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Dan Mayor

Member Since 14 Jan 2011
Offline Last Active Jul 04 2013 07:35 AM

#4779981 Starting with Xna

Posted by Dan Mayor on 28 February 2011 - 01:00 AM

Learning the fundamentals of C++ and Java never hurt in the journey to C#. C++ can teach you basic programming theory and concept, data types, functions, variables, pointers and such. Java would definitely help with the concept of a completely object oriented language. However most C++ books will also go into object programming, they will most likely guide the reader into dynamic memory allocation which will confuse the simplistic memory management of C#.

So long story short I would continue to read and do the tutorials of your C++ book up into the classes and structures tutorials. Stop before it gets to far into dynamic objects and object lists and such. Then definitely move up into C# and XNA with us :)


#4773947 XNA Game Architecture

Posted by Dan Mayor on 13 February 2011 - 09:58 PM

XNA most simply breaks down to an Update and a Draw call. In my own custom engines for smaller projects I simply used these methods to inject time into my custom manager objects and trigger their own Update and Draw calls. From there the managers called Update and Draw methods on the object tree as necessary. My suggestion for simplicity would just be to code all of your objects with a default Update and Draw method. Handle all of the according features inside these two calls, provide the end user with your more simplistic game oriented methods.


#4765922 Where to Start?

Posted by Dan Mayor on 27 January 2011 - 05:14 PM

First I would suggest you pick a development field that both fits and interests you. By this I mean do you want to be a content writer, a level designer, a modeler / animator, artist, programmer or composer? There are many other positions in game development teams but these seem to be the most important and highest demanded. Here are a few suggestions I have depending on if you are interested in any of these fields. This is either what I would do to progress in said field or what I would look for in a candidate to join my team.

Content Writer:
I would expect that a content writer be able to create versatile fictional stories, descriptions and dialog sequences. Basically someone that could take the general concept of the game and refine written content to portray the best possible feel for the game. The more versatile the writer the more likely you are to be recruited. All teams no matter what size need at least one writer who can tell the story, creates the conversations AND build advertisement articles for web pages. If you are a creative write by nature it may be worth looking into some creative writing tutorials to hone your skills and seek this position.

Level Designer:
Level designers are another fairly easy field of game development. A level designer would be expected to learn the editor program being used by the team and be able to construct level files out of textual descriptions and concept drawings. Basically you would take a crude drawing and a description of what the designers are looking for. You then use assets created by artists and modelers, load them into the editor your team is using and arrange them to create the level. In more advanced level designing you may need to learn a little bit of programming theory to help configure in level objects. (Such as setting variables to determine how far away a turret gun can detect a character from). If you are generally good with computers and can learn new programs / theories pretty quickly then this might be the answer for you. To proceed you would search for an editor program such as UDK, Torque or FlatRedBall (there are many others). Start learning it's tutorials while you search for a team using the same editor.

Modeler / Animator:
Modelers and animators are the people that use 3D modeling programs such as Blender, 3D Studio Max, Maya and others to create 3D Model files. These model files can then be imported into the editor program the team uses. A quick and easy example is some level props, like say a table. The modeler would create the table model and pass it on to the level designer. The level designer could then load the Table model into the editor and position it as to where it should be in the level. Modeling is a fairly complicated field of game development. However you can learn to use a 3D modeler tool with little to know actual artistic talent. This field is ALWAYS in high demand, the more you learn to do and the more Modeling programs / editors you learn to work with the better.

Graphics Artists:
Graphics artists are what I consider the people who draw concept art, textures and other graphical assets. This is a fairly niche field of game development as it really requires you to posses artistic talent. There are uses for many different talent levels of graphical artists from concept (basic sketches) to textures and interface graphics. This field really only applies to people who can draw with paper and pencil or people who can create stunning images using editors such as Photoshop or Photoimpact.

Composers:
While we're on the subject of specialized game development fields I should also mention composers. Composers are the people that create the music and sound effects files that are used by the game. Many times composers are asked to create works from a description of the feel and surroundings. This is a field that completely eludes me as I am musically incompetent. But if you are good with instruments, recording devices and can learn mixer programs this might just be the field for you.

Programmers:
Finally we come to programmers. Seems anymore that more and more programmers are flooding the game development scene. Some of which are highly talented, some not so much. If you are interested in becoming a programmer start getting ready for tons of reading, typing, experimenting and math. It helps to have a deep understanding of computers and operating systems when learning to program. I would first start by studying general computer and operating system theories before continuing to far. After you understand all of that you will then need to choose a language that you want to learn. Every programmer will have a different language that they feel is best, and some of us use different programming languages depending on the project. To start getting into the programming world I would first attempt to jump into C# and XNA as it is a very simple object oriented language and framework.

Hope that gives you a good idea of where to go next. If you have any more questions or want some links / information on anything I touched on in this post feel free to contact me. My email and website are listed below.




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