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Newcomers DBPro Corner / Making games

The flying babel fish
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Joined: 13th Oct 2002
Posted: 13th Oct 2002 19:36
I want to make games but i have no idea where to start. Do i start with the characters or the levels or what? Also where should i go from there
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Joined: 27th Sep 2002
Location: Australia
Posted: 13th Oct 2002 19:56
Generally, start by picking what sort of game you're going to have, then pick what sort of model you want to have as a level (eg .x, BSP, matrix, etc.) and designing a quick test ground in that level format. Then, using just a cube for the player, design the controls and physics. Later on, move to a more complex test level and add enemies and some special effects. Lastly, design good models for the players, and proper levels.

System Specs: AMD Athlon 1700+ XP, GA-7VRX motherboard, 128MB DDR RAM, GeForce2 MX400 64MB VRAM
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Joined: 2nd Oct 2002
Location: United States
Posted: 14th Oct 2002 02:10
my curret first person shooter agenda is:
how to build level (make simple example)
character physics (straffing, jumping, mouselook...)
make the weapon particles/explosions
texture the particles/explosions
make guns/texture guns
make level/texture level
add multiplayer concepts
beta test
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Joined: 13th Oct 2002
Posted: 14th Oct 2002 02:55
This is a bit from my web site about for newbies hope this gives you a starting point..

Actually making a positive start, beginners guide!

As I am still going to collage and studying programming at home myself, I know from working with people who are learning a new programming language from scratch that sometimes they have trouble knowing were to start when they want to get stuck in and write their first full program. They have idea's but never get things off the ground.

They either try to accomplish more in the program than their abilities allow, or they try to hard to cram all the programming languages syntax in one sitting. Either way they never end up making a start.
This is no 'tech yourself Dark Basic' file and it has no code examples, this is just a little idea on how to go about ACTUALLY starting from scratch with no clue as what to do first.

OK so you have brought Dark Basic because you really want to make that blockbuster monster hit you have had in your brain for the past 2 years, thing is, you have never made a game before, or at least not one that was any good. So were do you start?

The key to starting is to forget everything....

What is the first thing you need to do to make a start on writing your first program?
Game design? Concept? Psudocode? Drawing all the cool images your game will have? If you are busting to get that game done, but don't really know were to start, and on top of that you still don't know what half the commands do in DB then try this approach.


Forget about that kick ass game, forget about thinking of a game to start with, forget about making cool graphics, sounds and even forget about loops, variables, subroutines and Boolean expressions. Forget about the fact you want to make a game. Forget about them all, they are not important right now.

Now you need to create......

The major plus I find with Dark Basic is that in just 3 or 4 lines of code you can have a fully working landscape, so that's where you need to start first.
Without thinking of any game ideas, start learning the commands for the MATRIX. (A 3D landscape) it's all in the help files inside Dark Basic with plenty of examples, if they are no help then try taking a look at my step-by-step guide.
Ignore all the...'IF, THEN, DO, REM, WHILE' Statements and what they are doing in the example codes, just make a simple matrix, texture it, give it a few bumps and learn any other command lines directly related to matrix.
The commands you are looking at are.
MAKE MATRIX, PREPARE MATRIX, RANDOMIZE MATRIX, POSITION MATRIX. There are a few others but these are all you need to know for now.
NOTE: To texture a matrix you will first need to load a Bitmap image into DB, this is shown in the Matrix example code.

Now for the Camera...

Once when you have done that, move on to the CAMERA commands, and again using the help files work out how to position and point the camera. Again we are not interested in the fancy extra code that goes with the full example, just the command lines to set up the camera in the scene and point it, raise it and move it.

The commands you are looking for are.

Again there are other camera commands but just learn these ones for now, they are all in the Dark Basic help files or at my step-by-step guide.
Ok now we have a landscape that's textured and raised in parts to look like rolling hills or mountains.

Objects, a world without objects is no world at all.

OK now you have got both the MATRIX and CAMERA commands understood now move onto the OBJECT commands, the commands to place objects inside your 3D landscape. Again just learn the facts, not all the wonderful spinney, bouncy, explodey routines, just the command lines that grab an object and slap it on to the matrix you made. Learn to move it, raise it and understand how to put it anywhere within your Matrix. At this point we are still NOT thinking of ANY high tech wonderful game you may have in mind and we still are not thinking about graphics or making our own 3D objects, all the textures and objects you use in learning these commands take them from the DB files. Don't waist time trying to make your own; we are just getting to understand the basics here.
The commands you are looking for are.

There are allot more OBJECT commands but these are enough for now.

After create comes manipulate.

Ok, now we have a 3D world, textured and raised like real terrain, we have a camera pointing at the scene and a object (from the DB library, could be a plane, boat or a table) sitting somewhere in the world. You know how to move the camera and the objects but you now need to know how to move them by using the keystrokes or mouse clicks.
This is easy; it is all in the examples inside Dark Basic or take a look at my step-by step guide.
It all comes down to just 1 line of code for each control key.
E.G. IF SHIFTKEY()=1 THEN (whatever you want it to do)
But that's all you want to know, just the IF UPKEY or the IF DOWNKEY ETC commands forget the rest of the code inside the examples.

Now we are really cooking, things are starting to come along nicely, don't you just love Dark Basic?

Now, we really need to hit something.

The final thing you need to know is the collision command, how to make the object bump into things and stop instead of going straight though. Again its all in there, just go though help and find out its only a line or 2 of code.
The command lines you are looking for are.
SET OBJECT COLLISION and that's it nothing else.
THAT'S ALL FOLKS That is it, that is all the code you need to cram into your brain for now, there is no point in trying to learn lots of other stuff because you will not need it just yet.

OK you now know how to create a world in which you can put things in, change camera views and move objects around under your key control and add code so they stop if they bump into other objects. Now isn't that the MAIN building blocks for just about EVERY game there is? YES, and how many lines of code do you know? Just a hand full.

OK, Now Forget what I said.

Now you can forget what I said about not giving any thought to an idea for a game, now you NEED to have a game idea.
Not your super blockbuster, going to give EDIOS a run for their money idea, Just a simple game. Something that you can EXPAND on as you go further but nothing in to much depth.

You NEED to have a game idea now because you require something to give you ideas and problems that you need to solve. As you start to develop the game you will slowly learn more commands as you go, but already you have enough to make your world and fill it with something that will resemble your plans.
Your game idea should be really simple like this.
'This (Guy, Thing, Tank, Plane) has to shoot at all these (Aliens, Tables, Trees) and they get points, blah blah.' But nothing more elaborate than that. Again, don't spend time making your own graphics and objects, use the many files DB has graciously given you.

Take it further, one step at a time.

So you have your basic shell of a game, a terrain and some simple objects that can be controlled by your key commands, also you have the ability to change the camera view.

Now what you need to do is to start adding to your simple game. Add more objects and obstacles, try and give your main character (the object you control with the keys) the ability to fire missiles (using the Dark Basic models provided) and try to incorporate a simple enemy that will move about on its own free will.

The code for these ideas is simple enough and you can always find someone that will help you on the DB forums, but only try adding one thing at a time to your game, think of the problem i.e. 'I want to fire missiles' and think about how to go about achieving that goal (you will need to place a missile object next to your character and move it forward rapidly when the fire key is pressed).
It wont be long before your little game will start to grow and all the time you are learning new commands and routines whilst programming and not sitting staring at the screen trying to learn Dark Basic completely in a week. That's what its all about, learning whilst doing, its fun that way.

Don't stop now....Keep going!!

So now your game is coming along and you are beginning to understand the commands you are using. You haven't wasted time thinking of the 'Game to end all Games' and you haven't wasted time sitting at the drawing board sketching all the cool graphics you want your game to have but will never be able to finish, you have a simple game in the making.

It may look rough and amateurish but that doesn't matter because you have actually got somewhere and finished it and more importantly you are becoming a better programmer.
Keep going and add more and more to your game, and if it is beginning to look good and you want to finish it off, you can then start thinking of changing the objects and graphics for your own, add a start menu and a end menu, some sounds and an options page and there you go, its not going to win any awards but you have certainly come a long way in your programming and you have a full game to show for it.

Now you got that first one out the way, the next one, the one that has Lucas Arts quaking in their shoes, that will be a lot easier because you now know what to do.
(Or at least relatively)

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Joined: 2nd Oct 2002
Location: United States
Posted: 14th Oct 2002 05:33
lol...first few lines, you spelled "college" "collage", reaalllly bad way to start (and to lie about your age?)
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Joined: 13th Oct 2002
Posted: 14th Oct 2002 17:41
What? Lie about my age? When did I do that?

This was cut and pasted form the original draft I made for the web site, before I went over it with spell checker and corrected the grammar. I made no effort to make sure it was “Perfect” Sorry for the inconvenience, Gee Whiz, the guys wants advice and help not a literary masterpiece.

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