Diving into game development (Lots of Questions)


#1

Cheers Everyone!

I could really use some words of advice about a few issues I’m recently trying to deal with regarding game development. And I also got a few questions regarding adventure development, but I guess I should start from the very beginning.

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Since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by video games. I especially enjoy games which contain either a great story and / or feel like an all around masterpiece, from which you really feel the love and passion of the developers. Scratches, Penumbra, Dear Esther, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter or SOMA are just a few examples of adventure type games I really enjoyed, but I also love RPGs like Final Fantasy X or Might and Magic 6 with interesting fantasy worlds to explore. I always wanted to create a very own little game of mine.

So I started simple. As a child, I began using editors to create custom maps or levels from games I used to play a lot back then, e.g. Age of Empires or Clonk. Wasn’t anything special back then, but I kinda like the complexity of modern editors, which give you great possibilites to work with terrain, importing own assets or scripting and such.
Speaking of Scripting, I went a step further and started using scripts in some games. I especially used it when working on custom stories for the game Amnesia. I loved to work with the easy Editor to create own little worlds, even managed it to make decent ones with own imported textures and custom models avaiable online and eventually even released a short one online, which brought some nice feedback! But I have to admit, that I really had no idea of coding or scripting back then and basically only imported existing scripts into my levels and adjusted it to my needs.

Eventually there came the point where I wanted to make something on my own. I don’t want to be limited by editors and instead want to make my ideas as real as possible. It was then that I started using engines. Since I loved playing adventure games like Scratches, Barrow Hill or Dark Fall, I tried to start making own ones. I used the Point and Click Development Kit, which is a great little editor to create classic point and click adventure games and with a little workaround it was even possible to create slideshow adventures. I had no specific setting or game in mind, just played around a little bit. I took some photos or painted a few stuff and made short little games of it.

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At the moment, I’m learning Unity, since I want to make content that looks decent. I got myself some good books and tutorials and I’m pretty much prepared to start working. If only I had assets of course! And that’s the part, where the problems begin. I’m currently stuck at learning Blender. Modeling doesn’t seems to be that much of a problem to me, but texturing is. I looked up a lot of tutorials online, even asked questions in Blender forums, but nothing really helped me by now. It might be the learning curve, but I Blender kinda annoys me a bit. Since Blender always seems to change half of it’s interface after a new update, many tutorials are pretty confusing to me, since I don’t have that particular layout or button shown in the video set in my version. And since I started working with Blender back in 2011 I think, I know that it is extremely important to pay attention to what you do, since a small ticket checkbox can result in a messed up model (at least to my experience).

So since many of you appear to use Blender to create the environment for adventure games, I would like to know what may be the best way to learn it. I also considered to try other 3D modeling software, but sadly most of them are way too expensive for me. I’m thankful for every helpful advice you got for me!

That being said, have a spooky Valentine’s Day! :wink:


#2

Have you looked at Sketchup?, the free Make version will export dae format, and I know people who export to Blender with it, the only thing is to use proper modelling logic rather than just extruding stuff and sticking holes in it, you can get very lazy using Sketchup
there’s LOADS of free plugins which make it powerful and some nice free renderers.
Its probably the easiest to learn and there is commercial game studios using it, its awesome for planning layouts


#3

Hi MaX, glad to hear you’re delving into game development! You have some pretty good role models there, if I may say so :smiley:

Engine-wise, I can give you the following advise: the more power you have, the more demanding development can get. As you say, you don’t want any limits, but without them things can scale way out of proportions. See Asylum :stuck_out_tongue:

In all seriousness, Unity is a good starting point with lots of disclaimers: it has its good share of idiosyncrasies, many of them considered terrible programming practices. Also, while it’s undeniable that it’s very easy to get into, it may be just too much for a slideshow adventure game. Heck, you should maybe check out our own Dagon, which is simple, lightweight, but requires more low-level programming.

When it comes to the modeling tool, I’m not well versed in Blender, sadly. I can recommend Cinema4D which was used in Scratches as a straightforward enough yet very powerful tool. It’s commercial and pricey, though.

For landscapes, Bryce is a very interesting program that can often be acquired for free: http://www.daz3d.com/bryce-7-pro

Hope that helps, and keep us posted about your progress!


#4

Thanks for the replies! Really appreciate it! :wink:

@Nigec
I tried many different softwares in fact. Back in grammar school, we had Sketchup on our PC’s and I always used to play around with it when I was finished with school projects we had to do. To be honest, I’m not really impressed by that software, since, like you say, it’s pretty simple and as I heard in Unity and other game development forums, it is not really recommended to use it for video games.
I recently tested MODO, but amusingly, I found it way more confusing than Blender. Before that though, I got an interesting look at Cheetah3D, only to realise, that it is for MAC only. Unbelievable stuff!

Eventually I realised: I always worked with Blender and back in the days with the old version, I loved to play around with it and got some decent results with simple geometric models. So I guess Blender will be the right choice for me. At the moment, I’m planning to buy myself an online course, with a complete explaining from Interface to Texturing and Animating. I found an interesting looking one and as soon as I have more financial room I’ll give it a try. It might be a way better method to learn something from an actual expert in Blender than just trying to collect all the pieces from numerous tutorials. Especially when everyone seems to use a different version and has, because of that, other options / buttons than I have…

@Agustín
The thing is: I don’t have a specific game in my mind yet I want to create. Well, that’s actually not quite correct, as I got a really cool idea for a RPG in Final Fantasy style, but I don’t know yet if I’m able to pull off such a project so a smaller game, like an adventure or even platformers or such may be a better attempt at first. My strategy at the moment is to learn. On the one hand I want to learn an engine, like Unity, which I’m making good process with and on the other hand modelling, like Blender. I don’t plan to go into commercial production, I just want to do it as a hobby and see where it goes.

The reason why I’m using an engine for game development in general is quite simple: When I worked with several adventure makers, I came across several boundaries. The “Point and Click Development Kit” I mostly used was great to create classic adventure games in style of Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island, but it could also be used to make slideshow adventure games. But for this to work, you have to pull off a workaround. It was very difficult to set up a proper inventory and make items and scenes you want to use to work properly. The idea behind the slideshow was to create a giant 2x2 picture for each direction and to teleport the camera in the center of the next pic when clicking on the sides. And don’t get me started about creating custom “minigame” elements in your adventure. I mean sure, it was even possible to do a Final Fantasy Battle system in most of those editors, but it’s really quite a messing with the engine. With Unity, all such things are very easy, as you basically just have to create a new scene and threat it like it was a different game. And the whole “Game Object” concept in general is also what really interests me! And after all, you’ve developed engines specificially for Scratches and Asylum, so you also seek for some freedom! :smiley:

Last but not least, the attachment shows a short game I made with the PaC DK 5 years ago. It was the first time, when I actully used an own environment I built in Blender instead of simply using taken screenshots. It didn’t really had much gameplay to it, like I said it’s pretty difficult to get things working, but that for the first attempt, and considering that there weren’t that much Blender tutorials back then, I like the result! :nod:



#5

It’s always nice to see new faces around who are interested in making adventure games. I can’t really help with Blender and Unity, but I’d be glad to provide tips on general modeling and texturing. I’m using Dagon++ for my game so I (and most other friends here) can help with that too.

Starting small is always a good idea. Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. Cutting features and content hurts, but most of the time it is a necessity. So I’d just focus on making something playable at first. A few rooms, one or two puzzles, a few notes/comments for a little backstory, and you are good to go. This way you’ll learn most of the things you need to know in a relatively short time .

Cheers!


#6

Hey Guys, I’m back! :wink:

Quite a bit time has passed and I successfully completed a Blender training, from which I gained a way better understanding of modelling. Yesterday I created a bed, as you can see in the attachment, from which I’m really satisfied with the results.

But texturing still troubles me a bit. The textured version you can see on the upper right side is basically just a single texture which I let Blender automatically project onto the model. It looks not that bad, but when giving it a closer look, it got stripes and blurred surfaces, which I certainly don’t want. ^^

So I’m currently stuck on UV Mapping. I managed it to transfer all the faces into Blenders UV Editor but I’m still pretty confused on how to arrange them in order to make the model look better. The problem is: Even when I have a picture like 1024x1024, I have so many faces to adjust, which leave not much room for the actual texture, unless I choose a picture size of like 2048x2048 and bigger, which shouldn’t be necessary.

In the second attachment I tried a bit to arrange all the different faces. But eventually… I mean the bars in the middle already have pretty big spot, but they only got a 707x51 resolution. The length is ok, but the 51 pixel width is very small, considering the wood texture I got is like 1024x901.

The thing is, I could use a bigger image in the end, like let’s say I arrange the bars horizontally, I could set a max length to 750 pixel and stack them one by one underneath until I got a final image of like 750x2000 (similar to the second attackment: yellow a big surface, blue a small one and so on).

Since UV Mapping isn’t a Blender specific topic, I would be interested to hear how you handled these tasks. I mean there has to be a way to make good looking models, without having a texture size of like 4096x4096, which would definitely decrease a game’s performance. ???



#7

Hi Max,
Unless there are details to be shown on the bed (like ornaments or painted decorations), there is no reason to spread out every piece of the mesh in a single layer on your UV map. In the case of your bed, all that you need do is to make sure the grain of the wood runs correctly on each board.

This is what I would do. On your UV map, align all of the pieces of your mesh in the direction that the wood grain should run. You can lay one piece on top of another, it does not matter. Keep the pieces sized proportionately. Save the UV map.

Apply one “seamless” or “tileable” wood texture to the whole bed. You can find several free wood textures at www.textures.com. A 512 x 512 texture or even smaller will do for most renders, unless the wood is to be seen in close up, then maybe 1024 x 1024. Scale the texture to repeat until the wood grain is in proportion to the bed. You may have to experiment to get the scale looking right.

Good luck!

Note: I don’t use Blender, but I think that this should work with most programs. If someone who uses Blender knows that this will not work, please step in.


#8

Totally agree with Imari, something like a bed you can use seamless textures, wood for the most part you just need two seamless textures, one the grain goes up, the other the grain goes across.
I’d imagine Blender would have some random offset plugin or textures to give some variation to the wood pattern?
If you really need to uv wrap the whole bed, do it in parts

Anyway this entire scene was just seamless textures, to do the wallpaper its cubic mapped, its Sketchup not Blender, and SU has no native uv mapping tools just plugins which aren’t fantastic
http://arfur9.deviantart.com/art/blinds-v2-305267101