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frameworks? where to get started?


skellri
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Hello!
I'm in search of uh...well a lot of information to be honest haha. I've got an idea I've been solidifying for a pet site, I'm an artist so the art part comes easily to me. However, due to a wrist injury that I've sustained, drawing is kind of impossible right now. So, I figured I could perhaps look into learning coding/programming to get some momentum elsewhere! I consider myself fairly adaptable for absorbing knowledge so I'm up for a challenge! I've built websites before, for myself (mainly my portfolio so its nothing spectacular and tbh I've since switched to wordpress for setting that up for the sake of ease as far as content management goes.)

My biggest question is as follows...are there any frameworks out there that are available? Doesn't have to be free. I'm more than willing to pay for such a thing if it exists.

My other big question is ...where should I start when it comes to learning what it takes to set up and run a pet site? As far as features goes, I'd consider Flight Rising and Lioden to be my favourite pet sites and providing the most inspiration to me!

I apologize for this topic being very broad, I know there's a lot that I have to learn but I'm primarily looking for a good push me in the right direction!

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The two "big" pet game specific frameworks are Pet Game Framework for $300 and Mysidia Adoptables for Free. 
Personally I tried both and believe they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. 

I think the question of "where to start" is not one we can answer. 

You must ask yourself; what do you want to do

A good exercise is one that I've read from a business book. I don't remember the name, however. 
Anyway, the exercise; 

Grab a Sheet of Paper and make three columns; 

  1.  What You Know How to Do 
  2. What You Don't Know How to Do, But Are Interested In Learning
  3. What You Don't Want to Do 

People who run Pet Games and Online Sims wear a number of hats. What I'm mentioning in Spoilers isn't all of the hats, but the usual suspects for a game that is available for free and does not seek to earn money (yet). Since you're just getting started and likely doing this as a hobby I won't include any of the positions you usually find in a small business: 

Spoiler

 

Game Master/Manager/Director/Producer - Called a number of things. This thing you may be working on is their idea, and they hire and/or manage everything else on this list. 

Front-End Developer - They code what you see when you land on -YourGame dot com-, typically with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 

Back-End Developer - They code how users interact with the server and database on -YourGame dot com-. There are many languages for this. The Frameworks above, Neopets and a great many other Pet Sites use PHP. 

Full Stack Developer - They can code on both the Front-End and Back-End. Once rare, they are becoming more common. 

Graphic Designer - They may not know how to code, but design the look and feel of the website and layout of the content therein. 

Artist - A blanket term for anyone who draws for the game. They may draw items, pets, characters, or maps. 

Writer - A blanket term for anyone who writes for the game. That may be item descriptions, page descriptions, or stories and lore. 

Content Manager - Once your site is pitched, designed, and programmed these are the people who help keep it updated by planning and loading new pets, items, worlds, events, ect. 

Game Designer - They may or may not know how to develop. They're in charge of making sure that users have "fun" when they come to your site and interact with your content. 

Game Developer - You may need a dedicated programmer to create games for your site depending on how you want to approach dailies and mini-games. 

Social Media Manager - When the site is up and running you'll want to advertise, right? Or maybe even before then. Well, these workers manage and moderate your social media feeds. 

Marketing Manager - Their goal? To get people to come and play your game. 

Moderator - Once your game starts growing you might need help to nail cheaters and keep your boards clean. These are your guys. 

 

A small and/or hobby game will likely have people wearing filling in multiple roles. 

A more robust look of things might be that you have people creating Content (Art, Writing, Designs), people doing Development (Coding, Database Management, Server Maintenance), and people doing Services (Marketing, Social Media, Moderation, Support Tickets). If you decide to turn your game into a business you may have someone doing Accounting and Legal work and whatnot. 

The general idea is to get a feeling of what you may be comfortable with versus things you may want to get hired help to do. 

As you get into the meat of creating and managing your game you may find what you are and are not comfortable with doing changing. You may become overwhelmed by all of the development work. You may not have time to draw everything anymore. Or you may feel like leaving support and moderation up to someone else while you're actually working on your game. 

Opinion/General Advice Time: You're not going to know for sure what you're comfortable with unless you try it. 

I don't recommend spending a great deal of money off the bat. It's like buying an expensive Gym Membership and never going. 
If you are absolutely new to managing a game you may want to just buy some hosting and try out some stuff out with Mysidia. 

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Actually had the same problem. Upgrading my server was the end of my promising Mysidia adventure. 

There's an effort to update Mysidia called Mysidia Deluxe, but I'm not sure how far along they are. 

I guess the question to ask yourself now is what you might want your site built in. There are no shortages of CMS and Frameworks that a Pet Site could potentially be built in. Even Wordpress can do it, technically. 

As someone who's played the Perfect Framework Game for far too long, let me say this; There is none

A push-button solution doesn't really exist. Especially for Pet Sites in particular. You'll have to choose a solution, learn how to work with it, and shape it into that thing that you want. One thing I will say is the process of doing that is probably easier now than it was 5-10 years ago. There are more places you can ask for help. There are video tutorials. Many Frameworks have a support line you can ask questions. 

If you are completely new to this website-making thing, I'd suggest working on the Front-End first. Front-End is easier to learn and more forgiving than Back-End. Choose a Front-End Framework to work with and design the look and feel of your site. You can either learn or get someone to hook your site up to the Back-End later. 

Some Popular Front-End Frameworks: 

Bootstrap - The most popular Front-End Framework. Developed by Twitter.

Foundation - Competitor for Bootstrap used by Facebook. 

Pure - CSS Framework developed by Yahoo.  

Materialize - A Framework with many ready-to-use components. 

Semantic UI - Framework designed for Beginners to Front-End Development. 

Choose one and get buildin'.

Oh, and you might need an HTML Editor if you're building Front-End. 

I just made the switch to Visual Studio Code and am quite happy with it. 

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