This article is going to explain the steps to creating a video or computer game and will name some of the software that can be used to make a game. I will try to equate the different parts of the game making process to the human body to simplify it. The first process in creating a character or model is to create the muscle. One would think we would start with the bones but that would not be accurate.
After the muscles have been created, you stick the bones inside. Then we flatten our person out like a medical examiner conducting an autopsy. The next piece of the puzzle is to add the skin and clothes. Once that’s done we define a range of motions like the motions we do on a daily basis. Now the bulk of the work is done and we stick our character in a game. Even though I used a human just to give a comparison of the steps involved in creating a model, the same steps apply whether you’re creating an animal, a machine or an entire city. In the following sections I will explain the steps in more details.
First you create the muscle and bones of the animation. The muscles in humans are generally the same color all over. They outline the shape of the individual. The 3D modeling terminology of the muscles is called the mesh. The mesh is a colorless, transparent frame drawn over a grid. The next step is to create the bones inside the muscles. In 3D terminology this is actually called adding bones to a model. The bones and the joints they are attached to, make it easier for us to animate the character.
It is also possible to animate a character using the muscles or mesh. This is more like real motion where the muscles move bone. However, this method of animation requires more time and processing power from the computer. Can you image trying to manipulate hundreds of individual muscles to move someone instead of just moving a couple of bones? The most important thing to know about your software is; does it create a model compatible with the software your using to make your game or animation? They usually have a list of different formats they can save a character in. The good news is that all you have to do is create a character once and you can save it in different formats for different software. Here are some popular software to create the mesh and bones.
Next, once the muscles and bones are created we would of course want to add skin to our model. But it’s difficult to draw skin on a 3 dimensional character so we have to make it a 2 dimensional character. We do that by unwrapping the model. We, in essence, become morgue technicians and slice up our poor little person and lay him out flat. The tools below are used to unwrap a mesh. Some tools are the same tools mentioned in the previous section.
Now that our 3d model has been flattened we can draw the skin and clothes on him or her or it. We say skin and clothes because if your model always wears the same clothes then there is no need to draw the skin that no one will ever see. The skin and clothes gives us our color and texture. In 3d modeling terminology we say skinning a model or adding texture. These tools have a function called layering where we can draw the skin of the person add a layer and then draw the clothes if we want a more realistic appearance.
Paint shop pro
We are getting close to the end now. Now that we have our characters for our game created, we have to create the motions that the models will use throughout their game life. Most character will have the actions walk. In the simplest form of this action, you simply move the characters leg bones a couple of times back and forth. After each movement you use the animation tool to set a “key frame” which is just a snapshot of the motion. Adding 3 or 4 key frames of the characters leg bones moving back and forth will create the illusion of walking when the key frames are added together. A more complicated way of doing this is to move the muscles to create leg movement instead of the bones. This creates a more realistic look as in reality the muscles move the bone, not the other way around. However, there are more muscle fibers than bones, thus making it more complicated. The next motion would probably be “run” which of course adds more steps because more body parts are involved in running. After those two you would do the different “fight” movements and of course a game where the player keeps winning is not a challenge so you have to eventually die.
These same steps are used to create the world or levels the characters live in except that no motion needs to be added. Once the character, level, and the characters motion are created we can add it all to the game engine to get things in motion. The game engine provides the brains for the game. They detect the input from the keyboard, mouse or joystick and they translate it into one of the motions or actions designed previously. Game engines also detect when a missile fired at one of the bad guys hits the bad guy or misses and hits the wall. This is called collision detection. Game engines also decide which way a bullet goes once it is fired, this is called game physics.
If you need more flexibility in your game than a game engine can give you then you can create your own game engine using a programming language. Be forewarned, this requires a lot of work and skill. If you’re smart, you can start out with one of the game engines that give you the source code also known as “open source” and make modifications.
I have used a tutorial at http://www.juniorgamemaker.com that uses relatively inexpensive software to make computer games. I used milkshape for creating the mesh. I used Lithunwrap to unwrap the model. I used Paint.net to skin the model. Last, I used 3d Gamestudio as my game engine and also to create the bones. Blender is supposed to be a good tool also and it’s free, so I may try that next. Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck on your journey to make the ultimate computer game.
Source by Ted Ravenell