Watch a game being made from scratch over a year


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edited in Tutorials
Just thought I would leave this here.

http://handmadehero.org/

Comments


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    Can I say that I think this is kind of silly? Like, as in a waste of time silly.

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    @dammit Why?

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    dammit said:
    Can I say that I think this is kind of silly? Like, as in a waste of time silly.
    If you're all about shipping games then yes, it is. But if you're interested in all of the theory behind it, then it's far from silly.

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    I'm not about shipping games (notice how many of mine have ever been shipped :P ) but I don't get the focus on keeping "old ways" alive. This is akin to people not wanting certain languages to die out - even when no one is speaking it. What purpose does this serve? We have all the records and how to of this historical part of game development. Why do we have to go back and do it this way again?

    Over a very small space of time, game development has developed a whole bunch of tools to make it easier. Why go back to using a "handmade" (I kind of cringe when they use this kind of terminology when referring to coding...which is made with code, not by hand) tools when you have better? Why cut down a tree with an axe when you have a chainsaw? What purpose does this serve except to demonstrate that we're far better off?

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    dammit said:
    What purpose does this serve except to demonstrate that we're far better off?
    Because those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it?

    There's a good example right in that idiom - history itself. Why do we learn where things came from, if we living in the present and will never go back there? There's a lot of value in understanding the origin of things, and the more you know about a single thing, the better decisions you'll be able to make in future.

    As much as those the "old ways", they're still very much the new ways - we've just gotten better at packaging it. Somewhere in the bowels of your Unity or UDK or GM game, there's code to put pixels on a screen, and move them according to some math. There's some other code that loads in your sprite sheet and displays them. All of it code (and ideas) that were born 20, 25, even 30 years ago.

    Maybe if you learn how those systems are put together, you'll be able to build more efficient resources, and make better use of the tools you have at your disposal. You might also learn how you can fix parts of the system you don't like, by understand the background theory and how the engine itself might be assembled. And if nothing else, like you say, you might just come away with a better appreciation for the tools you have available today.

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    wogan said:
    dammit said:
    What purpose does this serve except to demonstrate that we're far better off?
    Because those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it?
    That doesn't make sense in this context because I have (a) said we have records of this information and thus we are not incapable of learning about it and (b) the project is literally about repeating how things were done historically.


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    dammit said:
    That doesn't make sense in this context because I have (a) said we have records of this information and thus we are not incapable of learning about it and (b) the project is literally about repeating how things were done historically
    So maybe that was a bad example, sorry. Here's a better one: civil war re-enacters.

    We have records of all of that information, and are well capable of learning about it. So why do people still dress up in old civil war uniforms and stage battles?

    There are simply some people in the world that appreciate something about the way things used to be, and try and re-live that in some form or another. They're all over the place, and when it comes to game development, I'm one of them, extremely interested in the genesis of this industry, and of all the games and stories I've loved. There doesn't need to be a reason you agree with, or even understand :)


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    edited
    Civil War re-enactors I don't think are doing that to gain strategic value on said battle so that they can perform better in future battles... They're doing it for hobby value, like Warhammer players or cosplayers. Because they like it...

    So I'd say that's a bad example too?

    What I don't understand about the discussion you guys are having is that this guy seems to be just writing a game slowly in public telling people how he's doing it.
    Handmade Hero is an ongoing project to create a complete, professional-quality game accompanied by videos that explain every single line of its source code.
    It's not an "re-enactment" of a game already made, right? Or am I missing some kind of information that's not obvious? Is it that he's writing in some obscure ancient language? Is it that he's not using an engine? I'm not following the discussion :/

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    I kinda get the idea behind it. I mean he loves doing this and this is what he is passionate about. He is just sharing his passion with others that have the same passion. In this case generally older gamers who liked the old way games were made. You cant really get that same feeling with the newer engines.

    Its like there is a pathfinding solution in unity but I still get a shitload of joy out of doing my own A* method. Its really satisfying when you know every part of the system in an intimate way.

    I feel like this is a case of nostalgia meets builders complex.

    So yeah its not always about shipping games, sometimes its about the process too.

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    edited
    Uh... Why are people unsure about Casey's motivation?
    Why are you doing this project?

    Game programmers need to start creating high-quality teaching materials for their trade. While most game programmers frequently post about specific algorithms they've discovered, few ever post about the programming methodologies they have found to be effective, nor about how they approach the general problems inherent in developing a large, complex game codebase. As a result, novice game programmers looking to learn the basics of programming must rely on materials from other industries that are often of dubious quality.

    Personally, I have found most resources that purport to teach people how to "program properly" actually teach primarily bad programming practices. The copious emails I received from college students around the world in response to a post I made about compression-oriented programming confirmed for me that there are many young programmers out there whose progress is being hamstrung by bad learning materials. This project is an attempt to provide one high-quality alternative, and perhaps to convince other experienced game programmers to think about what they could do to help teach the next generation of game programmers how to program well.
    He's doing this to try and teach these ideas he has about programming styles and mental efficiency while coding. I don't necessarily think that this is the best way to do that, but hey, whatever gets your game project attention... I mean, if you're going to be doing stuff that way anyway, you might as well turn your normal process into a positive coverage thing if you can. (Which, BTW, only works because of the considerable body of experience he has - this wouldn't work the same way for a random new game developer)

    I think writing your own everything isn't needed for this game of his, but I don't think there's much scope to convince anyone of that. Of course, I don't really relish the random influx of hardcore programmer armchair game development theorists that are going to misunderstand what this project is about and use it as the outlier that totally proves why they too should write their own engine/renderer/physics/input handler/wheel. But those people are always going to be willfully uninformed anyway.

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    This will end up being a great resource to learn from. I'm glad he's covering topics like memory allocation etc., and also showing how what you do gets compiled and the results of the disassembly.

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    edited
    Uh... Why are people unsure about Casey's motivation?
    Is it possible that his purported purpose is to build the knowledge base... but it'd also be true to say that it's a historical reenactment kind of thing? (and certainly the video makes a case for motivation via nostalgia, both for the creator, and for the audience)

    (and that depending on how you perceive low level programming / all code from scratch in indie-sized games, it's going to be one or the other)



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    edited
    I think this is a bloody fantastic idea. Not everyone will benefit from it or need it, but if it runs to completion and serves the goals it set for itself, it'll be a fantastic resource. I wish I had the time and patience to do something like it.

    [edit]
    Yeah I say fantastic too much..
    [/edit]

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    Over a very small space of time, game development has developed a whole bunch of tools to make it easier. Why go back to using a "handmade" (I kind of cringe when they use this kind of terminology when referring to coding...which is made with code, not by hand) tools when you have better? Why cut down a tree with an axe when you have a chainsaw? What purpose does this serve except to demonstrate that we're far better off?
    I usually avoid the engine vs homemade debates, because they rapidly spiral into chaos. But seriously, where do you guys all think these tools come from?

    I've done my time building stuff from scratch before building the actual games, and I LOVE Unity and the work it takes off my hands. I LOVE that these tools are available, and that people that want to make games but don't necessarily want to learn to code or learn the intricacies of C++ memory management have somewhere to turn. At the same time though, I know that some people enjoy that deep dive, and the industry needs them as well. Perhaps not in the numbers it used to, but someone still has to build this stuff. Someone has to build Unity. Someone has to build the Asset Store libraries you buy.

    Just because the majority of people in the world who drive cars don't need to know how to strip and service their engine, doesn't mean that you don't need some people with that knowledge and ability.

    And how does it hurt anyone to have another resource for those people? It doesn't take away the zillions of Unity tutorials out there that help teach those that would rather jump in at that level.




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    mattbenic said:
    Just because the majority of people in the world who drive cars don't need to know how to strip and service their engine, doesn't mean that you don't need some people with that knowledge and ability.
    +1 :)


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    wogan said:
    mattbenic said:
    Just because the majority of people in the world who drive cars don't need to know how to strip and service their engine, doesn't mean that you don't need some people with that knowledge and ability.
    +1 :)

    But, that guy is making a project of "stripping your car down to its pieces and building it again". People who do that do it as a hobby, and are not acclaimed as doing something great. Sure, I'm not saying this guy shouldn't make a game from scratch - I just don't see why everyone's getting excited about it or supporting it more than any other sort of hobbiest adventure.


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    dammit said:
    I just don't see why everyone's getting excited about it or supporting it more than any other sort of hobbiest adventure.
    You're on a forum dedicated to game development, by game developers for game developers, wondering why game developers are getting excited about game development, more than other things? O_o

    Bet you if you were on car restoration, or house restoration, or other hacker/cracker/grinder forums, you'd find people that are more interested in those things, than other things. That's sort of the point of interest-based communities :)

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    edited
    dammit said:

    But, that guy is making a project of "stripping your car down to its pieces and building it again". People who do that do it as a hobby, and are not acclaimed as doing something great. Sure, I'm not saying this guy shouldn't make a game from scratch - I just don't see why everyone's getting excited about it or supporting it more than any other sort of hobbiest adventure.

    Not even a bit sure why that matters. This industry will fail without this kind of passion.

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    First I was angry about some of these these comments, but I realised that anger was a primal emotion now replaced by indifference, a newer and more streamlined emotion that achieves the same result with less effort.

    I also forgot PL/1 was a thing because C# exists now, my brain finally has more space for WYSIWYG editors and cat gifs.

    Personally I think this is an amazing project, its akin to watching someone build replica IKEA furniture from its actual base components and not just assembling the pre-fabricated parts. Something beautiful about getting back to the roots of your craft and doing something from scratch. I admire this kind of passion...

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    But, that guy is making a project of "stripping your car down to its pieces and building it again".
    Wait wait, where on the site does it say that he's building something that he's already built?? I just see that he's building something slowly in the public eye. I've read through the whole page. Why does that "he's building something again" point even exist??

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    edited
    mattbenic said:
    Just because the majority of people in the world who drive cars don't need to know how to strip and service their engine, doesn't mean that you don't need some people with that knowledge and ability.
    I don't think anyone has ever said the opposite, but that sentiment keeps coming up.

    Just like everyone in the world who drives doesn't need to know how to fix a car, everyone who would like to make games doesn't have to know how to build an engine. I think that people addressing the common assumption that you do have to write your own X, or learn C++ or be Y hardcore at coding to even start is a concept worth talking about.

    Just like I think that someone making a thing with obvious craft is a potentially interesting performance to be enjoyed and appreciated. But that should be treated as a performance, perhaps an edifying performance when talking specifically about in-depth programming, not as anything else. And certainly not as justification for not using tools... Even the car mechanics don't all mill their own spanners.

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    edited
    Has this thing started yet?

    (Given that it's past the date for the first deliverable)

    To be honest. I'm a little skeptical of the project. I think it might end up as a argument for why building games from scratch is a bad idea as much as a tool for teaching coding techniques.

    Obviously I could be wrong about that. It would be really awesome if the game manages to stand alongside its contemporaries AS WELL as having its entire development accessible.

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    edited
    So I found this thread particularly upsetting. I had to take some time to gather my thoughts lest I respond with anger instead of in a productive way, because I almost feel like nobody's discussing anything that actually makes sense here.

    I don't understand the basis of much of the criticism of this project at all. So I took some time to watch parts of a few of his preliminary videos, as well as quite a bit of the first 'episode', if you want to call it that. Everything I'm seeing aligns perfectly with the disclaimed intention of the project, as described by the creator: he's creating a resource for teaching. In that regard, I feel like it has the potential to be very valuable just because of its practical focus versus the general theoretical focus of a lot of formal programming courses.

    And this is bloody great. He clearly understands what he's describing in a very intimate way, and as a result his explanations hold a lot of weight, and go into deep levels where most people never would. I find it hard to believe that anyone, especially someone with little experience, can come away from one of these videos without a deeper understanding of how something operates. It's difficult to describe the value of this kind of knowledge to a programmer, because every bit of knowledge you have about the operation of a system allows you to better and more efficiently interface with it. Which is what programmers do, every single day. It seems completely ludicrous to argue against the idea that someone wishes to share this knowledge.

    So these allegations of 'reinventing' things, talk of 'old ways' and 'historical value' don't make any sense to me. It seems like people in this thread are talking about an entirely different thing to the content he's outputted so far. Right from the start, he's producing a modern product, for modern hardware, on modern platforms, using modern software. There is nothing historical about any of this. He's not producing code for a C64. He's not writing mainframe software. He's writing code for Windows.

    Is it 'historical' because he's using C? Are his explanations less valuable because he wrote some code in Emacs? What the hell? All of these things are just tools, that are no more or less valid than any other tool any other person might decide they want to use. No knowledge of this stuff is obsolete, nor will it likely ever be. Are there other tools? Sure. Are they better? Certainly this is more than a little bit subjective, but sure, they might be. But he obviously picks C because he decided this one hides less of what he wants to explain away from programmers. For this project, it is the best choice. (Not so sure about Emacs, but that's a minefield I shall sidestep)

    Is he reinventing the wheel because he's not using an existing game engine? That's also ludicrous. He has clearly decided (rightly, in my opinion), that the best way to explain how something works is to show how it works, and the best way to show how some code works is to make that code. He's using this clean slate to intricately explain how every single part of the process works. He's not necessarily encouraging that everyone do things this way. He doesn't appear to disclaim this is the best or only way to make games. He merely wants a platform to explain the process. The entire process.

    He wants to teach people how things work. How things are built. How to build things. He has chosen this as a way to allow him to delve more deeply than most others would. These kinds of resources basically do not exist. The kind of information he seeks to impart is considered elite and esoteric because it is generally strongly guarded. Guarded data dies. Things like this, things like UE becoming open source, experts like those at Valve and id dedicating their time to writing articles and white papers about their techniques, sharing them at conventions, these all contribute to the greater collective knowledge. For everyone. There is no wikipedia for game programming. There are only scant few books written by people with opinions, and a few professors teaching things in expensive schools.

    So why on earth is this a problem? Why is teaching people stuff that will make them better coders a waste of time? I don't understand.

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    edited
    @Chippit I don't think anyone is saying this project is worthless.

    I think the criticism of the project is only in response to posts like yours. In that some are saying that this project isn't as useful as you describe it.

    Which isn't to say anyone thinks this project is useless, just more inefficient and archaic than the project needs to be.

    I don't think anyone would have that reaction if the project were being built by leveraging the tools of today and attempting to follow best-practice methodologies.

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    I think the criticism of the project is only in response to posts like yours. In that some are saying that this project isn't as useful as you describe it.
    The very first response to this thread claimed it was a waste of time. Unless I've missed conversations that happened in other contexts, it seems 'posts like mine' arose to defend it, rather than the other way around.
    I don't think anyone would have that reaction if the project were being built by leveraging the tools of today and attempting to follow best-practice methodologies.
    Except it IS using tools of today, and it DOES seem to be following best-practice methodologies. I see many claiming it is somehow not, and nobody pointing out exactly where or how.

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    edited
    Chippit said:
    So why on earth is this a problem? Why is teaching people stuff that will make them better coders a waste of time? I don't understand.
    It's not! I've read quite a few of his articles, they were useful. I'm keen to watch edited highlights of this as he gets further.

    I guess the issue is when people use the mere existence of this sort of project, without engaging with what it's actually trying to teach, as a reason to do derp things.
    I don't think anyone would have that reaction if the project were being built by leveraging the tools of today and attempting to follow best-practice methodologies.
    Heh. I think loads of people would have a similar reaction - they'd say that it wasn't useful learning good practices in other people's systems ;) ... I think that's probably all that's happening here anyway: People are evaluating it based on how useful it'll be to them. @Chippit, @AngryMoose and @mattbenic see that it'll be a resource they can use to be even better coders. That's cool! Other people that aren't focused on improving their coding skills at that level might not find it as useful... That's okay too.

    With a smidge of self-awareness I can see that me cautioning against using this to justify newbs writing engines is totally a similar misuse of the project. My bad... At least I posted what the thing's actually about ;)

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    The whole argument/discussion started with this statement
    dammit said:
    Can I say that I think this is kind of silly? Like, as in a waste of time silly.
    I think the statement should have been phrased "waste of my time silly" because it doesn't remove value from the project itself but removes value of the project to the particular person. That is what I see in this discussion, people showing how this project is useful because the initial statement deemed it useless.

    I look at this project like a show on Discovery channel. I find it entertaining, from "can he actually do it?" and great way to learn a topic. Just like not all shows appeal to everyone, this project won't.

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    edited
    Wow. The response to this post has been interesting.

    I personally thought that as programmer myself this would be a useful resource. I love the deep dive stuff but I would never try to build an engine on my own and I generally don't encourage it when talking game dev as this can really be a stumbling block instead of a learning experience. Still Casey seems to know what he is talking about and I hope this helps those that want to take their programming to this level.

    I think that some people want to do complex programming things and some just want to build games using tools that exist. I myself like to do both, well only recently, in terms of building games.

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    Chippit said:
    I think the criticism of the project is only in response to posts like yours. In that some are saying that this project isn't as useful as you describe it.
    The very first response to this thread claimed it was a waste of time. Unless I've missed conversations that happened in other contexts, it seems 'posts like mine' arose to defend it, rather than the other way around.
    I guess, since you're responding to and talking specifically about my own post, I can say for certainty that @BlackShipsFilltheSky has it pretty much right. I don't think it's as valuable as you describe. I didn't think it was as valuable as the intro videos sort of made it out to be.

    Also, please note my phrasing in my first comment. I first asked if I may say that it's a waste of time. Clearly, it seems to you, I cannot. I still think the project is kind of silly, but I'm not saying ARH MAH GERD MAKE IT STOP NOW. It's been good to open this up for discussion I guess.

    I find it interesting that you had such a strong reaction to this thread that you needed to stop and gather your thoughts - why was it so upsetting to find out that someone thinks that what you're super passionate about is silly and a waste of time? I think it's important to step back and understand that in some cases you might be over protective of programming because it is your life. (Which is great, btw, because passionate developers make great projects) But just don't lose perspective.


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    dammit said:
    I find it interesting that you had such a strong reaction to this thread that you needed to stop and gather your thoughts
    And we all find it interesting that you deliberately took time out of your day to tell us that you thought this project was a silly waste of time ;)
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