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FireNet

Thoughts on a Project for a begginner

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Maybe this is the result of a little soul searching, since being here a while seeing(ok reading posts) a lot people, of various skills, of various attitudes etc mainly begginers wanting to do games. Some manage to do games with struggle, some in a flash, some never... What I would like to ask is Why are games so difficult to make and so easy to make? Oxymoron alright but it is true for a begginer atleast.Ok maybe I am a little biased since I managed to make my first game when I knew nothing, never having seen even a piece of game code, having only the word "Mode13h" from an article on 3D Portal Engines (by Phantom,though it sounded greek at the time(p.s I dont know greek)) and another article which showed simple VGA stuff (virtual screen and pixels) So how come some/many cant manage to do anything when there is so much info available on the net? Why is it so difficult when you have all the tools and raw meterials you need. Maybe programming is not all that is needed, maybe a bit of will and the desire to make something should be there, like the desire of an artist or musician who makes something which is closer to their heart rather than for others alone. Maybe it is fear really that stops one, like I mean one might feel if one does something in a particular way it would be wrong. Or it might be the want to be perfect at the first try which make people shy away from things they might be able to do in a little "shaky" way if they tried. Like a baby learning to speak, it has no prob shouting jumbled and mumbled words while it's diffrent for a person (grown) to start speaking a new language.They try to be good when they speak, since we belive it's part of being mature trying to commit no mistakes. That too might arise from the fact that when the baby speaks it's encouraged what so ever it says.But an older person/child (any age where the person can walk and talk) might be made fun of, when making mistakes. So this belife to be perfect/good gets engrained in our mind and we learn to move/live with it.It's also part of growing up and being mature.But this fear still lies within us and somethimes when we try to do things which are new to us, we are afraid to do it, thinking of what others will think. This maybe the cause that "Breaking the Ice" is one of the most difficult things for a person to do . So maybe if a begginner is to be able to start,it is to able to admit to oneself that he/she is only a baby and should be willing to make mistakes and admit it.And very importantly to try to stand before jumping.And start small ,very small. Once the standing is over, the difficulty is over, and once the movement is in motion it's easier to grow, to become bigger, smarter and stronger and to win. And what can we, the ones who managed to get across the bridge do? Only be supportive, not to make fun, and forget to "optimise" the advice we give. An article by Geoff Howland here at GameDev says that a good first project for a begginer is a Tetris-Clone.That is the only part I disagree with. The first project I would recommend is "Move a box around".Yes, for this would contain all the basic game elements.
   1. An output screen
   2. Putting pixels
   3. Keyboard i/o
   4. Satisfaction on compleation ;)
This would eleminate all the extra stuff like scoring/winning and game logic which make it difficult for a begginer to understand at first but still keep everything that matters. The next one should include boxes that move by themselves and bounce off the screen boundries. And the third should include the boxes bouncing off each other too ;) Then a simple game like Tetris or Snake or a simple shooter etc once the above 3 are accomplished. While walking the adventure of game programming, it is also important to take advice and use it.Read articles and STORE them in an organised manner, so you can get hold of it when needed.Listen more than you talk. Btw,you will need to know your programming concepts well, you cant walk without legs, can you?, and you will need shoes too when you go outside.Sorry but life's twisted,so go grab those shoes before you go outside little fellow or you will get hurt. Links (ropes to climb) GameDev::For Begginers VGA (Mode13h) Programming GameTutorials.com GameDev::Articles Game Programming 99 Steels Programming(Game/Graphics) Links X2 FTP Mirror BlueParrots Graphics [Edited by - FireNet on September 25, 2004 3:08:43 AM]

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moving a box around is no game... its a test or practice... one does many things before he has his first real project. but the first real project can be tetris. theres no problem with that.
tetris is a nice first game and its practically not more than moving around multiple boxes. the stuff you do before it can be moving around one box or only text mode stuff but thats not considered a project imo..

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Original post by BiGF00T
moving a box around is no game... its a test or practice... one does many things before he has his first real project. but the first real project can be tetris. theres no problem with that.
tetris is a nice first game and its practically not more than moving around multiple boxes. the stuff you do before it can be moving around one box or only text mode stuff but thats not considered a project imo..


Nah you did not get the point.The project is not just about making the box move, it's about getting to know the things needed to get the box moving.I did not say it was a game project, it's just a project before doing a game, but very related to games.With out knowing the things needed to a game are covered in the projects I proposed.

Anyway I think my main thoughts were in the paragraphs above it right?

Which reminds me, one should also be willing to half stand before standing.Because a fall from a half stand will be much easier than one from a full stand [grin], wouldn't it?

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An insightful and interesting Idea to be sure. I agree with what you are saying. I have experienced this "problem" of not being able to finish a game, or even a small project, but that is just laziness on my part. The one thing I do have to say is that when you are programming, it does have to be perfect, the compiler is not very lenient, the end product doesnt have to be perfect. I know for a fact that debugging is another thing that frustrates people and turns many off to the idea of making a more "major" programming project, I saw it happen to my friend. You have to crawl before you walk, but you cant do either with a broken leg.

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Reasons for not finishing a game? I found that getting carried away with too many different things, resulted in not getting very much done. For example, it's like working on one thing, reading lots of tutorials on it and then realising that leads onto something else. So you end up reading up more on that instead. Then before you know it, you're no longer reading anything that's closely related to the original problem.

I found I did that for a while and went around in circles, watching my motivation drain away. Once I worked out what was happening, I wrote a Pong clone in less than 2 hours (including learning Allegro, basic AI and scoring).

Since then, I realised that my personal biggest obstacle in producing something much better, was actually maths. I forgot virtually everything I was taught at school 8 years ago, and being as most tutorials carry a lot of maths/prerequisite maths with them, I couldn't progress.

So, since then I've been reading through 4 maths books, which once I'm finished, will give me more than enough to proceed. I know I could make a BreakOut clone or whatever now if I did the research into the coding side, but it would probably be a bodge as I'd just plug in values until the program did what I wanted, without any kind of understanding. I didn't want that, so I realised I'd have to take several steps first, before rushing, which is where I'm at now. [smile]

Edit: Oh and I think a large problem in terms of finishing games, is knowing what to read and what to leave until a later date. You can easily get overwhelmed with information, because game development is such a huge topic.

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Original post by Aurvandil
I know for a fact that debugging is another thing that frustrates people and turns many off to the idea of making a more "major" programming project, I saw it happen to my friend.


Debbugging is something I belive should start form the very start with systems like logging and error returns in place.If it is going to be done at the middle or even 10 days after starting, it will be like trying sperate noodles.[grins]


Quote:

You have to crawl before you walk, but you cant do either with a broken leg.

Very Very True, scars last longer than the actual injury.

Quote:

The one thing I do have to say is that when you are programming, it([FireNet]i.e the syntax,code I belive) does have to be perfect, the compiler is not very lenient,the end product does not have to be perfect.

You know this raises a thing.I agree.The code should be solid,clean and easy to manage.If not, it's one of the major things that lead to the doom of the project.

To accomplish this PLANNING is very important.It's can be explained by relation to crawling, with solid bones and splinttered ones.

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Original post by hellz
Reasons for not finishing a game? I found that getting carried away with too many different things, resulted in not getting very much done. For example, it's like working on one thing, reading lots of tutorials on it and then realising that leads onto something else. So you end up reading up more on that instead. Then before you know it, you're no longer reading anything that's closely related to the original problem.

Oh and I think a large problem in terms of finishing games, is knowing what to read and what to leave until a later date. You can easily get overwhelmed with information, because game development is such a huge topic.


That's a point.Once you start drowning in info you start losing it with desperation to understand it fully.Somethimes we should be willing to compermise and choose the closest best instead of the best if we can reach our goal.

And once we get hold of atricles, we better organise it in diffrent folders systematically.Else we will start re-downloading them again.And never find them when we need it.I had this prob so I am now re-organising my library, slowly.

When you have many things to do,take it one at a time

Quote:

Since then, I realised that my personal biggest obstacle in producing something much better, was actually maths. I forgot virtually everything I was taught at school 8 years ago, and being as most tutorials carry a lot of maths/prerequisite maths with them, I couldn't progress.


Same here, I love maths but mainly rusty now from lack of use.In the motion of polishing and learning more advanced stuff [smile].Maths is very important.(remmeber the "shoes" ;) ).I belive it helps us better organise how we think and think faster and take short cuts without having to do things the long way.A must in life.We begin thinking smart rather than thinking hard

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