Saturday, September 26, 2009

Growing Skills: Overview

If you are new to the gaming industry as am I, you will have to grow some skills. If you are lucky enough to have a partner then you can divvy up the work load. Fortunately RemixedCat is a graphics artist and handles making all of my textures.

3D modeling is where I started. I whipped out Wings3D and started playing around, messing with all of the menus and options. It takes a wile to get good at 3D modeling but its a lot of fun. I started with a lot of simple objects that I can still use in my game such as plates, cups, tables, and dressers.

Once you have some models made you will need to learn how to texture them. There are a couple ways to do it but getting it right can take longer than making the model itself if you are new to it. RemixedCat spent a lot of time making textures for me to use. Mostly stuff for buildings and terrain though. Most of them are cut right out of pictures of objects and then processed to make them seamless. We had to make sure our source images were open source or free to use, this avoids any later legal trouble.

I had to come up with a good game idea and fun game play. I borrowed a few themes and elements from some of my favorite Super Nintendo games and computer games and mashed them together to make a unique idea for an RPG. It won't be anything like Oblivion though, more like a less linear final fantasy game with real time game play and attacks. Play Hinterland for a general idea of the attack system, extra party members included.

Screenshot of Hinterland

The story line can take a wile to come up with too. The general theme for Lost Kingdoms is an invading army takes over the country you live in. You help the king escape and take asylum in a neighboring country. Most of the game you will be trying to help the king get the country back, too bad he is more like Gandhi than Genghis Khan. Once you have a setting and general idea of where your game is going it is a lot easier to make content for it.

Programing your game can be easy if you know exactly what you want in it. It can be imposable if you have not learned how to program however. I suggest grabbing a good book or two about the language your engine was written in and read them over. Afterwards its easy to learn from looking at the engines example programs. IRRLICHT has a good number of well documented examples to get you started with. Just don't forget to read the API documentation if you don't know how to use something.

It took me a wile to acquire all of these skills but I took them one at a time. As with any skill, they will improve with use. There is a lot of assets to make before the game is done. I only have a hill of them done, and I need a mountain!