want to check out Adventure Game Studio: http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/ I believe it was used to make the recently released Art of Theft game, which I found to be pretty cool.


    No, Yahtzee wrote his own engine. Art of Theft is based on a highly modified 1213 engine, according to Mr. Croshaw.

    And 1213 was written in AGS.

    Xagarath on
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    MechMantisMechMantis Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Was it now? This requires investigation.


    EDIT: Fuck, you're right. Edit time!

    MechMantis on
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    AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    AbsoluteZero on
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    MechMantisMechMantis Registered User regular
    edited December 2007

    :^:


    They were once good, but then they had a fall from grace. Viva Pinata was enjoyable though.

    MechMantis on
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    SinWithSebastianSinWithSebastian Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Extremely niche, but if anyone was a fan of the proper Ultimas and to a lesser degree stuff like Magic Candle and such, there's always Adventure Creation Kit, although unfortunately the interface is about as friendly as in those old "make your own adventure" things they sold for the Gold Box series.

    SinWithSebastian on
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    WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Note that all of Yahtzee's games are made with AGS, but with HEAVY modifications - Trilby's Notes, my favourite of his, was coded in Adventure Game Studio, but is actually a side-scrolling 2.5D text parser game.

    AGS also doesn't have the most friendly toolset.

    Willeth on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2007
    I found something called The Croquet Project on Wikipedia, and it says it was designed for a learning curve.

    Scalfin on
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    IriahIriah Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Why not try writing a text adventure? I plan to one of these days.

    Wow that sounds stupid.

    Iriah on
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    WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Inform 7

    Look into this. Apparently it's a form of code that lets you write a text-based adventure game by using English-formatted commands.

    Willeth on
    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
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    LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    So I made this thread, but only just got around to reading it now, some really interesting suggestions guys, I am definately going to look into a bunch of them over the next few weeks. Thank you very much <3

    LewieP on
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    ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    To make things even easier for the 'talentless shmoe' that you are, I present to you: DrPetter's Sound Effect For All, the "MSPaint for sound effects." I've played around with it for a few minutes, and I have a feeling that I won't be making games without sound anymore.

    Zombiemambo on
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    WoodroezWoodroez Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    So I imagine a few of you have UT3...does it have any of the sort of...introduction to UnrealEd that UT2k4 came with? If so, I would consider getting it and Gears just to see if I could make kind of a silly idea I had...

    EDIT: for the uninformed, UT2k4 came with a DVD-ROM that I think could run as you ran UnrealED, and showed you the ropes of playing with pretty much anything...code, animation, art, other things.
    Gears of War: the side-scrolling shoot/beat 'em up

    Woodroez on
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    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I believe the UT3 collectors edition comes with 10 hours of tutorials.

    Rook on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Make a board game?

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    For any slightly less talentless shmoes who have messed around with programming a bit (especially Python), Pygame is a good place to start for making games from closer to scratch. They have quite a few useful tutorials on the site for making simple games.

    Smug Duckling on
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