View Full Version : Which Kind of Game is Harder to Develop? Pt 1

11-07-2004, 06:46 PM

11-07-2004, 06:46 PM
I have been thinking about this for awhile, but which kind of game would be hardest to code and why? Post your thoughts on why you think your choice would be.

I have to make this a 2 part poll as there are only 5 choices here.

This may be a bit lopsided here I believe. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

While there is an option to show you voted in this poll in part 2, I couldn't offer the same here. Vote in both if you feel there are 2 that warrant it.

11-07-2004, 08:36 PM
Acknowledging the shortage of options, I still think you need to distinguish between space sims that don't include atmospheric flight and those that do. There's a world of difference.

That being said, flight and driving/racing sims (as opposed to flight and driving/racing games). Both have to model lots of transitional states (e.g. stalls/spins in flight and skids in cars) with some degree of accuracy and this is hard to do realtime without supercomputers or massively parallel processor arrays.

11-07-2004, 09:18 PM
Part 2 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=23110283&m=7931005932)

All options:
Flight/Space Sims
First Person Shooters (including TacSims)
Adventure Games
Real Time Strategy
Role Playing
Driving Games
Racing Sims
Naval Sims

It would depend on how much complexity you are aiming for.
A simple flightsim can be much easier to develope than a very hardcore FPS.
Good AI is very hard to develope.

I don't agree with the sim/game distinction.
Simminess and gaminess are two different variables and not opposite ends of one variable.
A sim is supposed to model reality, which it may do well or bad.
A game is supposed to entertain, which it may do well or bad.
FB is a sim-game, it is supposed to entertain by modeling reality

Also, each genre would have it's own issues.
Some would need a good model of real-world physics or smart AI while others need a good story or nice graphics.

11-07-2004, 10:30 PM
Here's how I'd break it down. This is assuming the top of the breads from each genre. I don't want to imply that I worked in the gaming industry but I have written a few professional applications.


<LI>Adventure and Role Playing are the easist to code IMHO. There's more complex graphics but usually there isn't that smart of an AI. There's no need for it. Especially the newest RPGs comming out are for multiplayer only.

<LI>Space sims - I have yet to see a space sim with a smart ai or a really good physics engine. I'm still waiting for a combat space sim that has orbital mechanics and relativistic effects.

<LI>RTS's usually have simpler graphics. The bulk of the code would be the AI. Programming a computer to adapt to new unforseen situations is a difficult job at best.

<LI>FPS new rag doll physics and shaders bring this one to #2. On top of this add an AI that should be able to negotiate new situations and counter you're strategies.

<LI>IMO Flight Sims are the hardest to code. Compared to a space sim where you only have a couple forces acting on the body (engines, thrusters maybe a planet). A Flight sim has to take into account fluid mechanics, gravity, thrust, torque, pressure differences, drag, lift, ballistics, etc ... On top of that you need visually stunning graphics, plus an AI that can give you a good fight. PF right now can't even give you a "smart" AI. This is partly because the technology to support it doesn't exist and that its just hard to write something to think in real time.

This list by no means discredits the RPGS/Adventure. The original poster asked about coding. Where these games take the most time is game content. Without a good story to back it up an adventure game will not sell.

11-08-2004, 07:36 PM
I like how you broke stuff down according to genres and coding for them diomedes33. While I didn't hit on them all, I do have my idea as to why.

With this being a flight sim forum, most of what I say should be seen easily by everyone. Remember, I have posted this at all the forums I have posed this question at.

I have to say that flight/space sims would be the most difficult to code for. When you think about how aircraft and spacecraft can behave, it adds much more work to get it right and believable. Even with a game with 20 aircraft, that is 20 different flight envelopes (how an aircraft preforms) to develop as no 2 aircraft fly the same. Add to that different weapons that the planes can carry and affect it, adds even more to how something flies. Even the weapons have flight characteristics that have to be taken into account once released from the plane whether it is a free fall bomb or a radar or IR guided missile. With modern fighter aircraft flight sims, you have complex radar systems to code for along with a HUD that is animated and not static as in WW2 sims. How weapons interact with the aircraft
while being used also has to be taken into consideration. Even how an aircraft behaves after it is shotdown needs to be coded. Some will go into a flat spin and others will nose dive straight to the ground.

How events play out once you start a mission come into play to. While enemy aircraft (AI) can be scripted along with bombers for the mission, once a dogfight starts, the AI have to be able to give a decent fight to be believable. If the planes just fly in circles what is the point of it? No dogfight can be scripted as no 2 dogfights will be the same. Something else that comes into play is dogfights take place in 3 dimensions. While a firefight in an FPS can take place over some elevation changes, the character you play and the AI will not move in the 3rd dimension and bunny hopping doesn't count for this.

Something else that developers have to code for is sight distances. Flight/Space sims have gameworlds that have vast sight distances. Earth based flight sims have to draw thousands of square kilometers of area. While not all of it will be in sharp focus, it is still there. While a game like FarCry has sight distances of up to 2 kilometers, flight sims have to show other aircraft at farther distances than that. In a game like iL2 Sturmovik and the games following it, you can see bombers at ranges equal to 10K and fighters at ranges of up to 5K. They may be a speck in the middle of air, but a gamer will know what it is. This can be seen in this picture.

http://www.whiteknight77.net/images/il2fb2003-07-1411-05-59-90thumb.jpg (http://www.whiteknight77.net/images/il2fb2003-07-1411-05-59-90.jpg)

Click the pic for a full size pic.

I would consider a game like X-Wing or even Bang! Gunship Elite to fit in the the flight sim style. The spaceships handle like earthbound aircraft in my opinion.

One other thing to toss into the mix is if the flight sim is based on helicopters. While helicopters fly in some similar manners to fixed wing aircraft, having the ability to hover needs to be addressed along with the collective (up and down) aspect has to be handled. Some helos can use a rolling take off to become airborne while others (ones without wheels) need to be able to handle in ground effect so it can lift it's load properly.

I don't have much experience as a gamer with RPGs, MMORPGs, RTS (I do have Silent Hunter 2 and Destroyer Command which combine the RTS and Naval sim genres together), adventure games or regular driving games. I am a sim gamer such as TacSims, racing sims and flight sims and the aforementioned do not grab my attention as do the latter. With what I read elsewhere and see in screenshots and ads, the gameworld in the former while can be rendered in 3d only has 2d interaction compared to flight/space sims.

11-08-2004, 10:27 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by diomedes33:

+ Space sims - I have yet to see a space sim with a smart ai or a really good physics engine. I'm still waiting for a combat space sim that has orbital mechanics and relativistic effects. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That Babylon 5 sim seems to have better or at least more comprehensive physics than some others I've player. B5: Into the Fire I think it's called? Played the demo some while ago...

Games are basically all the same, they all need some basic building blocks.. graphics engine, scripting system, pathfinding AI, game AI, netcode, whatever. I would say any game that tries to replicate reality, i.e. simulators, require more work to appear convincing. But any game can be as complex as realistic (or at least replicative of some reality) you want to make it. An RTS can be very difficult to code if you want to have complex AI playing on a complex terrain with many constraints. An FPS can be very complex if you want to have team AI.
I don't think there can be a definitive answer to your question.

11-08-2004, 11:27 PM
I can't help but think of this as a bit of a pointless question. Given decent project management the quality of the product tends to be very strictly related to how much money and time was put in. Publishers are under no illusions that they aren't putting out C grade as well as AAA titles - it's directly factored in when they chose what titles to have on the shelves each quarter.

The amount of time spent tweaking the mario bros games, quake, starcraft, diablo and other "simple" games would make your head spin. The difference between a good game and a horrible game is often as simple as how fast the player can move in the gameworld and how responsive the controls are. The more time you spend refining, the more you have to pay to have expensive people sitting around doing very little.