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How to climb past the trials and tribulations.

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Guyver23 posted this in response to somebody's age-old question "What's next after I've learned functions and pointers?" For how long have you been doing C++? How much do you really know? One of the worst mistakes you can make is trying to go too fast because you think you already know something. I keep making that mistake and have yet to make anything of quality. I would proceed like this: 1. Get the know the C++ as well as you can. 2. Study the STL so that you can use it well. 3. Make a text-based game. 4. Learn the basics of windows programming. 5. Learn to use a graphics library of your choice (SDL, OpenGL, Directx). 6. Work on small game projects. A mistake most people make--including me--is to start on something that is too big. I hope that helps. ^_^ Well I've been asking myself that forever. I got my first game programming book when I was 12. I'm now 18 and have never created a game. Why? Mainly discouragement and lack fo time. I have plenty of other books now and I feel comfortable looking at code but I hardly ever code what I read. I've recently come to understand this is stupid and must create my own SIMPLE programs before I start making a pong clone which I've attempted in OpenGL, directx, and SDL. In my mind I'm a failure. How many people out there can honestly say they've been interested in something for 6 years and have nothing to show for it but an understanding of the language? I have a passion for programming...game programming in particular. I have dreams of becomming one one day and I know I have to bite the bullet now and get through all the minor BS in all my books again and actually CODE it. My question arises here: After I DO familiarize myself with C++ more and the STL, what sort of "text-based" game should I shoot for? That is indeed very generalized in my mind...would a long-winded RPG make for better game programming ethics or should I go along the mastermind/blackjack route of smaller games that take a little bit more thinking to come up with? Thanks to all that help.

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keep it simple. im at university and one of the first things we did was blackjack. then other simple games such as a space invaders style game (based on a framework by andrew lamothe) are a good means of learning the game development process.
i would discourage RPGs, they tend to take too long to write which isnt very useful for the learning process. for personal projects they are great, but to learn how to write a game you should stick to arcade/puzzle games.

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In my opinion, there's no real success to be had in approaches like "learn Foo, then make a program using Foo." It might work for things like university courses, but for learning something on your own, it's a pretty boring and unrewarding way to do things.

I'd suggest inverting that. Pick something you really want to make. Now trim it down a bit, until it's something that you feel like you could really tackle, but would force you to learn a couple of new things. For instance, you might want to make a 2D RPG, but that's a bit large to start with; so trim it down and make a 2D tag game. Learn a relatively simple graphics system (Windows GDI, Managed DirectX, OpenGL, etc.) and make the game. Commit to finishing - that is the most important part. Make sure you can finish your project. If you have to steal some code from other places to finish, do it - just be sure to go back through and at least try to figure out what the code is doing and why. Definitely don't restrict yourself to a single language like C++; if you can finish projects with Python and the PyGame library, do it. Finishing many small projects and learning from each of them should be your goal. Don't focus on learning languages or technologies; you will learn those incidentally as you work on your real goal.

When you do finish a project, go back and look over it. Analyze what you did, what was hard, what you had to learn. Think about everything. Think about what caused you problems and what you would have liked to do differently. Make all of the changes that you have the patience to make, and look for things you can learn from those changes. Then move on to the next project. If you get too sick of a project and don't want to finish it, analyze it, find what went wrong, and start a new project instead.


As long as you keep picking projects you want to work on, you will be motivated to finish them. As long as you are still able to finish them, you'll be motivated to do more. And as long as each one requires you to stretch your skills a bit, you'll continue learning and progressing.

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