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 Making Games (Help/Curiosity), programming languages and engines
rinkuhero
Posted: Feb 25 2007, 03:46 PM


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What, haha, I can't agree to that. If you use a game maker it doesn't necessarily mean you're lazy, it just means that you prefer to spend time working on the game rather than re-inventing the wheel. The only reason a game developer would use pure programming is if the game is either a) very graphically intensive and wouldn't work in an interpreted language at an acceptable speed, or b) they're masochistic.
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Timerever
Posted: Feb 25 2007, 11:00 PM


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I was just kidding, also I thing that you are confusing the meaning of using a programing language, I don't say that you should code everything from scratch like a masochist, you can and you should use DirectX/OpenGL/SDL whenever you can since they are hardware accellerated (SDL wraps around DirectX if I'm not mistaken).
Also the reason game makers are slow isn't because they are interpreted, it's because they are lame, interpreted languages don't necessarily have to be slow, ever heard of just-in-time-compilers? They exist to make interpreted languages nearly as fast (if not just as fast) as a compiled language.
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rinkuhero
Posted: Feb 26 2007, 02:05 AM


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A person can use DirectX/OpenGL/SDL, but those often don't provide a lot of the stuff that all games have. Even if you use those, you need to code your own:

- sprite animation routines
- tiling system (if you create 2D tiled maps)
- collision detection
- motion planning (such as paths for when an enemy paces, and for finding your way through a maze)
- particle system
- font display system (either with ttf or bitmapped fonts)
- gravity and friction for movement
- wrapping around the screen (for maps that wrap)
- error handling
- data structures to for moving objects, stationary objects, maps, gui elements, etc.
(etc. etc. etc.)

All of which basically work the same in 99% of games and which usually are pre-coded for you in game makers. If you had to code all of the above yourself, that's probably around half the development time right there, just for basic functionality that most games have to have.

I haven't read much about just in time compilation, but if it can be applied to game makers I'd be surprised if it isn't. I do know most use bytecode.
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Timerever
Posted: Feb 26 2007, 08:53 PM


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Yep and when you do code these you'll learn how to really code a game instead of just fooling around, plus once you've done them once it's done for good, you can reuse the same code in other games... if you coded these functions well that is.
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haowan
Posted: Feb 26 2007, 09:51 PM


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How does writing an A* implementation yourself instead of using one someone else did equate to "really coding a game"? Does it somehow instil within one the power to create absorbing game play? blink.gif

How does writing your own font rendering system when a free one someone else wrote can save you the effort? Anything you learn could have been learned similarly by creating gameplay, which you could have been doing instead of writing your own font renderer if you'd used one someone else wrote. blink.gif
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rinkuhero
Posted: Feb 27 2007, 04:17 AM


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I agree with haowan; coding the list of things I mentioned will in no shape or form make you a better at making games. They'll make you better at programming, but as I said, the skills of a programmer are different from the skills of a game developer. There's some overlap, but think of it like this: programming is to game development as spelling is to writing novels. It won't make you a great novelist to be great at spelling (although it helps, you can also just use a spell checker).
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Timerever
Posted: Feb 27 2007, 08:19 AM


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Like I said it's more a matter of flexibility (and speed too) than anything else, if you are really sure that you'll be able to make any game no matter how wierd it is on a game maker then go ahead. But I get the felling that once you leave the standard genres, or even if you tweak a standard genre too much you'll find yourself trapped by game makers limitations that can't be overcome without writting new modules (prolly in C) for these game makers, that supposing they allow for external modules to be loaded, if they don't... bad luck.

PyGame for example has a lot of what you said pre-coded but it does it's best to say out of your way, plus if you really need you can write new Python modules in C somewhat fast since it's a very common practice and well documented.
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haowan
Posted: Feb 27 2007, 09:55 AM


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Yes, that is a good point actually, but really it stands to reason: if you want to make something that a game maker can't do, then you're much better off picking some other development environment.

If we are talking about introducing people to game development, then game makers are a great idea because it lowers the bar to entry, and someone's initial projects shouldn't have to be massive labours of love and examples of shining, perfect development.

If we're talking about experienced game developers, then game makers are useful to those who:
* wish to prototype ideas
* wish to make a certain type of game that is possible in a game maker

If we're talking about game developers with a clear idea of what they want to make and that idea just isn't possible in a game maker, then obviously they shouldn't choose such software to make their game.

I don't see how these bands of people overlap, and therefore do not see why people should be advised to drop the game maker and get their hands dirty with code they don't need to write smile.gif

Know what you want to make, then choose the development environment, then make the game smile.gif
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rinkuhero
Posted: Feb 27 2007, 06:01 PM


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Exactly has haowan said.

One thing I should also mention is that Game Maker is often used to make games in new genres; Ac!dbomb was like minesweeper crossed with an action game; my game Alphasix was an overhead 1vs1 danmaku game, and there are many more examples. Game Maker provides no genre-specific functionality now that I think about it (although other engines like Mugen and the Ohrrpgce obviously do). It also allows you to use external dll's. So it's sort of a half-way point between something like PyGame and something like RPGMaker XP.
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Timerever
Posted: Feb 28 2007, 08:33 AM


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Ok then, go ahead and have the candy. Game makers can be usefull for those who just want to do quick games.
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rinkuhero
Posted: Feb 28 2007, 11:28 AM


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Good, we're in agreement -- game makers make making games fun and easy, and people who prefer happiness over sadness should use game makers.
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Matt Langley
Posted: Apr 2 2007, 10:25 PM


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QUOTE
Game makers can be usefull for those who just want to do quick games


Are you talking about Game makers or game engines?
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Tim W.
Posted: Apr 2 2007, 11:04 PM


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I assume it's Game Maker, the game engine. biggrin.gif
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