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capture 1Apr2007 01:00

Project Planning
 

Planning You Big Programming Project



So you have reached the point when you want to make that big dream project or game. Maybe a big RPG or FPS. But every time you try you end up giving up and failing or you have not started yet and you dont know what to start with. This article hopes to help you with these problems.

First Step, Coming up with an idea



I know a lot of you probably think that you already have that big idea that will take your project to the top. I hate to tell most of you that you probably don't even have an idea at all. An idea consists of concepts. If your idea is just "oh i want to make an rpg today" then you probably wont go very far until you sculpt this thought into an idea. In order to build this thought into an idea, you need to come up with some concepts for the game. One of the first things you should do is ask your self "what makes my project better than the others". This allows you to set forth your main concept. The main concept is the one that makes your project different and better than all the others. Lets use an example. Today i want to create an rpg, so i ask myself "what is going to make my rpg better than all the others". In my example i am going to say, "well hmmm i think my rpg will be underwater giving it creativity and making it fun for a younger age group". Ok so the example is not the greatest concept, but it works for this example. Now that we have the main concept lets work on the other concepts. The other concepts are just details that fit into the main concept. So using our example a smaller concept would be "using crabs for the characters". You can make a good number of theses smaller concepts depending on what your project is. Now i would highly suggest writing all of your concepts down before moving on to the next section.

Second Step, Detailing what you want



This step is when you are going to take all of the concepts you hopefully wrote down and turn them into something with color. What i mean by this is we are going to work out every little detail about the concepts. So going back to our main concept example an RPG underwater, we would do things like decide what the name of the place is going to be, and what it is going to be like underwater. Things like "how will it look underwater". For looks it is a good idea to draw things out. Even if you are not an artist i would suggest drawing something that will put across on paper what you want the game to be like. We must also do the same for our smaller concepts. Back using the crabs example, we would need to draw out what we want the crabs to look like. We even have to do things like what will they move like, act like, and interact with each other. After you do this for all of the concepts we can move on to the next section.

Third Step, Drawing out the final plan



So we have created our idea, ands its good! Now we need to put it into something we can read. This is something we will be able to give to our team members and totally describe our project. In this case we are going to use microsoft word, and a scanner(paint is ok if you lack a scanner). The final plans should be in a nice book or notebook format. We will start with the title page, this page will just be whatever you want it to be. Actually you do not even really need a title page, i just add one for my projects to make it seem more professional. Next we will have our concepts. We will first do the main concepts. For the main concepts they should be given their own page in word. On this page start with a centered title with the name of the concept, example "Main Theme" or something of the kind. Then below that there should be a paragraph about the concept. This should include all the things we did in step two. Then below that you can list any little details about the concept in list form. Then below the paragraph you should put the artwork if any. Now for the little concepts do the same as for main concepts except there can be multiple on one page seeing as they have less information. Now of course we have been forgetting something very important, user interface! For this well i don't know what to say except draw the user interface. In a game instance this would be the GUI for the start, pause, and any other states for the game. Then below that i would suggest a description on how the GUI will be implemented into the program.


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