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  Designer-programmer vs Designer-artist & Pure coding vs Intuitive game-makers  (Read 1379 times)
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Offline heisenbergman

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« Posted 2013-06-06 07:05:25 »

Just some things I've been thinking about recently.

I come from a relatively solid programming background having graduated with a Computer Science degree and worked as a programmer before being a systems analyist in my corporate job right now. I'm by no means a visual artist in any sense of the word.

These days, more than ever, there are increasingly powerful and intuitive tools that one can use to create games without needing to have an extremely solid programming background, such as Unity and Game Maker. So if you are an artist and have a vision for a game, it's become more and more easy to turn that vision into a real game using these tools.

So I was wondering, is being a "programmer" becoming less and less important as these types of tools evolve? And if you identify as more of a designer-programmer than a designer-artist, will it be more beneficial in the long run to adapt to these tools? Or is it okay to still stick to your guns and approach game-making from a more hardcore coding angle?

As an aside: Do you identify more as a programmer, or as an artist?

Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-06-06 07:29:47 »

Programming isn't neccessarily about syntax, it's about logic and I/O.

If the tool supports proper logic, and has I/O functionality, then you should be able to do anything that you could program with it.

Of course, it's impossible to do these without a programming language. (Gamemaker has GML)
So, designer-programmers will always be able to do more than designer-artists.

And it shows if you compare the games of the 2 groups.

Note: By I/O I mean:

- Drawing on the screen
- Input listening
- File I/O
- Network I/O (client/server stuff)

Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-06-06 07:44:49 »

Would there ever be an instance where you would recommend exploring something like Unity or Game Maker to a developer who typically builds up games from coding low-level stuff?

Would it make one create games faster especially those that have a strong programming background since that would maybe translate smoothly into Unity/GM?

At this point, I would guess that having the programmer mindset of solving problems is still key and important in the process of developing games; and that no matter how good of an artist or designer you are, you will always be limited by your programming skills. But do you think that these kinds of tools would ever evolve to a point where they are so powerful and intuitive enough that they give people without a solid programming background the ability to make games similar to that that could be made by seasoned software developers?

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Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-06-06 07:46:35 »

If they ever did evolve to that point, it would be so complicated that programming would be easier.

Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-06-06 08:00:10 »

For those who already know programming, probably yes. It would almost be like learning a new language if it gets to that point.

Yet for those who want to make games but aren't programmers, that would likely be much more appealing than learning how to program.

Offline phu004

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« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-06-06 08:10:14 »

IMHO, programmers/artist/game designer play equally important roles in game industry. Master in either one of the roles will get you a job. Surely tools can become very powerful, but if you don't have the coder to do innovative stuff then you are stuck with the tools you got,  therefore won't get an upper hand against your competitors.
Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-06-06 09:06:17 »

^ I agree with what you're saying, but let's not think about it as making games as a business or a career or as a means of generating income though.

Let's approach the topic from the perspective of making games simply as a process of creating something. In that respect, will something like Unity or Game Maker provide more advantages for someone with a programming background? Or would it only be a hindrance? Would it benefit programmers who would typically code games (for example in Eclipse using LibGDX or LWJGL) to explore game creation tools for any reason whatsoever? Because for someone who is more of a visual artist that has an idea for a game, my impression is that something like Unity or Game Maker would give that person more power to turn their game into a reality even without a solid programming background.

BTW, does anyone here use Unity or Game Maker or any similar game creation system in making games?

Offline masteryoom

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« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-06-06 09:27:54 »

I have used GM and RPG Maker VX Ace.

Smiley
Offline heisenbergman

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« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-06-06 09:33:43 »

^ Great. Is that how you usually make games? Or do you use another method not involving game creation systems? How do the different approaches compare and contrast?

Offline gimbal

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« Reply #9 - Posted 2013-06-06 12:36:29 »

If they ever did evolve to that point, it would be so complicated that programming would be easier.

This. The "too many checkboxes" syndrome.
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Offline sproingie

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« Reply #10 - Posted 2013-06-06 15:23:08 »

A high level toolkit can be valuable to someone used to doing bottom-up low-level coding in that it forces a fresh perspective.  The limitations of the tool can inspire creative solutions that one otherwise might not have thought of.  There's a philosophy that all creativity involves limits, in that what we create is in order to transcend them, but that's philosophical jibba-jabba that can wait for another time.

Sometimes just a new language or a different paradigm can do the trick too.  In the world of Java, there's really no excuse for not trying out different languages, given how many of them are a single jar file away from using in your project.
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