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If you could build a game without a programmer....


Digital
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So, I have been in my mind mapping out a game engine (codebase) that would remove the barrier of programming for beginning game makers. It would provide the basics that a pet site would need to get up and running, and allow those of you who are not programmers to actually accomplish the building of a pet site styled game without the added necessity of a programmer immediately until such a time came that you needed to expand on it.

Features would be basic in terms of what obviously can be done, but it would be supported entirely here on the boards, and we would hope our Core Members would be open to helping as well in pointing ways to answers or providing help. We would make the system extensible to allow expansion with more complex features that programmers can build and release as a package (either free plugins or paid additions), and of course they would be available for paid work also.

Would the community be interested in such a project?

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Me too. I'm up for helping depending on what the work is and if I'm capable. I'm probably not lol but I can do some stuff in PHP. Sounds like a lot of artists would like this. 

I saw a petsite maker once, but it's been a long time and I've forgotten what it was. 

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3 hours ago, runeowl said:

I can think of a lot of artist friends who would enjoy something like this. :)

 

1 minute ago, Hare said:

Me too. I'm up for helping depending on what the work is and if I'm capable. I'm probably not lol but I can do some stuff in PHP. Sounds like a lot of artists would like this. 

I thought as much, which is why I asked. @Hare, if the project gets under way, you will be able to follow along and see if your interested in helping out where you can. The project's primary goal will be that it will developed in an open way that anyone will be able to contribute as they choose to.

It will be open source, with a license that allows for commercial use. The Core Members here will be able to offer extensions or additional functionality either free or paid, as well as their services to extend it to do something that the base system doesn't do.

ALL support except that given though paid support by a Core Member will be covered by TGL here on the forums. It will be our project, and our way of giving something back to the virtual pet marketplace as a whole. I am genuinely excited about the idea, as I think it will bring in a lot for the forums here, as well as give us a lot of really cool and exciting games in the future.

It will also introduce the idea of game creation and game design to new aspiring members without stress of dealing with programming until they have learned what they need to, or they can put together the extensions they need to. If they are truly ambitious, they can also hire.

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MyAdopts got me started when I was a kid, I think that was the only programming-free way of building a pet-site. There was the Rusnak script(now Mysidia) and there was another popular one that was better coded but didn't have the same features. I know a MyAdopts-like site has been launched since MyAdopts closed but I think a modern solution would be a breath of fresh air. 

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This is great! I had previously started working on a Petsite CMS I had called Ghost (after the term Ghostwriter) which I was building on Laravel 4. Recently I had decided that I was going to go back to the project, restart on Laravel 5 and build it for a '100 Day Challenge'; I'm not sure what I'd be able to offer to the CMS TGL (as I am still going to build Ghost and run that challenge, I have a plan to start it in the middle of May when I have the time), but would still be up for assisting if any help is needed here and there.

Hope this goes well!

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5 hours ago, crotanite said:

This is great! I had previously started working on a Petsite CMS I had called Ghost (after the term Ghostwriter) which I was building on Laravel 4. Recently I had decided that I was going to go back to the project, restart on Laravel 5 and build it for a '100 Day Challenge'; I'm not sure what I'd be able to offer to the CMS TGL (as I am still going to build Ghost and run that challenge, I have a plan to start it in the middle of May when I have the time), but would still be up for assisting if any help is needed here and there.

Hope this goes well!

Best of luck! I tried doing this years ago when I was still in high school and then in college and I was always too ambitious for my own good. 

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I remember there already was a big project like this running, but I can't find it now since the forum I saw it in is down ( :') )

 

All I remember was that the maker already coded several sim/pet games before (I remember at least one horse sim) and that they had their script in alpha or beta, already ready to be used and purchased (around $300) but with a few security checks and stuff missing. Can anyone remember it or find the link? 

 

 

EDIT: Found it, it was located at http://design1online.com/, but that site seems to be down, last facebook status update was in January :/

Edited by Shex
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Yeah, I was pretty hesitant, especially as there was a demo promised which never came to life :/

 

But back to topic, I'd love something like that, but I also doubt that a premade script could fit the needs of different projects. It should be easy to use for non-coders but also easy to edit and add own scripts :)

But I think it's a huge, huuuuge project, though I'd love to have somethink like that... 

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1 minute ago, Shex said:

But back to topic, I'd love something like that, but I also doubt that a premade script could fit the needs of different projects. It should be easy to use for non-coders but also easy to edit and add own scripts :)

But I think it's a huge, huuuuge project, though I'd love to have somethink like that... 

I would love to see something a bit like Wordpress only more barebones but with lots of hooks and filters so all the things can be changed with plugins :) 

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On 4/4/2017 at 8:29 PM, Syntax said:

 

MyAdopts got me started when I was a kid, I think that was the only programming-free way of building a pet-site. There was the Rusnak script(now Mysidia) and there was another popular one that was better coded but didn't have the same features. I know a MyAdopts-like site has been launched since MyAdopts closed but I think a modern solution would be a breath of fresh air. 

 

 

I used MyAdopts years ago as well. What I liked about it was that it allowed people with no coding knowledge to have an attempt at making a site. A few months before MyAdopts was taken down, there was a dragon adoptable game made on it. The owner added some cool things to his game.

You could assemble a dragon together with different parts. Each part gave out a promo code when you leveled it up. On the dragon maker page, you would input the promo codes in boxes and submit your set to "make" the dragon you had in mind. You would then be transferred to another page after submitting your combination and be able to adopt the dragon you made there. This feature was flawed, however. The owner stated that he had to upload every combination separately, so in the future when there were more parts, it would be unrealistic to create every possibility. But it was an interesting touch, especially on a site like MyAdopts.

He also set up some other unique things: hidden links on a page that would send you to another page that would allow you to adopt something, mini javascript games that would reward you with an adoptable, and pages that you could only access with a code that you earned from leveling a specific adoptable.

 

There's a lot of potential with even something with simple features like MyAdopts.

 

I think something like Mysidia Adoptables would be awesome, especially if we had a support section of the forum and if people shared their scripts.

On 4/4/2017 at 0:23 PM, Digital said:

We would make the system extensible to allow expansion with more complex features that programmers can build and release as a package (either free plugins or paid additions), and of course they would be available for paid work also.

 

I really like the idea of programmers being able to offer free or paid plugins. :bashful:

 

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On 4/4/2017 at 2:23 PM, Digital said:

We would make the system extensible to allow expansion with more complex features that programmers can build and release as a package (either free plugins or paid additions), and of course they would be available for paid work also.

I think a project like this is a great idea. Not only will it provide those without coding experience a great starting point, but it would also help drive more members to the community.

From a programmers perspective having a familiar framework/codebase to build off of is nice, especially if it develops a large installed user base. If it catches on and has good documentation I know I'd probably be very happy to offer a few plugins or custom extensions.

 

7 hours ago, SingSong said:

You could assemble a dragon together with different parts. Each part gave out a promo code when you leveled it up. On the dragon maker page, you would input the promo codes in boxes and submit your set to "make" the dragon you had in mind. You would then be transferred to another page after submitting your combination and be able to adopt the dragon you made there. This feature was flawed, however. The owner stated that he had to upload every combination separately, so in the future when there were more parts, it would be unrealistic to create every possibility. But it was an interesting touch, especially on a site like MyAdopts.

Sounds pretty cool. It's unfortunate the game isn't still around I would have liked to try it out.

I never used MyAdopts so I'm not sure it would have been realistic there, but I can imagine something along those lines being possible with image layering suites like GraphicsMagick. The complexity would depend upon how the parts were drawn since in order to build a proper looking pet each part would have to be specially mapped with each connecting piece. A possible work-around for that would simply be to allow players to layer the parts manually (similar to how ChickenSmoothie allows players to dress their pets), and then generate the permanent 'official' pet image from that once they confirm they are happy with the combination. Of course that would still limit how the parts had to be drawn a bit and open the door for some poorly built 'troll' pets.

Anyway, to get back on track a bit... I think games like that really go to show what can be achieved when designers aren't restricted by their lack of coding knowledge. Having more tools and opportunities to build up a game without having to invest so much time and money up front for a programmer to build everything from scratch could allow some really unique and interesting games to finally see the light of day.

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Following this discussion closely! 

Does anyone remember the "Petsite in a box for $300" that was being worked on via the old VPL? Ever hear what happened to that? Sounds a bit similar to what is being attempted here. 

Edited by runeowl
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23 minutes ago, runeowl said:

Following this discussion closely! 

Does anyone remember the "Petsite in a box for $300" that was being worked on via the old VPL? Ever hear what happened to that? Sounds a bit similar to what is being attempted here. 

Yeah, it was Design1online LLC that was building that one. Their website seems to be down at the moment unfortunately and I haven't seen Jade around this forum yet, so not sure what it's status is. Seemed to have been making some good progress though... I think a few developers may have even been testing/demoing it? Not 100% on that though.

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@Sparren 

I do also remember two different petsites either actively trying to implement it or waiting for it to be finished, but I rather assumed it died with VPL. I hope they're able to finish it. The site being down doesn't exactly bode well, I hope no one's sunk money somewhere it won't return, so to speak. I should perhaps keep my curious nose out of it X) 

Edited by runeowl
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@runeowl

I hope so too. For the time being I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt and assuming it is still being worked on. It's very possible that the webmaster just hasn't noticed anything wrong yet. I don't know how long it has been unavailable since I only tried it tonight in response to your earlier post. We'll just have to wait and see.

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2 hours ago, Sparren said:

@runeowl

I hope so too. For the time being I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt and assuming it is still being worked on. It's very possible that the webmaster just hasn't noticed anything wrong yet. I don't know how long it has been unavailable since I only tried it tonight in response to your earlier post. We'll just have to wait and see.

I already posted that one earlier in this thread and it was down at least since April 9: 

 

On 4/9/2017 at 11:43 AM, Shex said:

 

EDIT: Found it, it was located at http://design1online.com/, but that site seems to be down, last facebook status update was in January :/

 

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On 4/16/2017 at 8:38 AM, Sparren said:

Sounds pretty cool. It's unfortunate the game isn't still around I would have liked to try it out.

I never used MyAdopts so I'm not sure it would have been realistic there, but I can imagine something along those lines being possible with image layering suites like GraphicsMagick. The complexity would depend upon how the parts were drawn since in order to build a proper looking pet each part would have to be specially mapped with each connecting piece. A possible work-around for that would simply be to allow players to layer the parts manually (similar to how ChickenSmoothie allows players to dress their pets), and then generate the permanent 'official' pet image from that once they confirm they are happy with the combination. Of course that would still limit how the parts had to be drawn a bit and open the door for some poorly built 'troll' pets.

Anyway, to get back on track a bit... I think games like that really go to show what can be achieved when designers aren't restricted by their lack of coding knowledge. Having more tools and opportunities to build up a game without having to invest so much time and money up front for a programmer to build everything from scratch could allow some really unique and interesting games to finally see the light of day.

2

 

Don't fret too much. It was the product of only a few weeks, so there were only about a dozen pages on the site. It wasn't a complete game to play.

 

I keep seeing people mention GraphicsMagick. I'm kind of confused what it does still. From their site, it says it can:

  • Create a composite image by combining several separate images

 

Is this the function that you're referencing? Would it basically layer these pieces together as one image, so you don't have to save all the combinations and upload them yourself?

 

But I understand what you're trying to say. There are possible ways to get around that issue. However, without having much knowledge about programming, I don't know how much of this would have been doable on a platform like MyAdopts that doesn't give you access to the backend programming (like MysidiaAdoptables does).

 

And yeah, I agree. Having something like this would allow more people to make games. Artists would be more capable of creating sites (without having to hunt down a programmer), and maybe more people would even just make small, fun games (rather than feeling like they need to invest years into making for-profit games because of the financial investment they put into making the site).

On 4/18/2017 at 1:43 AM, Sparren said:

I guess it's not looking great for that project then... Thanks for letting us know.

These types of projects don't seem to do well long-term, for the most part, unfortunately.

 

Does anyone recall MyVirtualPetSite? https://www.facebook.com/myvirtualpetsite/

The site domain no longer works. That project seemed to have potential. I was looking forward to Jade's project as well.

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3 hours ago, SingSong said:

I keep seeing people mention GraphicsMagick. I'm kind of confused what it does still. From their site, it says it can:

  • Create a composite image by combining several separate images

 

Is this the function that you're referencing? Would it basically layer these pieces together as one image, so you don't have to save all the combinations and upload them yourself?

Yes, exactly. Of course it has many other functions as well. I'm still a beginner with GraphicsMagick, but my understanding so far is that much of what you can do with a program like GIMP or Photoshop can also be achieved programatically using GraphicsMagick.

For a better idea of what I mean have a look at some of the 'mogrify' command options available (http://www.graphicsmagick.org/mogrify.html). As you can probably see mogrify allows you to transform an image in many different ways. (Layering images to build a composite would use a different command called 'composite' http://www.graphicsmagick.org/composite.html)

 

3 hours ago, SingSong said:

These types of projects don't seem to do well long-term, for the most part, unfortunately.

Yeah. I can kind of imagine why though.

Such a project is a large undertaking and not only will it require lots of continuous support and documentation, but the demographics it is probably most attractive to (minors and those unable to afford lots of custom code upfront) likely aren't too flush with cash. Therefore unless it develops a large following and/or a great monetization strategy I imagine it is hard to make a project like this profitable long term.

Edited by Sparren
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23 hours ago, Sparren said:

but my understanding so far is that much of what you can do with a program like GIMP or Photoshop can also be achieved programatically using GraphicsMagick.

 

That's what I was imagining, too. Okay, looks like I do understand it then.

 

23 hours ago, Sparren said:

For a better idea of what I mean have a look at some of the 'mogrify' command options available (http://www.graphicsmagick.org/mogrify.html). As you can probably see mogrify allows you to transform an image in many different ways. (Layering images to build a composite would use a different command called 'composite' http://www.graphicsmagick.org/composite.html)

 

Wow, I can see the power in that. So cool.

 

23 hours ago, Sparren said:

Yeah. I can kind of imagine why though.

Such a project is a large undertaking and not only will it require lots of continuous support and documentation, but the demographics it is probably most attractive to (minors and those unable to afford lots of custom code upfront) likely aren't too flush with cash. Therefore unless it develops a large following and/or a great monetization strategy I imagine it is hard to make a project like this profitable long term.

 

Those are my thoughts as well. I'm actually surprised MysidiaAdoptables is still around for those reasons. These projects are a lot of work for (most likely) little pay. I do, however, like the idea MyVirtualPetSite had about releasing additional features that people would have to pay for in order to add to their sites. I think that had the potential to be profitable, but I do remember that some ways they went about things made people lose interest. The main factor was that updates were scarce after the first month, so that alone killed the project. The other big thing is that you couldn't customize your layout unless you paid from what I remember. On these kinds of projects, you want people to be able to create things of some kind of quality without paying, because the non-paying members probably fit into the category you mention and don't have cash to spend, but they have some time to spare. If they put their time into making a good product, the main pet site platform will receive some traffic simply due to that, and some of those newcomers may be willing to pay for something.

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On 4/19/2017 at 4:32 PM, Sparren said:

Yes, exactly. Of course it has many other functions as well. I'm still a beginner with GraphicsMagick, but my understanding so far is that much of what you can do with a program like GIMP or Photoshop can also be achieved programatically using GraphicsMagick.

For a better idea of what I mean have a look at some of the 'mogrify' command options available (http://www.graphicsmagick.org/mogrify.html). As you can probably see mogrify allows you to transform an image in many different ways. (Layering images to build a composite would use a different command called 'composite' http://www.graphicsmagick.org/composite.html)

 

Yeah. I can kind of imagine why though.

Such a project is a large undertaking and not only will it require lots of continuous support and documentation, but the demographics it is probably most attractive to (minors and those unable to afford lots of custom code upfront) likely aren't too flush with cash. Therefore unless it develops a large following and/or a great monetization strategy I imagine it is hard to make a project like this profitable long term.

Speaking of Graphics Magick I used that same code with uploading my files to my website in ruby on rails. :)

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