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Freeradical426

which path to take . . .

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So I'm an absolute beginner, and I mean absolute in the sense that I haven't programmed really anything or learned much about how programming works. I'm green. I do, though, have a solid grounding in 2D and 3D graphics, I'm creative and determined and I've got a good eye for quality and . . . well I've got time. What I'd like to do, eventually, for my ultimate goal, is make a game in the TBS tradition of Master of Orion 2. Really I'd like to top that game (something I'm not sure has been done yet, years after its release), but of course I understand that my aspirations are, to be witty, astronomical. I know that undertaking something of this scale is just preposterous for a single person and massive difficulties and dedication involved and bla bla bla. Alright, forget all that. I've got a few good ideas that I think might make the game worth playing, and so I'd like to try anyway. And besides--everyone loves making tech graphics. There are a few things I'm pretty certain of: 1) The game will be designed to run natively and efficiently in Mac OS X -- I love Apple and a good chunk of the fun for this project is simply supporting the platform that I call home. 2) The game will definitely involve realtime (OpenGL?) 3D rendering of various things--likely low-poly models with low-res textures, as I believe that the TBS genre shouldn't be bogged down by the performance requirements of more power-hungry games like FPSs. 3) The game will be single player. Well . . . that might be all that I'm certain of. Yeah . . . sure. So now my question really is where should I go from here. I've done a few hours of introductory reading and I gather that my best choices are C++ and Java. Java seems a bit easier to learn and implement, and it's integrated nicely (somehow?) in OS X, but then is Java also generally a little more bulky and less concise than C++? Is C++ actually more suited for this type of program? Do we think it's worth my time to take a class or two (I'm an undergrad, I've got good access) or will books be adequate to teach myself? How long can I expect to spend becoming proficient in my language of choice before I actually begin coding this big project that I've set my sights on? In short, anything you can offer will be great. I think I've laid out a good briefing here . . . any clarification anyone wants I will of course try to provide -- I suppose I don't really know what to be considering right now. Anyhow, much thanks to anyone who can give me some guidance. --Ian Schumann

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The time it will take you all depends on you. I've seen people pick up programming really well in a few months. I have also seen people who went through college majoring in CS, which at my college requires a lot of programming and still are terrible at converting a concept into code.

Either Java or C++ will probably be fine for that game. I would almost recommend working on small programs/projects for a couple years before attempting anything massive.

I think that a game of that size is probably too much for one person. If you get it to a state that seems promising, a lot of people will probably want to help out though.

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The choice of language is a minor issue. You can always switch later, so pick the one that is most convenient for you now.

Now, let's get to the real issue. Consider that as an "absolute beginner", it will take you at least a couple of years to make the game that you envision. I suggest that you start with some simpler games as a warm-up before you attempt to make your masterpiece.

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If only care about it working on OS X you might want to check out Objective C as a language possibility and cocoa. I haven't checked recently, but it seemed to be becoming a dominant langauge choice for OS X a few years ago. If you are only doing Mac dev, make sure you check out idevgames.com. There are some friendly people there (it doesn't seem like there are that many strictly mac developers here).

I wouldn't suggest java for gaming, some people do seem to like it though. I personally use C++.

If you are interested in cross platform development (mac, windows, linux, others) take a look at SDL. You can use it with C, C++, and many other languages. It's pretty easy to use for graphical programs.

Now for the reality check. Your game sounds like it might be interesting, but since you've never really programmed before, you probably won't have the ability to make it for quite awhile (definately many months, possibly years). I know you won't like this answer, but it's the truth, and sometimes the truth sucks.

Taking courses won't hurt, but you'll spend alot of time reading books and learning things on your own. There is a lot to know.

Start here and also take a look at this forum'sFAQ.

Once you've read both of the above, feel free to ask some more questions that they don't answer. I know, you're probably a bit confused with all the options, but at one point everyone on this board was at the point you are at now.

Good luck

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