Today I will discuss the various tools available to all Indie Developers, like myself, to build entire games! While we may or may not be able to achieve a triple-A "AAA" rated game in terms of artwork and sheer content, it is possible to create a decent game with only a few people.
First, let's begin with the game development engine: Unreal Engine 5 (https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/download). I chose Unreal simply because, in my opinion, the graphics seem to be much better. That and Unreal was designed with a "development pipeline" in mind, meaning that multiple people can collaborate and work on the same project together. Another feature about Unreal Engine is that it's multi-player ready right out of the box, meaning that the engine has been optimized to make games for multiple players right out of the box. Lastly, but probably most importantly, Unreal uses C++ as the backbone programming language. Most Computer Science programs have at least some exposure to C++ during the course work, and many developers are already familiar with it. Lastly, even for those of us without formal C++ knowledge, there are the Blueprints, which is a type of visual "connect the dots" kind of programming language. Both Blueprints and C++ play nicely together in Unreal Engine 5. One other thing to mention, I chose version 5 instead of version 4 because of the updated structure of the engine. First, it can handle project management better, it can also handle an infinite number of objects. Meaning that I can have a character inside of a library, and that character can not only pick up each book, but also use it as a makeshift weapon!
I'm using Vroid Studio Stable (https://vroid.com/en/studio) as of right now for the character modeling program. This is a neat little free program that allows you to create anime-like characters with TONS of adjustment sliders. Probably the most powerful feature this program has is the ability to custom create any hairstyle, which as we know, is one of the three most important features of any anime character's identity. There are a ton of assets available on Booth.pm that can be purchased inexpensively as well, ranging from clothing to props, and more!
I will also probably begin to explore using Blender 3D (https://www.blender.org/) for making various customized assets such as specific clothing articles (one of the three most important features of an anime character's identity), and probably specific weapons or personal items that belong to the characters. This is a free 3D sculpting program that allows you to make probably any digital 3D object you can think of!
I will eventually find some free program to create music and sound effects (SFX) to be added to the game as well, however, right now, this is a low priority for me, because there is so many other things that have to be built first!
Now that I've listed all of the utilities that I plan to use, I want to share my development system and setup with you. The fact that I'm using a lot of 3D applications means that I'm using a fairly decent computer system, right? Probably not, in reality. Here is my system:
Dell OptiPlex 5040
Intel i7-6700 CPU @ 3.40GHz
32 GB RAM
1 TB SSD Hard Drive
4 TB External Hard Drive
24-inch LED monitor.
Xencelabs Medium Pen Tablet (https://www.xencelabs.com/us/store/pen-tablets/xencelabs-pen-tablet-medium-bundle?gclid=Cj0KCQjwsrWZBhC4ARIsAGGUJuq0_eV8OdtkxvPlYpRfhtldvILOtReWDKRvcUrLuwWeVYMPCtEFtbEaAuccEALw_wcB)*
* I haven't received this item just yet, but I will be providing a nice review of it's performance in the near future.
Note that I didn't list a dedicated video card. That's right, Unreal Engine works just fine with the Integrated stock graphics card in the OptiPlex 5040! Now, I do plan on upgrading eventually, hopefully to an Intel i9 with a nice nVidia 3080 Ti or something, but first I have to save my pennies.