Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

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Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby RonnieNeeley » August 7th, 2010, 2:29 pm

Hello all, my name is Ronnie Vincent Neeley, and I am here today to give you all some tips on creating a game. All of these "lessons" I have learned from experience. I am in the process of making an MMORPG. These tips are for those seeking to create a large game. If you are new to Sandbox, feel free to read this, but keep in mind I am not speaking about every game.

Don't think you have to follow these tips, they are merely suggestions. Don't be afraid to experiment. Don't think you have to create the ultimate game, however, that is the goal.

Also, you will find that there are many interlocking themes within this document. Those being organization, responsibility, maturity, and communication, among other things. If you do not have those, then you do not have what it takes to make a video game.

Part 1 :: Planning

First of all, before you even open Sandbox, think about what kind of game you want to make. Will it be an FPS (First Person Shooter), an RPG (Role Playing Game), SSP (Side Scrolling Platformer), RTS (Real Time Strategy), or just a Social Game? Deciding what type of game you will make greatly influences what maps you will make, what models need to be made, and what it is you will be thinking about as far as how your game will work.

Whatever type of game you chose, think about how the game will be played first. Going headfirst into game design (and anything else) without pre-planning is the worst thing you could do. With Project TS, Daniel and I talked 18 months straight about what we wanted to do. Just jumping into a situation usually ends up with you acting on impulse and making poor decisions. You make maps you think will work, and once you finally get the full idea, you realize your maps don't fit into the game and you wasted your time, time that could have been spent on maps you will actually use.

Cover every aspect of the game. Write it all down. Think of English (or whichever language you are fluent in) as a coding language. The more you plan, the easier (and quicker) the game is to actually make. Professional games take years to plan, so there is no reason your game should only take a day of planning.

Write down all of your ideas. Write down the overview, how things will work, etc. And a huge rule: Organization. Make sure everything is easy to find.

Here are some screenshots from Dan's FlashDrive (which needs to be re-organized by the way.)
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I understand planning can be "boring", but believe me, you will thank yourself later.

Also, make sure to constantly revise your plans. Don't like how something works? Change it. They are only words at this point.

Once you have a majority of the game planned, you may realize you no longer feel so trapped within the game, or so claustrophobic. A weight has been lifted from your shoulders; instead of not knowing what you are doing, it is just a matter of reading down the list.

--Refine your Idea
Until you are 100% satisfied with your idea, I wouldn't suggest you tell anyone about it, and I definitely don't suggest you start work on it. Keep working at it until you have the perfect idea.

My main suggestion is: Make something new. Do something that has not been done before.

What would you like to play?

If you wouldn't play the game you intend to make, no one else will either. Make something you like and you are proud of.

Do not create something that has been done 100 times over. Don't make "Generic FPS: True Blood: Revenge 3 Online". There are only 2 ways to make a stunning FPS game: Insane Graphics/Maps/Physics, or good ideas. Now, I don't know about you, but good ideas are easier to come up with than insane graphics/maps/physics. Look at WolfTeam. Yes, the game doesn't have great graphics/maps/physics, but it is innovative: you can turn into a wolf and fight with people. If Wolfteam did not have the wolf feature, let me tell you, the community would be a quarter of what it is now.

Look at the game Stronghold Crusader. The game came out almost 10 years ago, but more people are playing that than the newer Stronghold games with nice graphics. And the community that does exist, is very very strong. The game obviously has bad graphics, but the game itself is amazing. That is why people still play it. Graphics are made better and better every year, good ideas last forever.

People want something new, something fresh. The video game community is fickle, if you don't do something great, sadly, there is no point in doing anything at all.

We are blessed to have the Cube 2 Engine, which possesses beautiful graphics, and rather easy networking features. However, you still need the good idea, something that takes months of planning.

Part 2 :: Teams

Making a game alone is a near-impossible task. Everything that needs to be done is up to you, this will only decrease your morale until you want nothing to do with the project. Having atleast 1 other person working with you can make a world of difference to the game, as well as to your enthusiasm. If I had to make Project TS by myself, I would have quit months ago. But, having that 1 other person with me not only gives the game new ideas I would not have thought of, but corrects my ideas. I am now not in charge of every possible detail of the game. The workload is split in two. I can focus in the areas I am strong in, while my partner can use his expertise to increase the game even more.

--Checks and Balances
We cannot be good at everything. I can manage coding, but I would prefer to stay away from it. Vikadin on the other hand, is much more mathematical than I am. Vikadin can manage a chord, but I have more experience in music than he does.

--Splitting the Load
There is twice as much work being made on the game. I can go to bed with a map half complete, and wake up to find Vikadin has completed it. Because of this, there is not as much pressure on me, and I am more enthused to work on the project.

--Compromising
Having a partner (or partners) is not all positive. The more people that join your cause of making the World's Best Video Game, the less creative control you have. I am lucky to have a like-minded friend who I have practically grown up with to make a game with, so we really only quarrel when it comes to small things, but some people don't always share the same ideas as you.

If you want to work with a partner, you need to compromise. Also, you now have a different kind of responsibility. You have an obligation to put it as much work as your partner. It is not fair for them to do a majority of the work while you sit around. Your partner probably won't expect you to work every waking moment on the game, but your neglect may cause them to leave the cause, and you may end up alone.

The most important part when it comes to team work is communication. Talk about the game with your friend, it may take you to places and ideas you would have never dreamed of. Let your partner know your expectations for the game. Listen to theirs. The more you talk with the person, the less road blocks you will find in your way. If you do not talk with them, you may find out they had an entirely different image for the game than you did, and your game could never come to exist.

--Picking a good Team(mate)
First of all, look for people you like. If you think someone is annoying, but they are a good coder, I would probably stay away from them, because you will have to deal with them for a long time.

Try and pick people who do different things than you. If you are a map maker, try not to find 5 other map makers. Yes, having other input is fine, but a game with 5 map makers and no coders isn't a game.

Pick people who are trustworthy. Make sure they will not take all your hard work and pass it off as their own.

Basically, try and find people who are easy to work with, and good communicators. If you can hardly understand them, I wouldn't suggest them being your first pick.

Also, look at their track record. Have they ever completed a game (or anything, for that matter) in their life? If all you see is a string of forum threads in the Work In Progress section with a paragraph each, chances are they are game hoppers; people who just like the idea of making a game, but don't actually like completing one. However, don't let a failed attempt turn you off to them, perhaps you are the person they need to help complete a game.

Let them show you their skills. Don't promise them a position just because they told you they are good map makers. Examine their work. I didn't become the Music Designer of Project TS because I told Vikadin I can make music; he has seen me play, and heard my work. He knows I am capable of the job. If someone offers to be a mapper, look at their maps. If their work is basic and half complete, perhaps you should have them make a demo map for you, and let them know what you are expecting. If they still can't pull through...

...Learn to say no. Yes, hurting others' feelings is hard, but if you want your game to turn out decent, you can't accept everything. However, just because you don't like the way someone did something doesn't mean you can't encourage them. "It is nice, but not what we are looking for." will do. Don't burn the bridge. By this, I mean, don't ruin potential relationships. If someone turns in a map I don't like, I try and tell them nicely that I appreciate it, but don't need it. This way, if I find out they are a great modeler, they will still want to work with me. If I tell them "You are a terrible mapper, leave me alone", and find out he is a great modeler, chances are he won't want anything to do with me.

Part 3 :: Media

Hands down the best part about making a game is talking about it. Making the websites, making the forums, having a product to push. However, all of this is meaningless if you do not have a product in the first place.

Many people get too caught up in the websites and the communities. Those are the last things on Project TS staff minds. We are focused on the game; the product. However, I find many people who, as soon as they develop a rough idea for a game, create a website and focus all their time on making it look nice. Nice websites are fine, but the more you focus on other things, the less attention is put onto the game.

You may not have noticed, but Project TS is picking up momentum on the forums, yet we still have no website. No forums.

From my experience, jumping to websites and forums for your game too quickly only puts pressure on you. As of right now, there are really no expectations for Project TS. If we disbanded the project tomorrow, all it would have to show (online) is the thread on this forum, and a few videos. That is it. And because of that, there is no pressure. Every time Vikadin and I make a change to the game, we don't have to update anyone. This gives us far more time to focus on the game itself.

Yes, we try and keep people updated, but we try and only convey results. Not plans. Promising people things only increases the weight of the project.

Don't get caught up in other (game related) things. Don't focus on your website. Don't focus on your forums. Focus on your game. Don't worry about advertising for something that doesn't exist yet, because the more people that know about it, the more people you have to deal with asking questions, and having to keep updated, ultimately taking your valuable time from the game.

I enjoy showing you guys things I have done, not things I plan to do, because ideas change as quickly as the weather, and promising people too many things that you cannot pull through with makes you, and your project, look bad.

Part 4 :: Act Professional

Chances are, you are taking this seriously because I am acting professional. I am not typing "liek dis s0 u kan red my ting and u get rly sm@rtr :))))) :D D :D :)!!!111 :D :? 8-) :twisted: :cry: :roll: ".

Until your game comes out, you are all that represents your game. If you act professional, more people will take you, and your game, seriously.

I understand not everyone here uses English as their native language, however, that doesn't mean you can't double check your posts. Get out a translation dictionary. Try and perfect your grammar as much as possible. This goes for everyone. If someone cannot even spell their native language properly, how am I supposed to expect you to make a game, let alone a game worth playing? Honestly, I cannot.

I have to say, I judge people a lot based on their grammar. If I cannot take your grammar seriously, I cannot take you seriously. If I said: "projectts is a new game by me and vikadin and it feashures medaval combat and a huge world u can xplore and meet new frends in and u can do qusts and battle and get wepons and armur and we r making it now so ya it will be awesome", chances are NOBODY would give a hoot about the game.
(If you are thinking, "What was wrong with that post", please, get off this page and go to an English class.)

I'm not expecting everyone to be champion writers, I am far from it, but please, have your posts suggest you took more than 3 seconds on a thought.

______________________________________________________________________

That is it for now. I will update this throughout the following days, mostly organizing it better. Anyways, if anyone has anything they think I should add, feel free to tell me, I'm open to suggestions.
Last edited by RonnieNeeley on September 25th, 2011, 10:03 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby PizzaLover101 » August 7th, 2010, 2:54 pm

Erm....................
My game has absolutely no planning and I use the forum people as beta testers.............
Project 1: Da Chest Collector [TBD]
Project 2: Tis a secret [End of summer] announcement June 22 2011
Project 3: An even bigger secret!

http://pizzagametime.tk/
http://forums.pizzagametime.tk/

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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby RonnieNeeley » August 7th, 2010, 2:55 pm

Well (no offense), but I assume it isn't very complex.

Yes, you can make something simple without planning, but I'm talking from experience in this thread. In order to create something massive like Project TS, it requires a lot of planning.
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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby PizzaLover101 » August 7th, 2010, 3:30 pm

yeah, mine is just a tutorial on how to move and stuff, then a map with paths and at the end of each path there is a little thing that asks if you want to go to a map, you go, you find a chest, you come back, you do it again until you do it all, then you go to the next big map
Project 1: Da Chest Collector [TBD]
Project 2: Tis a secret [End of summer] announcement June 22 2011
Project 3: An even bigger secret!

http://pizzagametime.tk/
http://forums.pizzagametime.tk/

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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby RonnieNeeley » August 7th, 2010, 3:32 pm

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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby PizzaLover101 » August 7th, 2010, 5:43 pm

yeah, I am working on a click here to start file that will work and a title screen
Project 1: Da Chest Collector [TBD]
Project 2: Tis a secret [End of summer] announcement June 22 2011
Project 3: An even bigger secret!

http://pizzagametime.tk/
http://forums.pizzagametime.tk/

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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby InHumanUnit » August 7th, 2010, 5:58 pm

I just have one question:You're name is Vincent?
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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby PizzaLover101 » August 7th, 2010, 6:53 pm

Who's...............it says it right there.......................
Project 1: Da Chest Collector [TBD]
Project 2: Tis a secret [End of summer] announcement June 22 2011
Project 3: An even bigger secret!

http://pizzagametime.tk/
http://forums.pizzagametime.tk/

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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby RonnieNeeley » August 8th, 2010, 9:25 am

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Re: Ronnie's Tips on Creating a Game

Postby siimvuss » August 8th, 2010, 9:43 am

what I want to say is:
@Ronnie
What you wrote so far is mostly good... Except for the part that you will have to plan 100% of stuff before you start making anything... You should plan most of the stuff, but best ideas always come while development IOW when you are making something. That´s why I would recommend to plan most, but not into all fine details and If sb comes up with a great idea while in development consider it.
Also, What I would add to Ronnie´s list of tips is: I don´t recommend deciding things yourself, instead you should read what criticism people give you and if it is reasonable, then do sth to make it better, also if you don´t listen to what people say and think of everything yourself: "I think it is a good idea, then it is a good idea" is not they way you should go.
@other people
Why is it that all of the topics become some pointless chat (SPAM!!)? Ronnie makes a good tips page and wants to hear some constructive criticism, but you start to talk about pointless stuff in the topic, and if sb does give a good answer no-one will find it, because it is hidden in spam.


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