Friday, December 28, 2012

Game Engine Selection


With my years of software development experience, more recently a masters in Engineering Management, and a few years’ experience managing teams of developers, I feel I have the right mix of experience to dive into video game development. I figure with my experience playing and my ideas about what is good simple fun, I can make a good game. I made some early decisions straight up. I will develop for the PC, but will use an engine that is cross platform if I decide to branch out - most likely for iOS.

I’m currently leaning heavily on the Unity engine, with half an eye on the Unreal (UDK) engine. Knowing that the engine doesn't really matter for me at this stage, I've completed some market research and a basic design for a tech demo, with 3-5 levels turn-based tactical role-playing strategy video game I will build from scratch.

I looked at a number of game engines (Unreal, Unity, Gamebryo, open source tools, etc.) and ended up choosing Unity for a few reasons:

  • Multi-platform (PC, Mac, iOS, browser)
  • Free trial copy, permitting a quick prototype of the game, upgrade-able to a Pro version, which includes high-end game engine features (that I probably won't have to use for a long time)
  • Level tools adapted to an open sandbox game (unlike e.g. Unreal)
  • Ease of use of the C# coding language (which I've been using for many years in my real job)
  • Instantaneous compiling for test and workflow

Now I've ordered 2 books and signed up for a few training courses to learn more...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Introduction



Hello. My name is Sam and I am a professional software developer. The main reason I studied computer science at university was because of 2 games I played in my youth, Civilization and X-Com.  I've always wanted to create a similar strategy game - and several times I've tried - but the technology always got the best of me. Now after nearly 14 years developing business applications and the advancement of game development tools, I've decided to have another shot. 

Why now? A few years ago I almost gave up on video games all together. I felt that most games being released were basically the same, with slightly better graphics and slight variations (e.g. the new FPS/COD, the new strategy war game/Civilization, etc). Honestly, I just started to feel that games weren't worth their investment and I wasn't satisfied with the time I was spending.

Then, in 2012, an XCom - Enemy Unknown remake was announced. I read all of the articles, previews and interviews I could find. I discovered the designer Jake Solomon, who works for Firaxis Games, who coincidentally, also created Civilization. Jake's inspirational story just seemed to mirror my own, except that he was fortunate enough to find a job at Firaxis. 

I've created this blog to talk through my development story as I try to create my own Turn Based Strategy engine, primarily to make a game similar to X-Com, Jagged Alliance 2, Fallout Tactics, and Silent StormI'll explain my game development and design ideas, as well as show progress in game design, game engine selection, game development and overall progress. I hope you enjoy the ride!