Lately I’ve been feeling that I need to find a new hobby. I’ve been considering game development, but I have a bit of a problem. Whenever I try to come up with an idea for a game I find it’s way to complex for my current skill level. How do I go about keeping an idea small?
I say build your dream game. All the bits that add up are by themselves small. Learn each one as you go along.
Keeping the dream out in front of you is a good way to maintain the motivation to keep going, which you will need if you plan on spending more than a couple months on your project.
Its easy to branch out and try undertaking an idea you simply can’t accomplish in a timely manner. I assume you are working by yourself, right? I work alone usually and the reality to this is that its going to cost you both time and money to make a game. Sure, you could start 3d modeling, texturing, animating, level designing, sound engineering, story writing (if any), and all the sorts for free… but at some point you are going to have to spend money; it is plain and simple. The marketplace is great for giving you a basis for certain game ideas with the packs it gives.
When I released my first (not polished but done) game, I sat down and decided what the ground rules would be. i limited myself so I knew exactly where I wanted to be and could notice if I was stepping out of my predetermined guidelines. The engine I was using wasn’t Unreal and it was quite limiting… so that also helped to direct my vision forward (constraints aren’t always a negative thing). My game was still doable and because I had to deal with the engine’s qwerks, I learned how to think outside the box. Limiting myself and relying on stock assets plus some I had bought, I saved time and direct myself to what I should be making… and I had released a game in about 1-2 months time.
Unreal is however more ambitious so games will probably take longer since you can do a lot more than my past engine could. You just have to sit down and pre-plan. If you have an idea, write it down… even if you don’t think you can do it. Once you get passed the brainstorming, start playing around in the engine, look at some tutorials, and slowly make your way into the engine (make use of free game development programs too). You will figure out if you need to buy assets, make them, find a friend to help you, etc etc. Its really only about time management VS resource management (money, personal skills) and how achievable your overall bottom line game synopsis is.
I started perhaps a year ago with ue4 and every tutorial i had done, i placed in one map fps example.
Suddenly i realized that i have core gameplay running and my experience growed up to basic, while learning to connect these functions.
I used Supergrid for learning ue4 related modular stuff (I did it before and it was modular, but was it right for ue4, no.)
and learning construction blueprints and other nice material stuff. I only scratched the basics fo far, but hey i am a one man show, have to hold things easy.
So many “I”, sry, my english is bad. But i am very happy with the resulat, only with freeware, Audacity, Blender,Krita, papagayo, Elefont, Makehuman and last but not least, mighty UE4.
I was in so many gameprojects last 10 years and most died halfways up, or before that.
I am tired of timesucking teams, stealing code or assets, that´s the reason Beams was born.
Make your idea bigger, meet some local game developer who can give you tips how to start your small idea and turn it into bigger ideas.
If you want to keep it simple, then make that your priority. Get rid of the idea of making some amazingly cool, ground-breaking game. Start with something that seems too simple to even bother with, something that’s already been done a million times before, like Pong or Breakout. That may sound boring, but it gives you a decent chance of finishing the game, which is better than 99% of people do. And because it’s easy it will give you some quick satisfaction, you won’t run into issues that look trivial but end up taking weeks to figure out. You can always make a simple project more cool and complex, but it’s pretty hard to cut down an advanced project.
In my experience, it takes 10-20% of your development time to make a functional game, and the other 80-90% to polish every little detail to make it a finished product.
For me? The trick was the art style and being really aggressive about finding tools to speed up your workflow.
The reality of a lot of modern games is that A LOT of time goes into making them graphically sparkly - and while that’s all well and good, Unreal is such that the actual game mechanics often take far less time to produce.
I’ve found these general guidelines to help immensely in developing bigger games:
-Find tools to speed things up. Adobe Fuse, for example is a HUGE time saver for making models of human characters, is free, and compatible plug-and-play with UE4.
-Don’t be afraid to buy things from Turbosquid or other art asset stores. Nobody knows or cares that some of your art assets come from there.
-Simplify art style. I find games are more timeless and far quicker to produce if you leave more to the imagination graphically.
-Don’t bring on other team members until you know how they can help
-Plan, plan, plan. If you make a production plan and stick to it things will go a lot faster.
-Playtest. A lot. Send copies of the game to friends, family, whoever. This won’t necessarily speed things up, but you’ll get a better product out of it.
-Think about what you can remove, not what you can add. Big games are great, but a lot of the smaller stuff can frequently go unnoticed. If you can cut something that would take 20% of the development time but only improve the game experience by 3% , do it.
Big or small idea, figuring out an asset workflow really helped me. Games need a lot of assets and if you’re not buying them you will be spending a considerable amount of time creating them so it’s really important you have an optimised asset creation workflow that will work for you. I would recommend investing some money in good DCC tools once you’ve figured out where they fit in to your pipeline.
+1 Ten times, because it’s to short.
CG Animation Entertainment came out of my control.I don’t want copyrights infridgement wars with you.Let’s become a friends.
Like Zeustiak said, the little bits and pieces add up. I have even found myself copy-pasting from other projects a lot of the times, because a game is really just made up of different components that you want it to have.
Just start working on your ideas. It doesn’t matter if you think you can’t finish them right now.
I have probably about 10 of these unfinished ‘big’ ideas on my PC. And only now I finally released a tiny game for android.
So start doing it now. Working on an idea, getting stuck, looking for solutions, quiting and starting something new then coming back- its all great learning experience.