Game or game engine?

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ElonNarai
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Game or game engine?

Postby ElonNarai » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:09 pm

It is something that I have been wondering about for quite some time.
Do we create a game and that's it?

Or do we create a game engine with al the related tools and make a game with that?

I'm guessing the idea was to do the first but everything in the project feels like we are trying to accomplish the second. I don't mind either one but I read somewhere (I believe the wiki) that the game will be extended and released with each release with so called "modules" however as was pointed out in the editor thread (too lazy to look it up) this will create a very likely chance that we break something with each new release destorying the old modules.
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Re: Game or game engine?

Postby Winter Knight » Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:50 am

We have discussed this before on these forums. I think the general resolution is that we are making a game, and doing so by creating a game engine and adding content. Making a general game engine is not one of our goals, however, the engine we have created can be used to make other games.

As for releasing the game a little at a time, we don't really know how well it will work, because we haven't done it yet. I, however, see a lot of reasons it might not work too well.
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Re: Game or game engine?

Postby ElonNarai » Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:21 pm

Ok, that is cool. I'm asking because I need to known for the design document (I'm collecting information, not making another desing document) and I need to write something for the "project goal" chapter.

Currently I have something like this in mind:
"Our primary goal is to make an RPG ("Hero of Allacrost") for this we need a game engine and game editor, which we create on our own. Of course it can be used to create other games with it but we have no intention to support that and it's primary goal is and will remain to create the game Hero of Allacrost. The development phase of the project will end after the game is finished and released. There are no official plans to extend support to make the engine or editor a general RPG maker, this has never been the idea."

Could anyone confirm that this is the right idea. (also if you want to make certain I'm doing this correct please contact me using IM or anything so that I can have a more direct discussion if the need arise.)
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Re: Game or game engine?

Postby MindFlayer » Sat Apr 26, 2008 12:48 pm

ElonNarai wrote:Currently I have something like this in mind:
"Our primary goal is to make an RPG ("Hero of Allacrost") for this we need a game engine and game editor, which we create on our own. Of course it can be used to create other games with it but we have no intention to support that and it's primary goal is and will remain to create the game Hero of Allacrost. The development phase of the project will end after the game is finished and released. There are no official plans to extend support to make the engine or editor a general RPG maker, this has never been the idea."

That is correct.
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Re: Game or game engine?

Postby Roots » Wed May 21, 2008 4:17 pm

When I first started working on Allacrost, I had never heard the term "game engine" so I had no concept of it. It wasn't until a few months after I had been working on Allacrost's engine that I discovered I had been creating a game engine. :heh:


Anyway, what we are here to do is to create the game, not the game engine. It just so happens that creating the engine is a prerequisite for creating the game. We've made our engine general enough that it should be able to be re-used to create other 2D games (non-RPGs included), but we don't want to focus on that concept right now. All that we, the developers, should be concerned about with regards to the engine is how to make it work well for our needs in Allacrost, and nothing more.


Now after the major code development is over and we find ourselves doing less programming for Allacrost and more scripting and content generation, then I think as a side project for our interested developers, we could take the engine, make any necessary modifications, and then re-package it for others to use to create their own games. But that's only for the distant future, not now. Although if someone came to me today and said they wanted to use Allacrost's code base as a starting point for their own game, I would be happy to help them. One personal motivation I had for starting Allacrost was to create a clean, readable code base that people could examine and utilize in creating their own games. I had wanted to do that for Allacrost via the Wesnoth code base, but I found that code so poorly written and documented that it totally turned me away from it (no offense to any Wesnoth devs...this was almost 4 years ago).
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Re: Game or game engine?

Postby prophile » Wed May 21, 2008 10:50 pm

Every game coder and their mum has - at some point or other - thought to themselves: "hey, I have a great idea! I'll make a GAME ENGINE."

Stop. Look. Listen. These projects WILL fail.

What you do is you make a game, not a game engine. You structure the code of this game well. You finish your game, and you publish it.

Then, when you start to work on your next game, you reuse components from your last game, and you can do this because you structured the code well. And once you start making games and you build up this set of reusable components, THEN you build them into something and publish a game engine.

(This applies only to smaller-scale projects of course - a director at EA can produce a game engine spec out of his arse and it'll get done within a week.)
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Re: Game or game engine?

Postby Winter Knight » Thu May 22, 2008 1:42 am

prophile wrote:Every game coder and their mum has - at some point or other - thought to themselves: "hey, I have a great idea! I'll make a GAME ENGINE."


I think it's exactly the opposite. Every gamer at one point has said, "I have a great idea! I'll make a game!" If this person is serious, they'll learn to code.

Then one of two things will happen. They will either make a game, or a game engine. If they try to make a game, most likely they will code something that is slop and difficult to maintain. It will get harder and harder to add to the game, and eventually will be scrapped. The other possibility is that they decide to make the engine for their game first. If they are good at coding and passionate about their game, they will finish the engine, it will be good, and they can start working on the content.

As I understand Allacrost's history, Roots originally tried to make a game. It was his first. He made several mistakes. At some point, somebody, maybe Roots himself, decided that coding the game and engine together wasn't going to work out. And so the lua engine was born, and the game was slowly siphoned from the game engine.

Now Allacrost has most of what a game needs. It has a mostly stable and complete engine and map editor. It is exceptionally well-coded and compartmentalized (though not perfectly, of course). The only part of the "game" we have are some concepts for the beginning of the story and some example game content. It's a good place for a project to be.
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Re: Game or game engine?

Postby Viliam » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:38 pm

I would say that the difference between making a game and making a game engine is somehow artificial. One will automatically lead to another, either way.

When you are making a game, just as when you are making any other program, you should make it modular. Instead of all functionality being randomly scattered in thousands of lines of code, there has to be some system; these parts of code are doing this thing, and those parts of code are doing that thing. Just by keeping your code modular, you will naturally split the code into something which could be called "game specific code" and "game engine". It is simply logical that the code for e.g. displaying a menu will end in a different package than the code for e.g. "when Joe enters the room, he says: 'Hello'". (Writing the game content in a different programming language is what you do when you are from the beginning aware that this will happen, and when you realize that these two parts of code have different optimalization needs, etc.)

When you are making a game engine, you should have an idea of which games can be made by this engine. You need to develop some game at least for testing purposes. You need this also to make good decisions on priorities; you should first complete the basic functionality, before adding cool optional features; and the example game will provide you a good feedback whether it is already playable or not.

So the difference is not so deep, though it will influence the design. Allacrost is going the first way. This means that the game engine and game contents will be separated, but the game engine will be limited to things really needed in the game, and will not try to accomplish more. Though the mere logic of programming may in some situations lead to more general algorithms, just because they may be easier to code and maintain; and then it may happen that the game engine will also potentially support functions not used in the game.

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