Should I embark on creating a game?

I am increasingly getting frustrated due to nobody making a proper non-linear SF ARPG, so right now I’m considering starting something in EU4.

Can you give me a round up of what I would need to do in order to:

  • create a super-realistically animated bipedal walker vehicle with rotatable torso independent of motion, each step it takes would dynamically conform to the ground’s elevation and obstacles, so no clipping whatsoever, and no glitching with any combination of motion. It would feel like watching a real machine from an isometric perspective.

  • create an intuitive control scheme

  • create a physics based environment, all foliage, trees and buildings would be realistically breakable or could be set to various states.

  • create a responsive enemy type with good AI.

  • of course, I would want dynamic global lighting, PBR and all the other goodies

This is just for baseline prototype, can you list which software would I need, skills, and perhaps shortcuts(like AI and physics plugins) to create this prototype(but very polished) gameplay?
For the rest, I have already written 40 pages of customization trees, world-building, story, environment…

Well, before starting going through the bullet list points (none of which are impossible or anything) it would be useful to know if you have made any games before? Any software development at all? Any 3D modeling, animation and texture work?

My question was very specific, what else would I need to learn/own, besides the UE4, for this specific prototype?

These questions pop up all the time. I recently answered a similar post on a related question, which you can find here. Yes, the game concept is different, but the responses I provided - I’m the only one who responded, so it makes for easy reading - are transferable.

As Xenome has already mentioned, none of what you have mentioned is insurmountable, but for a single developer working alone, it is quite the undertaking and would require a very strong will and large amount of dedication.

However, you’ve asked some questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. Though, instead of massively going into depth (you can read the link I’ve provided for further, in-depth information on tools, pipelines, and so forth if you’d like), I’ll simply jot these down as bullet points. However, if you require further clarification, please let me know.

  • Your first question is “should I embark on creating a game.” This, is entirely up to you. No matter the size of the game you are planning, this is a long journey and there is a massive amount of learning ahead of you. I’m assuming you have no prior experience, because you did not mention any - and your line of questioning suggests it. If I’m mistaken, I’m sorry.
  • To create characters, props, and other assets for your level you will require a 3D modelling application. Industry standard software would be Maya and 3ds Max. Though, there are numerous others that are widely used. This includes free alternatives, such as Blender. Many people combine zBrush or Mudbox into their workflow, as well, to create high-poly / high-detail meshes, which they then bake down onto a low-poly model. This keeps the poly count low, whilst keeping the detail.
  • You will also need to consider texturing your assets. Everyone has their own workflow for this - as they do with modelling. An industry standard application would be Adobe Photoshop. Though, there are a number of intuitive programs, such as Substance Painter and 3DCoat, which can allow for a more flexible workflow (for some).
  • To texture your assets, you will also need to understand and learn how to unwrap models. This provides texture coordinates, allowing you to take your map into Photoshop or Substance Painter, for instance. Some people find it very hard to understand this, and it can take a while to learn. It is an absolute must, though.
  • In order for your characters to “move”, you will need to learn how to animate and rig them. This is an art in its own right, even. Again, it’s a must if you don’t want models that are stuck in a certain pose. There’s a huge amount to it. I’m not an animator though, so on this front, you may need to await someone else’s response, should you need further clarification.
  • There’s also programming. Unreal Engine 4 uses C++ and the more user-friendly (well, arguably, to some) Blueprints; a form of visual scripting. It is essentially the evolution of Kismet, if you are familiar with UDK. It allows for quick prototypes to be developed in a reasonable time-frame, with little or no knowledge of C++. It can take a while to wrap your head around, but the possibilities are utterly vast.

I’ve touched on most of the things that you will “require” in order to develop a game. If you’re aiming for a basic prototype, you will need to learn most of these things to a reasonable degree. If you’re aiming for a super polished and realistic product, though, there’s a long road ahead.

It is worth noting - and I’ve said this numerous times before - that some people are not suited for all of these aspects of game development. Some will be comfortable with modelling, some will be more suited to animation, and others will be right-at-home with programming. You can, as I’ve said, learn these all to a “reasonable degree” if you put the time and focus into doing so. Though, mastering them is an entirely different ballpark. Yet, there are some people - including many on these forums - that defy all of that, and are seemingly able to perform all of these different disciplines.

The best thing to do is to start out by testing the waters. Download the engine, take a look and start small initially. Work to your strengths and don’t overstretch. Just because you can’t make your dream game today doesn’t mean that you can’t in the future with time, patience and a lot of hard work. And please don’t get me wrong there - I’m not being discouraging in any means there :slight_smile:

We do need a bit more info to answer your question. :slight_smile:

UE can do all these things paired with a 3D modeling program. If you want advice on shortcuts, you need to let us know your background in software development.

Then you only need to learn/own a general DCC application such as Maya (or anything else that can reliably export FBX). And as long as it’s a prototype we’re talking about, no other software besides UE is required.

That’s a very short ‘long-list’… Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done, but it takes time, effort, commitment, and whether you have a budget or a team behind you or not. Reading between the lines it doesn’t sound like you’re bringing loads to the table just yet…

- create a super-realistically animated bipedal walker vehicle with rotatable torso independent of motion…
Make some new friends, don’t be afraid to post in WIP threads or send pm’s… Couple of sample projects as a guide…

- create a physics based environment, all foliage, trees and buildings would be realistically breakable or could be set to various states.
There are fully destructible game engines but UE4 isn’t one of them. So you’ll need to be artful in your implementation. If the maps are smaller, on the arena side etc, then you can definitely do a lot. But open world fully destructible is tricky…

- create an intuitive control scheme
This means different things to different people and could run 40 pages in itself. So better just take that as an assumed or given while other core areas are pursued.

- create a responsive enemy type with good AI.
This is an artform. Start out with something that works and iterate over time to make it better. There’s lots of insightful AI threads on the forums, some are heavy going, but that’s the thing with AI!

- of course, I would want dynamic global lighting, PBR and all the other goodies
There’s no all-encompassing GI dynamic lighting solution in UE4 yet. DFGI is on hold, VXGI is too thirsty, AHR is WIP, LPV is unloved. Like everyone else you’ll have to start with vanilla dynamic lighting and tweak it over time… Suggested bedtime reading:

**- and perhaps shortcuts(like AI and physics plugins) to create this prototype(but very polished) **
Shortcuts: Trawl through the community tools forum. Not a whole lot of mech on the marketplace iirc, but there are RPG & AI kits.

- can you list which software would I need, skills
Software: UE4 + a 3D modeling package:
Maya / Max are free for students, and there’s lots of free tutorials as per UE4.
But both are brutal on your wallet if you’re working professionally though.
Autodesk pricing is only going to get worse too, so try and get into Blender / Modo / Maya LT.
Look into World Machine, Mudbox / Zbrush as well as Photoshop / Gimp…

Don’t worry, I’m willing to spend 500 hours just on making the animation perfect. That’s how high my frustration level has reached.

I’ve read a lot of reviews on which software to use, 3D Max or Maya, but still can’t decide. Can someone offer an insight regarding this, that would make me focus on one software to use with UE4, so I don’t lose any time.

How would anyone know which 3D modeling software you have used?

No insult, but pls “pause” your work on that specific “frustrating” part.
Do something what you already could do, redo extend, get satisfied.
Unpause other topic, do again, repeat.
Frustration blocks learning mechanism a bit, if you ask me.
Time is most important ressource you have.
I gave you some, while writing here.

Well, this is disturbing, I thought this was already settled. Global dynamic lighting was suppose to be one of main visual features…

I am completely aware of this and the space between what I want and what can be actually done.

That’s why I made extensive preparation to the point where I see in my mind to a minute detail how it would play, which mechanics it would use, how it would feel and look…so that no time is wasted on experimentation. I’ve played enough games to know exactly what I want and how to extrapolate certain elements from other games.

So, I “just” need to translate this vision, which I have precisely documented already, into machine code.

Sure, but this revelation tends to get a little overblown.
Good looking games are still getting made in Unity & UDK, and ARK has a customized UE4 lighting solution.
So make the game, get on with the job! By the time you get somewhere there may be good news waiting.
I think the news actually hits pro-Indie teams the hardest.
Whereas, if you’re working solo or with a small or unreliable team, then the project could take 2-5 years…

This is pretty well covered in past threads, you stand to miss out if you don’t browse through them.
Max / Maya may are not the best option for Indies, but they are a necessary evil for future 3D pros.
Maya has more integration with UE4, but Max has a simpler interface, so its easier to get into imho.
Overall Maya seems more feature rich, so its my favorite between the two, but again this is just imho.
Maya also has a ‘Lite’ option wallet-wise which is really key, whereas Max does not.
Lastly, there are many more versions of Maya available for download incl 32-bit…

Contentious question, but its actually a good one. I frequently buy models so have doubts about their origins sometimes… I approached AutoDesk about indemnity, and asked what happens if I unwittingly buy assets that were made using Autodesk software that was less than Kosher. Their response was, if you’re not a pro-modeling house, then you’re not on their radar. But what if that changes? Then, they have procedures in place to check. Obviously they didn’t say any more than that. But presumably there are hi-tech file-signature-fingerprints or low-tech solutions like stings or insiders or whistleblowers etc. So why take the risk when Blender is free and Modo and Maya-lt are both reasonably priced?! I’ve asked this question of pro modelers and naturally they’re shy on opening-up. But my understanding is that once you have an FBX there is no trail. But my cynical side says there’s probably is hidden file info (think Getty images internet-auto-scans etc). However, once an FBX is part of a game, then the trail probably goes cold on a forensic level unless the engine maker steps in.

One thing I would say to someone who is new to game design, programming, art and do on is to avoid relying too heavily on kits. They’re great for experienced people who want a bit of a boost, but I’m not sure they’re so beneficial to newbies.

The main reason for this is that it bypasses a lot of the learning you would otherwise do. Programming, whether it’s C++ or blueprints, means a lot more than just knowing how to use and manipulate data, it’s also about structure and design. Understanding how each component should be built and connected is what separates a good programmer from a bad one.

The temptation with kits is to turn them into black boxes, especially if you’re new to programming and UE4. You have no idea how they work, you just hook them up using the given instructions and they magically do what you need. This can lead to problems down the line if you need to customise or extend them. The last thing you want to do is waste time troubleshooting someone else’s code when you’re still learning to write your own.

Just a friendly reminder about rule 03 here: