Indie Game Development: Development tool showdown! Charlie Cleveland, Founder Unknown Worlds - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Indie Game Development: Development tool showdown! Charlie Cleveland, Founder Unknown Worlds

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  1. Indie Game Development: Development tool showdown! Charlie Cleveland, Founder Unknown Worlds Matthew Wegner, CEO Flashbang Studios Jay Moore, Evangelist Garage Games Moderator – Eric Tams, PopCap games 4:30pm June 29th Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  2. What is this panel about? Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  3. What it’s not about • We don’t want to evangelize a particular engine • We don’t want to get bogged down in specifics Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  4. What we do want to do • Provide a good basis for evaluating engines • Talk about a few specific engines • Congratulate you on finding the nerdy panel at the conference Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  5. Game engines are like girlfriends • It takes commitment to learn an engine • You could be investing in a future with this engine for you, or people at your company • Don’t mistake a one night stand for marriage material Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  6. Problems with girlfriends Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  7. Problems with girlfriends engines • Cost • Support • Inherent value of knowledge of the engine • Is there an existing community around the engine? • Is the company that makes this engine going in the right direction? • Can this engine meet you future game design and business goals? Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  8. Indie Game Development: Development tool showdown! Charlie Cleveland, Founder Unknown Worlds Matthew Wegner, CEO Flashbang Studios Jay Moore, Evangelist Garage Games Moderator – Eric Tams, PopCap games 4:30pm June 29th Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  9. Torque • Full 3D or streamlined 2D engine • Network support • Includes various editors • Cross platform • Common scripting language between versions • Big community • Active development team • Attractive price Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  10. Popcap Framework Overview • Freely available with full source - powers Bejewelled, Zuma, etc. • Very basic but fully functional 2D engine. • Lots of sample code which shows you the basics of drawing, updating, fonts, resources, sound • Somewhat inappropriately named the Sexy engine • Compiles in a minute or two under MSVC 6 or .NET • Direct 3D 7 • Full software rendering, easy to check if 3D is enabled and put in extra effects Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  11. Pros • Very quick to make a simple casual game • Free for commercial use, though you have to pay for 3rd party sound support (.mp3 license applies (~$2,000), and either FMOD or Bass license required, ~$1k commercial, $130 shareware) • Great resource and font support. Just install the font, then use their tool to generate bitmaps and definition files which your code uses. • If you're comfortable with C++ and basic game programming, you'll have your prototype working in a day or two • Native Flash support in engine (with license) • Great compatibility - tested on ~100 million PCs • Native support for .jpgs, gifs and .pngs with alpha channel • If you don't know Flash and do know C++, you're not likely to find a faster or easier way to make a casual game • Virtually no learning curve for artists • Good XML parsing built-in - great for reading resources, strings whatever you want (show example) • Easy to load/save data from the registry • Good performance tuning tools built-in Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  12. Cons • Monolithic "GameApp" global object and "Board" class makes data-abstraction difficult, though not a big issue for small games either • Exists within a namespace. Hope you don't mind typing and seeing "Sexy" a lot in your code. • Almost all of the engine class data is "public" instead of "private". No excuse. • User interface "widgets" a bit clumsy. Expect some extra work if your game is UI-intensive. • PC only. Popcap has ported to OS X, but they haven't released it. Community effort is underway for the port but expect to have to do this yourself. Search Popcap developer forums for "Mac" for link to project (esp. if you want to help). • No networking - though CURL works great for talking with webservers for auto-update, live stats, etc. (www.curl.se) • All drawing is done through UI "widgets", which means that you usually must create a new class for every visual effect • No particle system or PS editing tools • Easy to internationalize for single-byte languages, but no double-byte character set support, so if you're planning on making your game for an Asian market, expect lots of work • Very basic UI library. Expect more work to make your own dropdowns, multi-line edit controls. • - No UI layout tool • - Each UI screen and dialog will probably be its own C++ class • - You must instantiate, create and track every component in code (needlessly complex) • - UI library not designed for custom color schemes and behavior Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors

  13. Summary • What you see is what you get. Development time is quite predictable, unlike many commercial engines. • Bundle with ActiveMark for no-brainer • Performance can be very good once you learn how the drawing/updating model works • The code isn't great but there are no surprises either. • Popcap hopes that you'll shop your game to them first; but don't expect a publishing deal • http://developer.popcap.com for download, forums, developer community • Contact me at charlie@unknownworlds.com for more information. http://www.charliecleveland.com for slides. Casuality Seattle: A Conference for Casual Game Developers, Publishers and Distributors