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How to make a game? (Newbie Q)

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How to make a game? (Newbie Q)
« on: December 01, 2005, 14:00:47 »
I started to learn programming because I wanted to make a game of my own. It has been couple of years since then and I am starting to get closer to my goal, but I have to face so many problems. One year ago I started to learn OpenGL in C++, but it was so diffucult that I did not make any progress. Couple of weeks ago I found lwjgl. It's much easier to write programs in Java than in C++. And I have couple of questions:

Where to get code to load 3d models and to animate them? I have some idx3d package to load models but there are no classes to animate models.

Should I use same length units? (for example 1 meter in real life equals 0.1f in game or something like that)

And which 3d modelling program should I use to make the models? And how to quarantee that all of the models are at same size? Or does the size not matter because I can scale the models in OpenGL? (I have tried 3dsMax and MilkShape3d a bit)

How to implement car physics? I mean if I should like take the bigger parts of the car as different objects if I want to make the car to jump and roll over?

How to write a game that runs smoothly/fast? I know nothing about how to free memory in Java, except that the garbage collector takes care of it autmatically. But how to do it manually? Like in C++ are destroy(variable) and free(variable) if I remember correctly.

And actually I have been wondering if I should write a came, because for last 2 years I have also been thinking what's the point of computer games? Is it just a waste of time to play them? I have been a game addict for many years, but now I'm on rehabilitation :) and instead of playing I'm trying to create one - am I starting to loose my mind?

How to make a game? (Newbie Q)
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2005, 16:38:01 »
Funny thing is, those are all questions that every game developer struggles with.  :lol:

I'm the same way... I enjoy games, but I enjoy making them even more. I'm not a big fan of C or C++, but Java has been easy to pick up on.

For 3D models and animation, there's a few code snippets available in these forums, but keep in mind that LWJGL is meant to be an OpenGL wrapper, not a full-on game-building solution. I've seen LWJGL used for much more than games (including some great artwork recently posted about on this forum, and I've even considered using it myself to build some financial applications with 3D charts).  If you're looking for a prebuilt game engine, you can try something like Xith3D where they already have the model loaders and things written for you.

For the unit lengths, that ENTIRELY depends on what it is you want to do. I personally stay clear of anything like that, as my games tend to be more cartoonish than realistic.

For building 3D models, once again, it depends on the tools you have available. I personally like using Blender3D (it's free) along with PoseRay for post-build tweaking. Blender3D also has some great tutorials online.

Fast-smooth games: Like in all things, you need to know how the underlying system works. Java is certainly more forgiving with it's garbage collecting, but if you write it efficiently in the first place, your users will notice a difference. I'd recommend getting a good Java book (I personally like "Teach Yourself Java in 21 days").

Are games a waste of time? It sounds like you're like I was at the beginning. I'm very conscientious of my time and was raised in a somewhat "controlled" environment when it came to computer games. However, some of my best memories deal with playing a good computer game down in my basement when I was a teenager (anyone remember the incredible immersiveness of Ultima 7?). I've found that I like to make games that teach people something. My most recent project was actually a children's book about a character who runs into puzzles that need to be solved. The reader is then given the puzzle in the form of a computer game that can be solved from clues hidden in the book's text. I think this blend is particularly appealing to parents who are trying to get their kids to read something.
Find your niche, something you love to do, and stick with it. It sounds like you're very much like the rest of us, and have a keen desire to want to create and build. I say, follow your dream!
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How to make a game? (Newbie Q)
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2005, 17:14:38 »
Thank you elias4444! It was so inspiring! I know that I must find my own way to achive my goals!