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Looking for advice for a discouraged beginner

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About a week ago I became really ambitious and decided I wanted to chase after my childhood dream of creating video games. Like all of you here, I felt like this was fate that I end up at this point. See, I'm a telecommunications major who is starting to have doubts about the direction my career is going. I'm approaching this as my last shot at doing something I REALLY want to do. Within the last week I have assembled a team of six people to start some sort of project. The project will be small and will hopefully give us some amount of experience. Everyone is from a different background, so we are a very diverse group. Thus far I've been deemed project manager, thats right the guy who is suppose to organize everything and make sure things don't fall apart. So whats the problem? I want to become a well-rounded worker who knows how to do a little of everything regarding this project. However, I have no programming experience what so ever. It also hurts that I have an extremely hard time taking ideas and putting them on paper (I can't draw). It sucks having a lot of ambition and desire but no skills. Over the last few days I have done a lot of research over various topics. Unfortunately, it seems all I have done is flood my mind with concepts and ideas that are beyond my knowledge at this point (I'm finding out real fast that I don't know s***). You know, trying to walking before I can crawl. I've donwloaded and installed/unistalled countless amounts of software that I probably don't need. I was just wondering if anyone here as gone through this. I'm really starting to get fustrated with this entire situation. Also any advice is welcome

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You asked for advice...

Here's my advice. Don't worry about learning to draw. Learn to write. That way, you can DESCRIBE what you see in your mind, and people will make their own visions of it. They would do so even if you drew what you saw, nothing you drew would ever be exactly the way it would end up.

Also, I would learn to program. Programming isn't too hard to pick up, especially with a simple language such as BASIC or Python, and both you can get started in game development with.

You said you didn't know shit. Well, if you don't know, then it's probably a good idea to learn! After all, that's what quite a bit of life is about, after all. We are always learning...

EDIT: Stay away from game maker programs. You won't learn much beyond what you actually know already. Also, what programs are you talking about? Are you talking about graphics programs, sound programs, compilers, or what?

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You sound exactly like me, except I'm still in High School and have no team.

Give this a shot, I haven't actually gotten into it that much but who knows it could be great =)

I was going to try DarkBASIC (Because I've programmed games in BASIC before), but I have nil money.

Anyways, try this out Visual C# - It has it's own Game Development Website and stuff on Microsoft. It's my latest hope =)
http://msdn.microsoft.com/coding4fun/gamedevelopment/beginning/default.aspx

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This has sort of happened to me too... a year ago i started java programming
right after i learnt BASIC (bad choice for me) and then i got soo
discouraged... i got a lot of errors for the programs i attempted.. more to the
point i didnt even understand the OOP design. So i gave up programming for
a month and then eventually decided to come back... and with the help of
one book (sams teach yourself java in 21 days) i became pretty good. The point
is... just find the right tools and set your mind to it.

For the advice part, learning C++ wont be a bad idea. Some tutorials make it
pretty difficult, but the ones at www.cplusplus.com are good. Dev-C++ or
VC++ 6 are good choices for compilers.

good luck,
AcePilot

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I downloaded a few C++ compilers (Microsoft Visual C++ 2003) and I've been toying with the Crystal Space 3D engine. I've also been toying with Darkbasic.

As you can see, walking before I can crawl.

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I agree with Oberon_Command, it sounds like it would probably be a good idea for you to learn at least the basics of programming, using a language such as Python. This will not only give you a better idea of what the programmers on your team need to do, but it'll also make you better able to communicate with them, as you should learn a lot of the terms involved in the process.

While being able to draw can be very helpful to let you get ideas across, it certainly isn't neccesary; as already mentioned, you can just as easily describe what you want in detail using words, and let the artists work from there.


You probably aren't actually ready to lead a team until you actually take the time to learn a bit more and get comfortable with that knowledge. Good luck with it. [smile]

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Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
You probably aren't actually ready to lead a team until you actually take the time to learn a bit more and get comfortable with that knowledge. Good luck with it. [smile]


This is the exact reason I've gone into panic mode over the last few days.

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Finish your degree. [or continue with your career; your post wasn't so clear in what your status was]

Despite all appearances to the contrary, there's plenty of time to change your mind. And there's plenty of free time to persue game development as a satisfying hobby. Then if you find you're actually exceptional at the hobbyist gamedev, you can make the jump with far better knowledge about where you'll land. The stability of a more traditional career and/or degree only makes it easier to persue your dreams.

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Supposing that there are some programmers on the team, then it shouldnt be too difficult. You tell them what they should do, they will tell you if its possible, eventually a compromise will be reached.

You tell the artists what art you want them to create, they will tell you if its possible, eventually a compromise will be reached.

Ensure there is periodic converstation between the two groups (programmers/artists), that things are going on schedule. If you are falling behind, then you might want to scale back the project, cut away things that were considered optional.

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Hi,

@Aura84:

Sir, my apoligies that this reply isn't really an advice but just so you know, the statement
Quote:

It sucks having a lot of ambition and desire but no skills

applies to me very much (maybe more so than you). The thing is, I'm not just programming, I like making art and 3d modeling, I love to play music in my piano and compose to some extent, and I love martial arts. But the thing is, I'm not really good at any of this. Not even on an average scale.I just love it. I haven't found a solution for this problem yet and I don't think I ever will since this is something inherent to me.

I believe that some people will advice us to just stick to one area we think we are most proficient with instead of trying to be ambitious taking all areas. And since you're with a group, maybe some of them can compensate a lot for whatever areas you lack.

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Thanks for all the advice guys. It means a lot to me.



ps, does anyone know where I can get Python?

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Quote:
Original post by pat_mantro
how can i understand this forum. please help me.
pat_mantro@hotmail.com

Thanks!!!!!


Say again??? What exactly are you having trouble understanding?

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Just a quick question guys =)

With regards to Python; how advanced is it compared to BASIC? Because I've programmed in BASIC before and I'm wondering if Python might be the next step up, or a step I've already covered by programming in BASIC. Also how hard is it to setup and get running?

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I'd say Python is a little more advanced than a lot of BASIC variants, although it's really more of a scripting language (and can be used as such in programs written with a more powerful language just for reference). Python is interpreted rather than compiled, and the syntax is fairly easy to understand for beginners.

I tend to recommend it because it teaches basic technique quite well, but you can generally get something up on screen fairly quickly, which is encouraging for beginners. In addition, it seems to be more similar to C or C++ code than BASIC, which helps with a transition at a later stage. Along with the PyGame library you can do some reasonably impressive 2d work.

I've never experienced any troubles setting up Python on a Win32 machine, but I don't have any experience with it on other platforms.

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buy lots of relevant books and read read read! After maybe two years you will be good enough to make a decent game. If the team is small and you are serious, your gonna have to learn c/c++ / microsoft environment / directx or opengl / 3d modelling / physics

basically you should get a book or two on each major subject / barely touch the pc and just soak up all that juicy info.

Then you can start to make stupid little programs

maybe a couple of years later when your programming has matured to a point where you can implement an idea you have had without learning alot of new stuff, then your ready :)

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I’ll a little confuse at what you want to be? Are you an artist or programmer or script writer? it's not a good idea of being a jack of all trades best to get really good at one and have it as our speciality, personally I’m a programmer, I keep an eye on what the artist are doing and their concept art, sometimes do a little drawing to show them what I meant but I leave the drawing of concept art to them, but i still keep an eye at what the rest are doing but I’m still a programmer, I don't try and make a background while I’m trying to do the script to load it same with the artists.
are you looking to be a game script writer or what I’m not too sure. though the whole open project thing is a great idea and it's a load of fun if you've got the right sort of people in the group, all around the group I’m in is pretty friendly and helpful to everyone else (www.neverendingdreams.net/mod). We’re all new on it and decided the whole unspoken law of don’t be nasty to someone because they don’t know something… since were all learners and the whole as our project leader joked ‘this isn’t for people’ isn’t a good thing long term but it was more of the fact lets keep it simple were not going to make the next half-life 2 here and it isn’t about people playing it yet since were only learning.
Btw as for the project don’t worry and if you really do feel you’re a bit over your head the other idea is a vote… the person who came up the with idea of a learning group posted it on dev net then never posted back, then all the people who replied organised the group and main the forum etc.. So we had no leader in the end we voted for one and got it done like that. Also may be getting a lead artist, lead programmer etc and then getting them to work on standards (the programmers will need coding standards like how they name things and comment their code) and feel of the game etc.

p.s. It would be worry if you don’t have a great idea for a concept or story-line… writer it somewhere save and private, doodles what ever to keep the idea fresh then store it on a floppy-disk or a CD etc until you can do them it might be a very long time away but even if you don’t use them they might give you a few idea’s from them in the future, but keep your best idea’s close to your heart.

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