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Playmaker or Bolt for a non-coder

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dvnexus, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. dvnexus


    Jan 18, 2021
    Hi, I need some help deciding which one to use.

    I was thinking of picking up Playermaker based on the games featured like Hollow Knight and some third person games in the list.

    then I came across Bolt from a Codemonkey ad (thanks youtube ads). Why I'm also considering this one is because...well... it's free.

    The type of game prototype I wanna make is a third person horde mode shooter.

    If it's any help here's a rough draft of the game I wanna make. Let me know if all these mechanics are possible in Playmaker or Bolt for a non-coder like me. Thanks!

    [ Prototype Shooter ]

    *** Movement Mechanics ***

    -similar to Titanfall 2
    -Double Jump
    -Crouch Slide

    Fine Aim

    *** Weapons ***

    Automatic Rifle
    Rocket Launcher (Pharah)
    Grapple Hook

    *** Enemy AI ***

    [*] Small Goblin
    -shoots fireball projectiles
    -does fast melee atks when close to Player

    [*] Heavy Shield Orc
    -Slow Heavy Atks with Club
    -Can Block with Shield at greatly reduced damage
    -Slow Turn Speed

    [*] Minotaur
    -deals heavy swings
    -Charges Player when in long distances

    [*] Eyeball Bat
    -fires rapid shots of small fireballs at a time
  2. Joe-Censored


    Mar 26, 2013
    It is a common misconception that you can create games with zero code using a visual scripting system. You can create games with less code, but anything custom you need you will have to write code for so the visual scripting system knows how to use it. For Playmaker you write Actions, and for Bolt I believe they are called Nodes. You will write these in C#.
    angrypenguin likes this.
  3. neginfinity


    Jan 27, 2013
    Be aware that visual scripting is code. Just in an obfuscated form.

    Also, like @Joe-Censored said, games that use visual scripting system typically write traditional code to implement custom nodes.
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  4. Ryiah


    Oct 11, 2012
    Be aware that while you won't have to write text code you will still need to have an understanding of programming to be able to make any meaningful progress with a visual scripting language. Many people who ask about visual scripting see it as a magic bullet that will allow them to completely avoid programming and that's just not true.

    With that said making a recommendation between the two you have chosen is difficult as they serve different purposes and a non-programmer won't necessarily understand these purposes. Playmaker is focused on finite state machines. Bolt is focused on traditional programming.

    Some tasks are naturally better implemented with one approach over the other. To be honest if I were going to build a game purely with visual scripting I would consider both because they both have advantages that can fit in the same project without overly interfering with each other and write nodes to allow intercommunication.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  5. TonyLi


    Apr 10, 2012
    Some games use PlayMaker with no additional code or custom actions -- other than the many custom actions already written by other people. If you want to make a game without any text-based coding, PlayMaker has a bigger library of actions, and it might be easier to understand how it works (state machines).

    Bolt, on the other hand, is "closer to the metal." It's more like a visual wrapper for the underlying C# language and libraries, for better or worse. Also, as you mentioned, it's free.

    That said, you're not going to remake Titanfall 2 purely in PlayMaker or Bolt. But you can get started on an enjoyable game development journey!
    Ryiah likes this.
  6. dvnexus


    Jan 18, 2021
    Thanks for the feedback. I'll probably take up on my friend's advise to get in a course (he's shilling). :)
  7. Lurking-Ninja


    Jan 20, 2015
    To start out with visual scripting without any coding skills or coders to help you is fine. You can learn a lot from it and you can make some (plenty) very nice low-performance games, where it doesn't matter how many milliseconds stuff take.
    Just don't expect that you can magically make the next Call of Duty or even Hollow Knight (performance and scope!) on your own. Choose smaller scope, make table top recreations, some simpler (than Hollow Knight) platformers or rougelikes and you will be fine. You need to learn how to make fun regardless.
    But in the long run, don't forget, you will need to learn to code or you need people who does know. No matter what Unity is aiming for with visual scripting, you will need custom code always. There is no way around it.
    Ryiah likes this.
  8. MadeFromPolygons


    Oct 5, 2013
    Why dont you try following first and see if you even need a visual scripting tool. Either way you will need to follow this tutorial or something similar, to learn the concepts. So might as well start with it, before handicapping yourself pre-emptively.
    sxa and Ryiah like this.
  9. stain2319


    Mar 2, 2020
    I agree with what others have said and encourage you to learn coding if it interests you.

    In the spirit of answering the OP, and if coding doesn't particularly interest you, I'd lean toward Playmaker.

    Bolt is, in a way, closer to writing code, just that you're doing it by clicking on things rather than typing them in. Whoever said it was "closer to the metal" got it right.

    Playmaker is much more "abstracted" but in my opinion that makes it almost easier to understand. It takes you away from having to worry about specific data types and methods (to some extent) and is more focused on logic. It's kind of like making flowcharts or decision trees.

    I'm learning C# myself and think of myself as someone who likes coding but I didn't really like Bolt very much. It frustrated me and made we want to just say "screw it, this would be easier to just code" whereas I could still see myself using Playmaker even now for certain things, I think it would be pretty useful for enemy AIs for example.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2021
    MothDoctor and TonyLi like this.