Coding a simple RTS game without any coding experience - what are the chances?

By on April 28, 2014 2:46:34 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums


Join Date 05/2009

I found a nice blog which covers coding of a basic RTS game in Unity 3D...

since creating such game is sort of my dream since i started playing them about 15 years ago, i was thinking about looking into it and giving it a try in my free time. As said in the title, i have no coding experience what do you think? Is there any chance i could actually create something following that tutorial + fill possible holes by googling? Or is it without previous experience/proper education already doomed to fail? Does not have to be working game right away, just say creating a working "unit", which you would be able to select and order to move or fire would be plenty for start...

I am not asking now about not being able to finish anything, cause its a massive undertaking, especially lacking prior knowledge in the field. I am aware of that. But i am more curious whether i am very likely to run into something basically unsolvable, if the tutorial wont be specific enough? In other words, is this possible to learn by induction, meant as following step-by-step and learning by trial and error, without understanding the background/nuances/inner workings? Or is it complete no-go?

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April 28, 2014 3:31:27 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

don't be afraid to fail, rather, fear to not reach your full potential!

Determination knows no bounds. I say, go for it, I just finished a Xion, my first, and also have learned to skin several apps on my own, some with assistance, either way, success feels great.

So, try and keep trying as long as time affords you the opportunity,.

I know my comparison may be tiny as far as the coding, but I learned more making a rainmeter about code than I ever knew or thought possible.

Point being, all tutorials posted online, and some tips from others. Good luck.Last piece of my ramblings, use other peoples work for reference, the best teacher around is a finished, working, example.

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April 28, 2014 4:12:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think it is a big ask to go from zero programming experience to writing a RTS. An easier approach would be to use a game engine like Construct 2 which makes many complicated programming requirements very simple - e.g., path algorithms and shooting etc. It even includes a basic 2d RTS sample in the package - there is a free version of C2 to have a look at.

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April 28, 2014 6:15:53 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Thank you for your responses!

I will look into that Construct, thanks for the link and advice. But since i started tonight with that Unity tutorial, i will try to carry on with this at first to see how far i am able to go. So far i managed to finish initial 2 parts of the tutorial which deal with setting up the "map" and cameras. I am basically following it to the letter, but there is no other way, thankfully there are whole parts of the C script listed i can just copy, without that LOL, no coding for me.

Anyway, already ran into an issue with camera, despite doing everything as said, camera would get stucked if i rotated it the way it looks directly down...but since i basically did not want to do it fully customizable anyway, i solved it by removing all the references to rotation from the script, problem solved  america, fuck yeah.

But now i am thinking to allow at least rotation around its Z axis, but not to make it tiltable (what caused the problem and as i said i did not this functionality in the first place anyway), so i gotta take part of the code back...probably last thing i try today and go to sleep then.

Bottom line, my initial observation are, that i would not be able to do shit without copying whole parts of the code from that tutorial, but i sort of understand, what are the parts of the script related to/have control over, so if i change some values, i know what i am doing and i am able to improvize a bit. I wonder if this approach will work further as well.

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May 2, 2014 1:18:50 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Well. little update/rant for anyone interested:

so, as expected. my enthusiasm about this, more specifically doing something within Unity, has been swiftly curbed, once the tutorial i followed started to be less descriptive in terms of scripting. In other words the author stopped to write entire scripts with explanations, just a little tidbits with commentary, where to put them, which was indeed not good enough too me... since i know sweet fuck all about coding and syntax...

Anyway, i turned my attention toward recommended Construct 2 and another similar tool called Game Develop. Actually tried that one first, since its completely free and apparently even better. Ive been playing with it yesterday, fairly succesfully following tutorial "How to create basic shooter" and i kinda start to understand the whole principle of setting up the "Events" to achieve things to work...its fairly simple - you set up one of the pre-made conditions (like press a button) to trigger one of premade actions (like create object, delete object, move to position etc..).

Too bad i have no idea yet, how to - based on this little knowledge - set up basic RTS principle of selecting a unit and controlling to move or fire. I guess selecting a unit is going to be some kind of combo of (hover cursor over object) and (mouse button is pressed), but what would be the action? How the f do i tell the game this is when i have control over the unit and this is when i dont? There are some variables to be used to define a state of an object, these are however just some values... i could understand that setting such value to 1 could be unit selected, while 0 the opposite, but i still dont know how to put in the "selected" part. Another thing, how do i know if moving and shooting are events equal to selecting or are they supposed to be sub-events to selecting?...

Its truly mind-boggling.This is going to take a while and without proper tutorial covering the exact topic i am interested in, its pretty possible i wont be able to create shit. Going to look into that Construct over the weekend too and i found out interesting app called RTS Creator to be released later this month:


this one is probably the closest to be any useful to me. Recommend to look at the trailer, it very well done.

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May 3, 2014 1:16:50 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I feel your pain.  Went in the military right as computers came out.

Unity will probably have the most utility if you decide to grind on through.


Cool link on the proggie and good luck there.

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May 3, 2014 2:23:30 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Well as something of a coder here I my be biased, but if you're motivated enough to try something like this might it not be easier to learn the basics of coding first? Not only will it help you understand the code the guy is writing, but even if you get to make the game in the tutorial, you're going to want to add some more stuff to make it your own right? At that point, I'm pretty sure you NEED to write your own code.

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May 3, 2014 9:45:15 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I learned to code on a Radio Shack Color Computer when I was 16.  I wanted to write a Dungeon & Dragons game.  Took me all summer but I did it in Basic and stored my code on audio tapes that constantly had read errors.  Good times.     At the time I had magazines like Byte that had an active community that published code that was great for learning from.  I'll bet there are equivalent magazines today.  I have not looked in a while.

Find a local community college and take an intro to coding class.  Pick one that uses C or C++ as the language.  Pascal and Basic are good too but C gives you a lot more options down the road.  The important thing is to learn all the basic concepts.  And honestly there really are not that many.  Don't be intimidated.  It's only the crazy graphic stuff that gets challenging and when you get that far you find more help and new sources of information.  It's also nice to have a good math background for the graphics programming but also not the worst obstacle.  There are purchasable libraries and online communities you can look to for help.

If you are someone who can learn on your own find an intro to coding book that includes a language disk that has a free compiler on it.  C or C++ still I think your best bet here.  

Wanting to write a game will give you the drive you need to learn the basics.  Even writing basic stuff like a Pacman game will teach you so much.  


Good luck.  And carry a small notebook with you to capture your random ideas.  They will start popping into your head once you get started.


backs out of the room slowly...  


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