Creating the world that looks like what I see in my head

As I’m new here, I’d like to (briefly as possible) introduce myself. Named Hakugin on here (my name IRL is irrelevant at this point). Became interested in game design when I got into High School (so about 2.5 years ago), and as a result, worked with UDK on & off for that amount of time. Got somewhat close (about that small amount of space in between my fingers if you could see them right now) to figuring things out, outside of just setting up areas for the player to walk over.

Around this time, I got around to watching Sword Art Online (SAO), an anime series based within a (gigantic) Virtual Reality MMORPG, and, and it’s sibling game, Gun Gale Online (GGO), and well, (I assume most people know where this is going, but for those who don’t:) I became interested in the idea of making a game similar (you know, except for the part where it’s virtual reality…and the actual death involved…).

I know, I know, a loser’s idea, but it’s just an aspiration (or an ultimate goal) of mine in terms of game design. When watching the series, I became less concerned about the plot, and more curious about the mechanics of the game that the characters were involved in. Weapons used, weapons forged, sword skills, enemies, bosses, landscapes, the list goes on. All things I thought would be cool to create and eventually play (and would be far more enjoyable than just seeing someone else involved in it).

I am still currently in high school and intend to pursue something akin to game design once I graduate, so I’ve definitely got time (if the connection between the two makes sense to anyone who isn’t me…), and would just like to make this my “big project-thing”. I hope to have some amount (no idea how much yet) of progress with this by the end of next year (again, I’ve got loads of time).

My first step (that I believe should be taken) is the world that the game takes place in (something akin to the futuristic dystopian-esque society of GGO or the medieval society of SAO, so that’s where I plan on starting.

Any help, ideas, responses, comments, (honestly, anything) would be greatly appreciated in my endeavors within my SAO/GGO-esque project.

PS. Please excuse the over usage of Commas and Parenthesizes, it’s a bad habit.

So here are my two pennies for you. I was literally in your position about 2 years ago. Attempting to do the same thing. EXACTLY the same thing. So I’m going to help you out tons by telling you exactly what you SHOULD NOT DO. OK first “game design” degrees are a scam. Don’t invest in that. “game development” degrees hold more salt, but it doesn’t leave you much to fall back on if that route fails. If you’re anything like I was you wanted to do the whole creation process of the game, right? I’ve found the best route is to go to school for at minimum computer science, but more realistically software engineering or something that let’s you learn plenty of math, physics, electricity, and code. (it helps to be well rounded in any job) and you should learn about the art creation side in your free time or even take some classes on the side for it. DO NOT BUY OR DOWNLOAD FREE ASSETS. Make them yourself, trust me it is so much more rewarding and less of a pain in the long run (from a legal stand point and simplicity of many things.) Don’t ask anyone to help you on a huge project like that without years of experience and proof of you knowing what you’re doing AND understanding exactly how daunting a task you’re aiming for. Lastly, start small and work your way on to bigger things. Make a clone of something simple like Mario and expand on it till it looks really solid, then move on to something tougher and repeat the process till you feel like you have a good grip of things.

Honestly, don’t aim to make SAO. Take what you like about it and make your own idea. I’ve been apart of 10, I repeat 10, SAO projects that have all started up and failed because they were run by people who weren’t pro’s with tons of money. We all want it to be a reality, but your own ideas could be so much better! Why knock off someone else’s ideas? Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about anything including the projects I worked on and what route you should take. I’d also love to work on a group project for fun if you’re interested.

I second everything hes saying and im IN UNI now for a games degree WHAT a joke… theres only 1 or 2 i know of that worth there degree… Otherswise if you HAVE money and like the better route look at the Engines in house degrees if you want STRAIGHT to that front door… or like the reply said… get a engineering or science based maths and this will open up so many doors TO ACTUALLY make money… Money = time off = Time for personal projects… Only then id say you will be in the right frame not a fail and have NOTHING and also if you succeed you would be just adding to the Money you already make now…

Let me know what you think but if you decide to continue the game side im too at stages of learning the new engine… making decent headway… but would be better with a TEAm…


First of all, thanks for the quick reply.
Secondly, taking into account some of the classes I’m currently taking (Pre-Calculus, Physics, & Engineering) and my overall enjoyment of each of them (Engineering = a lot, Pre-Calc & Physics, not so much), I was somewhat deterred from going to school for a degree in science or something similar as I’ve seen how difficult some of the classes are, but hearing from someone else makes it seem like something worth the struggle.
In terms of the game I wanted to make, while what somewhat inspired me was a game like SAO, I wouldn’t want to make that game. Doing what you said ( taking parts I liked from it and adding in other things to make something else) was my intention from the beginning and as for asserts…
As much as I suck at creating them, I’ve begun taking classes (animation & other related classes) to try to improve.
While I would like to be able to just jump up and do this gigantic nearly (currently) impossible task, I’m not one to aim for the sun while staring at the moon (a wordsmith, I am not). For a while, I’ll defintley try and build up my skills, but I’ll always have this big project in mind. I’m also always open to any kind of collaboration, assistance, etc.

PS. First time on a propper forum, so my responses may be a bit awkward (again, wordsmith, I am not).

It is very hard sometimes to start with something, full extended.
When you are rich and having a big team on your side, you can do anything.
When you are poor and alone you could do so too, but it will take longer.
I have very complicated phantasies, and have to sterilize them in some way, that i could handle them inside UE4…

I’m in a very similar situation, or rather I have been for a couple of years now. I’m working on a personal project that’s way too big for a single dev and may or may not ever be released. But I’m still chipping away at it whenever I find the time after work. In my opinion, the hardest part with these personal projects is to maintain your motivation to keep going. It may sound silly to you right now, but I know tons of people who gave up on their games or hop from one unfinished thing to the next because they can’t keep that initial passion for it going. As long as you still have this passion, it’s just a matter of time until you get the results you want.

When you’re starting out making games, you’ll often hear the advice to start small. However that doesn’t mean that you have to create tiny little games you don’t care about. Simply break down your project into smaller individual chunks that you can manage with your current skill set but still contribute to what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. Don’t start by creating a customizable character that can attack enemies with upgradable magic and self-crafted swords and block attacks on a physics-based system with tons of cool animations. Instead, start by using the default UE4 assets to create a character that can simply move around. Then give him a weapon and try to make him hit stuff. Then try replacing the UE4 assets with your own. And so on and so forth. :wink:

Creating the art for your project can be a tricky subject. You have to start working on it to get better. But as you get better, your old stuff will look bad in comparison. And before you know it, you’re in an endless cycle of recreating your old assets to bring them up to speed with your latest work. That’s why I would recommend setting a high (but realistic) standard for your project and only start creating assets when you’re good enough to match it. Until you reach that point, you can use the free assets that come in the various UE4 sample projects.

You may also decide that creating all the art yourself is not an option and that you’re better off buying assets from the marketplace, but I would advise against doing that until you’re well on your way and know exactly what you want to create. Buying gameplay systems can be useful early on for taking them apart and learning from them, but for basic stuff you’ll also find free tutorials or sample projects.

As for your actual project idea, I would recommend looking into the existing Sword Art Online games and maybe MMOs and compare them with your personal vision. Those games probably won’t hold up to what you want to create, but try to identify why they don’t hold up and how it could be fixed. Is it even possible to achieve what you have in mind with a video game? What is the core of the experience you want to create? Try to distill what’s special about your idea, which part of the SAO you want to capture, and build your project around that. As you start creating your game, you’ll get a better understanding for what you can accomplish and what’s out of scope. Knowing what the essence of your game is will help to cut only those features that are not essential to this essence.

I can’t give you much advice on studies, but based on my own experience I can echo the sentiment that most “game design” degrees are not worth your time and money. I managed to get into the industry despite the almost worthless education I got from such a degree, but that’s only because I spend all my free time learning this stuff on my own.

So yeah, hopefully you can get some useful information from all this rambling. If there’s anything more specific you want to know, feel free to ask me here or via PM. Keep in mind though that all of this is just my personal preference and experience. Take from it whatever feels right to you - The most important part is that you can keep the fun and passion for you project alive. Everything else will come naturally!

The idea about passion isn’t all that silly to me. I’ve dealt with that issue many times before, mainly working in slightly larger groups (as much as a good idea as it seemed, a video game designing school club was an awful experience). This time around, with my own ideas being the primary goal-target-thing, I can see myself being far more driven than being surrounded by people who are intending to make the next Gary’s Mod (or something like that, I can’t remember). That along with he fact that I’ve had more time to think about what I want to do with my life, so my intentions are to take this more seriously.

In terms of references for my vision, I have played SAO Hollow Fragment (and intend on getting Lost Song when it comes out) and have been trying out (and somewhat studying) games like WoW, Final Fantasy, etc. To be brief, he main concepts I’ve liked from HF is the variety of weapons and the Sword Skills, with my main problem being lack of being able to put yourself as the main character (changing the avatar helps, but it kinda sucks that the system and every other character still refers to you as “Kirito”. This of course being irrelevant in the vision I have, but I figured I’d mention it).

I’ll be sure to keep in contact in the future, and thanks for the reply.

I am also a high schooler, and in the future I also want to start a game company.
I also love the sao world, so we’re quite alike.

Here’s my two cents. First off, start out small. VERY small. Make a couple o’ products, just little things that show off what you can do and get you to understand how stuff works after release and such.
Your idea may be awesome, but as I say “a developer’s first game will always fail”. Now, that would suck if your first game was your dream game, cause then it would most likely fail! :open_mouth: xD

Even better, use the same code again and again, making them more complex, after every “release”. In other words, find some sort of way to release something. ANYTHING. This is key.

Always good to see someone in (roughly) the same position as me. Gives me a bit of hope (and sometimes, relief).

I’m already beginning to work my way around the small stuff, so no worries there.

Though just one thing I wonder; For the ultimate idea I had (the whole SAO/GGO-esque project thing), would coding in C++ be better or working without and using things like Blueprint?

Blueprints can take you a long way towards your goal, especially when you’re just starting out. However, you might run into roadblocks down the line that require C++. Using C++ has many advantages either way, not least the fact that you can use it pretty much anywhere, whereas blueprints are limited to UE4.

I’d say there’s no harm in starting with blueprints though and looking into C++ as you go.

The fact of the matter is, you WILL use blueprints, whether or not you use C++, and they work very well together. C++ can literally do ANYTHING, blueprints can only do what was coded in for them. I am high-school age as well, except I already have several years of experience (thank goodness too). The point that made about your first game failing is pretty much true, and when that happens, be sure to not give up. If you give up that easily, you won’t last very long in this industry.

I am personally using c++ as the base, with blueprints used as scripting.
In other words, the majority of stuff is in c++ but stuff that is different for different assets and stuff is blueprints. Aka NpcBase is a c++ class, but specific things like specific things to say is blueprint.
Of course, this is up to you on how exactly to do this whole thing. :smiley:

@Jamendxman3 Dang, so many high schoolers! Luckily I’ve personally been making (2D) games for several years as well, and even wrote a little javascript/html5 engine once. Hopefully this will help me go faster! xD