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December 21, 2014, 07:29:38 PM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessAn idea - super easy game creation system
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rivon
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« on: November 20, 2012, 01:43:04 PM »

Hey guys, I have this idea about a game creation system/framework/engine which I plan to develop in the near future (I'm working on the systems architecture right now) and I'd like to hear your opinions (especially about it's possibility of success).

At some time in your life, you probably had an awesome game idea but you somehow weren't able to make it a reality. And you thought that it would be very nice if you could think about something and just transfer the idea into the computer. Unfortunately, that's not possible right now but my "engine" aims to get as close to this as possible.

The main advantage over every other engine/gamemaker etc. is that you won't have to program absolutely anything (you will have the possibility in some instances but it absolutely won't be neccessary). This is achieved by the fact that this system won't be capable of creating any kind of game. Instead it will be aimed at one specific genre. For the first one, I thought that shmups would be a good start. If it was successful, I would also make a platformer edition and some other ones.

The process of creation (for a shmup) would look like this:
name the project, select graphical style (pixel art+nearest pixel scaling, normal art+no scaling - just bigger viewpoint, few different sizes of art + viewpoint resizing etc.) and then the creation part:
- import static images, frame-by-frame animations, sounds, music etc.
- create ships from the images and animations
- create attacks (which projectiles to fire, how many, what sound to make when fired, their speed, effect on impact...)
- create usable weapons - their price if bought, icons, link them with attacks...
- select behaviours for the enemy ships (how to move, what attacks to use, when and how often...) from many premade ones, possible to program your own
- create levels - parallax backgrounds, which ships to spawn and when, probably add some collidable environment, triggers...
- edit the various game screens - main menu (bg, font, colors, menu options etc.), options screen, level select screen if used (again, the whole look of it will be easily customizable) or level transition screen, credits screen (add entries, choose how they appear - scrolling up, fading in/out etc.), the ingame screen (HUD etc.)
- edit the score system etc.

You will be able to do all the stuff in any order of course.
There will be many premade ship behaviours to select from (and the possibility to download new ones from the web programmed by other users), attacks, ships, some free to use images and animations, sounds and music etc. so that you can start prototyping right from the start.
There will also be offline step-by-step tutorials accessible right from the application (no need to open your browser).

And one other feature differentiating this from GameMaker, Construct, MMF, Unity etc. will be a beautiful interface. All the other gamemaking apps have the typical computer app interface composed of windows, toolbars etc. which is ugly and isn't really super intuitive, especially for beginner users (it's more aimed at programmers and other power users). I want to make the interface as simple and intuitive as Windows Phone/iOS so that it will be a pleasure to use and look at (I already did some mockups inspired by WP7 interface).

And when you finish you will be able to "build" the game with just one-click for Windows, Linux and in the future even for Mac. And as the engine will be all premade (the behaviours will be scripted), you won't have to switch between OSes when "building", so from Windows you will be able to export not only the Windows build but also both 32b and 64b Linux and Mac version. Vice versa with Linux and Mac. In this way, you can work all the time from your favorite OS and you don't even need the other ones.


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So, what do you think? Does this have a chance to success? Are there many people creating shmups?

I think that it could be quite popular but I don't really know the shmup community.
I would of course rather make the platformer/metroidvania version but that would be much harder so I aim to make the shmup version first and if it proves to be successful, make the other versions.
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moi
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 01:47:55 PM »

This is more or less what IG Maker is doing, and their program isn't very interesting becasue although they have many patterns and options the results still appears rather limited.
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Ryland
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 01:54:29 PM »

I think it could get popular. This seems very popular for making shmups, and it's pretty much just a level editor. The only problem I see is that a game creation system for such a specific purpose is bound to produce many of the same games with minor differences (besides graphics.) I say go for it, though. Smiley
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rivon
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 02:07:27 PM »

moi: Oh well, I'm fucked... Though the IG Maker has exactly the ugly interface I'm talking about.
I think that my "engine" (as I imagine it) is still much much easier to use than this though and that is because it's not so generic.

Are there any sales numbers of the IG Maker and similar apps? Or is my idea useless?
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eigenbom
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 03:16:10 PM »

I spent countless hours using SEUCK as a kid, and I always thought that this kind of specialised app for the ipad would be sweet.
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rivon
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 03:20:39 PM »

You know, I'm asking because if I went and worked on it hard, it would still take a few months and I don't even have time to work on it full time. I don't want to sink in it a year to get just a few sales.
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eigenbom
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 03:57:14 PM »

well yeah, it'd be a risk like most things, you'd have to do a bunch of research, e.g., go into the shmup communities and see if they'd be interested. personally I think making a cross-platform tool like that would be pointless, especially considering there are other tools like unity that would already have shmup templates etc, and loads of tutorials. so in that case, it would have to be a very cheap tool that satisfied a specific niche very well.

I can sort of imagine sitting on the couch with my ipad within an environment that lets me sketch sprites, add enemy behaviours, layout levels, etc., although i think the main audience would be people half my age. Especially if the app came with some awesome games already that you could mod.
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eigenbom
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 04:04:19 PM »

and you could also release 'content packs' for in-app purchases..
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Polly
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 04:22:21 PM »

Check out Dezaemon 2, it used to be (?) the best make-your-own-shmup software available. No idea how well it sold though.

+ Here is a video montage showing over a 100 games made with it.
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moi
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 08:16:02 PM »

I have already talked about this a long time ago, but noone paid attention, but IMHO, the best thing that could be done would be a file format.
Something like word ".doc" or adobe ".PDF" ,but instead of describing a document it would describe a game in simple terms.
Then every coder could write their own implementation and (hopefully) game maker programs (Gm, construct, etc...) would propose their own implementations via plugins or decoder for the format.

The main idea would be to separate the implementatin from the description.
Someone would be able to describe their game using notepad for example (or a more complex, visual  editor) using simple concepts, and take the descriptive file and implement their own engine or insert it in an existing engine.

that doesn't sound very obvious at first but the more I thought about this, the more I started to think it would be the game making graal.
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2012, 12:24:19 AM »

A simple content creation system is what everyone seems to want to create, but few decently successful attempts exist. As moi says, "the game making graal."

You bring up a very important point yourself, "At some time in your life, you probably had an awesome game idea". That is very true, but that is also the biggest problem. The greatest game ideas are unique, innovative, take a spin on existing concepts, add a personal touch, etc. In other words, they don't fall into a certain template and no game creation system can translate them into reality (yet). At some point you will have to stop because the answer to "how do I do this?" will be "sorry, you cannot do that here.

The difference between a game creation system and straight-up programming is that you have to ask "what can the system do?" instead of "what can't the system do?", if you get me.
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motorherp
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2012, 02:48:44 AM »

So, what do you think? Does this have a chance to success? Are there many people creating shmups?

Personally I think this is a great idea, I spent a lot of time when I was younger messing with the "Shoot-em-up Construction Kit", but then again I'm super bias since I'm a massive shmup enthusiast.

I think the biggest problem you'll have now is that the shmup scene is a lot different now as to when the SEUCK was a hit.  Shmups are no longer main-stream with generic appeal but have become a very niche genre.  As a result the popular games have evolved more and more intracacies and layers of complexity to appeal to the remaining hardcore fans (kinda like what's happened to fighting games too).  Therefore I think if you wanted to create a tool to appeal to the shmup community it would have to be a lot more sophisticated than the likes of SEUCK was.  You'd also be going up against Danmakufu which has pretty much cornered this market so you'd at least have to offer the same feature set and creation possibilities as this which has fairly indepth bullet pattern scripting and such.

I've got a fair few posts on the old shmup-dev about what makes modern shmups tick which I might be able to dig up if you wanted to learn more about the current state of the shmup scene, or just feel free to ask me anything.
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rivon
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2012, 07:06:39 AM »

motorherp: That sounds like it might be an impossible/very hard goal then.

Do you guys have any idea in what genre this system might be popular?

I have already talked about this a long time ago, but noone paid attention, but IMHO, the best thing that could be done would be a file format.
Something like word ".doc" or adobe ".PDF" ,but instead of describing a document it would describe a game in simple terms.
Then every coder could write their own implementation and (hopefully) game maker programs (Gm, construct, etc...) would propose their own implementations via plugins or decoder for the format.

The main idea would be to separate the implementatin from the description.
Someone would be able to describe their game using notepad for example (or a more complex, visual  editor) using simple concepts, and take the descriptive file and implement their own engine or insert it in an existing engine.
This sounds nice but I somehow can't imagine how the file format would look. Do you have any example or "design doc" about it?
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Polly
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2012, 08:33:07 AM »

This sounds nice but I somehow can't imagine how the file format would look. Do you have any example or "design doc" about it?

He's basically suggestion a open specification / format for a engine project file. Most engines ( such as Unity and Game Maker ) use a closed format, while for example ZGameEditor uses a open ( XML-based ) format. That way it's possible for programmers to write editors / tools that are compatible with each other.

It's a great idea .. but i suspect agreeing upon a single spec ( and getting widespread support ) will be a challenge Wink
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motorherp
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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2012, 08:34:07 AM »

motorherp: That sounds like it might be an impossible/very hard goal then.

Well I wouldn't say impossible, just that if you specificaly wanted to target the shmup community then a remake of SEUCK probably wont cut it anymore.  At the very least you'd need to include some kind of bullet scripting engine to make these people happy.  I've no idea what the market for a tool aimed at people who aren't big fans but occasionally like to dabble with simpler shmups might be?  Could be worth it.
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Muz
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2012, 09:29:17 AM »

Idk, this would just create a bunch of really generic stuff, like with RPGMaker. It works with RPGM because RPGs are all about story, but why would I want a shmup that looks and plays the same as any other? What makes it special?

Or you can simply grab something like Game Maker or Construct and actually just build an engine that lets you drag and drop stuff in. But it would probably be easier to just make a really good shmup from scratch within Construct, and just drop in some parallax animation engines and stuff.
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rivon
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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2012, 10:14:16 AM »

Idk, this would just create a bunch of really generic stuff, like with RPGMaker. It works with RPGM because RPGs are all about story, but why would I want a shmup that looks and plays the same as any other? What makes it special?

Or you can simply grab something like Game Maker or Construct and actually just build an engine that lets you drag and drop stuff in. But it would probably be easier to just make a really good shmup from scratch within Construct, and just drop in some parallax animation engines and stuff.
The thing is, you're supposed to put your own art in the game, tweak the effects, speeds, patterns/behaviours of the ships etc. It's not like you buy this system, hit Create Shmup!, wait a few seconds and then sell the resulting .zip file...

He's basically suggestion a open specification / format for a engine project file. Most engines ( such as Unity and Game Maker ) use a closed format, while for example ZGameEditor uses a open ( XML-based ) format. That way it's possible for programmers to write editors / tools that are compatible with each other.
No, that's not what he's talking about. All the art stuff today is already portable and the programming will never be portable (as long as the engines use different programming languages and have different APIs, which is probable).

moi is talking about this (probably a bit more complex though):
Code:
name: SuperCool Game
genre: 3D FPS
style: neo-noir scifi dystopia
main protagonist: a man in his thirties, always wearing a suit...
gameplay locations: desert, the capital, underwater city, space station
the main themes: exploration, revenge, detective work...
Now you put this in your engine of choice and it puts out your dream game Smiley
Or at least that's how I understood it.
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motorherp
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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2012, 11:21:37 AM »

Code:
name: SuperCool Game
genre: 3D FPS
style: neo-noir scifi dystopia
main protagonist: a man in his thirties, always wearing a suit...
gameplay locations: desert, the capital, underwater city, space station
the main themes: exploration, revenge, detective work...
Now you put this in your engine of choice and it puts out your dream game Smiley
Or at least that's how I understood it.

Sounds like you're programming the holodeck on startrek  Tongue
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Gimym JIMBERT
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« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2012, 12:34:40 PM »

Code:
name: SuperCool Game
genre: 3D FPS
style: neo-noir scifi dystopia
main protagonist: a man in his thirties, always wearing a suit...
gameplay locations: desert, the capital, underwater city, space station
the main themes: exploration, revenge, detective work...
Now you put this in your engine of choice and it puts out your dream game Smiley
Or at least that's how I understood it.

Sounds like you're programming the holodeck on startrek  Tongue

That might slightly possible, limited, but a fun experiment to do with procedural generation. Genre have definite structure, so has human, okay themes would be hard to pull. Clunky game generator for the wins?
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motorherp
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« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2012, 12:53:36 PM »

Do you guys have any idea in what genre this system might be popular?

Was just thinking about this and what about small game genres?  These have a more rigid structure and small games would suit an easy creation tool.  For example of the top of my head:

  • Infinate runners
  • Tower defence
  • Breakout
  • Artillery strategy (Worms etc)

Or given that RPG Maker has some success due to RPG's being mostly story driven like Muz pointed out, what about a classic point and click adventure maker (Monkey Island etc) or a first person dungeon explorer RPG maker (Eye of the Beholder etc)?
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