Help Wanted

How to build a Game – onewayadv


Posts: 11
From: Montana
Registered: 08-30-2004

I need infomation. I have a client that wants to turn a story into a computer game. They like the simple 3d graphics and simplicity of a Nancy Drew Game, but want it a little more advanced.

We do not know anything on where to start, and we are especially ignorant on the lingo.

Can anyone help with the steps, type of artist/programmers needed, and costs [you can give approximates] involved?

I have a few clients that are interested in a game, but don't know where to start. Also, this would be an ongoing project - from 3-6 different games / mysteries.

Thank you for your time, and in explaining, please talk in laymans terms when possible. References to books, or other sites would be great too

thank you again,




Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004

One question -- is this primarily a commercial venture?

I would go so far as to say that most of the people on the boards here are "hobby" game developers -- largely we're inexperienced in the commercial world of game development (with the exception of a notable few, such as Mack).

There are several links for "hobby" game developers beginning (such as's "start here" page: ).

However, if you're looking to get directly into commercial game development, that's a whole 'nother realm entirely.

From the way you present it, it almost sounds like Tim at Graceworks Interactive is the one here on the boards who most recently did what you're trying to do, and would have a good perspective on budget/time/team.

Blessings to you!




Posts: 408
Registered: 10-25-2002
Another qualifier: web game or not?
If the game is intended to be for play over a website, it might be best to consider a 2D game experience (maybe using 3D rendered art). This will provide the necessary content with a little lower bandwidth.
If the game is intended to be a stand-alone game (like a full commercial project) then 3D can still be done, but 2D (like described above) would be easier for someone not familiar with the process.
The rest of the picture (budget, etc) depends on size and scope of the project. There are several development applications out help someone get started with a game - from the beginner stage to the experienced or veteran. Some for consideration:
Torque Game Engine and Torque 2D -
3D Game Studio -

I would be interested in more information from you on your project. I might be able to offer further assistance. Contact me via email - mteboe AT mindspring DOT com.

God bless.


Posts: 11
From: Montana
Registered: 08-30-2004
Thank you so far for your responses. I will delve further into this.

We do envision a Stad alone commercial game - not for website. 3d is preferrable - as we want to build the best quality from the get go, rather than doing an ok look.

So am I understanding that thie is a hobby coding website? Where sohould I look for programmers that can help on projects for clients? I joined here becasue of the Christian aspect, but we are desperately in need of several programmers for many projects - from online scripts that run from databases, to simple forms that allow attachments to be sent, also, an article upload and archiving script - Mainly, I need programmers to make the life of my clents easier - since they are not "computer savvy."

If there is another forum/site you recommend for me to find quality help, please let me know.

Thank you again,




Posts: 86
From: UK
Registered: 08-04-2004
Hi, sounds interesting. I am an independant 3D games developer. Please contact me via email at

God Bless,

[This message has been edited by Rhyolite (edited April 01, 2005).]



Posts: 354
From: ny
Registered: 07-11-2004
I've never played the Nacy Drew games...uhhh..honestly
They look very simple and are probably well done for their target audience. Heavy on the graphics, lighter on the coding and functionality, but I'm just guessing.

I worked as a programmer for The Learning Company/Mattel several years ago, and this looks similiar to the type of games we were working on (Oregon Trail, Amazon Trail, American Girls, etc...) While the programming has to be solid and the gameplay fun and engaging, in my opinion, a big key to the success of a game like this, is ART and EQUITY, and of course being able to get your product on the shelves in stores like Best Buy, helps a lot too!!

Equity - When you say 'Barbie' or 'Nancy Drew', what young girl (or grown adult for that matter) doesn't know what your talking about!

Art - I remember some teams I worked on - we might have 2-4 developers, but we always seemed to have at least double that in artists. And we had artists that were just plain AWSOME!!! I remember projects could run 6-8 months or longer with a fully staffed team:
1 producer
1-2 educational content directors
2-4 programmers
6-8 artist
1 musican

And this isn't even counting marketing, QA, testers and what not.. You can see how a game could run into the million+

But that was long ago, and with technology advances and 3D environments and tools more widely used for games, things could be totally different.

I've never played them so I could be totally wrong, but the Nancy Drew games look much like the Myst style games. Where you go from room to room or location to location, explore the 'room' with your mouse, click on objects to examine or pickup, solve puzzles/talk with folks, maybe play a mini-game. Simple and Fun for their target audience.

This is just a stupid guess at what they might be using for development:

DirectX 8.1 for graphics sub environment for graphics, video clips
(to stay compatible with older video cards)(windows only)
Visual C++ 6.0
SourceSafe for source control
Install Shield for installer
Maya for 3D rooms and character models
NeoEngine (free under GPL terms) for a generic C++ game code base.
Photoshop for 2D art, textures, etc..
Sound? (some C++ library on top of the DirectX sound calls)

Since their min system requires are so low 200-400mhz 16 graphics card...
The 3D scenes in the game are probably static image backgrounds with a couple of 3D objects and interactive clickable items -thrown in front.

So you can build your scence the way you want it in a 3d modelling app like Bryce3D or Maya, then do a high quality render of the scene and have your 2D artist touch up and enhance the images in photoshop.

I'm not saying this is how you should do it, I would encourage you to be compatible with Windows and Mac and Linux. Maybe use an engine available like others recommended, or at least use OpenGL to be flexible. But I know it's a business choice.

Also, you should check out the game 'Final Destination' posted here when you get a chance!

Good luck!

[This message has been edited by coolj (edited April 02, 2005).]


Posts: 11
From: Montana
Registered: 08-30-2004

Ok that is a list I can start from! Many stated starting a 2D program for the web first, but I am not looking to create another web game.

Also, all the branding, marketing ,promotion, etc, I have handled.

The last question - where to find qualified programmers, artists, etc. I find due to the Internet "everyone is an expert." I am "old school" and truely want professionals, not those who dabble in the programs. The creative process takes a totally different mindset - thus the difference between Graphic Designers and Desktop Publishers.

What about Rent a Coder, or other bidding forum sites like that?

Thank you again,




Posts: 1061
From: Port Angeles, WA, USA
Registered: 10-25-2001
whats your budget? from the sound of it, the most conservative budget would be something like 50,000 - 100,000 to achieve what you desire.

Visionary Media
the creative submitted to the divine.
Husband of my amazing wife Aleshia



Posts: 1828
From: Indiana
Registered: 10-11-2004
In response to where you could find people to hire:

There are several professional programmers here -- but I'm not sure you could find enough people.

Gamasutra is the biggest/best games development job posting place that I know of.

Graceworks recently released a medium-sized project in Interactive Parables that sounds like it might be along the scope that you're looking to do.

And yes, everyone on the Internet is an expert... including me.





Posts: 22
From: New Glasgow
Registered: 09-02-2004
Getting started into Game Development is always a fun Venture!

Before finding a team, and planning your budget, start with development documents from your clientelle. Once you've had these documents written up, pitch the idea on forums such as this one, include a budget, be as percise as possible to get best results.

Planning is one of the biggest parts of game development. It may be necessary to start with smaller, puzzle projects before getting over your head with work.

Check on Game Development sites such as GameDev for starting information or books such as "Independent Game Developers Survival Guide" written by my friend David Michael. (A well known independent developer)

Be sure to look around the net, there are a dozen great articles out there!