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  What should go in a Game Tools Starter Pack?  (Read 1885 times)
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Offline jcox

Junior Newbie

Java games rock!

« Posted 2004-03-17 11:41:15 »


I'm involved in starting up a Bachelors Degree in Game Design for Middlesex University, London which will begin this September.

Firstly, this is *not* just a video/computer/electronic  game focussed course -- we 've got lectures in card games, board games, D&D style role playing ... everything from Tiddlywinks to Tetris.

But, it's my job to provide support for students who want to make computer games.

So I plan to make a comprehensive CD of all the tools a student would need to make a solid prototype for an original game.  And coz I'd like to push the OSS/Java agenda I thought I'd ask you lot for recommendations for not just tools but also example games that I can freely copy and pass around to the students.

Obviously x-platform tools are better and good documentation is a must.
So far I can think of (and other threads have suggested) the obvious things:

IDEs -- Eclipse / NetBeans / jEdit
Graphics -- The Gimp
Sound -- Audacity
Libs -- jogl, joal, jinput, LWJGL, SPGL, Xith3D, SDL, Java Monkey Engine
Games -- Gundan, TuxRacer, ?
Game Programming (fre)e-Books -- ?

What do you think a student starting Java Game Development from scratch should have?

Offline Herkules

Senior Devvie

Friendly fire isn't friendly!

« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-03-17 11:46:57 »

you need the things from my signature line of course  Roll Eyes

HARDCODE    --     DRTS/FlyingGuns/JPilot/JXInput  --    skype me: joerg.plewe
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder

Medals: 1

« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-03-17 12:08:03 »

Firstly, this is *not* just a video/computer/electronic  game focussed course -- we 've got lectures in card games, board games, D&D style role playing ... everything from Tiddlywinks to Tetris.

Presumably you've already got down a load of general games-design books on your reading list already? There's about 3-5 generic games-desing (non-computer) that computer games designers tend to recommend (can't recall off the top of my head, but I'm pretty sure you've already got them Smiley), and of course there are a few by computer games people such as Chris Crawford (founder of the thing that became GDC) which are generally recommended to beginner computer games-designers...


IDEs -- Eclipse / NetBeans / jEdit

What are you teaching them for *modelling* game-designs?

Obviously, UML would be an excellent thing for them to learn if they are to do *any* programming, but I've seen some game-design languages (non-computer-focussed) before...and some of these can largely do away with the need for UML and/or be easier or harder to integrate with a UML design process. (although the langs I've seen are usually more about modelling plots for general fiction etc rather than generic gameplay).

Game Programming (fre)e-Books -- ?

Not free, I'm afraid, but the Game Programming Gems series (1,2,3 & 4) are an excellent resource. They cater for everything from newbie game devs right through to hardcore 3D graphics engines - the format (a bit like a FAQ in paper form) makes them work well for all audiences BUT for non-specialist games devs you really want a library / shared copy that you can leaf through since only 30% max (maybe as little as 3%) will be relevant to you on any one game.



Humbly suggest the NIO articles on this page (sorry, no unique permanent link of their own yet):


What do you think a student starting Java Game Development from scratch should have?

Websites! Grin. Specifically (in no particular order):


malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline vrm

Junior Devvie

where I should sign ?

« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-03-17 12:12:00 »

OpenGL Red book Smiley
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder

Medals: 1

« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-03-17 12:30:47 »

You might also be interested in some work I did on evolutionary AI which spilled over into general game-design - all about the marked similarities between what are "good" problems for evolutionary programming to solve efficiently (by writing millions of programs and evolving their source code over time) and what are "fun" computer game designs.

If so, mail me at ceo at (although don't expect a response until the weekend!)

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline cfmdobbie

Senior Devvie

Medals: 1

Who, me?

« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-03-17 22:41:56 »

It's worth including a couple of different JDKs - very handy for testing, checking bug reports on a reported platform, sanity-checking odd behaviour etc.

Include the latest publically available JRE on the CD so students have everything they need for distribution.

If people may be interested in native compilation, maybe throw in GCJ and an evaluation copy of Jet (if license permits)?

On the OpenGL front, an electronic copy of Red Book is a must - the OpenGL 1.1 version is freely available.  Also include specification PDFs - I find it useful to keep specs for all versions around, but YMMV.

3D modelling - Blender, Wings3d and Milkshape should do it, with a few tutorials for each if you can find them.  Also anything that helps with these applications - if your students want to extend Blender, for instance, a downloaded copy of the Python API docs is invaluable.

Texture and model packs are always handy - but very hard to find!  However, including SpriteLib GPL is a no-brainer.

But as blah3 rightly said, it's also important to point people at useful websites.  You can give them a good snapshot of useful tools, but you can't give them the wealth of experience and help that a good forum or a frequently-updated set of articles will provide.  You can live without them, but chances are things will be a lot easier with. Grin

Hellomynameis Charlie Dobbie.
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