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Perfect entry?

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When asking about which language to start off with and what to first do, I have recieved many different ideas. Some say to start with C, some with BASIC, also, some people advise to start by modding games, while others say "just start!" What do I do?????? I have a C++ book at home, they teach BASIC at my school, I also have a Python compiler at home. My main questions are: Which is better, modding, or coding? Also, which games are easiest to mod; and finally, which language is it best to start with? I would appreciate assistance.

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Perfect entry?

No such thing when choosing a programming language.
This topic is one of the most discussed on this forum. Search through threads posted in the last 2-3 days you'll get plenty of finds.

Quote:

My main questions are: Which is better, modding, or coding?

If you plan making a breakout clone there isn't much to mod there. For a bigger scaled game modding would be ok. If I where you I would probably try doing both (programming and modding) at the same time.

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Consider what your final destination is, and make an informed decision on what you want to do.

For instance, if you want to make your own games, then you should just dive in and learn an API like SDL, DirectX, or OpenGL.

On the other hand, if you just want to have something cool to look at without as much work, then modding would be a good path to follow.

In the end, both are fine and both will give you valuable programming and game development related experience.

My personal opinion is to familiarize yourself with C++ and jump right in with SDL as a intro to DirectX or OpenGL. This site has excellent forums that discuss all three APIs and also has many valuable articles at your disposal.

Good luck with your decision, and remember to have fun!

toxic~

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I say since most programming languages are, overall, very similar in concept, become very familiar with one and then switch it up. Do things you know how to do in one language with another. On the topic of actually selecting the first language to learn, just go with whatever is most easily available.

I started with DarkBASIC and BlitzBASIC and the like. I became profoundly efficient with the language, and then moved on. Although *BASIC languages often yield high reward for little work, they are often considered "newbie" (whether that is a good or bad thing) languages because of the shallow involvement in lower-level aspects of programming. Java and C++ seemed intimidating at first, I must admit, but again, with time comes fundamental understanding of programming. Syntax can vary greatly from one language to another (such as *BASIC to C++), but you'll find yourself involved with the same things, much like a human language.

So, bottom line, become proficient with one and then mix it up.

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The thing is, there is no perfect language, no optimal route to learning programming. And there are no wrong choices either. :)

However, a lot of beginners assume that they *have* to choose the "right" language right from the beginning. And then they pick a language, and more or less learn it. And then they conclude "Since I didn't fail, I must have picked the "right" language".
And then they spend the next 2 years telling everyone to start with the same language.

There are just too many flaws in that logic to even begin ranting about... [wink]

So let me try a different approach. Start by ignoring everything people advise you to do.

Once you've learned programming, you'll be able to pick up new languages easily. (You'll be able to at least get the basics down within 3 hours. Actually getting used to the language will take a bit longer, though)
That means that yes, C++ might be the "industry standard", but that doesn't mean starting with Python or Java means it'll take you longer to reach your destination. In other words, starting with C/C++ will not prove a shortcut later on just because you avoid switching languages.
Keep that in mind, because a lot of people (primarily people who are still learning their first language) will try to tell you otherwise.

So what that means is, you should pick the language based on which is easiest to learn. Which langauge do you learn at school, which can you use at home, which can you find books about?

Here are a few of my preferences:
- Avoid C/C++. You'll have to learn them later on, but when you're just starting out, they contain far too many distractions that will slow you down or discourage you.
- Python seems a very popular choice at the moment, often recommended by experienced programmers too, so you should probably check that out. I don't have any firsthand experience with the language though.
- Java is fine too in my opinion. It certainly has its share of flaws, but 1) it's free, 2) it's easy to get started with, 3) there's plenty of documentation and tutorials for the language
- Basic? I'd avoid it. Too many horror stories about people coming out with nasty programming habits that are hard to get rid of. However, if you're learning it at school, you might do that in parallel with whatever language you choose. Learning multiple languages is always good, and if you do it simultaneously, you should be able to carry over concepts and knowledge from one language to the other. But I'd recommend against working solely with Basic.

But keep in mind what I said above. There aren't really any wrong choices, and everything you hear will be very biased opinions.
So don't sweat it, and feel free to ignore any language advise you hear, including my above list. [wink]

As for modding vs coding, well, you won't be able to mod anything until you at least get the basics down.

So start out just learning programming. When you feel you've got the hang of it, well, you could check out various mods, see if you're ready to grapple with that sort of code yet. Most likely, you won't be (That happens for everyone. You tear through all the usual tutorials, finish your book about programming, and think you can take on the world. Then you look at some game's SDK, or maybe the DirectX API, and decide that programming might just be a lot harder than you thought. [wink])
In that case, go back to practicing by making small programs/games on your own, and read anything you can get near about programming.

Modding is a great way to learn, but only if you're a decent programmer already.

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Original post by Spoonbender
[...]- Basic? I'd avoid it. Too many horror stories about people coming out with nasty programming habits that are hard to get rid of.[...]
I think this is largely due to the fact that old-school basic languages were filled with poor design, such requiring line numbers and goto with no clean way to do things like functions.
Since QuickBASIC from 1985, basic-family languages have had all the now-common features shared by most languages.

Personally, though I'd suggest Python because despite the fact that I dislike many aspects of the language, it seems very beginner-friendly. It also has features from every paradigm in popular use today, so you'll be able to easily learn a larger group of languages than if you started with another common language. Java, for example, doesn't cover much besides the object-oriented paradigm.

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Thanks for the info everyone, and I will take this into consideration. And I have to choose now which language to learn exactly :( But I'll have to watch out for those BASIC habit Spoonbender mentioned. I've also decided to *not mod* until I can do more than I can currently do.
What does everybody think of that? Also, what would be the best practise time be? (besides "every day") Because mine is terribly erratic.

Also, are there any decent program source codes out here I can pick to pieces?

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