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A beginner with too much ideas needs your help

Hey everyone,

I’m thinking about using my unemployement time to try to create games.

I’ve been catching ideas over the years yet I couldn’t try to create them for many reasons (time, no artists / devs friends, couldn’t find good engine). Now I’ve time and UE4 is released, so now it’s maybe the time.

But I don’t which game I should try first because I don’t get how hard/long each of those projects could be, especially for only one guy.

Ofc, I’ve some favorite projects I really want to do. But I bet I wouldn’t find much co-workers if I don’t have any experience on UE4 and they appear to be the hardest ones to complete as I’m writing the specification.

So I’d like to have your opinion.

  • Does it worth to do an easier game before what I really want to do ?
  • Should I try to start alone and then look for co-workers (mentionning they would be paid by royalties, I don’t have enough money to pay them during development) ?

I know the project difficulty depends on the type of games. So here’s the list of ideas I have :

  • a Tomb Raider anniversary like game (with few ennemies, more based on platform / exploration and puzzles).

  • a mario-kart-like game

  • a city builder ; Tropico-like. A city builder with random events and choices to make which would change the city’s face.

  • a X-Com like game mixed with Atlas Reactor / FF X-2 “time system” (not true turn based but more, turn based decision and real time resolution)

For my skills ; well I know programming and learned OGRE 1.7 and I’m currently learning Blender. I’ve never done texture. I’ve no way to create sounds/music myself.

For graphics, I’m thinking about cell shading / very smooth textures. Kinda like Overwatch King’s Row textures / Star Wars Clone Wars texture style. Not so much reflecting textures, smooth and colorful in order to make a lot of textures easily and doesn’t get old too quickly.

Also, is it a good idea to get working on a project while learning ? I mean, picking tutorials directly in relation with what I want to achieve and skip the others ?

Well, I’m aware I may sound lost and naive (and surely I am) but I’d like to thank anyone for reading / answering.

Looking forward to be part of this community :wink:

Have you done any sort of programming before?

Yeah, I’ve done some projects with C++ (Tetris, music player, match 3 game), a lot of java (2D network game with some A* AI, file management program, library manager used for school library, match 3 game, some picture transformation like automatically changing a color).
Also a little bit of C (Sokoban-like game).

Nothing really fancy as I focused on programming not on graphics.

I’m planning to mix blueprints and C++ for my UE4 projects, at least at first. I don’t want to make only blueprints projects.

I’m feeling comfortable with logic. I’m not a pro yet, but I am not a newbie neither.

Then pick one and stick to it. City builder is something I think is nice. I would leave the X-Com idea last due to the time system being fairly complex.

Nothing wrong with doing it this way. I did the same with my current (and first) ue4 project.

Hi Demystificator,

I remember my days of C++ coding with Ogre and over ambitious projects :rolleyes:, like the Super 3D Game Platform:

http://www.hpquest.com/DOSP/Architecture_sm.jpg

Needless to say the Super 3D Game Platform never saw the light of day.

LOL

Scope it down my friend and have a team join you.

In my opinion a City Builder is a good starting point and achievable single-handedly. I would encourage implementing Multiplayer upfront so you can collaboratively build the city with others. If you get a basic system working in which multiple players could Chat, Spawn Assets, Attach, Orientate, Apply Materials, Save, Load them in a Level Map, you would posses a decent framework to build on, gradually adding other Game Mechanics to evolve into Tropico, Tomb Raider, XCom or something other. This is the strategy I’m pursuing.

If you’re interested in pursuing such a real-time collaborative building system, then I’m prepared to join you on your quest. I’ve been working a great deal with Blueprints/UMG, creating a Editing Systems like this one. I’m preparing to develop several real-time collaborative builders for Levels and other game entities such as Monsters & Weapons, Vehicles, Architecture & Props, and more. I’m proficient with Blueprints & other scripting languages, dabble in 3D modelling/animation with Blender.

First Person games can be made with something as simple as just a camera, so that’s easiest.
Next easiest might be third person games where the character is just a ship or simple vehicle.
Whereas a nice third-person character with swords & other fighting anims can be a lot of work.
Can’t speak for 2d / mobile etc, however clearly some of these games can be made very quickly.

Depends, most here will say don’t do it. But if you have a idea you’re passionate about then its ok.
But time is a big factor. If you can commit 1/2 years at least, you will get somewhere, a prototype…

Its a lot more satisfying and it deepens your learning than trying to swallow everything whole!

You ask good questions and sound lucid and realistic, plus being a solo dev starting out is common…

Hi @Demystificator,

I was like you in many ways when I first decided to start learning UE4 (5 months ago). I didn’t have much time but I wanted to learn the engine basics. I found it easier to start working on a simple game idea instead of just watching different tutorials. This basically kept me focused on learning all the major systems, but with a clear goal in mind (I didnt learn much about particles because my game didnt need them, but I learned about animations because I needed them).

I would say start with a template and add to it. So, for your Tomb Raider game, start with the thirdperson template and add basic features to it. My first game was inspired by Tomb Raider as well and I was able to learn the basics of the engine and create a 3 hour game in about 5 months. I started with the default TP template and added things like sprint, crouch, climbing, sliding, interactions, etc.

Out of all your ideas above, I would say the TR game is the easiest because many basic systems are already made. The basic character controls are built in. You can use Adobe Fuse to create and animate your characters for free. There are also tons of tutorials on basic functionality like edge climbing, swimming, grabbing objects, etc.

As far as your other questions, I would start alone and not bring in anyone until you have a decent understanding of the engine. Funny enough, celshading is actually harder to implement than a realistic style in the material editor (standard workflow is PBR). But there are several tutorials on making a celshading material on YT.

Good luck!

Sure, I will help you. It is “Too many ideas” since ideas is a countable quantity.

HTH :stuck_out_tongue:

Sorry NoobsDeSroobs ; english is not my mothertongue and I always forget about “many or much” rule :stuck_out_tongue: And all my posts could contain some mistakes. Feel free to report them so I’ll get more understandable.

Well. The 3rd person game I’m thinking about is a game I really want to do ; like something really personal.

I’ve been thinking it would be easy as few characters to model / animate. But as I was writing down the ideas for the world, the rooms and the puzzles ; I kinda feel dizzy about the amount of work it would require to be fun.
And as it’s kinda my heart project, I don’t want to fail it or abandon it halfway :confused:

Also, thanks for the softwares you’re quoting as I don’t know a lot of them yet. I’m going to check’em out.

I think starting with city builder is a good choice as it can be updated with time. No need to deliver all the planned content in one release. It’s harder to imagine doing that with an adventure game btw.

I was more thinking about a post-apo Tropico like game where you could pick your very own ethics and choices with some outland danger like raiders / other survivors camps to deal with. I was thinking about making a long / very long experience with maybe quests but no “campaign” or scripted levels ; more like only one city for hours but very reflective to the player choices.

So no big city management like Sim city but more very little cities like Tropico with citizens full of stats / traits.

I think I’m going to try the city builder. Just as you say, to learn the engine, put content little by little and still have an early playable version.

And finally, I’d like to thank you for your support. Thanks for helping me to get through this choice. See ya around really soon :wink:

PS : About textures, I know that’s PBR is standard but I’m not sure about how it works yet. I feel like a good PBR needs normal mapping and makes games more grey. I need to read more documentation about it to have a better opinion.

As someone who is also interested in maybe diving down this rabbit hole of game development, one thing I will say I have noticed after participating in many many early access games is do not overextend yourself early on. Get your basic concept together and just build one small feature at a time, play test it and make sure it works as intended and then progress from there. I have seen several times where developers are pushing out tons of new content but do so too quickly and forget to either polish the older content, or create so much of it that they cant keep up with maintenance.

I will also echo what others have said don’t try and do everything yourself(scripts, animations, modeling, etc). Start with the areas your strongest on and slowly build your skills as needed in other areas. Hell use placeholder meshes or animations just to test the concepts and replace later with a professionals help, or your own work.

Good luck!

i would certainly contribute my time towards developing a new game that takes everything thats good about xcom franchise and making it brand new game … giving players all the things the love about the new xcoms but miss still from the old…
i am currently involved in project managment and could perhaps contribute in some way of further developing your ideas into my ideas and seeing if it is a good enough mix to perhaps create somthing great. aswel as it being a product worth investing in…
well see… i know this post is old finding fresh meat for the grinder is always worth seeking :slight_smile: