Getting started in design

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  • Sorry if this is too general a question guys.

    I'm interested to get peoples take on whether it's best for someone getting started in games design and using tools like construct 2(exclusively at this point) to either:

    Bang out as many prototypes and working concepts as possible in the early stage, focusing more on getting to grips with the tools, and improving efficiency, skill level and understanding of the process?

    Or alternatively focusing a single/few key ideas and concepts and knuckle down on investing the time to establish these concepts into a refined working game, possible taking years to do?

    Is it helpful to set specific goals to ensure progress is made in a techincial respect?

    Any advise welcome, thanks dudes!

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  • Do as many prototypes as possible, little jingles and jangles that are based on one or two simple ideas and are easy to execute. Try different types of games. Don't be afraid to change and adapt your ideas radically, don't get too set on your initial vision of what you want to accomplish. Try things, and do things that are fun for YOU to do!

    That's the advice I'd give to myself if I was starting out. :)

  • While what vee said is absolutely true, if you are serious about getting into game design, there is something you have to do at some point.

    Finish a game!

    That includes polishing, menus, UI, etc. Too many people lack the commitment to finish anything, and instead hop from project to project whenever the going gets tough. Finishing a game will teach you commitment, dedication, and, most importantly, will let others give you feedback on your game!

  • My thoughts are if you don't spend the time getting used to the tools creating prototypes and samples, doing tutorials etc... you will never get to the point where you can finish a game. Both sides have valid pieces. But if you run out onto the football field without practicing and getting good, you are going to lose every time.

  • Make as many little games as you can. Try to avoid making prototypes that arent playable and enjoyable. Then when you feel you are ready, make the jump to a "big" project.

  • Seems pretty unanimous, thanks dudes!

  • Actually I find that a compilation of all the answers gets to make the best answer <img src="smileys/smiley1.gif" border="0" align="middle">

    • Follow as many tutorials, C2 examples or even items from the how do I FAQ as you can, they'll give you experience on how to make things from a technical point in C2.
    • Then try to "build upon" those tutorials, or simply try your own hands at some of your own ideas, making playable and enjoyable prototypes you could distribute and get feedback for.
    • Focus on some prototype that is fun and has a small scope and finish it/bring it to the state of completed game (polish, release quality, a start, a middle/progression, an end).
    • Let a bit of time go by, analyse what went well on your game, what went wrong and start all over again with bigger/more complex prototypes
    • All along be sure to read as much as you can on the subject of game design; this forum is a good place to start, be sure to check most of the topics and never hesitate to read/watch/follow the external links that might be given.

    The best advice, I think, for a total beginner (but also the hardest to follow) is to start with a small scope project.

    Most beginners want to redo some game they enjoy that was built over a big amount of time (months/years) by a team of tenth/hundredth of professional people.

    It is an unlikely goal to achieve as your first project alone.

    The smaller the scope, the "simpler" it will be to finish/complete a game an get the reward of being an actual game maker and be able to handle bigger projects afterwards.

  • I definitely recommend Kyatric's advice.

    My space shooter is based on his 'Asteroids in 100 events or less' tutorial, and reading through that .capx and then modifying it to include enemy ships with AI and whatnot helped me learn a lot about developing with C2. I definitely recommend a similar approach, since starting with a completely clean slate when trying to make something as simple as Pong can be daunting for the first-time C2 user.

    My open source turn-based strategy game is pretty much developed from scratch (although Yann, cvp, and vee41 have made some large contributions). It is basically a remake of an old Shockwave game I enjoyed playing, and I definitely recommend cloning a small game because it will allow you to not have to have great design and instead focus just on the mechanics (designing games is hard to do effectively without prior game-making experience - anyone who thinks it's easy has likely never shipped a game).

    I'm actually in disagreement with many of the people here who recommend developing small prototypes. For me, making working demos of various concepts is not hard - it's the polish like full-fledged inventory systems, cutscenes (and even scripted, dynamic menu backgrounds) that will demand the most of your work when you actually want to finish a game, and by working with the goal of completing something, you will gain experience in the area of polish whereas with prototypes you likely will not.

  • Thanks for the in-depth advise guys. My inital intention was to get through as many tutorials as possible to get the hang of the mechanics of c2 whilst picking up ideas that will help me work towards a few concepts I have on the back burner. I will be following your advice and working hard to get better!

    I apprecaite the help dudes :)

  • Make a pong.

    Then make it fun.

  • very cool and worth reading

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