Developer Group, Assemble!!

edited in General
I have a suggestion for anyone who is keen to work on a project. Recently I realized that I don't really have any experience in working on games with a team. Though I have tried before, I can't seem to get my friends motivated :P And maybe not myself for too long either. Though I know the right way to go about things is to constantly prototype until you find something good, I am more of a project oriented guy who likes to take on larger things.

So anyone who wants to try and make something with me, just let me know. I'm not expecting people to rush in, or find anyone at all, but I guess it's worth a shot here (better than anywhere else). I don't particularly have any bright, big ideas. Sure, I have games I would like to make, but I am open to work on someone else's game with them too (though I'd like to start from scratch with a team project). The idea is to gain some teamwork experience.

The goal is not to make anything commercial, but instead to make something for the love of working on a project, and learning some skills in the process. Perhaps the end result will be something nearly half finished :P and mildly entertaining. (Of course prototyping and discussion may be a valuable start for anyone interested). Also, I am quite busy with my studies so I'll probably only be able to spend a couple of hours each week, and would expect nothing more of anyone interested.


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    I can only speak for myself, but the best way to motivate people to join a team is to have a defined project/prototype that they like and want to work on. Every "Hey! Let's get together and make a nebulously-defined Thing™" attempt that I've been part of has collapsed, since there's no shared vision and people leave, either because they end up disliking where the project is going, or the scope ends up exceeding their ability/willingness to contribute. Especially if there's no money involved.

    tl;dr: Build it and they will come. :P
  • @Denzil: What happened last time you tried to make a game? (Prototype or not...) I'm curious what you feel a team will give you to change that, perhaps there are other ways that we could help without explicitly starting a new nebulously-defined (well said @Gazza_N) team project?
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    @Gazza_N Of course that's true. That's why I said I kinda expect not to get any responses. I am pretty much only doing this to find someone else who feels the same way. With the goal not being to necessarily finish something, but just to get some group experience. That's also why I said I'm not going to ask anyone to help me make my games, but rather have a contribution from both (because no one would want to work with me if I have nothing significant to show yet, of course).

    @dislekcia Well honestly, I stopped making them because A - I realized they were boring, B - I stopped due to technical difficulty of developing (and perhaps fundamental flaws in the mechanics) even though I got some good feedback from the community (see Grave Days) or C - I didn't get any feedback from the community and don't really know what to make of it. Not sure whether this one is just plain boring or perhaps doesn't have a clearly enough defined goal as of yet (see Conquest - this one got particularly sad as the thread turned into random rantings of me with myself :P). I guess something I really need to do is learn to prototype better. The thing is just that I normally dismiss my prototypes as bad myself before putting them up here.

    At the moment I feel that grave days is the "best" game prototype I have managed to make so far. But that's not the point.

    tldr; I think the point is just that I wanted to let the community know in a fairly strange and ineffective way that I am up for working on projects with someone else :P

    Thanks though, I understand and agree with where you guys are coming from.
  • The thing is just that I normally dismiss my prototypes as bad myself before putting them up here.
    I've made the same mistake continually over the past two years. We both need to stop that. ;)

    So basically, seems to me that you're frustrated that none of your prototypes seem to be catching on with others or living up to your own design sensibilities (Man, how well I know that feeling :( ), and you feel that working with someone else will let you satisfy that makey-gamey urge while hopefully contributing meaningfully to a "better" product?

    In my unprofessional opinion, I say splack all your prototypes upon the forums and let us have a look. We are all our own worst critics, and you'd be amazed what catches on with people.

    You also say that you had a promising prototype that's kinda sorta fallen apart from a technical standpoint. Have you considered explicitly asking for help with its development? There's no shame in going "hey, pathfinding systems make me weep tears of blood. Help plz". ;)

    Failing that, perhaps you could try approaching people who are working on things that've caught your attention? A quick PM saying "Hi, I like your game, do you need art/music/coding/sound/voice acting/testing?" can work wonders.
    Thanked by 2hanli Tuism
  • @Gazza_N is wise.

    Also, @Denzil, I'm not trying to rain on anything here, but a couple of screenshots and maybe a quick video go a long way towards making people try your game prototype. Which is obviously step 1 on the path to getting feedback from them on it :)

    I know it sorta comes off as marketing - but coming up with some neat little text to describe your game's setting or what you're trying to go for in a couple of sentences can go a very long way towards making people interested too. Sure, a Crimsonlands top-down shooter is cool, but a top-down shooter where you're a pile of ammunition-producing nanobots running around to various stationary guns sounds a lot cooler. And kinda like King mode in Geometry Wars 2... With guns.

    Thanked by 1Denzil
  • Sweet stuff, these pep talks were pretty inspiring. Thanks! I'll keep all these hints in mind and try to integrate them into my future attempts.

    @Gazza_N Don't know if you looked at the Grave Days thread or just used pathfinding as an example, but it's pretty spot on. That was the main problem that made me stop working on that particular game. Just yesterday I felt like reviving it a bit, but I think the code needs some refactoring because it looks just a tiny bit messy and confusing in parts, looking back at it :P. Just mentioning this for interest sake!

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    @Denzil: Ha! No! I just mentioned that because I have pathfinding on the brain for one of my own prototypes. :P

    You do know that Unity's implemented a free built-in navmesh pathfinding system in v4.x, right? Could be suitable for your needs! :D

    Thanked by 1Denzil
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    We've been using this bad boy for pathfinding: There's a free version that is very solid.

    Gotta say that @Dislekcia said something really smart that I hadn't really thought about recently. MakeGamesSA has gotten so busy now that the threads are now actually competing with each other for the eyeball time of the users of this forum.

    So to get noticed you kind of have to market your own threads. Just screenshots etc would be enough.

    Webplayers make it slightly more convenient to play a game, if you are using Unity (or another tool with a webplayer) then you should take that opportunity.

    Also asking specific questions that people feel they can answer is a good way to start discussions. In Conquest what you asked was "Tell me about bugs and annoyances" which sort of excludes a lot of what people might like to say about it, and "or what you think" which is sometimes a tricky question to answer. Be more specific, turn responding to your posts into a game that others can win at.

    I know with my behavior over at TIGSource that people tend to look at the images first before bothering to read anything, and if those interest them then they *might* play a game. There are so many games being made there that playing every one of them and giving feedback is just out of scope for each person (and MakeGamesSA is moving in that direction).
    Thanked by 1Denzil
  • Webplayers make it slightly more convenient to play a game, if you are using Unity (or another tool with a webplayer) then you should take that opportunity.
    If I may interject for a moment, this surprises me a little: Unity aside (I think it's fairly well-established by now), do people here tend to prefer downloading a new web-player for a game or game demo to just downloading a platform-specific installer?

    I ask because the engine that I use -- Panda3D -- also has a web-player, and in fact builds in such a way that the first step to creating a stand-alone download is creating a file that could (barring issues like local file reading or writing, I imagine; I don't think that I've tried it) be used in their web-player. I've been avoiding that on the guess that most people would prefer a single download to one, smaller download followed by downloading and installing yet another web-player.
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    hmmm... convenience is the main thing. Installing a new webplayer (that players do not already have) isn't convenient.

    Flash or HTML5 I think is the most convenient, and among game developers Unity Webplayer is mostly pretty convenient.

    I think Panda's webplayer might be more convenient than downloading a new game for every update (because the webplayer needs installing only once). It depends on how easy Panda's webplayer is to install (I really don't know). But yeah, if people don't already have the webplayer then you're going to lose some of them at the "install webplayer" option.
  • From what I recall, I think that it's pretty easy -- much like Unity's player -- but I am a little concerned about people turning away without getting that far.

    However, it occurs to me that there's an easy solution: provide both! As I said, the web-player version is produced as one of the steps in making the standalone version anyway.

    It just means a little more testing to make sure that there are no issues specific to that environment (such as file handling).
  • I would opt for a simple .zip or .exe (apply / change for your OS preference) over a fully-charged installer application, if going for the nonline route. I don't want the ritual of selecting options and shortcuts and whatnot, and I certainly don't want it putting a bunch of hooks into my startup menus, desktop, registry etc. If it's a test build that I want to examine for a few minutes, I want to be able to double-click open it, mess around, and know that everything about that build is contained to the folder I've decided to download it to (which is, in effect, my "installation process").

    The more complexity / steps / decisions a prototype's installation requires, the less inclined I am to try it. If I get a specialised file extension and cmd instructions for opening someone's prototype, it pushes me further away. ;)

    One of the lovely things about some of the entries in Comp D was my ability to click on the URL and basically just start playing.
  • Hmm... Looking at Panda's manual pages regarding building distributable versions, it looks as though my options are the following:

    * Self-contained installer.
    --- No additional requirements, involves clicking a button a few times.
    --- I'm honestly not sure of what it installs where, aside from the elements that it puts into the game directory. (On Windows, at least; Ubuntu seems a little more complicated simply by virtue of the approach that Ubuntu seems to take towards installing applications.)

    * Web build.
    --- Involves installing the Panda3D browser plugin. Again, I don't know what this might install, or where -- much as with any browser plugin.
    --- Once that's done, I think -- I haven't really played with web builds overmuch, I fear -- that I should be able to simply distribute a single, smaller file or put it into a simple web-page.

    * "Stand-alone" build.
    --- I'm not entirely clear on how this works, but it seems to result in an executable
    --- Requires an internet connection, and downloads the Panda3D libraries automatically when run.
    --- To quote the Panda3D manual:
    Instead of a graphical installer, pdeploy also has the ability to generate a standalone executable. It works similar to tools like py2exe, but is designed to embed .p3d games. This will not require a Panda3D installation to run - instead, when running it, it will automatically download and install the Panda3D libraries.
    --- Has additional dependencies by platform, such as the VC++ 2008 runtime under Windows and the X11 libraries under Unix.

    So... Which of these do you prefer?
  • I'd be a fan of any non-installer standalone would take my fancy. Would it not be possible for you to create a standalone build and then manually add the required libraries to the zip file you upload or something, to remove the requirement for the game to download libraries when I run it? Or is that not feasible?
  • I hate installers personally. I don't want little demos to be putting themselves in weird places on my harddrives and adding start menu folders.

    And even when installers don't do those things just running an installer is still another bunch of effort on top of downloading the file that I have to go through before I can check out the game.
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    Nothing beats a web-based system to distribute or quickly check out a WIP build. This assumes a solid net connection and sufficient bandwidth though.

    Failing that, a standalone build in a ZIP is a great alternative. I can pull it down, open it, drag-drop extract all the necessary files to a scratch folder on my desktop, try it out, and replay at will or delete as required. Including any required installers for runtime libraries is worthy of several Internets.

    I'm happy with installers for finished games, however.
  • All interesting responses, given how they run in part against my own sensibilities (which I've been using thus far, I think). Thank you all for sharing your preferences!

    I'll probably start figuring out how to get a web-build up and running -- it's not something that I've much more than glanced at thus far.

    For myself, I have somewhat of a bias against web-based systems, and towards stand-alone, single-download systems; I think that I'm less likely to try demos and the like that use web-players, especially if they involve a player that I don't already have.

    As to zips, to me a brief, licence-free installer feels quicker and easier -- but this, like my above preference against web-players, is likely a matter of personal preference.
    Would it not be possible for you to create a standalone build and then manually add the required libraries to the zip file you upload or something, to remove the requirement for the game to download libraries when I run it?
    Hum... It's somewhat at odds with the way that Panda seems to be designed (I think that they design for web-build primarily, with the other options secondary to that). I might be able to pull it off, but I'm really not sure.

    In short, Panda seems to have run-time elements that are downloaded as called for, whether in installing the web-player, installing the runtime (I'm honestly not sure of how this version works; I may be mistaken in thinking it separate from the web-player), downloading for a "stand-alone" build or -- as I've been doing -- building an installer. As far as I see, only in the last of those, building an installer, does it download everything on the developer side, giving the recipient only a single download to work with.

    In order to create a single, non-installer stand-alone build, I think that I'd want to find a way to get hold of the contents of the run-time downloads and see whether they are all things that would likely work from a folder in an arbitrary directory.

    One final caveat: from what I've seen, whatever route I take there will probably be some sort of "AppData" directory created. With the installer under Windows 7 this seems to be in <user directory>->AppData->Panda3D; I imagine that it would be somewhat similar with the web-player (and imagine that most web-players probably do something like this for local storage).
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    hi denzil i have a project that i could use some help with, dislekcia knows of it
  • Ok, I see what you guys are saying :D Thanks for the pathfinding advice though. I will try to use unity's built in functionality, or use that one used in broforce. I'm basically just using unity for interfacing at the moment and not really using any of the game engine. I don't know if this is a bad idea. It probably is but it's been done already :D . Either way, if I can't get it figured out, I learnt what navmeshes are and could probably get a cheap one working myself over a week or so.
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