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Returning to Programming


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#1 stitchs   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1281

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:19 AM

Hi all,

 

So after a year out from programming, and the forums, I have decided to return to thing that I love!

 

I have been out of the loop for so long that I am effectively starting again. I want to start with a language that is easier to understand, and plug away at, than C++. It didn't work for me before, but I hope to go back to it at a later date.

 

I want to program, and I want to see results fast(er than C++), so I have decided to go with C#. Is this a good choice? What are good resources/books to start from the ground up. Is it worth going into XNA.

 

I know this sounds like a lot to ask, and I am not unfamiliar by any means with forum guidelines, but if there is any advice, I will gladly take it.

 

Thanks in advance for reading/replying,

 

Stitchs.



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#2 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1501

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:39 AM

You are going to get a lot of different opinions on this one, but it really depends on what you want to do. If you are developing for the web, then PHP and JavaScript will help. Apple has a new programming language called Swift, which supposedly has the power of Objective C but the simplicity of LUA, so if you are going for mobile development, that is something to consider.

I don't know about XNA, yet.

But it pretty much depends on what you want to do. I get results almost instantaneously with the engine I use (Maratis3D, an open source game engine with Lua as a scripting language and C++ as the programming language, and major extensibility).

There is also Ruby, which is very easy. One use I know is for making plugins for Trimble Sketchup.

Hope this helps.

 

Edit: How could I forget Python? haha. 


Edited by Tutorial Doctor, 15 June 2014 - 10:02 PM.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#3 stitchs   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1281

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 06:48 AM

Maybe I could have worded it better. I also know that it's quite the divisive subject.

 

What I want to know is, what is a safe language, to learn from the ground up, to then progress onto games programming. I kept getting into C++, making progress, falling out of touch, and then coming back feeling like having to start again. That's partly to do with my lack of practice, but the books I read and tracking memory errors/debugging really slowed down the learning process.

 

I have heard C#/Python/Java are all safe languages. I want to go with C# and make use of XNA later, before hitting C++ big time!

 

Mobile is something I want to start on, much later.

 

Stitchs.



#4 Eck   Members   -  Reputation: 1831

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 07:13 AM

C#/XNA is a decent choice. Having a framework where you can quickly get something moving on the screen is a BIG motivator. You might consider MonoGame instead of XNA. If you go that route, here are some decent tutorials:

 

http://rbwhitaker.wikidot.com/monogame-tutorials

 

You should focus on learning the fundamental concepts of programming. Variables, loops, and branching. It's boring first few steps, but they're necessary. And from those few concepts explode out the possibility of so much more.

 

Start small. Don't try to make your dream game first. If you don't know how to program, start REALLY SMALL. Hello world ... Ask their name/say Hi <name>! ... Guess a number game ...etc.

 

Do a little digging in the beginner forums and you'll see about 2 of these types of posts per page. 

 

- Eck



#5 stitchs   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1281

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 07:21 AM

Trust me, I found out a long while ago that the 'dream game' is not something to go with first. I want to start from the ground up, I just want a recent, relevant C# tutorial where I can start, and then find some projects to complete.

 

I will take your advice on board, thanks!

 

Stitchs.



#6 Eck   Members   -  Reputation: 1831

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 07:30 AM

Just saw your post right before mine. C# is a bit more forgiving than C++, so it C# might be a better choice for you. Some problems like memory management are handled automagically for you so you don't have to worry about it (asterisk). C# plus a framework is even better (once you have the fundamentals down) since it wraps up certain things for you in easy to use classes allowing you to actually DO something instead of just tracing through memory allocations.

 

(asterisk) - You still have to worry about it, but most of the "simple" cases are handled for you. This means that when a memory issue DOES creep up it's often times sneaky and hard to find. I do recommend learning C++ at some point in your programming career, but for starting out/hobby game programming I can see how C++ would be overwhelming. Maybe take some courses on C++ to force yourself to stay committed.

 

- Eck



#7 Saint Retro   Members   -  Reputation: 261

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 03:30 AM

I was in same boat as you OP.  As a hobbyist it was frustrating doing C++ console apps and I tried to rush ahead and inevitably ended up failing.  Tried again with C#, much easier to see results for the kind of things I stressed about with C++ (like just making a simple window!).  That said, I am getting a bit bored of my book as I find the GUI design part tedious and would rather focus on coding so I've slowed down a lot over the last two weeks.  



#8 stitchs   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1281

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 06:05 AM

What book is it you are using?

 

I came across this series of tutorials yesterday: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/Content/ViewContent.aspx?et=7684&m=7665&ct=27107

 

It starts really basic, but I'm enjoying it so far, are these good tutorials? I guess they can be updated and expanded upon much quicker than waiting for a new book. Has anyone used the Virtual Academy before?

 

Stitchs.



#9 Saint Retro   Members   -  Reputation: 261

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:03 AM

Hi,

 

I was using Head First C# 2nd ed.  I like the look of those video tutorials and it's not a medium I've tried for learning this so I'm going to give it a go.



#10 Karsten_   Members   -  Reputation: 1544

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 10:26 AM

 I stressed about with C++ (like just making a simple window!).

 

This as an example but also in general. A language is just a language. The important part is finding, researching and leveraging existing work out there so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel (needlessly) or code so much before you get results.

 

I.e with C or C++ I would simply call little more than the following to create a window.

#include <GL/glut.h>
...
glutCreateWindow();

So you are probably not looking so much for an easier language but rather an easier platform (including helper libraries) to automate using your language of choice (i.e to make a game).

 

The simplest platforms that I know are either Flash (AS3) for 2D and Unity (UnityScript/C#/Boo/.NET) for 3D.

With C++ (if you are interested), Unreal Engine 4 is suprisingly nice to use (has good tools). (It also provides a domain specific scripting type "language" called blueprint which I dont know too much about)

 

XNA is not much more higher level than SDL and OpenGL so I don't know if you will enjoy working with it as much as Flash or Unity.


Edited by Karsten_, 16 June 2014 - 10:28 AM.

Mutiny - Open-source C++ Unity re-implementation.
Defile of Eden 2 - FreeBSD and OpenBSD binaries of our latest game.


#11 Saint Retro   Members   -  Reputation: 261

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 05:11 AM

Thanks.  I should point out when I was learning (Visual C++ 6.0) I was punching above my weight anyway as I hadn't learned a lot of the basics.  I was creating a window using rh Win 32 library (I think) and it took a lot of code.  I was unaware of a lot of things then as I didn't have internet much as it was the 56k dialup days.



#12 yusef28   Members   -  Reputation: 160

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 10:40 AM

I recently started learning programming and am in kindof the same situation as you. I went with python because of pygame. I want to get into game development and was looking for an easy and fun language and pygame so far seems to have what I'm looking for. There are great tutorials online to get started making a game like the ones by 123animations.

#13 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6833

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 08:17 AM

C# opens up many possibilities. I personally like the fact that it is one of the two primary avenues into an editor such as Unity.

Speaking of fast results, Unity might help you get there quickly for free and is quite mainstream.

Also helps you focus on the things that you get immediate results for.

 

Personally went to HTML5 / Dartlang (Google's) as a stepping stone because it is very fast for prototyping (especially with libs such as StageXL).






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