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allekat11

A Teen Interested in GD

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allekat11    152
Hi! I'm a 14 year old interested in learning how to program and design a game (hopefully including graphics, and maybe a little bit of audio). Can you recommend any place to start? A summer course is not an option for me. Here are some questions I need answered: -Which programming language should i start out with? -Do you recommend any specific books/series? -I know this is pretty far away, but what kind of colleges should I be looking at if I want to be a game developer as a job? -Do I need any particular programs to make my own beginner games at home? If you could answer 1 or more of these questions (I know its a lot for a forum...), I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

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Ilankt    229
-Which programming language should i start out with?
I would recommend C, and then moving to C++, or just starting with C++.
-Do you recommend any specific books/series?
For C++, you can find the free online books: Thinking in C++.
-Do I need any particular programs to make my own beginner games at home?
You will need a Compiler, the compiler converts your code into actually programs.
if you are going to learn C/C++ I would highly recommend on Dev-C++ which is very good, and FREE.
and dont think you will just begin learning to program and make your own doom 4.
it takes time to learn.
good luck!

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jbadams    25714
Firstly, start here, then read this FAQ. That should give you a lot of good information and some good links.

As for programs, you'll need a compiler/IDE. An IDE is an Integrated Development Environment - basically a set of tools to help you out, and a compiler turns your sourcecode into an executable file the computer can run. There are links to some free ones in the resources I linked above.

Feel free to ask any additional questions after reading those. [smile]

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Spoonbender    1258
Quote:
Original post by allekat11
-Which programming language should i start out with?

Ouch, wrong question. You're going to get flooded with 100's of posts containing conflicting advice.
The truth is that just about any language will do for starting out. Even one that isn't usually used for game development will be fine, because it's easy to transfer what you learned to another language. Probably even easier than learning a professionally used language first.

99% of all games are made in C++, and it's perfectly possible to start out learning that. However, it forces you to worry about a dozen of messy low-level things, which really doesn't make it easier to learn the important bits. For that reason, I'd recommend a higher level language. Python or Java are both very popular for starting out. The latter has the advantage of being ridiculously easy to get started with. You can download all the programs you need for free, as well as dozens of tutorials.

But any language will do, really. Just pick one, and stick with it. It's not as important a decision as it might seem. Once you've learned one language, you can learn another one in an hour or two, almost. So when people say it's a waste of time to start out with language X, you can ignore it. ;)

However, one language I'd personally avoid when starting out, is C.
The reason is that it still has the drawbacks of C++ (You need to worry about low-level memory stuff and other distractions that only serve to confuse you as a beginner), but it doesn't actually have the features that makes C++ so useful.
It's a subset of C++, but unfortunately, mostly contains the bits that are confusing to beginners... ;)

Quote:

-I know this is pretty far away, but what kind of colleges should I be looking at if I want to be a game developer as a job?

Again, dangerous question. Some people believe a degree is a waste of time, that you should just sit at home making games. That's how a lot of the big people in the industry started out. Then there's a school of thought saying you should go somewhere they teach game development specifically, like Full Sail. And finally, a lot of people suggest getting something more rounded and general, like computer science. (and some say just get a degree, doesn't have to be relevant at all, as long as you have a degree. It shows you're able to stick with your decisions and make it work).
There's no "official" best way to get into game development. Look at what your options are, and pick what sounds interesting. :)

Quote:

-Do I need any particular programs to make my own beginner games at home?

Only thing you really need is a compiler. You can download a Java compiler from Sun's website.
Not sure about Python, but I'm sure someone else can fill you in there.
For C++ (or C#), you can get Visual C++ for free from Microsoft's website, or there are a couple of other free compilers available.

Another handy program to have is an IDE of some kind. You could just write your code in Notepad, but it's a lot easier in a program made for the purpose... :)
For Java, I can recommend Eclipse (www.eclipse.org). Visual C++ includes an IDE, and again, no clue about Python. :)

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Monder    993
Quote:
Which programming language should i start out with?

Stay away from the likes of C or C++, Python along with PyGame could be good. Another option is a games basic such as BlitzBasic (though this costs money).

Quote:
Do you recommend any specific books/series?

I've never read it myself but How to Think Like A Computer Scientist with Python looks like a good start (it's completely free as well which is a plus.

Quote:
Do I need any particular programs to make my own beginner games at home?


Well for Python you can download everything you need to start programming in Python from the Python homepage (linked to above). For game development you'll also want some tools for creating graphics/sounds etc. Windows Paint will be fine for creating some test sprites, if you want something a bit more powerful there's The Gimp which is completely free.

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allekat11    152
Okay: Another question (Yes i know I am full of them ^_^) Okay...will any of my web development experience help me in this? Should that help me decide the kind of programming language I want to use? (I'm getting pretty good at HTML...)

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CTar    1134
Quote:
Original post by allekat11
Okay: Another question (Yes i know I am full of them ^_^) Okay...will any of my web development experience help me in this? Should that help me decide the kind of programming language I want to use? (I'm getting pretty good at HTML...)


Web programming will probably help a little, but "real" programming is NOT like HTML. If you know PHP, ASP etc. that will probably help you alot.

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allekat11    152
An estimation: How long do you think it will take me to learn at least the basics of C++ to the point that i can make a VERY cheapy game. My basic purpose in the beginning is just to fool around with it a little bit and see if I can impress my family and friends with a little game...but also i hope it can be a basis for games people would actually want to play/download... is this too much to ask? (wow I sound really desperate...)

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CTar    1134
Quote:
Original post by allekat11
An estimation: How long do you think it will take me to learn at least the basics of C++ to the point that i can make a VERY cheapy game. My basic purpose in the beginning is just to fool around with it a little bit and see if I can impress my family and friends with a little game...but also i hope it can be a basis for games people would actually want to play/download... is this too much to ask? (wow I sound really desperate...)


To learn th basics of C++ (or some other programming language) won't take to long, about 1 month I guess, if you use pretty much time.

It'll probably take a long time before you can make a game, if you just want to have some fun with game programming and impress your family/friends you probably shouldn't choose C++, but something like BlitzBasic.

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Quote:
Original post by allekat11
Okay: Another question (Yes i know I am full of them ^_^) Okay...will any of my web development experience help me in this? Should that help me decide the kind of programming language I want to use? (I'm getting pretty good at HTML...)
Depends. At my school "web devlopment" involves using the pre-made templates and frontpage with a bit of HTML. If that is what you mean, then not really. If you mean PHP, ASP, web-C#, or even javascript, then yes it will help you out a bit.

Just remember it gets hard, and starting off making games can be very difficult. Good luck, and don't lose hope.

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jbadams    25714
Quote:
Original post by allekat11
An estimation: How long do you think it will take me to learn at least the basics of C++ to the point that i can make a VERY cheapy game. My basic purpose in the beginning is just to fool around with it a little bit and see if I can impress my family and friends with a little game...but also i hope it can be a basis for games people would actually want to play/download... is this too much to ask? (wow I sound really desperate...)


You can probably make text-mode "guess the number" within about a week. If you work hard, you can have something akin to Snake or Pong sometime between 2 weeks and a month. I'd give it about 6 months for a basic sidescroller or something similar - but this of course, all depends on you. You have to put the effort in, and also, keep in mind that some people just learn and work at different speeds.

As for a compiler - if you've chosen to use C++, DevC++ is perfectly acceptable, and what's more, it's free - so you can try it out, and if you discover that programming really isn't your thing (give it a fair try, sometimes you get frustrated at first but then things just 'click'), you havn't lost anything. [smile]

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Darragh    308
Quote:
Original post by allekat11
I'm willing to be patient to make a game...I don't expect to make a Zelda game in 3 months.


Thats certainly a wise attitude to take! I've just started my first project and only know do I realise just how much is involved in making even a relatively simple game... It certainly isn't as easy as it seems!

Quote:
Original post by allekat11
-Which programming language should i start out with?


Hmmm... I'd recommend you go with Java. Don't take my word for it though- try to find some source code for all the languages you think you might be interested in and see which makes most sense to you.

I've personally found java to be the easiest and most logical to use language yet (easier than Visual Basic in my opinion). It also will help lead into C++ as some of the core syntax (not all mind!) and principles of object orientated programming are similar to C++.

I can't speak for Python though or other languages though (since I've never used them), so your best bet would be to suss them all out and find the best language for yourself.

Good luck with whatever you try though..

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camdaman    100
I am a teen also and i started out in Blitz Basic...It pretty simple to understand and the errors are really easy to fix.But if u wanna go into C and C++ go on right ahead ..If you have no programming experience what-so-ever .Go for the books"game programming for teens"(great book)or "Beginning C++" both can be found in the books section of this website under beginners.PM me any time if you want help.

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Dave Hunt    4872
The book "Game Programming for Teens" comes with an old version of BlitzBasic (Blitz2D) and takes you from the basics of programming through a complete space invaders/galaxian looking game. My daughter is going through the book and seems to be enjoying it. There is an updated version coming soon (May, I think), but the book is only $20, so it might not hurt to get the current edition and then check out the update later, if you want.

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thannett    214
I personally would dive straight into C. Go pick up a copy of Dev-CPP and Google search for C Programming Tutorials, or go by a book on C, Absoulute Beginners Guide to C by Greg Perry, or C for Dummies by Dan Gookin. Good Luck!

P.S. Start small, maybe an ASCII Tic-Tac-Toe game or a Guess the number game, then build upon that and add graphics and audio and AI and all the bells and whistles!

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Grizwald    270
If you're interested in C++ go pick up a copy of the 2005 Express Beta.

Linky to download

I got the DVD with all the express products, and I must say I'm impressed. A bit unstable at times, but I doubt that you'd be too concerned with it. If you want a hand getting it started, just drop me a PM if you decide to go down this route. Visual C++ is pretty much the industry standard C++ compiler. You're lucky to be learning at a time when its in free beta :D

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nilkn    960
Hi. I'm 15, and I've been able to write a memory usage tracker, and a complete messaging system for communication between disparate entities in the game (just finished this one and it's pretty cool!). I've also written 2 pong clones and my own overhead shooter (much like the very OLD '1942' of the NES, but without tilemaps). But I started game programming as a hobby when I was 12, so obviously I'm a little ahead. [smile]

I say this only so you know that it's definately possible to make some cool things if you're still in highschool/junior high (I'm a freshman in HS).

So, have fun! And don't give up, because I assure you programming games is a unique and very challenging endeavor, but a highly rewarding one!

Good luck, and welcome to GameDev.net!

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acid2    451
Well, I recommend .NET because it made a lot more sense to me than C++ did. You also have Managed DirectX which takes away pointers from you and stuff, which can be a real biatch to get when you so new to programming. Tbh, I think its way to optomistic people saying "pong in a week or month." You have no prior knowledge of programming as far as it seems, so I'd say more like 2 months if you use a pre made engine like OGRE (Axiom if you choose .NET) and a far bit longer if you decide to go straight into DirectX.

I think I'm a bit of a slower learner than everyone else, I tend to learn things as implant them in the most generic way possible... For example, my current engine is having the rendering API's abstracted out so I can use OpenGL, DirectX or even a ray tracer if I wanted :P

Anyhow - they way I learnt to program was spend a long time in Blitz and then moved onto MDX (.NET). 4 years programming and I feel I'm now able to create some sweet-ish games pretty quickly (Fully working pong was done in about 3 days with my engine)


Hope that is slightly helpful at least.

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Physics515    144
- Which programming language should i start out with?

Well if you ask me i would say C#! mainly because thats what i started out with (though i haven't made anything but "text based games" ) but i found it very easy to learn with my PHP, and javascript background.

- Do you recommend any specific books/series?

I recommend the "For Dummies" (very good step by step basis) books at http://dummies.com/ . And the "In Easy Steps" series (very cheap and agian step by step basis).

- I know this is pretty far away, but what kind of colleges should I be looking at if I want to be a game developer as a job?

I wouldn't know I only 15 years old (I would like to know too).

- Do I need any particular programs to make my own beginner games at home?

All you need is a compiler but if you go with C# I would sujest that you get " Microsoft Visual C# " (but you done need it).

- Thanks so much! I'll try out those sites! Any recommendations on a cheap compiler? I have a feeling I shouldn't be looking at Wal-Mart...

Umm... If you do go with C# just download Dot NET Framework from microsoft.

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nilkn    960
Alright, I didn't really attempt to answer any of your questions in my last post and I'm still bored, so here goes:

Quote:
Original post by allekat11
Which programming language should i start out with?


This question is bound to get a range of vastly differing answers, and I'm sure my answer will be no different. I personally say go with whatever you want -- just be wise in your decision. If you'd prefer dealing with things on the higher level and thus with increased productivity, then .NET (C#, VB.NET, MC++, and C++/CLI) is for you. However, if you'd prefer to get your hands dirty if you know what I mean, go with C++. Not C, however. C++ is a superset of C, therefore making C alone in a way deprecated for many platforms.

As far as learning times go: .NET languages could be as short as a month, whereas C++ could be up to half a year. C++ is advanced; it is not designed for beginning programmers. But that does not mean you can't start with it. I did, and I've turned out find. Many do, and many turn out fine.

However, I do not recommend using a special "game" language such as Dark Basic of BlitzBasic. It seems you want to work as a professional. Using such languages will really get you nowhere. They are considered to be "baby" languages, in that they isolate the programmer from many difficulties commonly encountered in any endeavor of programming, such as memory issues. The "real" games (as in the big budget commercial ones) are vastly more complex pieces of software than any of these "game" languages could possibly support, and by using them you will never gain the expertise to deal with huge, very complex code bases.

Quote:
Original post by allekat11
Do you recommend any specific books/series?


Yes! I haven't read any of the brand spankin' new books for beginners, but here's the books I used to get started:

  • Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus, 2nd Edition, by Andre LaMothe - This is an excellent book. However, it does assume a basic knowledge of C/C++, so if you're not yet familiar with their syntax, maybe hold back on it. But once you know them, definately don't hesitate to by this book. It is in my opinion the very best beginning game programming book.


  • Game Programming All In One, by Bruno de... - This is a pretty good book too. As the name implies, it's for beginners. It's not as well-done as the above book is though. So why do I still recommend it? Because it offers a pretty good treatment of C++ for the aspiring game programmer. In fact, it's first half is completely dedicated to teaching C++ with an emphasis on game dev.


  • C++ for Game Programmers, by Noel Llopis - Be warned: this is an advanced book, focusing on complex OOP design patterns with C++. Get this only once you are fairly experienced with C++. It is truly excellent though, and really changed the way I write code in C++.


  • Data Structures for Game Programmers, by Ron Penton - This is an awsome book covering data structures (duh!). But what's really cool about it is the author walks you through step by step throughout the book on how to develop a decently full-featured tilemap engine, and then a game using it! Definately a book to buy once you've got down some basic C++.


That's about it as books go. Each book listed is excellent, so do try to read them all throughout the years. They will help tremendously. I recommend starting out with Game Programming All In One.

Quote:
Original post by allekat11
I know this is pretty far away, but what kind of colleges should I be looking at if I want to be a game developer as a job?


Unfortunately, I don't know too much about this question yet, as I'm only 15 and haven't been through college yet. However, I do know that at least a bachelors in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or some equivilant is required by most game development studios.

Quote:
Original post by allekat11
Do I need any particular programs to make my own beginner games at home?


Yep! You really only need a compiler for you language of choice. Check out this for starters.

BTW, if you choose C++, I recommend getting the Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition Beta from Microsoft here. It's free!

I hope this helps, and good luck!

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
colledge(this is the elite programming school, the course is so hard, 1/3 of fresman drop out in 6 weeks):http://www.digipen.edu/

read this, especialy the comman mistakes:http://dime39.dizinc.com/~rav/newbies/#2.0

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paulecoyote    1065
I does not matter what language you pick. C++ and it's unmanaged kin are the most unforgiving. C++ is very flexible - but with that power you can create something that might work but would make other developers curse.

C# and Java allow developers to concentrate on design rather then the memory management details so much. Both these technologies have been applied to games, and the current state of Mobile phone gaming platform could be compared to the heady days of the 80s where people can make commerically successful games in their garages.

This is a basic metaphor... the higher up on the list the more effort and skill is required for a good stable result - and the slowest to come up with anything on screen.
From the bottom up you get things done quickly that may look about the same.

C / C++ is like modelling with matchsticks and glue
C# and Java is like modelling with clay
Blitz and VB is like modelling with lego

Any of these tools can still make poor looking models though, and equally make impressive ones. Each require slightly different skills but are transferable between all. Each have their die-hard evangelists too which you should watch out for (usually around here the "use C++ or your not l33t" idiots).

If you want to make a pot you might choose clay... sometimes though the choice of platform isn't yours to make or so simple. For instance you could make a model plane using any of those tools, all that look very similar.

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Monder    993
Quote:
However, I do not recommend using a special "game" language such as Dark Basic of BlitzBasic. It seems you want to work as a professional. Using such languages will really get you nowhere.


The first programming language you learn isn't going to be the only one you learn. There's plenty of time to learn a language more used in the industry such as C++ down the line when you're a more confident and experienced programmer. It's a whole lot easier to make games in Blitz Basic than it is in C++, it's also a far simpler language.

[edit]That said I'd still recomend Python over Blitz Basic[/edit]

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