I still want to make a game, you know

Just thought I’d take this moment to soapbox about my continued desire to make my own videogame. Yes, I’ve made some cool gaming system projects, and there’s new ones yet to come, but of course a system is nothing without a game to play on it. In this regard it feels like there’s more I could do.

8k of heaven

The idea I’d really like to pursue is non-violent, somewhat Myst-like and would actually, as much as I hate to admit it, fit very well on the Wii. Target demo would be adult and about 50/50 male/female.

71 thoughts on “I still want to make a game, you know”

  1. I’m with you on that one, grew up writing Basic programs on Timex/Sinclair 1000 doorstop (talk about a crappy computer, if you had the 16K module hanging off the back 9 times out of 10 it would crash if you ever so slightly bumped the computer!!). My favorites were the VIC-20 and C-64.
    Your work on portables is awe inspiring, even if you wrote a stick figure hangman game for an Atari, I’d be impressed! Keep up the great work!!

  2. Hey man you can do it. We need to see a few more non-FPS games now and again. And really, game programming is a breeze compared to some of the stuff you are doing. You putting together a team? Or you gonna do it all yourself?

  3. Good luck with that target gender demographic. Can I be an idea man? You know, one of those guys that sits around drinking coffee (in this case, a nice cup of tea) and occasionally saying, “I think [blank] would be cool” and sharing equally in the profits with the people who actually did something.

  4. I find it funny that Ben can’t program yet he can hack the fuck out of stuff and make it fricking awesome like the Xbox 360 laptop and stuff.

    You rule dude

    Keep up the good work, hopefully you’ll get onto a video game company and start making your own modded consoles or something


  5. Make a game for Linux; there aren’t enough of those.
    Besides that, it would be kinda easy, as everything is free, and there are loads of complete free 3d engines available, such as Irrlicht (http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/screenshots.html) or Crystal Space 3d (http://www.crystalspace3d.org/main/Media).

    I can’t help with programming, as I’m also limited to Basic 😀

    But I am good with graphics, and Linux 😉
    And I’d also enjoy sitting around getting paid for comments..

  6. Oh, not to mention that’s the easiest way to get it run on Wii!

    The “official” dev kits cost like $10 000. But Linux is open source 🙂

  7. Cool. I wanna help! I know a little about programming games and making them work. I have a HUGE Imagination if you want some ideas and I DEFONITELY wannae earn my spot as a Beta tester!!!!

    I wanna be on the concept and character design team.


    How large of a team are you on.

  8. To make a “decent” game, I’d not recommended learning the language from scratch (pretty much) because it’ll take you years to get to a level of somewhat decent programming skills.

    I’d say hire a team of people to help you after you’ve written and completed a portfolio for the project. Then go about looking for publishing.

    Go for http://www.3dbuzz.com/ or http://www.highend3d.com/ for your 3d modeller.

    Also, have you thought about aiming for the DS? It would be a smaller project then.

    Also, because you linked http://www.frictionalgames.com, then also remember http://www.newgrounds.com for their award winning Alien Hominid 😉

  9. I would be willing to help code in my free time. I wouldn’t be able to offer more than 5-10 hours a week, because of work and school and such, but I’m pretty capable and can always learn.

  10. What kind of 3D modeling? I can do objects, mechanical devices and such but I can’t model anything organic (humans ect..). Btw I use Lightwave 8.

  11. I hope you get a team and make it.
    Im trying to learn how to 3d mod but so far i wouldnt say im too good.

  12. Have you checked out the Unity Engine? You can publish the games you make on it to the Wii, but you do need a Mac. I am pretty good at programming/texturing/3d modeling, and would be happy to help.


  13. Hey Ben,

    You should use Dark Basic!

    Easy to use and is 3D capable!

    That or GameMaker! Both of these programs don’t need years of programming experience.

    Just a thought.

  14. Myst-like, you say? Sounds awesome.

    Since you’ve made something of a name for yourself on the internet, various (especially small) game companies would more likely listen to your ideas than, say, me. On that note, I would be interested in providing conceptual art, background art, and perhaps textures if you would have use for such things.

    Good luck in your endeavor, sir!

  15. I’m making a game in Java right now for my comic. 🙂 🙂 But I’d still play a version of Myst inspired by Ben, or … or… or… SOLDERSTRIKE DS!! BWAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!

  16. If yopu want to do a game for a console the cheapest routes are either Xbox live (Via the XNA tool kit), or the DS vis the open source tool kits.

    if you head down the DS path I should be able to give a hand with the coding I’ve been messing around with DS coding for a while. and it would give the 50/50 split you wanted.

    The bit that takes the most work is the graphics, there are always more artists then coders (and more testers then both together).

    If you head down the XNA route you would need C# coders but you can do full 3D and the game can be both windows and 360, DS is C++ you can do 3D but it’s more limited but it is openGL.

  17. James, I do indeed have Alien Hominid on my Xbox 360. Fun, but insanely hard in parts.

    It would be cool to try and do something, I believe Jones was interested as well.

  18. i think you will need to plan this a little better if you want your game project to succeed because almost always when i see something like this happen the project fails fast and disapears.

  19. Start small and work your way up. If you already know BASIC, then you shouldn’t have much of a problem learning another language to program the game in.

  20. Hey Ben,
    I would love to help…
    I can do images (boxart’s etc.) stuff in Photoshop,
    I would also love to be a Beta tester.


  21. Hey, JUST Basic, did I just hear JUST basic? With Basic the Codemasters(Yes THE Codemasters(R), boy!)began programming when they just went to school. So I NEVER want to hear “JUST BASIC” again!!!

  22. Oh HO! The almighty Benjamin has stooped so low as to quietly utter the word “Wii” on his infamous website. I am astonished, good sir! Anyway, if I were you I’d find out what programing programs (redundant) you’d be using before you start looking for recruits. You’d need to start working on a bugget as well. As much as I would love to help (which is a LOT), I am widely know for my complete uselessness in all endeavors. I wish you luck.

  23. The idea I have in mind would need pretty good environments (all indoors, all decrepit) and actually very few humans / characters at all.

  24. Depending on how much of the project you want to develop from scratch, you’ve got a few options.

    There are some open source Myst-like engines about.
    Pyzzle ( http://pyzzle.sourceforge.net ) came to mind first, but it seems to have been abandoned for a few years now.
    Pipmak ( http://pipmak.sourceforge.net ) is being actively developed, and also supports Myst-III-style 360 degree panoramas. It can do multiframe animation patches, but it doesn’t support full motion video patches yet. (They’re working on it.) Scripting is done in Lua, which is dead-easy to work with.

    You could also use one of the more flexible FPS 3D engines. I considered writing a Myst game using the Unreal 2003 engine some years back (but never got started :P). As long as it supports a fairly powerful scripting engine, and features good map interaction, it should do the job.

  25. I’m a programmer, I will help if I can. Go to my web site for demos (www.rik007.co.uk) under the downloads section.

    I always struggle with graphics though, so get someone who can draw and I’ll do all the technical jiggery pokery!

  26. I forgot to mention that I’d be interested in helping, depending on when you get started. I have pretty much zero free time right now, but that might change later…

    I could help with concept art, character designs (if there are any), mechanical designs etc.
    My sorely neglected portfolio site has some example work. I’ll try and get some more online soon.

  27. There are a few good 3D modeling softwear out there. The is wings 3D(free), Blender for Windows(free), and 3DS max(costs money). They are all avaible for download online. Me personaly, I use Wings 3D. But My capablity of making 3D models is begginer.

  28. I hate the idea that everyone has jumped to the idea that it must be 3D, what happened to well darwn 2D sprites?

    I do like the idea of the art style being decrepit, in some ways it is an over used theme but it’s still not been done well.

  29. I’ll follow everyone around and keep a journal of the development. That way, I can write a tell-all exposé a few years down the road and ruin everyone’s reputation. I’ll call it “Masters of Heck”.

  30. I’m not an art person, but I still have managed to make recognizable things in Wings 3D, to my utter astonishment.

    Irrlicht was recommended as a 3D engine; I would recommend it too, because it’s cross platform, has multiple OpenGL/Software/DirectX rendering engines, has a nice little GUI engine as a bonus (for menus and such in your game).

    I never really did much with it so I can’t give any more details, but I did struggle through the tutorials and managed to load a Quake 3 .BSP with it once, along with a Wings 3D model I made, and I make it so I could freely fly through the world. Not too bad an accomplishment considering I get distracted so easily.

    Also for an actual language… Irrlicht is avilable in .NET form through a separate project (Irrlicht links it in one of their recent news posts). .NET is a very good place to start in programming because it gives you lots of integrated functionality without having to go off to get libraries (except Irrlicht .NET, of course). There’s also “Managed DirectX” by Microsoft .NET if you wanna try that but I imagine it would be harder that Irrlicht and not as flexible. And of course .NET is integrated into a bunch of different languages including VB.NET (you might want to start here since you’ll find it similar in syntax to BASIC), C#.NET, C++.NET, and I think even Python and Fortran now. VB.NET, apart from being ultimately based off of BASIC, is also popular in itself for .NET. I recommend staying away from C++.NET, I didn’t like it. C#.NET supposedly is good as well but I haven’t gotten around to trying anything with it yet.

    Search for Visual Studio Express 2005 and you’ll find the free IDE by Microsoft for developing in .NET. You’ll need to download a separate package for each language but they all install in the same spot for sharing common files.

    The only problem is if you make your game for .NET it might not be easy to make cross platform. I would read more up on “Mono” (project to bring .NET to linux) first if you’re interested in .NET, and specifically how well Irrlicht .NET (or whatever it’s called, I forget) supports Mono.

  31. Ben, the only environment you need for your game is the Dells at 2:00am when you walk out of the Showboat or Marley’s.

  32. First thing you need to do is jot down some ideas. Make notes on how the game will actually work, do you right click to activate something or left click? How do you move? What kind of puzzles will be involved and how will your inventory work, that kind of thing. Once you know this, you can move onto the game itself, so things like where will it be set, the story, the characters etc. Only at that point can you actually start coding.
    You could do with a central point, a forum or something where people can post ideas and contribute, there must be a web page somewhere.

  33. Games are pretty complex pieces of software these days. With the older machines, games were made with simple code by a small group of individuals – now they’re made by a vast army of designers, artists, programmers and alike. Okay, so you know that, games are now a vast undertaking; however, you don’t even need to know a single string of code to be part of such a project (I haven’t touched programming in years). I’m certain your current CAD skills could be easily converted over to the software for games design (see 3D Studio Max, Maya). You can do the design along with a few individuals to help it along who are experienced in the field, then get an army of programmers to do the rest. Even a game on Wii-scale would need a large development team.

    I’d volunteer to help should you wish to ever take a serious attempt at a game project, but I’ve got a lot on my plate having just recieved Unreal Engine 3 for a massive games project ^^ (my little “sucks to be you” bit).

  34. I totally feel you on this topic I’m currently a 2-D game maker I just create addicting games that are fun anyways I would totally help you if you wanted it be no trouble actually because of you my whole perspective when I get new electronics is how can I turn this into a portable LOL you really are a big inspiration and actually I only have one question how did you transport that one flying game to psp did you use a LUA scripting language if not I seen the virtual program I had it but couldn’t figure how to load my 2-D games to my custom PSP anyways if you could help me on this I would be more then happy to help later ben..

    Jon ~ Team AsukA

  35. Any progress on finding anyone or getting a complete story portfolio together?

    Just out of curiosity, are you going to pitch this idea/team to a publisher before or after production?

  36. Hey man I know how to program C#,C++,Visual Basic,Pascel and Assembly Language so if you need
    anyone to help you out I could but I think you should get Visual Basic.net and learn a little of that
    befor you try to make a game. The amount of programming involved even in a old atari astaroids game
    is crazy so what you need to do is get a team together a few guys to do textuares and bitmapping if you need it also some programers and scripters. I can help with programing and scripting.

  37. You might want to start out with makeing a basic computer game with java script or something the wii seems a little difficult to me, i might be able to help u with map design and character’s do an easy project like something in 2’d then go on to a 3d game with a world or two

  38. Wow I scrolled down to the atari800 picture and was taken back in time 20+ years in 1- seconds. Thats when my dad bought one second hand, along with a box of 5.25” disks of games and applications, while he was stationed in Germany. A couple of years later we got a disk drive from TOYS’R’US. But I remember that B.A.S.I.C cartridge extremely well, because before the disk drive, if you wanted to play a game you had to type it in. Man we would leave that thing running for weeks with rinky dinky little games like “guess my number” or “Slots”, cause there was no saving it anywhere before the disk drive. And you could type in those B.A.S.I.C. programs from your math book too. Wow times were great back then. I’m afraid I can’t say my programing skills go much more beyond that atari cartridge either, but at least I can say I program in Qbasic, ha. 😉 and just a smidgen of C.

  39. I’ve worked on an unpublished and a published game title. Love the Myst games. Love the Wii platform. I like your concept. Let me know if you’d like my help. I do modeling and texturing.

  40. Give me about 3-4 more years to finish my degree and I’ll help. XP
    Not much I can do outside of basic Java right now, good luck at any rate if your work with software is as good as what you do with hardware I’m sure it’ll be a success.

  41. Hey man, Love your work. Been meaning to try and get in to this my self, but my mian focus is around programming. I have knowledge of ASM and C++ which would be useful for game programmiong contact me if you want any help.

  42. this sounds awesome, im a musician i could help write a soundtrack, i do art could help with art work, ive played too many games – i could help with game testing, contact me im on msn, bomernee@hotmail.com would love to get on the ground floor of this project ive done some merchandising and promotion stuff i make t shirts as well have you got a t-shirt supplier for benheck.com? ill do you a great deal for you!

  43. I know Java and am currently learning Cocoa (you know, the Mac language), and would be glad to help. My dad also owns a recording studio in my house and I therefore have access to an extensive library of pretty much any sound effect you could imagine. Everything from toilets flushing to tape dispensers to the launch of the Saturn I rocket. and more. My dad also plays the keyboard and writes music really well, so if James here wants to write the soundtrack I could get it recorded professionally.

    As a side note, there are a lot of game making applications out there that require no programming knowledge whatsoever.


  44. it is my dream to be a voice actor for cartoons/movies/videogames. i can help with that.

    i could also help with a plot line.

  45. ben why dont u create a system that plays multimedia fusion and game maker games. there is a huge group already contributing to this including myself.

    i mean check it out


    just look around. this program makes it easy for anyone to make there own video games. and all that math and c++ can be used to if u want.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU8AllDgNzA this is what im making. please answer back as i would like to here your thoughts on this.

  46. Im still in school but id be glad to help. I am currently learning how to use XNA game studio and just bought a behemoth book on game programming in C++. Im only a freshmen in high though… 🙁

  47. As an indy game developer for the past few years, I have a couple suggestions.

    First, for your first game it makes a lot of sense to pick either consoles, or PCs. You don’t want to muddy the water with having to design for both on your first go.

    Second, in terms of engines, what you pick above (Console vs PC) will limit what you program the game in. I haven’t done any Console work (simply because PC games are /much/ simpler to produce), but I can speak to the PC game engines mentioned. I’ve used Irrlicht, Ogre, and Crystal Space before (CS was my long standing favorite because the community is wonderful), but the problem with all of them is that they are, primarily C driven. (By this I mean, C, C++ or C#) While that’s not a bad thing (believe me, I’ve been writing C++ code for over a decade) they’re poor language choices for a game engine.

    I would recomend Panda3d: http://www.panda3d.org/

    It’s used by Disney for their games, and a lot of it’s design comes from Carnegie Mellon. The past part of it, is that it uses python as the main language you write your game in. From experience, you can get a simple proof of concept out the door in 1 – 3 months. Doing that with any other language is much harder.

    If you’re interested, my group is currently working on a 3rd/1st person sneaker (a la Splinter Cell/Assassin’s Creed), but a good deal of our code (including our PhysX implementations) could be directly applicable to a Myst style game… We’d be interested in sharing code/resources, or potentially working on it as another project with you.

    Feel free to contact me (I assume you have access to the e-mail field of your blog? 😉 If not, my contact’s on my site.) if you’re interested.

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