Creatively Creative

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v-rob
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Creatively Creative

by v-rob » Mon Jul 08, 2019 22:24

I want to start this off by saying that Minetest started out in the beginning as a game that you can place and break blocks. That was it. We've advanced a tremendous amount since then, and, even though we have the wonderful Lua API and many excellent examples of the uses of it, Minetest still remains the best at placing and breaking blocks. Look at this section and this section of lua_api.txt. Nodes have the biggest set of options of anything. Nodes are the staple thing of Minetest, and ignoring them is ignoring the best thing Minetest has to offer.

That being said, Minetest Game has two ways of playing it: Survival and Creative. I wish to focus on creative. I exclusively play creative mode. And it's fun, but bland. Why? It's not designed for creative. But every game that is purely creative is based on Minetest Game, and since Minetest Game isn't designed for creative, neither do the other games.

Stories for games are fun to make, fun to share with others, and fun to read. I don't know about other people, but I like making stories for anything. If I make a building in Minetest Game, I create a story for it. That's why I don't just like games having their own stories because I want to make my own.

No game is a one-size-fit-all. That's the point of mods, right? But even with mods, some things built in don't fit everybody. Like biomes. I don't like snow or pine, and I like my savannas just as I like steak: rare (I know it wasn't very funny). But this is hard to change without delving into the game code. You like monsters? I prefer peaceful villages with friendly people. He likes likes sci-fi, but she wants medieval.

So why am I rambling on like this?

I have an idea.

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Let's reiterate: Blocks are the staple thing of Minetest. They're also mind-bogglingly easy to make. They're the main thing in creative mode. Stories are great and fun to make. Everyone likes different things.

This topic is in Game Discussion. But so far, I haven't discussed a game at all. Or have I...?

You've been reading it. A game where you make a game. Something anyone can do without even knowing what programming is. Let me explain.

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You're browsing on ContentDB and find this game called Creatively Creative. The description states that this is a game maker without the need of programming. You find it interesting and install it. This game has it's own menu, different from other games. (Note: This isn't possible currently, but I believe Rubenwardy is working on it.) You click the big colored button that says "Start Creating". The familiar game loading bar appears, and you spawn in a room.

A chat message appears that advises you to right click on the sign in front of you that says "Help". Before you do so, you look around the room and note a bunch of signs and strange-looking blocks and tables with symbols on them.

You click on the Help sign, and it explains to you that this is the Game Creation Room. It then goes to explain that the tables around edit different aspects of the game and that the signs above them give detailed help. It broadly tells you what each one does and then advises you to go to the node editor and read the help. Then, it says, go to the Saving and Loading table and save the game or load one if you want to continue working on one. Finally, exit the game and try your game out by selecting it in the main menu.

You do so, and create some nodes. Then, as the first help sign advises you, you go to the Saving and Loading table and save your game as "My First Game". Then, you exit the game, and sure enough, there is a tab that says "My First Game" on it. You click on it, and there's an empty world list with two buttons: "New World" and "Play". Upon creating a world and playing it, you find that the nodes you defined in the node creator are now there in your creative inventory.

//////////////////////////////

That is an explanation of what I have in mind. A game where you create creative mode games. I plan on making this, and I wanted to share what I had in mind before I started. This example story above is not exactly how it will be, but the final thing will be very similar.

Now for some technical details: Each game you create will be saved as a JSON file which is parsed upon playing a game. Nodes, biomes, items, and such are registered at game load time. The Game Creation Room will all be part of its own mod and will not be loaded at all unless creating a game.

Not everyone wants to make a game. They might want to play other people's games. But, since these aren't real mods or games, they can't be added to the ContentDB. So, using the HTTP API in the Lua API, these games can be uploaded to a separate site (such as a GitHub Pages site) and fetched from either the main menu or the Game Creation Room (I haven't decided).

The node creator and such will be implemented as formspecs with extremely verbose options and even things like defining templates and multiple nodes with only slight differences (such as defining multiple nodes that are exactly the same but only have different textures). The creative inventory will be built in but will be customizable. A special option in the node editor will decide under which tab in the creative inventory a node will be placed under, and tabs can be defined specially, like a "Stairs and Slabs" tab along with the obvious "All" tab which will always exist.

This is only a small taste of what I have in mind. It's a big project, and as such, I will only do pieces at a time. For now, I will create a simple node creator and the JSON parser which I will post once I finish.

So, thank you for reading this veritable wall of text. Have a good day!
 

Red_King_Cyclops
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Re: Creatively Creative

by Red_King_Cyclops » Wed Jul 10, 2019 05:47

Could Creatively Creative be used to make adventure maps? Also, could Creatively Creative games have additional mods? If so for both, MT maps could finally compare to MC maps and have stories.
I'm working on a mod that is essentially Galacticraft for Minetest (with differences).
 

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Re: Creatively Creative

by v-rob » Wed Jul 10, 2019 22:12

Mods likely won't work well. If a mod requires default, it won't work since there is no default in this game. As for adventure maps, it all depends on the map. For instance, if the map has little that changes (nearly everything is static and unmovable), then it is easily possible. If something like mesecons is needed, that cannot be created without extra programming.

In the node editor, there will be some predefined actions that nodes can do, e.g. write on signs, change a node on rightclick (like a door), move a node `x` nodes in a certain direction, etc., but nothing will be super complicated. There will be a section for optional programming, but that can't be relied on for inexperienced players to understand how to use.

The main intent of this game is to make fairly static worlds that can be created by anyone.
 

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Re: Creatively Creative

by Sokomine » Wed Jul 17, 2019 02:25

I think I've heared about other game creator games on that level in the past. I just don't remember exactly where.

Creating new nodes for creative ought to be very easy. Your main challenge will be to present the user with an easy-to-use-creation process. In the end, it's "drop your texture in here" (which, in MT, has to be pre-loaded...there's no way for drag&drop). Maybe the user could drop the textures into a specific folder before starting the game. The users creation can easily be written as an automaticly generated new mod afterwards.

Terrain will be a bit more difficult. As nobody who'd start the game for the first time would have any idea about what the diffrent mapgens really do, some samples of terrain might be helpful. The easiest way would probably be to pre-generate it and then copy everything into one world.

Biomes, now...there are some very nice ones out there. I havn't worked with mapgen and biome creation yet. It might be tricky to get the distribution properly balanced automaticly. Also, you'd have to include all possible biomes in order to be able to show them to the player. But...as the biomes are mostly type of dirt plus schematics, that might work out as well. Creators can build new schematics with their newly created nodes and save them. It'd still be a lot of work - and it might be easier in the end to just write the game instead of using the creator.

Another part that might be of intrest would be to build overlarge models ingame out of any blocks and let the game compute and store the model in a usable way.

The last two parts (creating schematics for biomes and creating models for nodes) might also be of intrest to creators of non-creative games.
A list of my mods can be found here.
 

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Re: Creatively Creative

by v-rob » Wed Jul 17, 2019 04:58

Actually, I was thinking of an in-game nodebox editor that you use blocks to build with (kinda like wesh), and a schematic editor would fit very well with that.

As for biomes and decorations, well, that presents a bit of a problem. I will have an advanced tab that presents all the possibilities, but that's no good for any random old player. I think I will have some predefined noises, like "thick", "sparse", "medium", "weighted" (only on part of the biome), and a few other things with minimal editable values.
 


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