I woke up today a bit early. I put on my headphones and started listening music and browsing internet. The sun was rising. I just had to take this picture with my phone and share it with you. But let’s get to today’s subject. Have you always dreamed of making your own game? Well, I have.
It started with playing games as a kid. As I grew older I started to get a sense of what gaming really was. I wanted to make a game. I was also fascinated with designing websites. While I was studying in high school I started to think about my future and what I would want to study after it. I though a lot about trying to study something that required creativity. I was also a decent math student. Finally I decided to go for math and physics instead of studying art.
My life has been a one big trip. I finally got to studying computer science in 2010. Since I started I had a dream of some day developing a game or at least a nice looking dynamic website. Things didn’t actually go that way. After graduating I found out how hard it was to get a job in the field. However I did program a game. It was text based adventure game.
This wasn’t the kind of game I had dreamed of making. The game I imagined was graphical adventure game that had discussions, small puzzles, some kinds of graphics and lots of interactivity. I wanted to create something special. I lacked skills in creating graphics and programming.
So designing games hasn’t been the job that would fit me perfectly. But maybe that’s why you dream. You can imagine what you might some day achieve. Just remember that it’s hard work to learn something so deeply. And before you try your hand in programming just remember that it’s hard to get into. But if you are really talented just go ahead. I know some very talented programmers that have made it. And keep dreaming even if you achieve your goals. There are so many different ways for a person to develop himself or herself.
There are many different views to video games. In my opinion by playing them you learn different things about the world itself but you also learn how games are played, structured and what are the rules inside it. You can also take a psychological view of what the game is trying tell you. What is the plot and what are the developers main points or what is the games message. You can also analyze the game – what are the rules and how do you proceed in this game. Some games ask for the player to make decisions that effect to what happens and how do other characters react to this. When I think about this one particular game comes to mind. That’s the first Fallout.
Some players are happy to just play and play and keep playing and enjoying these video games without learning things about the world around us. I think that’s okay. Not everyone has to be a scientist or go to university. It’s just my own habit and my personality that drives me to think about things a little bit deeper. At times I find myself reading books, skimming through texts that I find online and just having a conversation with someone at social media for example. I enjoy this a lot. I think your brain is your greatest weapon and it is even greater than a loaded handgun.
There is also a technical view to gaming and games. After I spent years learning programming I found how the logical part of games is constructed. I am happy that I graduated and even though I didn’t finally get a job as a programmer I learned many interesting facts about computers and technology. That was combined to my earlier experiences about playing video games. Now, I am not a hardcore coder. I know the basics. Still this little knowledge opens a door to understanding a lot about video games.
You basically have content that reacts to users actions. You get points by doing something. As Sonic you collect rings. As Mario you jump on enemies. These points are actually variables. When Mario jumps, or we can say that you push the button, this action triggers a function that defines how high the jump is and usually it also records how long did you press the button and did you press any other directional buttons. When Mario lands on an enemy there is another function triggered. Have you ever wondered how on earth can a game save of for example Fallout 4 fit in to so small space? This is because for the game to be saved you only need some statistical information, some variables, that have all the necessary information inside them. So it all makes sense, finally.
There are many ways to analyze games. You can view them as entertainment, learning tool, hobby, profession (maybe), subject of any kind of science and so on. You can also think what goes on in the game and what is the atmosphere like. If you want to learn more about games and maybe willing to learn how to make games I can tell you that you should first start programming some way. You can try to get to some good school to learn things out. That’s the route that I took. After you have learned basics you can advance to a tool, usually a framework, that you can build your game on. Good tools to learn are Unity, Stencyl and Phaser. And remember that programming is only the logic part of games. To make a game you need also to create all the 3D models, story, textures and music with some sound effects. It takes a lot to make a full game. Some just have what it takes and…well, some just don’t. Try to be patient. If your first game, or the prototype of your first game is awful, don’t give up. Just keep thinking, designing and learning. That’s also how you can grow as a person.
Object oriented thinking is a way of modelling real world. Objects have attributes and methods. Attributes are variables. There are different kinds of variables and they always have a type. Different types can be, for example, integer, float, double, string and character. I am talking about Java now which is very good programming language for explaining object oriented thinking. Methods are functions of the object.
So different object can have values, such as Person would have height, weight, age and name. Height, weight and age can be numbers and name is a string or combination of characters. For a role playing game you could a Monster that has values like strength and chance to hit for determining if player is hit and how much damage does the player get.
When there’s types of enemies in our little game they have these basic abilities. So we must create instances of classes to generate more enemies that are of the same type. There are many enemies of a type, for example “ghost” or “zombie”. Player can also have abilities like health, armor class and so on. We can build worlds in thinking like this.
To build a game you need many other things than just object oriented programming. You need textures, 3d-models, sounds, music. and logic for the game to exist. So you can begin programming with Java but you must understand that it is a tool that can be used to create something. Plain Java doesn’t do so much. I have programmed a text adventure game. I still think it’s not a full game. It’s more like piece of code that gives you some output for your input. If you are interested in creating games, rather than playing them, I think you should sharpen your skills inside Blender, Unity and graphics design. And these aren’t only tools there can be.