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Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines
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Author:  Mors [ Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

Pedigree wrote:
Another problem with relying too much on pre built engines is that all you can really make with them is a mario clone. The wacky fangames that were more experimental than they were a perfect recreation is what I miss.

If I wanted to play a good recreation, why wouldn't I just play an official Mario game instead?

I miss projects of passion like Toad Strikes Back or Kritter's minigame collection. They didn't have perfect engines. They were more a tribute than a recreation. Which is kinda the point of a fan game.

This is a really closed minded way of thinking because there are already several great and unique fangames made with premade engines. Power Star Frenzy, Super Mario Dimensions, Super Mario Dimensions 2, Super Mario Bros. Odyssey, Revenge of the Walrus, Luigi's Quest for Nothing, A Typical Mario Game and probably several more I forgot. None of these are perfect recreations, not even close. And while these might not seem like a lot, the number is much higher on the Sonic side because 90% of Sonic fangames use a premade engine.

The problem comes from how all Mario engines are bloated, but those who care makes changes to them anyways. Sonic doesn't have this problem at all since their engines are not bloated. There are clones, but even these clones are much more original than your average Mario fangame.

Author:  VinnyVideo [ Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

Premade engines aren't bad in and of themselves. It takes a moderate amount of programming expertise to build an engine for a platformer (or most other kinds of games). However, even if you've never programmed anything in your life, it's pretty easy to make a game using an engine like Gatete's or Hello's. Not everyone who wants to make a game is good at programming, and premade engines can be a good starting point. Besides that, most Mario fangames are going to include a lot of the same features. For example, Goombas tend to work the same way in every Mario game, so if you don't have to program a new Goomba every time you make a new game, it's time saved. There's an appeal to not having to reinvent the wheel.

The problem with games made with premade engines is they're rarely good. A lot of them are formulaic - the developers don't bother to change any of the graphics or mechanics, and they often fall prey to the temptation to include as many different enemies as possible in each level. That said, dull graphics and poor level design can be a problem even if you built the game from scratch. As Mors mentioned, we've been seeing an increase in more interesting games made with premade engines, which is a positive sign. If you decide to make a game using a premade engine, I'd recommend changing some of the mechanics, adding new enemies and gimmicks, and replacing the graphics so it doesn't feel stale. If you make an engine that other people might use, it helps if you thoroughly document how to change key mechanics, and it's a good idea to use placeholder graphics to force people to change the base graphics.

A common misconception is that modern MFGG is awash with "Hello clones" - games where the developers took the Hello Engine and added a few levels (usually with lousy level design) without making any significant changes to the way the game works. We saw quite a few of these games during the earlier part of the decade. Some were good, but most were lackluster or worse. However, the stream of Hello Engine games has slowed to a trickle, and I haven't encountered a new Hello Engine game in a year and a half. Gatete's engine has surpassed Hello's engine in terms of popularity, but I don't see a lot of games made with that engine either. A hunch tells me that most of the people who used the Hello Engine/Gatete Engine as a level editor are now using Mario Maker instead.

Author:  CM30 [ Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

Eh, I wouldn't say this 'overreliance' is bad nor limited to fan games. After all, if you can make a good game or program without having to reinvent the wheel, why shouldn't you? That's what engines and frameworks exist for. To simplify development and avoid everyone having to start from scratch with every single project.

They're just a solid base for a project. Yeah some people will 'abuse' this and make low effort 'clones' without any customisation, but again... that's like in any field. In game development, there are people who make asset flips based on Unity or the Unreal Engine. Or who use the likes of Game Maker/RPG Maker/Multimedia Fusion without really adding to it in any way. In web development, there are people who use CSS frameworks and JavaScript frameworks without adding much in the way of custom stuff (Bootstrap and Foundation are often used for this). And the same goes for everything else too. I mean, what's the practical difference between someone using say, the Hello Engine as a base for a game and someone using WordPress or Drupal as a base for a site? Not much really.

Heck, even Super Mario Bros X and SMW + Lunar Magic are arguably 'game engines'.

And there's nothing wrong with any of them. Sure, you'll get the odd elitist who hates the idea of things being 'simplified' complaining that the good old days had everyone code everything from scratch, but it's all about what the developer wants to do. Do they want to learn how to make their own game or program or website from the ground up? Good for them, it's a learning experience.

But it's not a mandatory experience, and for many people a simple engine with some tweaks works fine. Use whatever lets you make the game or app of your dreams.

Author:  Evil Yoshi Toes [ Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

I think it's also important to consider that not everyone who makes a Mario fan game wants to learn how to code, they could just want to make a Mario game for fun. I'd say in that case using a pre-built engine can be helpful and let these people see their ideas come to life. Of course by not knowing how to add new things to the engine your expression is limited to what you can do with the engine's contents, but for a lot of people, especially young kids, that can be enough.

Author:  DarkBlueYoshi [ Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

Using is pre-built engine isn't bad for a beginner who needs some motivation and practice for level designing. Famous engines like Hello Engine and Gatete Engine are great resources for learning common practices and patterns used in Game Maker (and gameplay programming in general). In fact, that's how I got started learning programming, instead of the typical boring command-line interface seen in formal courses. Of course there are going to be low-quality engine clones. Those games shouldn't be promoted to the front page, unless it's good.

Even if programming isn't for everyone, programming is definitely important for making games. GML is so easy to use compared to mainstream programming languages, so I don't tolerate any laziness. The same applies for art and music.

Author:  smbmaster99 [ Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

I tend to struggle knowing where to begin when i have a blank project, and usually find it easier to start with a sort of base. However, I always try really hard to add a bunch of new stuff not foudn in the original engine, like changing the graphics, modifying the physics, adding new enemies or items, and adding eyecandy, to name a few things.

My current wip project, which is my lucario rpg, started out as a gameboy styled zelda engine for example. I've never worked with top-down view before so i knew i'd need some help. After toying with the engine, I decided to work with it, and either did away with or completely rewrote almost everything - changed the dimensions from 160x144 to 640x480, changed the framerate from 30 fps to 60 fps, modified the movement, chopped out a bunch of repetitive code, and pretty much everything you see when i post videos or gifs of the game in action are entirely my own additions, with the exception of the spritework of course.

I say all this to say that, while I personally still use a lot of premade engines, I go out of my way to make the game unique and stand out from the rest of the "clones", as it were. I think that premade engines are a good thing, but it falls to the one who picks it up with intentions of using it to make what comes from it a good game

Author:  Superfly [ Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

I like premade engines because it allows noobies like me with no programming skills to make a game. But the problem with premade engines is it lets anyone make a game without really putting in effort, and I despise games with no effort put into them. At Least change the graphics to something unique, but not everyone is an artist like me and can create custom made graphics. I'm working on a project that involves the use of a premade engine. If it wasn't for premade engines I still be hacking with Lunar Magic which I got bored of because it's limited. Premade engines aren't bad its what you do with them the truly matters

Author:  Pedigree [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

It's interesting to see everyone's thoughts on this. I wasn't expecting this to be controversial and I'm glad it stayed civil talk the way through.

Author:  DarkBlueYoshi [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

Yeah, my views changed a lot. When you grow out of Game Maker, you start to notice the real world using pre-built frameworks all the time.

Author:  Pedigree [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

I just want premade engines to be used well and not just stuff slapped into one half-hazardly

Author:  DarkBlueYoshi [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Over-Reliance on Pre-Built Engines

As long as the pre-made engines are minimal, then there should be good fangames. But I still think the bloated ones have value.

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