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A few questions about game making.


Betuor
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I'd like to ask about a few things that relate to the making of a game.

1. What is it like to make a game? Also, what is it like designing the graphics/animations and the story design (Coming up with enemies, weapons, plot, etc.).

2. What level of importance would you rate a story designer and animation/graphics. Also, which do you value most of those to and of all of the other jobs.

3.Would you recommend getting into the gaming industry and graphics/animations and story design sub-jobs.

4. What training would you need to become an animator/graphics designer.

5. What are the day-to-day jobs of an animator/graphics designer.

6. What would be the the job of a story designer. Also, do they have a seperate job or are just part of the team in general.

7. Do you plan to make a sequel.

Betuor

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Heh, some of these questions are pretty open-ended, but I'll give it a quick go:

1) It's tough. Far more work than you'd ever believe, but it's satisfying to see it all come together and start to see other people enjoying what you've made. Sure beats my old job. Designing the aliens and weapons and all that stuff is one of the most fun parts of the process really - all the idea generation and style stuff is really good fun. But it only accounts for about 5% or less of what making a game actually entails. That's why ideas for games are generally worthless; its the execution that matters.

2) It depends what type of game you're making, really. How long is a piece of string? You can get away with basic graphics if they're stylised (i.e Minecraft etc). The most valuable guy on the team is probably the coder though - without one of them nothing will happen. You can make an (ugly) game without an artist, such as Dwarf Fortress, but if you have artists but not coders you've just got a collection of pictures.

3) I couldn't really say, to be honest - my experience has only been in an indie team and even then only at leading it. Xenonauts isn't exactly story-driven either. I think you'd have better luck getting into the industry as an animator than a story designer though because good animators are like gold dust. There's quite a few story designers floating around and you never need more than one.

4) Depends if you mean a 2D or 3D animator - I assume you mean a 2D one. Really the majority of animation work is 3D these days, but I don't know enough about the training for either to comment on it. Presumably go on a course to learn how to do it? You could probably self teach 2D animation if you tried hard enough for years but 3D animation requires knowing workflows etc that I imagine you couldn't completely self-teach.

5) Graphic artists are 2D artists and usually don't work in game design - more website design and advertising flyers etc. Usually in games you'll have 2D artists being the concept artists, designing the objects and locations to go in a game. Then they'll be modelled in 3D by a 3D artist and rigged and animated by a 3D animator and go in the game.

6) Depends on the game or team. Generally story isn't considered a very important part of a game, and the writers are a bit of an afterthought. I do the writing in Xenonauts but it's not a particularly narrative game so I can't really comment too much. The main job would be to produce the dialogue and text that will appear in the game - quest text, tutorial texts, what the characters say to each other etc.

7) Not for a while.

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Hello all,

I am not a developer or even a programmer, but i have been part of several attempts are creating a game (even now) from my perspective the main issue is having a solid programming core, meaning you need at least a couple of dedicated coders, hence it is usually the dedicated programmer (Head) that starts. This includes the mechainics of the game, engine and architecture.

Then i have realized that the art dept is second the art being 2D and 3D which includes art and animation, the reason why this is second is not because is easier but because you can get freelances to do some work for you here and there, as your project gets moving.

then you will need your storyline your creative people, the people that make up the world, this people can alco come up with the way the user interact with the game i.e. interface and GUIs.

to try to asnwer your poitn again form my perspective.

1. What is it like to make a game? Also, what is it like designing the graphics/animations and the story design (Coming up with enemies, weapons, plot, etc.).

It is difficult it takes a lot of dedication and dare i say cash, although a lot of work can be done for free the end result is not the same. The designing and graphics is really based on the concept of your game it can be easy to come up with a lot of things but some times implementation can be complicated. The concept of coming up with enemies or aliens is not the difficult again is about logical implementation and what are the capabilities of the code on which is being implemented. Remember game engines are very difficult to program, so a lot fo people use open source frameworks and thus are limited to that framework, But features can be added to said framework with some dedication.

2. What level of importance would you rate a story designer and animation/graphics. Also, which do you value most of those to and of all of the other jobs.

About this i think any project manager will tell you that they are all on even grounds with out the programmer you can bring nothing to work, without the animator/graphics things will look like crap and even if anything gets to be shown, without the story designer there is no immersion in the game background a reason to play or to fight they are all interlink, of curse people would argue that you can play the game without knowing the story and is true but the story give a game character.

3.Would you recommend getting into the gaming industry and graphics/animations and story design sub-jobs.

well i can't recommend anything but you should try to find a open source project or a freelance work that meets your area of expertise and if you are new to the area offer your job for free, that will improve your portfolio and allow your art work to be public and also acquire experience in the process.

4. What training would you need to become an animator/graphics designer.

No clue :D

5. What are the day-to-day jobs of an animator/graphics designer.

lots of work, but a day-to-day job is usually in a large developer company, truly i would not know.

6. What would be the the job of a story designer. Also, do they have a seperate job or are just part of the team in general.

i think i mentioned that before but then again like i said i have only done this for "fun" and every project i have been a part of we could not make it to the final product.

So i hope i am not putting my nose in somebody else business, someone maybe can elaborate even further.

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ahh one thing i did forget was the design doc. i think any developer would tell you this is a key point for all games.

The design doc is basically the blueprint of your game. it can cover something as mundane as the types of weapons you are going to use, to something very necessary in the game such as the how variables or what type of variables each parameter will have (you know word long word etc...) and how are going to be moved from module to module.

Usually the design doc is created prior to start coding however sometimes if a single programmer starts he/she has all that in his/her head :)

Only when a larger group of people start joining the gmae the design doc becomes an integral part of your game development.

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good comment all! I have an idea for a kick arse game (at least I think so) so this is a bit frightning to see how difficult it would be to just get it off the ground, but you've given me hope Chris!

If you don't mind me asking Chris:

1. how much of your own capital did you have to risk before the game really started to come together and you no longer felt like it could come crashing down at any moment?

2. How long did this take to occur (the feeling of stability)?

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3) I couldn't really say, to be honest - my experience has only been in an indie team and even then only at leading it. Xenonauts isn't exactly story-driven either. I think you'd have better luck getting into the industry as an animator than a story designer though because good animators are like gold dust. There's quite a few story designers floating around and you never need more than one.

I really think story designers and writers are underrated heavily in the video game industry, but what you say is true, story designers/writers are practically a dime a dozen... But good ones are like Diamonds, to keep with your analogy. Look at a highly story-driven game like Mass Effect, or look at the success of ToR, or any BioWare game that isn't Dragon Age 2.

I think a lot of folks actually in the video game industry kind of miss a very simple thing that movies captured long ago; that some games are meant to be played, and some are meant to be experienced. What I mean is, the difference between a heavily story-driven experience like Mass Effect, where you actually want to know about the characters and the universe you're in, versus a game like Halo or CoD, where it's about the action, usually in Multiplayer. Xenonauts fits into the later category, a game that uses 'not-story' as the body, and uses some story-based elements as some extra bits. Or, to put it in movie terms, Shoot 'Em Up or Smokin' Aces as opposed to, say, Aliens; Smokin' Aces is all about the action, there's no depth to it what-so-ever, but it's still a fun movie. Aliens has that character and story depth that make it what it is though, despite also having a lot of action.

Both forms are not only equally viable, but can provide equally as many hours of awesome, everything else being equal, and the problem arises when games hedge on one or the other, thinking they can incorporate both when they can't. The CoD games are a great example of this, with weak single player content and even weaker story-lines; they hedge on the single player aspect in order to try and get some folks to buy it because they want a good story attached to an FPS experience, and fail to deliver.

Here's how I feel about story designers and writers, and their place in the games industry; If you want to make a game centered around your story, don't bother pitching it to the big-time publishers, they won't take the risk. (2K -might,- but it's still very unlikely.) Instead, put together an indie crew and turn it into a labor of love, make something from your own blood, sweat, tears, and money. If you're good enough, and just a little lucky, getting noticed will be the smallest of your fortunes. Just don't fall into the trap of that hedged bet, make your game around one or the other, either mechanics to support story, or story to support mechanics.... Or get -really- lucky and make a game that can do both.

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Okay, I can see how some of those questions are open-ended, I'll try to rephrase some of them.

1. Yes, by graphics artist I ment animator and what-not, I just can't remember the terminalogy. So, to rephrase the question, what are the jobs of your animators?

2. I know xenonauts is not heavily story-driven, but I ment it like for the backstory, designing the weapons, aliens, vehicles, ufopedia-type page, etc.. Who does that for you?

3. What kind of experience was it making this game?

Betuor

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3. What kind of experience was it making this game?
1) It's tough. Far more work than you'd ever believe, but it's satisfying to see it all come together and start to see other people enjoying what you've made. Sure beats my old job. Designing the aliens and weapons and all that stuff is one of the most fun parts of the process really - all the idea generation and style stuff is really good fun. But it only accounts for about 5% or less of what making a game actually entails. That's why ideas for games are generally worthless; its the execution that matters.

..................

2. I know xenonauts is not heavily story-driven, but I ment it like for the backstory, designing the weapons, aliens, vehicles, ufopedia-type page, etc.. Who does that for you?
I do the writing in Xenonauts but it's not a particularly narrative game so I can't really comment too much. The main job would be to produce the dialogue and text that will appear in the game - quest text, tutorial texts, what the characters say to each other etc.

..................

So, to rephrase the question, what are the jobs of your animators?

To create animations?

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Animators take the rigged 3D models and create animations with them performing the required actions they can perform in-game, as you might expect. Exactly how they do it, I don't really know - I'm just interested in the results.

If you're interested in 3D animation, I imagine Google would throw up a lot of useful info on the topic if you look through it. A lot of resources out there.

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