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I suggest you learn the basics of C++, then pick a graphics API, maybe learn some SDL and OpenGL, then use your tools and try to create the game you want, read articles on AI and such..

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I'm finding Andre LaMothe's Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus quite useful.

Of course, it won't be so useful if you ain't programming in Windows [wink]

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Tricks starts off with console (DOS) games, then moves on to DirectX. IIRC, it uses DX 8, but that could just be the copy I have... [grin]

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I don't think it's a good idea to start buying all the books you want to do now, by the time you get to 2d platformer, some things in the 3d section might be outdated. Learning is an on-the-go process. (I recommend accelerated c++ by the way).
sorry if this post was somewhat unclear, I'm in a bit of a hurry

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I'd just head over to the SDL website, follow some tutorials and read up on the API. If you know enough about programming, you should then be able to get a rough idea of how to produce a game on your own.

There aren't going to be books that explicitly spell out this kind of thing, a lot of it is an intuitive leap after you obtain the necessary experience.

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I'd go with something like SDL only because you can ignore a lot of stuff that might get in the way of learning to program games. DirectX and the likes complicates matters, but it is still cool if you want to dive right in because you will probally want to learn it in the end anyways. I suggest you download the DirectX SDK and follow the tutorials on there to get yourself of the ground if you want to go the DirectX route. Good luck, mate.

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Personally I used two books (so far) to get down the basics of C++: C++: A Beginner's Guide and Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days. It was great to have both books available to cross reference and reinforce what I learned. If I didn't understand something in one book, I would usually get it after reading the same lesson in the other. I would recommend both books if you want to learn the basics of C++.

After that, as I am currently finding out, things get much tougher. After finishing both beginner books I picked up Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus, thinking I would be able to pick it up as quickly as I did C++. I was wrong ;) While learning C++ is more about understanding concepts than memorizing function definitions and syntax, Windows seems to be the other way around. When I first saw how many lines it took to create the simplest window possible, I have to admit I almost cried =P.

With that in mind, I would recommend going from C++ beginner's books straight into some SDL tutorials. While SDL may not be as powerful or as useful as Windows or DirectX, it was great to find that I was able to make a fully functional Pong clone after a day or two of learning. To do the same in Windows could have taken me over a month. To actually see something up and running on the screen was a great confidence booster. Also, with SDL you are still forced to deal elements of Windows programming such as events, so it works as a nice stepping stone to Windows and DirectX.

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Just an observation, people learning need to know that they don't need to learn C++ to make a game, there are tons of other languages and tools you can use instead that are easier to learn and don't boggle a beginner with so much low-level implementation detail. C++ might be the end goal, but what we don't need is another hoard of C++ elitists.

The thing is coming up with a list like that, most books tend to date real quick... only a few "classics" would deserve to stay.

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