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Where do i start?


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#1 jameswray50   Members   -  Reputation: 97

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:53 PM

Hi, my name is James and i'm an aspiring indie game developer. I come from a poor family so i really only get one shot at this and would appreciate answers from only the most experienced of developers.

1st question: Where should i start?

2nd question: what software do i need for making indie games? (i want to make games like "super meat boy" and "the binding of isaac").

3rd question: What books would you recommend for indie game development? (books for coding and the art work)

Thank you i could use any help i can get!

Sponsor:

#2 destructivArts   Members   -  Reputation: 205

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:41 PM

Ok, I'm not the most experienced developer out there, but here's my two cents:
1. Just start. I started when I was 12, at summer camp with a bunch of friends. We tried to make a game similar to WoW. It took us almost a year to realize that none of us could program. But it was fun while we tried. I kept trying. About the time I started my sophomore year in high school, I realized it was time to learn to program. It took me another two and a half years, and about a month and a half ago (I'm a senior now) I finished pong and snake.
So I have two answers for this question:
1. Start trying and keep trying
2. Don't think you have only one shot. - You have as many as you need

2. You don't need any software that costs anything to start. Java, Python, C++ etc. all have free editors and compilers. I don't have much experience with the C languages, but Java has NetBeans, Eclipse, JEdit, and the JDK is completely free. If you have a mac, just learn how to compile from the command line. Python has it's own IDE that is free as well.

3. For programming, just pick up any beginners book for a language. I used "Learn Java in 21 Days". Needless to say, I did NOT learn Java in 21 days, nor have I even finished the book, but it worked, and I am a completely self taught Java programmer.

For art: Before I started coding, I was an artist. And there's only one book that I've found that could help you here: a sketchbook. Don't think you can learn from anything else. And it WILL take a LONG time. Get a sketchbook, carry it with you EVERYWHERE. Draw everywhere. Draw everything. When you've filled that sketchbook... get another. Draw things you see in life. Draw figure studies, buildings, people, landscapes. Also draw things from your mind. If you lose your creativity, you won't be much of a good game artist.

So to wrap things up:
1. Start designing Games. It doesn't matter how wild, but hold onto the ideas.
2. At the same time be realistic with your expectations. Know that you will take months to even finish tic tac toe.
3. Get a "Introduction to <Insert Language Name Here>" Book. Read it.
4. Look up tutorials and articles on Game Programming. (Threads and User Input are required knowledge)
5. Get a sketchbook. Draw, draw, draw... draw.

With systems expanding the way they are, it isn't possible to make blockbuster games as a solo developer anymore.
BUT, it's also not true that there is no room in the game industry for the kinds of games a solo developer can make.

Don't get discouraged, work hard, dream big.

Good Luck!
Peter
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"Other than that, I have no opinion."
My Blog - Check it Out

#3 jameswray50   Members   -  Reputation: 97

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:54 PM

Ok, I'm not the most experienced developer out there, but here's my two cents:
1. Just start. I started when I was 12, at summer camp with a bunch of friends. We tried to make a game similar to WoW. It took us almost a year to realize that none of us could program. But it was fun while we tried. I kept trying. About the time I started my sophomore year in high school, I realized it was time to learn to program. It took me another two and a half years, and about a month and a half ago (I'm a senior now) I finished pong and snake.
So I have two answers for this question:
1. Start trying and keep trying
2. Don't think you have only one shot. - You have as many as you need

2. You don't need any software that costs anything to start. Java, Python, C++ etc. all have free editors and compilers. I don't have much experience with the C languages, but Java has NetBeans, Eclipse, JEdit, and the JDK is completely free. If you have a mac, just learn how to compile from the command line. Python has it's own IDE that is free as well.

3. For programming, just pick up any beginners book for a language. I used "Learn Java in 21 Days". Needless to say, I did NOT learn Java in 21 days, nor have I even finished the book, but it worked, and I am a completely self taught Java programmer.

For art: Before I started coding, I was an artist. And there's only one book that I've found that could help you here: a sketchbook. Don't think you can learn from anything else. And it WILL take a LONG time. Get a sketchbook, carry it with you EVERYWHERE. Draw everywhere. Draw everything. When you've filled that sketchbook... get another. Draw things you see in life. Draw figure studies, buildings, people, landscapes. Also draw things from your mind. If you lose your creativity, you won't be much of a good game artist.

So to wrap things up:
1. Start designing Games. It doesn't matter how wild, but hold onto the ideas.
2. At the same time be realistic with your expectations. Know that you will take months to even finish tic tac toe.
3. Get a "Introduction to <Insert Language Name Here>" Book. Read it.
4. Look up tutorials and articles on Game Programming. (Threads and User Input are required knowledge)
5. Get a sketchbook. Draw, draw, draw... draw.

With systems expanding the way they are, it isn't possible to make blockbuster games as a solo developer anymore.
BUT, it's also not true that there is no room in the game industry for the kinds of games a solo developer can make.

Don't get discouraged, work hard, dream big.

Good Luck!
Peter


No offense but i dont have that kind of time. I'm not a 12 year old at camp. I need specifics, software names etc.

#4 Álvaro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 12494

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:11 PM

If you don't have the time to put into it, you probably won't learn how to program. The head of research at Google wrote this piece, which you should definitely read.

#5 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 14667

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:26 PM

1. You should start by realizing that you are not going to find a fast route to success - not in game development, and not anywhere else in life either.

Ask anyone who has accomplished amazing things: they almost certainly failed dozens if not hundreds of times first. Even if it's just spending your childhood setting up lemonade stands and then going on to own the local McDonald's franchise, being good at something requires a tremendous amount of practice and investment. This is underscored by articles like the one alvaro linked above, and massive swaths of research across any number of disciplines and skill sets.

I started programming over 20 years ago, and it took over half of that time before I got good enough to make really decent games by myself. We're not talking about ten minutes a week of piddling around, either - it was my primary time sink for basically all of those two decades. Even while I freelanced as a contract developer during some of the early years, I learned a huge amount on a regular basis. In fact, I still do.

If you aren't willing to sink the time and effort and dedication into becoming good at a craft, you're best off doing something else with your time. If you don't commit to doing it right from day one, you're liable to wake up frustrated in a handful of years, having (what seems like) little or nothing to show for your hobby and feeling like you wasted a chunk of your life chasing rabbit trails. The rabbit trail may be games, or it may be everything that distracted you from games - but either way, you're probably not going to walk away without a measure of regret.



2. What tools do you need to build a car?

My point here is that it depends on you. If you have a pre-built body, and engine, and transmission, and basically all the interior and trim ready to go, you can assemble a car with a handful of relatively inexpensive power tools and a few weekends. If you're talking about forging your own engine block, get ready to invest a hell of a lot more money and time.

You can make games that are fun to play and even measurably successful with pretty simple tools. But if you want to do something custom, you're going to start needing more specialized equipment. In any case, it's unwise to attempt to forge your own engine block if you know nothing about how cars work in the first place, so start simple. There are already dozens of FAQs and threads floating around here about how to get started in game programming; I recommend searching them out for yourself, because learning to educate yourself is going to be one of the most critical aspects to developing your skills as an indie game developer.


3. I'm not a big fan of books in general as a teaching resource. They're valuable as a reference, but until you know what aspects of the field you need to look up in the book, having a bunch of reference material around isn't very helpful. In any case, as a beginner, virtually everything you need to learn can be found on the web for free anyways. Save your money for other stuff, IMHO.

#6 destructivArts   Members   -  Reputation: 205

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:41 PM

No offense but i dont have that kind of time. I'm not a 12 year old at camp. I need specifics, software names etc.


That's the point though. We didn't think we had the time or the resources to learn as a group. Today, of that group from camp, I'm the only one who has stuck with it. And over the last 6 years, I've learned a lot. But it took 6 years before I even made Pong. Get used to the idea that you're going to be working on this for a while.
-------------------------------------
"Other than that, I have no opinion."
My Blog - Check it Out

#7 ndssia   Members   -  Reputation: 172

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:11 PM

There's no specifics in games design, it is too broad a discipline, and you need to be able to consider different tools and options in every stage of games design.

If you don't have the time, perhaps games design isn't for you.




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