Is this possible?

edited in Questions and Answers
My friend and I have an idea for a game. I don't want to reveal too much but it's a FPS that's got to do with time travel. I have just started with game maker and after that I will move up to C++. I will be in charge of programming and he will be in charge of art and the visual side of things. I'm first going to do a few small projects in GM. We hope to have our first beta version out by the end of the year and I just wanted to know if you guys think it's possible?


  • An FPS in C++ by 2 devs in beta by the end of the year? Not a chance...
    However if you used Unity or UDK instead, your odds would be a hell of a lot better.
  • Well it depends how many features you want in your beta. A very basic terrain/level, very few guns and very few character models. That may very well be possible. It also depends on your experience. I mean, it doesn't take normal devs a full year to add something such as networking. If you keep your first goal simple and work hard, I'd say yes, it is possible.

    I have to agree though, using something like Unity will speed up the process a lot. Everyone here would advise you not to try and write a game engine. I know we programmers have this syndrome that cause us to want to do everything ourselves from scratch, but the sooner you realize what a waste of time that is, the better.
  • Taking that you have just started off with game maker: no.

    C++ is not a friendly language to getting things done fast. You can do a FPS in a small amount of time. There was 7DFPS, but those games were built in existing engines. Coding an engine from scratch by yourself in C++ is really not likely to be done by the end of the year.

    @charly I have to ask you why you are doing this. Is it a university project, are you doing this because you think it is a good way to gain experience to peruse a programmer career in as a game developer in South Africa, or are you doing this as a project you hope to sell commercially.
  • I think I'm going to use unity.

    @karuji my friend and I feel like having a challenge to do. I know it's going to be a ton of work but once we're done I'm going to publish this game for free.
  • Well C++ would definitely be a challenge, but as I said I doubt you would get the game done. So Unity is a good way to go.

    If you want to do some stuff in C++ start small with just text based stuff. You can still get enough memory leaks and segfaults to pull your hair out ;)
  • Just one question: Can I do the cut scenes in Unity or will I need to do it in a 3D animation program?
  • Beware, incoming stack of questions! I'll explain why the answer to each is important too, here goes:

    1. Do you, or your brother, have game development experience?
    Without experience with the process of game development, it's impossible to properly estimate how long anything is going to take. Heck, I'm bad at estimating how long things are going to take me and I've been doing this for years.

    2. Are you hoping to learn to program while doing this?
    Would you trust a plumber who knew nothing about plumbing? It's always the best idea to learn the tools and techniques, then use them to do something complex. Nobody ever learned to play guitar by copying Frank Zappa on day 1.

    3. Are you aware of how long it's taken small teams to build FPS games recently?
    Doing research on what works and what doesn't work is always a good idea. The 7dFPS challenge ended very recently, you should really check out how the top games were made and what skills the people who made them had access to before they started. There are also a whole host of indie FPS games being made by small teams (and sometimes single people), you might want to contrast what those games deliver with what AAA FPS titles are like, especially in terms of team size and budget.

    4. Is there any reason that the core "cool thing" about your game (the time travel mechanic doohickey mcwhatsit) absolutely has to be part of an FPS?
    If you can test your game idea as a boardgame or a much smaller 2D game, you can find out if it's even going to be fun and unique before you invest huge amounts of effort and resources into it. Prototyping effectively is one of the key skills of a good game designer.

    5. You've asked about cut scenes. Do you have any experience producing animations at all?
    Animation and game programming are two very different sets of skills. If you're trying to learn both of them at the same time, that could be a sign that you're biting off much more than you can chew because you don't know what you're eating yet.
    Thanked by 1hermantulleken
  • We are both aware if hire long it's going to take. We are both doing a few small projects before we start with our big project. Its not my brother, its a friend. He has experience with 3D animation but I was just asking so that I could figure out whose job it would since he is the lead artist.
  • edited
    Can one be called the "lead" artist if one's on a team consisting of one programmer and one artist? :P
    charly said:
    Just one question: Can I do the cut scenes in Unity or will I need to do it in a 3D animation program?
    It kind of depends on what you want. While you can do animation in Unity, it feels like a quick-fix solution. As an example, you can place "bezier" curves, but you can't actually change how long the handles are, so your control is pretty limited there. (Some things need way more keys to do; others just aren't possible.)

    If it's really simple (gears rotating, doors opening/closing, simple transforms) you can do it in Unity if you want. If it's anything even mildly close to character animation and camera work with pathing, simulation, etc., you're much better off doing it externally.

    On a related note: if your artist's got experience with 3D animation, but not game art, the cutscenes are about the closest thing to offline animation that he'll be able to do. Just about everything else, depending on the art you guys decide on, is going to require him to learn things anew. Offline and real-time rendering are very different. Just about everything needs to be done differently. Modelling, UVs, textures, shaders, rigging, animation (outside of the cutscenes), fx. If you scope your art (direction/theme) down to be really simple, so that minimal UVs and textures are necessary, you can still have a good-looking game, but also minimise the learning curve for both of you. (I'm suggesting something like this.) Alternatively, if you make your game 2D, that throws out the vast majority of the art learning-curve. If he's got art experience, your game will look decent regardless of what happens. But if he doesn't have any game experience, your game may not be able to run (again, depending on the game, scope, etc. If you pick a game theme that has less being rendered all the time, like... no enemies? maybe it's a puzzle FPS like the above link? running it on a decent PC may hide mistakes). And if you don't have the experience working with real time renderers as a programmer, how can your artist learn what he can/cannot put in the game? :)

    tldr: Making games is complicated. Unless you've got experience making them, you're in that horrible situation of not knowing what it is that you don't know. In which case...
    charly said:
    We are both aware if hire long it's going to take"
    ...I don't see how this is possible, but okay.

    I don't want any of this to sound discouraging -- you should definitely just go ahead and start making your game! :) We just want you to be aware of some pitfalls, some things that you may not have thought of, so you don't go ahead and make a massive project, and realise when you're 80% through that: the game's going to take 5 years instead of 6 months, you're frustrated and want to start over with a new Big Project (no!), or worst of all... the game's just not fun. We want you to be able to finish! Everything we're saying is to that end! :)
    Thanked by 1hermantulleken
  • edited
    @charly said: "We are both aware if hire long it's going to take. We are both doing a few small projects before we start with our big project. Its not my brother, its a friend. He has experience with 3D animation but I was just asking so that I could figure out whose job it would since he is the lead artist."

    Then I recommend that you make your small projects as awesome as possible and focus on those, leave the big project as a "one day we'll get to this" type of idea and just build up your skills on "small" stuff first :) Post them here for feedback and tips!

    Note that you'll probably have to downscale a few times in order to do something "small" that you'll actually finish. This happens to everyone, trust me. The basic rule of thumb is that every time you stop working on a project before it's done, make your next project half the size, then slowly start working on larger things only once you've finished something.

    *edit* Apologies for the brother misread, my bad.
  • Just to share a little adage I read a while back on Gama (I wish I could remember the author and exact quote, but here goes.)

    Take your best estimate of how long it will take you to make the game. Times that by three, and you get a rather accurate estimation of how long it will take to make the game

    -Producer X
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