Game dev for tablet options?

Created this thread because of the Unity thread started by MichaelEmous. I too have started to dabble in hobby programming with a view towards games and would like some thoughts before I get too deep down the rabbit hole.

I’m a finance guy and a whiz at excel (no mouse!!), but programming has always been a bit quirky for me beyond basic excel VBA (which I know is like the kiddie table to real programmers). Tables, rows, and columns with VLookup, HLookup, and sumifs I understand, arrays I do not.

So what options should I look at for picking up the coding at a reasonable pace that is fairly easy to transfer into building hobby games?

I started a Java tutorial from Eclipse from http://www.kilobolt.com/ which feels like a pretty in-the-weeds tutorial that explains the basics for a Megaman-esque game. Have to say its slow going and I’ve gained a new appreciation for programmers. Forget the drawing, the storyboarding, the music, the gameplay: just hooking all that crap up in the code is a bitch and a half. Then I see MichaelEmous’s thread on Unity http://unity3d.com, which seems to bridge the gap better on the coding (?), and I’m wondering if there are better options.

Anyway, I’m so far along in the kilobolt tutorial I will probably finish it just for the learning value, but should I be looking at Unity or other options? Remember, this is just one of a few hobbies, not a job. Hoping to have a finished product in a year or so that looks slightly better than the original Asteroids or Mario (not the nintendo super mario bro, but the one with the single screen and two pipes).

What says the Dope?

Yeah a third party game engine is probably your best bet. Unity has a ton of resources and a large community around it, so it’s probably a really good engine to start with. There are simpler engines out there though, and depending on what you’re trying to do something like a javascript/HTML app might be even simpler, even for someone new to programming.

I was able to build a rummy card game using HTML5 canvas + js in a couple of days. Then again I’m a programmer, but there are a ton of ebooks out there that’ll take you step by step through the process.

If you’re looking to do 3D, things get a lot more complicated, and I’d recommend you go with something like Unity for that. You’ll probably still want to pick up a book on Unity and start with that.

Here’s a list of other popular game engines:

http://nuverian.net/2011/01/17/the-best-game-engines-for-indie-game-developers/

If you’re planning on using 3D graphics, I’d recommend Unity. I’ve consulted on several commercial iOS games that have been built in Unity. It’s simple enough for a hobbyist to learn, but powerful enough to actually release something with.

Yeah it looks like Unity can take you wherever you want to go. Rust, the top selling Steam game for weeks now, I believe, is a Unity game. And it’s in alpha still. That’s a lotta money :slight_smile:

Thanks guys! I appreciate the responses. :slight_smile:

If you don’t need 3D, Corona is a great development environment. The language is Lua, which is about as forgiving to beginners as it gets, and what you develop (with a minimum of adjustment effort) can run, on the same codebase, in android and IOS, on every resolution.

I wrote a math game in Corona that’s out there right now (and it actually paid back within a year, so anything I am getting from it now is gravy). Don’t think I am allowed to link to it, so message me and I will give you the link to see what can be done with it.