What is easier/feasible?

Which is easier/feasible?
Alright experience developers, I require your expertise. It has always been my passion to create my own game whether it is a board game or a video game or a card game. I’ve taken a look at UE4. It’s incredible. I have some minimal programming experience in java but none in C++. My question is using all the free assets I can find and doing the rest myself (modeling, animations, level building, sound, programming with bluesheets) which of the projects below would be the easiest for me to accomplish? I have about 1-2 hours per night to work on it but it is only me. I am prepared to work about 2 years or more. Keep in mind this will largely be all learning for me. I will spend some of my time on my job researching solutions to the problems I encounter. When I get home after my children go to bed I will then actually do some work.

Project 1: A dungeon crawler single player RPG game where all the levels are very similar (one giant prison with about 40 levels to go through.). Fifteen different characters to play as each with their own specialization trees. You encounter allies along the way that will join your party. Story driven, combat with magic animations as well. Equipment inventory included.
-Biggest issues: doing my own magic animations for all the spells and abilities (never used Maya before ever), implementing talent trees, writing the story might be time consuming.

Project 2: combat game sort of a cross between age of empires/rome/civilization. You would control your Nation or tribe and engage in combat with nearby enemies romance of kingdoms style. You would have deep control of resources and social relations.
-Biggest issues: While combat seems simpler having to create all the different interactions and animations might be taxing.

Project3: Combat Card game. Already have a ruleset and game designed in theory. It would be in the same genre as hearthstone or MTG online.
Biggest issues: Have no idea how to implement multiplayers in my game. Not sure what to do about servers and how to prevent hacking etc… Seems like this would be the most difficult.

Project 3 is probably the easiest, the other two would be a big challenge due to your lack of 3D experience. The first one is just a lot of content, the second one would be difficult since UE4 is easiest to do FPS types of games rather than RTS types of games.
Third one has cards which are much easier as assets to create, simple multiplayer isn’t much of an issue.

The most difficult project here is #2, because you have potential to go the way of dwarf fortress and sink in the depth of game mechanics.

Personally, I’d go with project #1, because card games have zero appeal to me.

Also, in case of card game, you’ll still need to make proper 2d art for them, while with rpg you can generate characters with mixamo fuse or makehuman. (you’ll still need to model your own clothes, but both programs can rig clothes for you)

Animations can be done in blender 3d, because last time I checked maya has fairly high price tag.
Currently you can grab free magic animations from mixamo website. They have magic, movement, sword animations, etc.

I have free access to maya being that i use a .edu email account.

Thanks for the replies any other thoughts? It seems like project 2 is out, and i agree that’s a heap of work.

I will check out that mixamo site, free animations would be amazing. thanks so much.

Do you think within 2 years is possible for project 1 and 3?

In my opinion project 3 is the easiest one as you dont need 3d art, but when you have enough time to learn a 3d tool, the 1st one will also be doable :slight_smile:
When game dev is your passion, you should be abel to finish those games in around 2 years -> but you will have to spend more time on it (1-2 hours will pass really fast)

I’ve considered remoting in while I’m away from home. Definitely not while I’m at work, definitely not that. It would be nice to do some level creating and blueprinting while I’m “away” and save the tedious stuff for home. I don’t know how well remote desktop will translate in me being able to work while away. Maybe half speed, i heard you lose some resolution.

None of them is suitable as a beginner project.
That being said, 3 is likely the least hard.
Also, “having access to Maya” does not mean you are a productive 3D artist.
There’s a reason game have dozens or even hundreds of specialized employees when they make fancier-looking games…

I’m not intending the game to be fancy. Having access to maya means i didn’t have to pay for it since he was commenting on the price. I claimed in the beginning i was new to this. I’m not looking to make a blockbuster and I’m not on a time table, just trying to narrow down what could be possible within a few years. I may end up purchasing some resources to save some time. Project 1 is basically copy paste levels with a script and some deviated humans as characters. Main focus will be items, talents, abilities, and combat.
Project 3 is exciting too, but my only worry is all the interactions with the card abilities and making a multiplayer type game with limited knowledge of client server programming.

The reason i posted is because most people agree that project 2 is the hardest but the other two are split and if I’m going to devote all my free time i want to make sure it’s something i can accomplish.

I think you’re more likely to finish card game in that time, but dungeon crawler might be more fun to work on.

Erm, it takes a lot of time to get good at modeling, and making even one character can be incredibly time consuming.
You can easily waste a whole week making base humanoid mesh and then another week texturing and rigging it. Then you’ll have to animate that thing.

Professional modeler is said to be able to whip up character in 2 days, but they have years of experience.

It is pretty much like learning to draw - you’ll need to waste 6 to 12 months drawing/modeling every day, and you will eventually improve to some (barely?) tolerable level.

It might be a better idea to save cash to pay some artist to do the job for you. Or you could look for like-minded skilled individuals and join forces with them.

MTG-style card game requires a LOT of 2d artwork, but has fairly simple core mechanics.

Dungeon crawler requires a lot of 3d artwork, but you sorta can cut corners there using character generators and asset store-like shops and grabbing textures from textures or similar sites (results won’t be that great). Core mechanics are much more complicated.

So, you can sink because of 2d art and online-related complexity on project #3 and you can sink because of mechanical/interaction complexity and 3d art in project #1.

It would’ve been more realistic beginner project if you, say, tried to implement playing card game ( Card game - Wikipedia ). You could go after some fairly unknown games like HanaFuda ( Hanafuda - Wikipedia ). Alternatively there are board games.

Those kinds of projects are the ones you can realistically accomplish alone, and it will take less than 2 years.

Alternatively you could go after Tron graphics (like in Darwinia, Rez), unusual visualisation (like in SanctuaryRPG, Dwarf Fortress, DoomRL, etc), etc. The general idea is that you should look for ways to reduce the amount of content you can’t produce.

Thanks for the thorough reply. I’d hate to settle for a subpar game but I’m going to have to be realistic. I need to think more about this. Perhaps i could complete a game with 300 or so cards with rights permission from users who submitted the art. I could adjust the art a bit. The dungeon crawler would be more fun!!! But maybe ill start thinking more into a card game. If i could solve the art issue that would allow me to spend all my coding rules and conditions and at the worst i could probably find coding solutions online.

would 2d project in UE4 be suitable for this?