Have an idea, no idea where to start, came to the professionals, asking questions

Anything relating to our company that doesn't fit elsewhere
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Have an idea, no idea where to start, came to the professionals, asking questions

Postby Lindsay4410 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:13 am

Hey Everyone.
This is my first post! Hurray!
I'm Lindsay, I'm a graduate student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, getting my master's in game design.
I'm a 3d prop and environment modeler.

In addition to job hunting, I want to make a game (as so many of us do!). I came here because Tilted Mill has made many of the games I'm interested in making: city builders.

I couldn't get enough of em back in the day. Caesars I, II, III, IV, Pharoah, Zeus, CivCity Rome, all the Sim Cities, Sim Town, even the RollerCoaster Tycoons. Love em. I still play them all the time.

So... I've got an idea. I've got a game I want to make. I've got passion, I've got talent, I've got a good head on my shoulders, and I want to make me a city builder that I can call my own.

I realize that posting on a forum of a company that indeed makes these games might seem counter productive. Why would they help me, when I'm not a part of their company? I have no idea. I had to start somewhere, and I figured I'd start here.

I'm going to need a team since art and story can only get you so far. And I'm going to need a direction since I have no idea how to get started. I just know that one of my goals in life (Right up there with "go to college", "get married" "own a home" and "learn to bake") is to make a city builder. These games have been a passion of mine since I first started playing games. Now that I'm nearing the completion of my education, I think I'm ready to do embark on this path that leads to one of my life's wishes.

So with all that said --

Whatcha think?

Some flat out info: I want to make it for computer (not a smaller game for cells, but a full length pc game), I'm thinking of releasing on Steam, and (of course!) I'm using a historical period and its legends as a basis for the game. I'm looking for any tips, any info, any help, to get started.

I hope someone is listening out there, and I'm so grateful to Tilted Mill for having this fantastic forum.

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Location: In my computer (Australia, Victoria)

Postby Nighteyes » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:47 am

Not that I'm a programmer what-so-ever, my suggestion would be to chose a time period, and location and then let that determine your art direction, you will get the archetectural stlye from history, then can decide if you think a realistic design would work, or if a more cartoon (Zeus) look would be best.
But aside from that all the help I can give is good luck!
Last edited by Nighteyes on Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby MoLAoS » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:31 pm

Actually the best advice I can give you is to read the gamedev career FAQs written by Tom Sloper or to check out gamedev.net which probably has threads and and articles and people that can answer your every question.

Well since you wanna sell on Steam you can't use open source engines. I guess you could license Torque or something. I don't recall any city building specific engines you can license.

I know several people here and at http://www.citybuildergames.com/index.php?action=forum made their own games but they tend to have crappy graphics cause its programmer art.

Releasing a commercial indie city builder is a ton of work just from a programming side. There are all sorts of legal and financial pitfalls involved in large indie games.

Your first goal is probably to find at least one programmer. Next you will need to determine what KIND of city building game you want to make. Tycoon, Impressions style, Anno-like w/e.

Remember that many people set out to make games and more fail than succeed. Do you want to have a regular job while you make this game? Personally I would suggest that.

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Location: Germany

Postby Benni003 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:29 pm

Hey, I started to work by my own as a game developer. My first game is the Camping Manager 2012. I developed it complete alone during one year. I used the A8 Engine from the 3d game studio. I like this programm a lot, but last time there weren't many updates. :/ but here it is:


and my game:


you will find many videos on youtube. Also in english.
At first I wanted to make citybuilding games, but I had to make something else... Currently I am working on my second game wich better graphic and gameplay than is be found in my first one :)

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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 4:00 pm
Location: Bruchsal/Germany

Postby tobing » Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:01 am

You may also look at my Villages and Cities (working title...) which will see another fresh build soon: http://www.villages-and-cities.de/vac/.

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Postby zabalon » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:45 am

Hey, that sounds like a cool idea. There are defiantly not enough city builders out there :P . one of the best genres!

All i can say is what the other guy said go to game dev forums and see who will help you there but also, if you havn't already seen this guys blog, he's making a town-builder/survival game all by himself. Its very inspirational.

Is a brilliant insight, and very interesting the sort of problems he encounters.

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Location: east Tennessee


Postby JaredBGreat » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:33 pm

I myself recently start working on what I'm thinking of as a community / society / culture simulator, though it would also generally be a city builder. Let me warn you it is hard, and right now I'm a bit stuck on AI/pathfinding (very essential in what I have in mind). Art is another thing that does worry me, and I'm no graphic artist (though I plan to intentionally keep "story" out and keep it as much a "sandbox" as possible for player to make their own story or just experiment).

A good idea is to search Youtube for instructional video. I have a couple books on game programming they haven't been that useful, while I've learned a lot from Youtube, especially TheBennyBox and The Coding Universe. These are mostly Java (some C++) and mostly RPG and shooter oriented, but they have a lot of good info all the same.

EDIT: If I thought they'd make a great game out of it I'd have half a mind to to write my idea up as a white paper and send that and my code (which they could use as pseudo-code) to TM gratis -- I all hung up on AI and seriously doubt anything will come of my insane attempt to write a game without really knowing what I'm dioing.
Last edited by JaredBGreat on Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby alincarpetman » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:06 am

Sounds like some cool ideas for new city builder games!

I don't have any expert advice but maybe checking out other games already made and in the making could be inspirational to see what has already been and not been done as a comparison.

You can find a list of various city builder games here, here and here.

There's a project over at the Simtropolis forum where some people would like to make an "indie Simcity" game. Maybe there is enough people with interest and skills to team up to make a parallel project for a pre-modern city builder game like the ones made by Tilted Mill, Anno, etc?

Another project is Civitas which if it's released may have modding options for any time period in city building history.

Here's a short list of recent new and upcoming city builder games that haven't been released yet and may prove interesting to check out for ideas:

Simcity 5
Shackleton Crater
Colonisation: Moonbase
Medieval Mayor
Airship Downs
Clockwork Empires
Ymir Online

Would like to hear more about Lindsay and Jareds game ideas if you wish to share. :)
Last edited by alincarpetman on Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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