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Feel like I'm going nowhere


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#1 stein102   Members   -  Reputation: 475

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:21 PM

I've been working with Java for a while, but still feel like I've gotten nowhere. When I first started programming, I was learning so much useful stuff but now I don't know where to go. I know a lot of my syntax for the standard library, but I still can't really make anything cool. I've read a few basic Java books, but I just don't know where to go next? Any help? I really feel like switching languages to something with more documentation on it? I'm not sure though, thanks.



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#2 JTippetts   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8492

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:41 PM

Switching languages won't help.

This is the time that you need to look around, find something you want to do then figure out how to do it. Learning can't be done without stretching. Find a game you like, try to make something similar. You'll probably fail, but don't worry about that because in failing you learn a lot. Keep trying.

There just comes a point where tutorials, docs, books, etc... just aren't going to cut it. Continuing to rely on these external sources of knowledge will just have you running around endlessly in the same old circle.

#3 stein102   Members   -  Reputation: 475

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:49 PM

Well, I'm fairly confident I know the language well. My problem is the actual game design and architecture. What would you recommend for that?

 

Also, any ideas for projects that I should work on?



#4 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4353

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:12 AM

Well, if you like 3D you could try LWJGL and learn some OpenGL.

 

If you want to construct the gameplay side of things instead of the low-level stuff you could grab JMonkey Engine and do something with it.

 

If you just want to make something without fancy graphics, in 2D, you could try to make a game with Swing. That will get you around many game systems right away (mostly).

 

You could learn about design patterns, or good coding habits by grabbing a book about them (and putting them into practice by coding something).

 

Just see what you want to do and do it.


"I AM ZE EMPRAH OPENGL 3.3 THE CORE, I DEMAND FROM THEE ZE SHADERZ AND MATRIXEZ"

 

My journals: dustArtemis ECS framework and Making a Terrain Generator


#5 stein102   Members   -  Reputation: 475

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:21 AM

Well, I don't think I'm at the level to work on any 3d projects yet.

 

I've played around with slick a bit before, it's pretty cool.



#6 TheSasquatch   Members   -  Reputation: 452

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:21 AM

Well, I'm fairly confident I know the language well. My problem is the actual game design and architecture. What would you recommend for that?

 

Also, any ideas for projects that I should work on?

Find a 2D Java graphics library (look into Slick2D or LWJGL) and just dive into making a game. I'd suggest something like the original Mario. 2D, a generic tile engine, basic bounding box collision. It can't be too complex, or you'll get frustrated; if it's too simple, you'll get bored. If there's a feature you're curious about, try to add it; if you can't figure it out on your own, search for an answer online. Between here and places like stackexchange, you'll find advice on how to implement almost anything, along with known best practices--following those can save you a lot of headaches, but sometimes it's better to find out why they're considered best practices rather than taking someone else's word for it.

 

You'll know you're learning when you look back at code you wrote earlier, or even the way your entire game is structured, and think it's terrible--and that you know how to do it better. That's what I assume it means when it happens to me, anyway.



#7 stein102   Members   -  Reputation: 475

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:32 AM

Well, I've tried making a simple mario type game in the past, but I got frustrated trying to figure out how to set up the tilemap.



#8 Poigahn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 519

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 05:32 AM

Stein102 - Sounds like you are trying to swallow the chicken whole, and then getting frustrated when it will not fit into your mouth.

 

You have had several good suggestions from others so far, but tend to shoot them down.  Again, because you are trying to swallow the chicken whole ( Just using an analogy)

 

Take a look at what you are trying to do. Parts of it you can swallow easily, because you know them.  Parts you can not!!!  That is the part you just want to take a bite out of.

 

On your Mario Game... you are trying to swallow it whole!!!  Instead, try to take a Bite out of the Tilemap.

 

What I am trying to say, Slice the tilemap off of that chicken, and concentrate soley on that.  Write a tilemap program that does nothing more that display a tile map.  Once you swallow that part, then make it a scrolling tilemap.  Once you swallow that part then make it a scrolling tilemap with impassible objects.

 

You understand what I am Saying ?  Learning Game Programming is like Biting and chewing.  Your mind will digest it better if you chew a little at a time!


Your Brain contains the Best Program Ever Written : Manage Your Data Wisely !!


#9 Anri   Members   -  Reputation: 597

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 05:59 PM

Some very good advice given by previous posters.

 

Personally, I would recommend making a text-based game. Command-line stuff where you select numbers from an options screen and all that jazz.  Allow a the player to select different locations...

 

"You are in the Study. Colonel Mustard is here. There is a Candle stick."

 

"1.  Talk to Colonel Mustard."

"2.  Search Study."

"3.  Take Candle stick."

"4.  Examine Inventory."

"5.  Return to main hallway."

 

...you get the idea. It will help consolidate your knowledge of Java before leaping into a games or graphics api, and you certainly won't be taking on too much. Once you finished that then consider a similar project but using a visual interface - text boxes, images, buttons, combo boxes etc.  Add pictures to your game to show Colonel Mustard, the Candle stick and the Study...or maybe a giant robot mech...with rail guns...and sidewinder missiles...yes. OH yes. ^_^



#10 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:03 PM

Stein102 - Sounds like you are trying to swallow the chicken whole, and then getting frustrated when it will not fit into your mouth.

 

You have had several good suggestions from others so far, but tend to shoot them down.  Again, because you are trying to swallow the chicken whole ( Just using an analogy)

 

Take a look at what you are trying to do. Parts of it you can swallow easily, because you know them.  Parts you can not!!!  That is the part you just want to take a bite out of.

 

On your Mario Game... you are trying to swallow it whole!!!  Instead, try to take a Bite out of the Tilemap.

 

What I am trying to say, Slice the tilemap off of that chicken, and concentrate soley on that.  Write a tilemap program that does nothing more that display a tile map.  Once you swallow that part, then make it a scrolling tilemap.  Once you swallow that part then make it a scrolling tilemap with impassible objects.

 

You understand what I am Saying ?  Learning Game Programming is like Biting and chewing.  Your mind will digest it better if you chew a little at a time!

 

Poigahn, I'm keeping my eye on you.......

 

@stein102 - Listen to what Poigahn said. He's pretty much gotten to the heart of your problem and has delivered the answer.


Beginner in Game Development? Read here.
 
Super Mario Bros clone tutorial written in XNA 4.0 [MonoGame, ANX, and MonoXNA] by Scott Haley
 
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#11 stein102   Members   -  Reputation: 475

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:05 PM

I've already created a small text based game. I didn't use numbers though, I made a parser to break apart statements the user would input. It only took in about 6 verbs and a few nouns though. I think I'll do as most of the above posters have said and break it down into what I need to do.

 

As for the tiled map, I can display a tiled map with Slick2d and I've found out how to move the view of the map when the character reaches the end of the screen.



#12 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:09 PM

I know a lot of my syntax for the standard library, but I still can't really make anything cool.

 

Unfortunately, on the journey of game development, the Realm of Cool cannot be entered until you have visited and conquered the 7 Realms of It's Working. :)

 

IOW, all of us wanted to make something cool when we were beginners. But along the way, we realized that getting it to work was cool in and of itself. And that becomes the priority.


Beginner in Game Development? Read here.
 
Super Mario Bros clone tutorial written in XNA 4.0 [MonoGame, ANX, and MonoXNA] by Scott Haley
 
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#13 stein102   Members   -  Reputation: 475

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:31 AM

I could post up a .zip file with the contents of my last project that I've kinda abandoned if you want to take a look at it. The only reason I stopped was because I wasn't sure where to go from there.

 

Can anyone tell me how to post my project? I can't find where to upload anything.


Edited by stein102, 10 March 2013 - 12:56 AM.


#14 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:12 AM

What was your last project again?


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#15 stein102   Members   -  Reputation: 475

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:21 AM

It was supposed to be a small scale RPG type game. All I got around to implementing was the tiledmap,map scrolling, character movement, basic collision(done very poorly), items/inventory(again, done poorly), a basic GUI and some music.



#16 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4688

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:35 AM

As Poigahn mentioned before, you're swallowing not chewing small bites.
 
Why not try making one of the following games?

 

  • Pong
  • Breakout
  • Space Invaders (credit to GearSlayer360)
  • Missile Command
  • Asteroids
  • Tetris
  • Pac-Man
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • ????
  • Make Money
The reason for this list is because you know how these games work. The rules and how all the parts are supposed to work. So it's easy to go down the list and learn new skills as you complete each game. For a really good tutorial on 2D game development, google for Lazy Foo SDL

Edited by Alpha_ProgDes, 10 March 2013 - 01:38 AM.

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#17 stein102   Members   -  Reputation: 475

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:43 AM

Yeah, I realize what you're saying. This was a few months back, I got pretty demotivated and took a break for a while. I've done a pong clone before off that list, that's about it. I'll start working on a breakout clone and work my way through the list. The thing I've had the most trouble with is figuring out how to to proper collision detection. Rectangle/rectangle is fine, but when I add in a circle I only know how to check for a collision with one pixel, I'll have to read more into that.

 

I'll google Lazy Foo SDL right now though.



#18 Chad Smith   Members   -  Reputation: 1133

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:40 AM

Well, I'm fairly confident I know the language well. My problem is the actual game design and architecture. What would you recommend for that?

 

Also, any ideas for projects that I should work on?

 

In reply to this part of your post:

 

Just coding in general.Most beginners fall into this trap which ends up being a huge hole.  Just code.  Don't worry about if things are perfect or not.  Just code.  When you're a beginner you will not make perfect things.  That is something that most of the time just automatically comes with experience.  It comes up when you are just coding more and more and next thing you know  you find yourself researching topics and implementing them.

 

When you have a problem, take a step back.  Sometimes two steps back.  Diagnose the problem and solving the problem STEP-BY-STEP.  I mean in the smallest steps.  Write down every step and before you know it you'll find yourself writing pseudo code that you can just about directly implement.

 

Important thing though: Do not worry about code design right now!  When working on a good beginner project just focus on the problem at hand.  Don't end up making one problem multiple problems because you're worried about code design.  Your first projects will have absolutely terrible code design.  It will just happen.  Too many beginners see that and get worried and start all over and they end up learning almost nothing.  You learn a lot more from actually finishing a project completely then starting over multiple times and not really ever getting further.  When you have finished a project you can post the code here and most of the time multiple users, a lot even professional, will give you great advice on ways to improve the code.  Try to understand what they are saying.  If you don't understand something research it.  If you still don't understand what they are saying ask them to explain a bit further but give your own ideas.  This will have them and other people help more as it shows you are very interested in learning this.  Finally try to implement some or all of their ideas into the project or write down their ideas.  When you do your next project see if you can incorporate some or all of their ideas into your project.  Don't force it though.  Again just code.  If you keep repeating this process, before you know it you will writing better designed code and even implementing designs on your own!

 

The most important part that doesn't get stressed enough sometimes.  Just code.  Don't worry about anything else right now.  Just code.  In time other things will come.

 

Also, I think I read from your OP that you do use Java.  LazyFoo uses C++ and SDL but honestly he does a pretty good job even explaining the concepts of what is being done.  From that you should be able to translate what he is doing into Java code pretty well.  Just focus on the concepts a lot.  Research how to do each of those concepts in your language and API of choice and try to implement it.






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