Game dev learning path?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by whooleytoo, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Can anyone recommend a good learning path for game development? I'm an experienced developer, but a rookie at game developing. I have a couple of game concepts to start off with, but which I work on depends on how much effort is involved (hard to get a handle on that when you're learning everything at once).

    My current plan is: use Unity 3D for the engine. I've worked through a few tutorials and have been impressed how easy it is to use (so far!!). First though I'm focusing on doing some modelling in Cheetah 3D, mostly basic animation and IK. I'll never have enough time/skill to do it properly but - given my current budget is some dusty bunnies and a stale biscuit - I'm going to have to do some place-holder modelling/animation myself.

    Is that a good path? Learn some modelling & animation, then work through Unity tutorials to incorporate those characters into a basic game? Can anyone recommend any good tutorials / resources? I'm fairly patient, but thus far it feels as if I'm almost spinning my wheels and not making a huge amount of progress.

    (If there isn't much iOS game-centre discussion here, can anyone recommend another forum to ask this question? Many thanks)
  2. 1458279 Suspended


    May 1, 2010
    1st off you should decide what kind of games you are looking to get into. 'games' would include everything from find-the-word games to 3D shooters, to online role playing.

    The tools and development path would be very different from a "guess this song" than it would for a "kill the dragon" game.

    Since you've mentioned Unity and Cheetah 3D, you're probably looking at a online role playing or shooter type game.

    This is probably the hardest, most involved of all game types because they usually involve cutting edge graphics handling.

    The selection of tools seems right, Unity is well known and respected, it's one of the top end tools.

    Take as a given that this process will take a long time and sometimes it'll seem like you're stuck on something that takes forever, this is normal, just fight your way thru it.

    From the sounds of it, you're starting as a non-programmer. What you're likely to find is that if your game fits in with what the tool can do without hardcore programming knowledge, then you should be fine. However, if you want/need your game to be something the tool (unity) doesn't do well, you'll have to learn some pretty advanced graphics programming.

    All this is based on what your goal is.

    You might be best to take some time and look at what has already been developed using the tools you've selected. Look at others project logs on forums or YouTube or just ask them how they were able to do what they did. Unity should be a good place to start. You could ask them if Unity will do what you want and tell them about your project.

    Don't make the mistake of selecting the tools before you know if the tool will get the job done or not.

    It's standard for programmers (developers) to ask about what tools to use. Example SQLite vs Core Data, two different tools that both store data. If you needed to use one, you'd be wise to research which tool is best before you spend the time to learn all the details. You don't use a econo-car to haul plywood, you don't use a bigrig truck to sight see in the mountains. Pick the tools carefully and have a clearly defined goal.
  3. whooleytoo thread starter macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Thanks a lot for your advice, much appreciated!

    The game certainly won't be a shooter! :) I know that would be far too time-consuming and unrealistic for me. It's most likely a side-scroller / platformer, possibly with some top-down (or isometric) levels. That might sound odd, but it fits with the storyline. By doing everything in 3D it gives me more freedom to switch camera views/projections. (Plus, as a developer I find it easier to 3D model than to draw anything in 2D! :) )

    I know what you're saying about picking the game/plan first then picking the tools, but a rookie programmer can't really pick the best IDE either! I need to spend some time with the tools to see which game-concept is most feasible, but I need to learn more before I can be certain C3D & Unity are a good option. Hopefully, what I learn on this game will let me try something more ambitious later once I know my way around modelling and Unity.

    I had a bit of a breakthrough last night, by switching to a really simple character model (basically an egg with orbs for feet) I was able to get the character walking and idling, if I get him running & jumping tonight I can start importing it/him into Unity and start working through some Unity tutorials. I took a look at the Unity forums, and they seem very good, very active.

    You're right about me being a 'non-programmer' so far. I know I'll be ok on scripting events and hopefully the AI, but it's the modelling & animation that I had zero experience at, so I've had to focus on that. There are some ideas I might have to leave out - I wanted to have a long 'tunnel' section where the character races across platforms/over jumps but I can't see how you'd do that in Unity. Create a really, really, really wide level? That's probably something that's best done programmatically I'd guess.
  4. tacotester1 macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2013
    #4 has some side scroll type tutorials that might help u
  5. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    If this is going to be the same level every time, then yes, a really, really wide level is going to be just fine for you. I've never tested how far you can move in a direction in Unity before it wraps around or whatever, but it's really, really far, based on what happens when I fall off an edge of my level, have gravity, and no terminal velocity - my player just keeps falling faster and faster for a minute or so before I get bored and stop the play test.

    Your player would similarly get bored long before they reach the edge of what Unity can handle, I imagine.

    If, on the other hand, you wanted the level to be different each time, like an infinite scrolling level, then I would suggest instead making it so that the player doesn't move (though they animate like they're moving) but instead the level moves around them. Randomly generate the level in front of them and destroy it as it gets out of view behind them.

    Kind of like the way the Asteroids clone works in Walker Boy Studio's second tutorial project for Unity:

    Also, my 2¢ on graphics: Doing 2D is much easier than doing 3D. Just watch this video showing making a 2D game in Unity:
  6. whooleytoo thread starter macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Thanks for the pointers & tutorials on making the scroller! From what I've seen so far there's a huge number of Unity tutorials out there for just about everything (in contrast to the relatively small Cheetah community).

    I know 2D would likely be easier and less work-intensive, but I'm hoping to use this game to learn the ropes, so maybe I can try something a little more ambitious next time. Plus, as I said above, I have no artistic talent whatsoever so 2D is difficult, whereas I can kind-of model a simple 3D character given enough time. :)

    I'm now at the point where I have a character with animations that I'm bringing into Unity and am constructing the first level. First problem: collisions aren't being detected and the character just falls straight through the platforms - I must have missed something in the tutorial I was working through. Think I have a few weeks ahead of me of feeling like a complete newbie!

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