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how do i get started

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Ok ever scince i got my nes i wanted to learn game programming but ive done nothing about it because at the time i had no inter-web and really wanted to make a game but 15 years later i have the internet and have had it for a long time. I was wondering what tools do i need to make a game nothin fancy just like a pacman rip off or something like that. I have c++ and thats it. Please recomend books programs( freeware only plz) and anything of that nature

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Forget C (for now).
Start small. Try game authoring tools like: www.gamemaker.nl (perfect for pacman)
Learn the script language of these authoring tools, learn the basics of programming and the basics of game making (sprites, collisions, views etc. etc) through these.

Then move on to basic/pascal with the easier syntax.
THEN move to C.

Then you can do whatever you want: learn even harder syntaxes like assembly or C++. Learn OOP.

Have a programmers job at anywhere you wanted. ;)

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I disagree with most of the posters above. When you learn a language you are not just learning the syntax but the programming paradigm that goes with it. The most common language for games development is C++ so dive straight in and learn that. If you learnn basic, Pascal, C or anything else first you're going to have to unlearn techniques tht won't apply to C++.

Also, C++ is highly documented on the web. Check these out:

http://www.relisoft.com/book/index.htm
http://www.mindview.net/Books/TICPP/ThinkingInCPP2e.html
http://www.steveheller.com/whos/
http://www.icce.rug.nl/documents/cplusplus/
http://www.steveheller.com/opt/
http://www.steveheller.com/whos/

Good luck,

Caroline M.

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You can really start with anything as long as you have proper expectations. Here is a short list of some options:

QBasic
Pros- Really quick from learning how to do simple text input and output to putting graphics on the screen. It's also nice because it provides a simple syntax which you can learn the basic programming structures with. There are also versions of basic for most operating systems though they are rarely based on the same exact standards.
Cons- Not object oriented and most games out now are made with object oriented code. It's also possible to do some really sloppy things in QBasic if you want to which might make it harder to move on to a different language.

Visual Basic
Pros- Powerful for creating simple windows apps and easy to get something up and running quickly. Good leg-up if you want to start learning windows programming.
Cons- Relatively the same syntax of QBasic which means you can do sloppy things here easily as well. Lots of program overhead for even simple apps. The interface is relatively unique and most languages and programming environments don't look like this to program in unless you get .NET and rely heavily on the graphical windows side of it. Also, VB is pretty much windows based.

C
Pros- Powerful low-level language with pointers and other things of the kind which will prepare you for working with other languages. Syntax follows that of most other languages on a basic level at least. There's tons of free support for this language as well as free compilers.
Cons- This is arguable as a con, but it isn't an object oriented language which means it won't prepare you for object oriented programming. Everyone has their opinion on this though... Also, this language is probably difficult for most newcomers and you won't be able to do graphics stuff until you get really familiar with the language which means you'll most likely be doing text adventures first.

C++
Pros- Powerful low-level language with pointers, references, and an object oriented style. The STL simplifies many things new programmers might find confusing with C strings and it also has a good variety of pre-made templated structures for use. C++ is currently the industry standard in the games industry (though C# is used for tools quite a bit most game code seems to be C++.)
Cons- Again, difficult to learn if you have no programming base. You might feel overwhelmed at first. If you learn this before C you might find it difficult to go back and do C only code if called upon.

Those are the languages I have the most experience with so I can't really give you any other suggestions, but here are three other languages I've heard good things about:

Java, C#, Python

If you want to get into programming "games creator" and "pie in the sky" and things like that will not help you. They will be a waste of time if you're interested in getting into this seriously. If you just want to make a game though, they are great tools for getting something out to people. Lately I've seen a neat game made for the 4E4 contest here called Ninja <3 Pirate. To give you an example of how good the tools can be, that team got first place in the competition and they didn't do any real programming. They won based on art and a solid game concept that felt polished to play.

If you are interested in making a simple game, game makers are a viable option, but if you want to be able to create a very unique game or work in the industry you'll have to learn to program. As another example, I don't know of any game maker packages that could easily have made ink wars (another project that did fairly well in the 4E4 competition. It was based on a spinning cube which had players with armies on it who would try and steal inkwells from each other with various unit types.)

Any of the languages I have listed have tons of online documentation and free tutorials.

Good luck.


If your aim is NES style games QBasic will work just fine. A Game Maker will also work as they do side scrollers well and most NES games are side scrolling games.

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I like M2tM's response, don't listen to people that tell you to start with VB or Basic just because you're a beginner. Also don't listen to people that tell you to use C before C++, just because it doesn't have certain advanced features.

Think about how far you want to go with programming. Do you just wanna fool around a bit? Then don't worry C, C++, Java, or what have you, BASIC is fine. If you actually want to learn, Probably start with C++ before C. I'm serious, you'll want to learn Object Oriented programming habits right off the bat, or else you'll just need to learn them later when you want to do more advanced stuff. Object Oriented C is a lot harder than C++, because it's not really designed to be. Also, from what I've read from several resources, Object oriented C programs use pretty much the same overhead as C++ programs, so the whole speed advantage is apparently lost. Plus, in C++, you have all the features of C, just some things are a little stricter, and you have built in object oriented features. It's really a good language to start learning if you're serious about programming and can handle the syntax (which compared to some languages is very easy).

So i'm not saying use THIS LANGUAGE, i'm just saying, pick one thats right for you... like the guy above said.

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I'm not the best adive giver, I'm more of the intermediate game designer, but there is some Engines out there which offer great step by step books.

DarkBASIC- Easy to learn, easy language. They have a deal now where you can get there 700 Page step by step book and DarkBASIC, and work with that. DarkBASIC Pro offers great 3D enahancements. www.thegamecreators.com

Game Maker- This program is easy to use. This is great for begineers , havent seen anything powerful come out of it though. But the interface, and menus are easy. www.gamemaker.nl

FPS Creator- This program creates First Person Shooters only. Guess what? If you can play Sims you can make a full version game in a matter of... ... Minutes.
www.fpscreator.com

Torque Engine- This uses C language. There is a book called, "3d Programming All In one" that walks you through modeling, level design, terrain design, textures. At the end of the book you have a full version game, everything made by you, from scratch. Also comes with MilkShape, and PaintShop Pro to get you started.

Thats all I can think of for right now, good luck

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