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Where to go after learning some code basics?


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#1 hexagonalbolts   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:56 AM

Hello everyone,


I've read many many FAQs and forum posts on starting to learn to program. A vast majority say 'learn a language, start with an easy one' so I have done some simple tutorials on python, culminating in an extremely simple 2D game: http://inventwithpython.com/chapter20.html

After this, many people and guides say 'google stuff'. But I'm left a bit bewildered and unsure where to go. Can anybody point me in a clear direction, link me to a good intermediate tutorial, or suggest a book to buy?

I am learning to program with the eventual desire (after a lot of hard work) to create an extremely basic 3D game with simple procedural terrain generation. I've played with many level editors (e.g. Valve's Hammer) and realized I'd much rather build something myself.

Thank you very much, and apologies for any naivety or ignorance.
Tom

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#2 Telastyn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3712

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:13 AM

One you learn syntax, it's often useful to learn algorithms and data structures (often in that order). I don't know of any good resource for those unfortunately. Or at least any good resource that isn't completely dry and mind numbing.

#3 hexagonalbolts   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 11:30 AM

One you learn syntax, it's often useful to learn algorithms and data structures (often in that order). I don't know of any good resource for those unfortunately. Or at least any good resource that isn't completely dry and mind numbing.


Thank you, well what is the best way to learn those then?

#4 blackbook   Members   -  Reputation: 110

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 01:31 PM

I am learning C# and XNA, I have found the APP hubs forums a more useful place to find the info the FAQ's were of course language specific and I found alot of good links.

So I would recommend going to the largest language specific forum for your chosen language. There FAQ's will lead you to online info.

Get some beginner books too. The library is the best place, you can even search their catalogue online.

Some beginners books get technical real quick, so be careful what you buy.

I do wish someone recommended library books to me, it slipped by mind tbh as I'm not a regular reader.

#5 braincell   Members   -  Reputation: 115

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 03:31 PM

You should probably try learning C# as it's very useful (if you ever want to step up to C++) and with .Net it's not very difficult since you don't have to fret about memory management so much, and there are a lot of samples and documentation online for just about anything.

I think Unity engine has a few very simple sample programs (eg 50-100 lines of code in C#) that provide you with a 3D view of a scene. You get "impressive" results with little work, and that can be a motivational boost. You may have to search their forums for the samples, I'm not sure what they have under the official ones. You can often go through samples and slowly you will get a grip on algos and data structures, but this depends on how you like to learn and/or think. Personally, books have been of little use when I was starting out. So it depends, as always. :)

edit: I'm new to the forum, and I'm not sure if I'm even allowed to mention "other products", but the one I mentioned has a free version so...

#6 MERKB   Members   -  Reputation: 120

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:43 PM

There are a couple of things that I did/am doing to progress. Once you know some syntax you want to dive right in. Braincell mentioned Unity, which is a terrific opportunity to practice game coding, because it takes care of the tedious and advanced frameworking of setting up windows, programming input, and reading graphics, as you would have to do in C++. You get right down to practical game coding. Once you have some inspiration, I recommend reading some books on intermediate programming principles. For instance, after completing a couple of introductory books on C++, I started a book about math concepts in relation to game programming. This will help you advance your knowledge of coding principles, even if you decide to stick with a pre-made engine like Unity. Remember to have fun with it!

#7 hexagonalbolts   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 01:34 AM

There are a couple of things that I did/am doing to progress. Once you know some syntax you want to dive right in. Braincell mentioned Unity, which is a terrific opportunity to practice game coding, because it takes care of the tedious and advanced frameworking of setting up windows, programming input, and reading graphics, as you would have to do in C++. You get right down to practical game coding. Once you have some inspiration, I recommend reading some books on intermediate programming principles. For instance, after completing a couple of introductory books on C++, I started a book about math concepts in relation to game programming. This will help you advance your knowledge of coding principles, even if you decide to stick with a pre-made engine like Unity. Remember to have fun with it!


Brilliant thanks everyone. MERKB, could you point me in the direction of those books at all? Do you think I'd be better on C++ or C# ?

#8 stromchin   Members   -  Reputation: 102

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 03:08 AM


There are a couple of things that I did/am doing to progress. Once you know some syntax you want to dive right in. Braincell mentioned Unity, which is a terrific opportunity to practice game coding, because it takes care of the tedious and advanced frameworking of setting up windows, programming input, and reading graphics, as you would have to do in C++. You get right down to practical game coding. Once you have some inspiration, I recommend reading some books on intermediate programming principles. For instance, after completing a couple of introductory books on C++, I started a book about math concepts in relation to game programming. This will help you advance your knowledge of coding principles, even if you decide to stick with a pre-made engine like Unity. Remember to have fun with it!


Brilliant thanks everyone. MERKB, could you point me in the direction of those books at all? Do you think I'd be better on C++ or C# ?


python is as good as C# for learning.
C++ will start to get complicated really soon, so I wouldn't recommend it as your first language (or second)

I already knew basic programming when I wanted to make games, and xna seemed interesting.
You can download visual express c# 2010 with xna 4.0. And a book with tutorials, I don't remember the name of the first one I read... but you should take a look around apress.com
Or just try to find tutorials for it. Try to make pong, and then go to other kind of old and simple games.

In my opinion, the only way to learn how to program is by programming. If you just go and read code and more code you won't learn anything. If you're stuck, don't look for an answer until you have tried a bit longer, then when you find the answer (by yourself or some other way) it will actually stick.

Just my 2 cents, this is what I did, but of course there are many other ways to go about it.




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