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37

"we just need something where we can check files out edit them and then check them back in and build from the same set of files" Use version control; a version control system (VCS) is exactly what you described, with the added bonus that it stores a history of every change anyone has made. There are lots of popular version control systems out there: ...


19

As I stated in a comment to your question, I'm very curious for true collaborative editing. I did research some time ago but most solutions just didn't meet the standards: either they were plain text editors with syntax highlight, had insane costs or were unavailable cross-platform (like SubEthaEdit...) Until I stumbled into Saros! It's a neat Eclipse ...


18

We used binary XML heavily for Superman Returns: The Videogame. We're talking thousands and thousands of files. It worked OK, but honestly didn't seem worth the effort. It ate up a noticeable fraction of our loading time, and the "flexibility" of XML didn't scale up. After a while, our data files had too many weird identifiers, external references that ...


17

In short: Develop programs used by others to create something (i.e. tools). A popular and easy example would be a level editor for a game. But this could be a lot more behind the scenes, like some version tracking program, a bug tracker, forums, some checker to verify content is without mistakes, etc.


16

You can use Flash, a 3D Tool or even Photoshops animation feature. Then render the frames to images and combine them to a sprite-sheet. ImageMagick has a great tool for that purpose called montage. Here's a blog post explaining how to use it to create a sprite sheet.


15

Garry's Mod is a mod of the Halflife 2 engine. You can make your own mods of the Halflife 2 engine using the Halflife 2 SDK, or you can try to modify Garry's Mod through scripts. I don't think you're allowed to modify the source code to garry's mod. If he wanted to really make his own "halo" type FPS from scratch, then what he'll want to do is work with the ...


13

I highly recommend that you/he check out Unity3D. It's a fantastic game engine with a visual world editor and some solid scripting options. It has a great community and it's totally free to use for indie development. Garry's Mod is great if he wants to just learn and play around, especially with FPS stuff, but I'm pretty sure you can't make commercial games ...


13

A tools programming position is generally about being a force-multiplier for the rest of the development team. The exact nature of the work will of course vary widely from studio-to-studio, depending on the individualized needs of that company. Primarily, however, you would be tasked with creating software that was going to be consumed by other developers ...


12

"Bedard and Fish created their own editor for Fez, called the Fezzer" (Source) If you need a simple 2D tile editor, Tiled is a choice that works for me. There are many others available, some tile-based and some not. A couple more examples are Ogmo and Gleed2D. Note that all they do is create data - you still need some code in your game to make sense of the ...


11

We have a thick C++ framework on top of a thin platform layer, also C++. Porting a game to a new platform is a matter of implementing a new platform layer, which because it's quite thin, it's quite fast to do. Also, all of our dependencies are open source and cross platform libs, such as SDL, Ogg, LibPNG, etc. For example, we have a Win32/DirectX platform, ...


11

Store and edit your levels as normal XML, but have your game engine lazily bake it into binary XML during loading, and save the binary XML back to the disk so that it can load that next time (if the raw XML hasn't changed). Something like this: data loadXml(xmlFile) { if (xmlFile has changed OR binFile doesn't exist) { binFile = ...


11

The simple answer is: you'll have to learn both concepts and tools. First, you should learn the very basics of game mechanics and game design. Then you'll be able to decide, which direction would you like to go next. Keep in mind, that tools won't do any good without knowledge of the concept. To use your example: if a graphic designer doesn't realize, that ...


10

Blender is great if you know how to use it. (I suppose you mean as a modeling software, not the GE) Here's some reasons: It can export to many file formats out of the box, and many you can find, and many you can write your own scripts for importing You can usually find a lot of free models to build on or use as placeholders It's free (as in speech) Due to ...


10

Pro development is almost unilaterally done in C++. If you're planning on targeting multiple platforms, this is a must since it's the only thing that's supported on every console and OS. Note: if you're new to this, I'd start with something much simpler like XNA - still very, very powerful, but it'll let you focus on your game instead of memory leaks and ...


10

Different tools approach that in different ways, but the way Blitz3D does it is to wrap the code and an interpreter into a bundle. Then when you run the exe, that launches the interpreter and passes in the bundled code. It's pretty much the same as how, say, Python works when using py2exe. In many game development tools, the code that is bundled along with ...


9

COLLADA was over-complex in my opinion. Suffered from the designers trying to make it handle every conceivable combination of 3D asset; e.g. every possible vertex/index format and configuration. Sounds great but in practice this placed a huge burden on any piece of software that needed to read the format. It didn't help that every supposedly compatible ...


9

You could try Google Sketchup. I worked at a place where the designers used this to create block models for maps that the artists would then use as reference. A block model is a very basic, untextured version of a map used to test and develop the layout of a map. I think they were importing these models into UnrealEd as well.


9

For my team, we use three programs depending on what we need to work on: TortoiseSVN for code (try to have programmers use the same IDE, standardize conventions and encourage good commenting) Dropbox for multimedia (for models/sprites/audio files, allows devs to work locally until artists/composers/modelers are ready to deliver) GoogleDocs for ...


8

One way to do this is to add "markers" in the scene geometry file itself. You would use a specific naming convention on these markers (which are just pieces of geometry) to represent various things. For example: Add a sphere and give it the name "player_spawn_0" to represent the starting location of the player. Perhaps more helpful would be to add the ...


8

http://www.mapeditor.org/ - everything you'll ever need! :) It's free & cross-platform! Quoted from the site's list of features: General purpose tile map editor with XML-based map format Supports orthogonal and isometric maps Custom objects can be placed with pixel precision Full undo/redo and copy/paste support Add custom properties to tiles, ...


8

I like what Noel proposed on his blog. A telnet based variable tweaker. By using telnet he was able to use any telnet client to edit the variables. Later they built a gui around the protocol. It seems sufficiently simple, that it probably isn't worth a middleware library but looking at his code might be useful. I disagree with his anti-Lua sentiment ...


7

Not yet mentioned: Autotiles (so the designer can draw freely, and have the application set the correct corner tiles). Plugins (so I can develop in-house format exporters/importers and tools, etc.) Cross-platform (so designers are not forced to use one specific OS.) This, for me, would be one of the most important requirements.


7

Loading in custom tiles Setting map size Setting tile size Square tilemaps, hexagon tilemaps, or other shaped tiles Save/load map Layers Animating tiles Tile properties (walkable, swimable, etc.) Events (depends if you want to add this; i.e. player steps on tile at x,y and does an event)


7

When I was around your son's age (13 or so), the thing that first got me into game development was a program called Klik n Play. It was a program that allowed you to make simple 2d games without any coding at all by using a point and click action/reaction Event Editor to "program" it. It no longer exists, but I believe its descendant, Multimedia Fusion ...


7

Unity is the top game development tool in the industry right now. It has a free version and has a web player so you are able to deploy to a website as you said you want to do. The scripting is in C#, JavaScript or Boo, and it is cross-platform (Windows or Mac) so it should run on your computer, whichever you have. If you want to go lower-level and take ...


7

Sounds like you want either drop box, a version control system, or both. Dropbox is the most convenient. Just make your changes and save and Dropbox will sync over the changes on your friends machine. Don't think 2 people can work on the file at the same time though without overwriting each others work. However, I recommend you use a version control ...


7

If I were you, I would question myself about 'What do I enjoy doing for a game?'. Do you want to be a graphics programmer or a game programmer? Do you enjoy fixing those odd pixel in the screen that doesn't fit with the rest of the screen or do you enjoy building the game and don't want to be really bothered by the graphics implementation? If you're more ...


6

Personally I think your best bet is to use a funnel-like process. Team generates ideas. No criticism at this point just write stuff down. Wikis, Skype, group chat are all good tools here. Each person should generate ~20 ideas at this stage. Filter through ideas. You can do this alone or with the team. Most likely start by picking a few key qualities to ...


6

While those techniques work well for vector graphics, they don't translate well to pixel art. Sprites don't tend to handle rotation or scaling without distortion, so hand editing is essential. Two products worth looking into for spriting are Cosmigo's ProMotion and GraphicsGale. Onion skinning and other features are available. But if you want clean pixel ...


6

If you are a programmer then I'd recommend Flex, which is Adobe's free SDK which compiles flex (essentially ActionScript) projects into Flash SWFs. This way you never have to muck around with the horrible Flash timeline etc. The SDK to compile is free, and Adobe sell the IDE Flex Builder (now called Flash Builder for some reason) for loadsa money. But ...



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