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grim_reaper7

Where the H**** do i start?

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Currently i am completely new in the whole game world. i have switched my CIS major to Game Development and Design. I don't want to wait til next semester to start learning how to program video games. i want to get ahead. where do i begin? i want to get involved in meetings, newsletter, anything and everything, i read Break into the Game Industry and really want to get involved in everything. i purchased visual studio on recomendation. was that a bad move? what should have i of purchased to program my own little games(realizing i might have to start off small and get used to c++)? What books, programs, magazines should i buy? can you please give me some advice, it would be greatly appreciated! ps. learning is of the essence, (not trying to be boastful or unhumble but) i am a 4.0 honors student i just need some direction... Thanks, CLiff

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ok well you can start by not swearing in your thread name it probibly turns people off. Any way to answer your question MSC++ is a good compiler (you should know that just by the cost $$) and it will alow you to make your own games. You might want to learn the basics first (if you dont know any) so i suggest getting a book (i read teach yourself c++ in 24 hours) but that was a while ago their might be better books. After that in order to make graphical apps you are going to need an API like windows API(Sucks), SDL, Open GL, Direct X. Any way good luck on your class.

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Obviously it depends on your experience, but I reckon you want to start here, it's a nice guide (and exactly where I started to be fair).

I'll also say not to get disheartened, and if in doubt, roll your sleeves up, get some coding done, and don't be disheartened by failure. There's a lot to learn, bu hopefully you'll find it very satisfying. Good luck!

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So you have VS? That' great! Now go ahead and learn some C++ (I'd recommend another language first, but since you already invested in VS you hould use it [wink]). Grab a copy of Algorithms in C++ and some C++ book (I didn't learn C++ using books so I cannot really recommend one).

Once you've iplemented some basic stuff and are familiar with your tools (VS!!! Read the docs, use the MSDN docs that come with it, please - saves you a lot of time and is essential for any software development):

  • Learn about your IDE.

  • Learn about your compiler and its basic settings (directory setup, different configurations like 'debug' and 'release', etc.)

  • Learn some basic terminology and its meanings (DLLs, libraries, header files, compilation units, ...) - it will help you a lot later on

  • Learn how to use the documentation and how to read and interpret other people's code.


All of the above can be coupled with creating your first projects (say a Pong-clone or something among that line, depending on your learning abilities).

Then to make your life easier and learning to use 3rd party tools by the way, grab a copy of SDL, read some tutorials about it and make your first game with graphics.
Some people reommend to start with console apps, but I don't really think that's required. Writing a gues-the-number-game or a text version of Tic-Tac-Toe won't hurt anyway.

Good luck,
Pat.

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Quote:
Original post by grim_reaper7
great idea...ok, i took vb for a semester and currently am taking php...all easy, next semester i am takin gaming 101 and algorithmic c++, i have v studio C++.net, but is that gonna work?


Learning algorithms (and data structures) is very important to a programmer (game and otherwise). Make sure you do pay attention and if necessary, go beyond what they teach you in class. Learn to recognize common 'problems' and what is the best method to solve them.

I don't know what "gaming 101" is about. I see no reason why VC++.NET wouldn't "work". It's a good tool.

Language-wise, I strongly suggest you learn python - it's easy to learn, pleasant to use, quite powerful, and does complement C++ quite nicely. API-wise, my preference goes to SDL and OpenGL (the fact that they are usable from python probably plays a role in that).

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I very strongly recommend you get C++ From The Ground Up Very well written by one of the guys that worked on the standards committee. As an added bonus, enough people use it that you can get used copies really cheap on Amazon ;) (saw one for under $10 when I grabbed the link). Anyway, start there and good luck!

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There are three things here that you need to distinguish between: Learning to program, learning to program games, and learning to make games.

Learning to program is a question of (a) acquiring the problem-solving, logical mindset that will let you break situations down into algorithms and data structures, and (b) learning a language in which you can describe these algorithms and data structures. Also, I guess, (c) learning some common algorithms and data structures.

You say you've taken some VB and some PHP - that's good. How are your functions and for loops? Do you know what lists, stacks and queues are? You need to know all of that before you move onto the next level - otherwise it'll be like trying to write good poetry in a foreign language.

Learning to program games is a question of (a) learning the algorithms, data structures and techniques prevalent in game technology, and (b) learning how to express those algorithms, data structures and techniques in one or more languages.

Most of this stuff is language-independent. Concepts like double-buffering, collision response, A* pathfinding, vertex shaders, or event-based input systems. These are the systems and approaches that you'll find in many games, as well as many non-game apps.

Learning to make games is a question of (a) learning about game design, (b) learning about asset production, (c) learning about designing technology to convey those assets to the user.

When you code a game, what you're doing is providing a medium for the designer and the artists to play out their constructions. You're a technician (or "software engineer"), working for them. If that's what you're interested in, then fine.

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Lot of game coding will be spent in data structures and algorithms which rely on at least the procedural coding techniques. So start with that. Visual studio is a fine dev tool and has everything you need to program simple and complex apps. I use vc++6 std. ed. myself and it does games and desktop apps well. So the only thing you need now is lots of time, patience and motivation and you're set.

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