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What is the next step in game programming?


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#1 jimzilla   Members   -  Reputation: 135

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 06:17 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I just recently joined this amazing community!

 

So I have been programming games for the past 2 years or so. I am still learning, learning and learning new things everyday!

 

So my question is what should I focus on now? I have established a solid base in game programming. I have worked with the Unreal engine and built my own game with it. I am pretty good with Unity. Already have 7-8 prototypes established. I am currently delving deep into c++, working with libraries like glfw, SDL and making some games. I am a Masters student and current taking electives in data structures and algorithms.  I am also working on a big web game project using  javascript, jquery etc 

 

After all this I still feel that there is so much to learn in terms of game development. I am still just a beginner in opengl graphics. I have no clue how network multiplayer games work. But eventually I think I will get there.

 

So now you have an idea about my background a bit. Coming back to the point of this topic. Last month my college sponsored us to visit several game development firms in the west coast of US. We visited big companies like Riot games, Blizzard, Treyarch, Sony, Naughty Dog, Insomniac games, Zynga to name a few. After talking to the big shots from the industry it was clear that c++ is a must know. I asked one of the senior game developer at Blizzard as to how should one improve his/her c++ programming skills? He replied saying dig into open source libraries, read code from existing open source games, try creating your own mods. Try creating your own level editor. He gave quake3 source code as an example to follow. Then I asked one other senior developers from Naughty Dog. He said the same thing but he also said that the quake3 source code is old, very very old. He is pretty sure that the existing c++ standards in AAA companies are way different from the code that was written few years back. Back in those days, everything was single threaded. Games today run on multi threads. So referring to the old code base does not make much sense. So I asked him what should be a good resource or reference to a modern open source library that uses modern c++ code but he wasn't sure about that.

 

So my question is where and how do I gain super good c++ skills, what are the good open source codes out there that I can refer to? Where do I exactly start looking to slowly move on to make my own simple mods.



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#2 EricsonWillians   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 07:09 PM

Wolfenstein3D, Doom and Quake source codes are always a good reference, since they're not only revolutionary, but pretty advanced. Just like you, I don't have skills at the moment with "OpenGL" or "3D" or "Network Multiplayer", but Quake3, for example, has some kind of "Operational System" of its own to deal with network stuff and events. It also has a brilliantly brutally complex AI. If you CAN read that source code, than, I REALLY think that "multithreading" is just an irrelevant detail. Old programmers like John Carmack deal with today programming problems better because they actually understand the low-level world. Being a high-level programmer will always make me feel that I'm some kind of amateur (For not having the skills to program for Super NES's 65816 Assembly, for example). John Carmack said: "Low-level programming is good for the programmer's soul."

So, in my opinion, when I get more and more solid game programming skills, it'll be natural to go to the low-level world. I don't like the idea of depending on someone's engine.


Edited by EricsonWillians, 11 March 2014 - 08:41 AM.

Creator and only composer at Poisone Wein and Übelkraft dark musical projects:

 


#3 xenobrain   Members   -  Reputation: 598

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 07:55 PM

Don't discount old engines so quickly, architecture doesn't change that fast.  Quake 3 for example was way ahead of it's time.  Back in 1999 it had a shader system (built over the fixed function pipeline) that resembles modern shader systems to a surprising degree, and even a multithreaded queued renderer that looks very, very close to what most engines use today!  It also has a (simple) JIT-compiling VM for scripting! There is surprisingly little about that codebase that is particularly dated.

 

As for modern c++, I enjoy looking at the http://www.heliumproject.org for an example of commercial-grade code with some interesting design ideas, and  https://github.com/mosra/magnum for inspiration on the application of C++11.



#4 georger.araujo   Members   -  Reputation: 793

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 10:29 PM

So my question is where and how do I gain super good c++ skills, what are the good open source codes out there that I can refer to? Where do I exactly start looking to slowly move on to make my own simple mods.

 

Where: your desk. No, really. That's where your companions to your learning journey are: your computer, your scratchpad, your books, and your coffee mug.

 

How: read good books, answer all exercises, write a lot of code, make a lot of mistakes and fix every single one of them, figure out cryptic compiler error messages, and learn to debug and profile. Read the source code and understand the architecture of some AAA games. Ask questions here!



#5 SunDog   Members   -  Reputation: 232

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 12:21 AM

Well Quake 3 uses BSP trees which no one uses anymore - not sure about other aspects of the code like physics and collision detection.

 

If you're talking about rendering, it might be better to start from the ground up.  I am currently learning DirectX using Frank Lunas book and some of the tutorials.

 

The C++ FQA http://yosefk.com/c++fqa/ is also a good reference for another take on C++.   But after reading it, realize you have to use C++ despite its defects, because aside from plain old C which makes, its necessary to get the high systems-level performance you need for a competiive 3D game.


Edited by SunDog, 11 March 2014 - 12:22 AM.


#6 ddn3   Members   -  Reputation: 1256

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 04:39 PM

Download the UDK, CryEngine 3, Unity3D, Ogre3D , Panda3D and start looking at how they work. Some will come with source, some will just be a pipeline exposing some scripting or bridge language, but it will give you some insight into modern engines and how they are designed. 

 

Game development have become so large that people usually specialize these days. Architect, Network, Game, Graphics, Physics, Audio, Animation, Tools etc.. those are the usual "big" fields people specialize in. You can try to do all but truth is companies are not looking for people who can do "it all", they are looking for experts who are the "best" in one or 2 fields. This is for large companies of course, smaller companies might have different priorities.  Focus on what you like to do and become an "expert" in that field, learn good programming practices and expand your mind, stay curious.

 

Good Luck!

 

-ddn



#7 warnexus   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1394

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 07:54 PM

I agree focus 1 or 2 aspects of game programming that tailors to your interest and ability and hone in on that.

Read other people code is definitely good too because they might structure it differently than you. See other people code gives a different perspective.

Keep making games!

#8 EricsonWillians   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:38 PM

Read other people code is definitely good too because they might structure it differently than you. See other people code gives a different perspective.

 

I like to compare programming to writing poetry. Give one problem to one hundred programmers, and you'll get one hundred "completely" different codes. Up to the name conventions down to the indentation, the codes change brutally, so, I totally agree with you. Probably if I knew how to write Wolfenstein3D, it would be thousand times simpler than the original source code. Considering many files, it's hard to grasp the starting point.. It's like an unexplored cave for each new code, no matter if you already know the problems you'll be dealing with (Bats, spiders or whatever).

This is also the reason why it takes some time to learn a new "API". It could be easier for some to write its own engine, rather than learning how to find things on Unity3D's conventions (For example).


Edited by EricsonWillians, 11 March 2014 - 08:47 PM.

Creator and only composer at Poisone Wein and Übelkraft dark musical projects:

 





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