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The very first step

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well what kind of programs should a newbie be able to program
so that they koe when thay should move on?????

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could someone please explain what a design doc is and what exactly should be in it? so far the games ive made, i didnt plan out a single bit of it, i just kept coding (and they didnt turn out too bad)

anyway, right now im working on a much more seriouse project (top down RPG/shooter w/ Open GL)... i have been coding for the past month or so.. i still havent planned anything.. i just keep coding (i have a decent amount of basecode done - right now im working on cool particle effects and the combat system)..

so anyway, could someone explain the design doc thing to me. also, any other general advise on working on a large project, what to expect, things to plan for, etc, etc. thanks

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Well, just try writing tetris, as proposed in another thread.
When you are able to do that, move to a little side scroller.

If you have no clue about making tetris. Just try to make some kind of labyrinth game in the console.

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Look at articles and ressources... there are design documents templates.

You should always have some kind of design documents for any program. It doesn''t have to be formal.

Merely a mission statement with a least of clear and concise features.

A design doc for pacman might go like this really.

Mision statement: Learn game programming and adopting a good coding style.

4 ghosts chase Pacman around a maze. The goal of the game is to eat all the pills while trying to avoid the ghosts.


Input with the keyboard.
A simple AI should control the ghosts in That way (list way the ghosts run after pacman)
The levels are loaded from a text file with the following format (file format)
There are 10 levels with increasing difficulty..

etc etc etc...

The design doc serve as a reference to the programmer, and prevents feature creep, where you keep adding features and features until it doesn''t make sense and the code is bloated.

A clear picture of the syste to implement ( be it a game or not)
Better ability to organize the code since you know what''s coming up.
etc etc etc again.

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