My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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Like many of you, I got into programming because I wanted to make games as a kid.

Wolfenstein Title Screen It was around the time games started looking better and being more complicated than Wolfenstein 3-D that I started thinking I'd never be able to make a game. Sure, I could do Tetris or Minesweeper, but how in the world could I ever match the game play and graphics of a Quake or Diablo. Let's not even get started with Halo 3 and Call of Duty.

It seems you need an army of programmers to make even a decent game now.

But then people started releasing game-development frameworks that could help you get past the technical hurdles. However, by the time I thought about something like that (or had the capacity to think it) I had almost long forgotten about my dream to make games.

And even if you're using a framework, what do you do about the monetary hurdles? A computer to program on is one thing, but where would you find the cash for a good 3D modeling studio? What if you wanted to deploy to a console? That license is in the tens of thousands of dollars (or so I've heard).

But as some of you have known for a while, and I only found out as recently as August, Microsoft is helping to solve those problems. They've released the XNA framework, which lets you deploy to XBOX 360 or PC (Developer Center, Creators Club, XNA Team Blog).

I'm only three weeks in and I've got quite a decent start for a game. It's cartoon-like, so it doesn't require the type of art you'd find in Gears of War (though I could still use the help of a 3d modeler if you're offering). It works mostly how I want it to, and I need only a few tweeks. Most importantly, I've got a nice framework written that allows me to add levels and new game objects with relative ease (not WYSIWYG just yet, but that might happen at some point in the distant future).

So that only leaves the soundtrack. Unless you don't plan to distribute your game, licensing songs may still be an prohibitive issue (barring that you're good at making your own on the computer, and have a good sound-editor to do it). For that, I'm trying to get the band back together over the winter to record an impromptu soundtrack. Getting back in the studio with those guys would be reward enough, but I'll have a game to go with it. Thanks XNA!

As always, thoughts are appreciated. I'd especially like to hear from you if you know or are a member of any community where free(ish) 3D models and textures are available.

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Google has a model search: http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse

Posted by Sam on Nov 11, 2007 at 08:02 PM UTC - 5 hrs

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