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2D Game Development Skills

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I have just decided to join the Thousander Club as a way to develop my skills as a programmer, more specifically as it applies to games. Well, the whole idea is that to get really good at something you have to practice, a lot. But it made me question what I was practicing. My goal right now is to become proficient at 2D based game programming than moving onto 3D. I consider myself almost an intermediate programmer. That is, I can usually look at a piece of code and tell what it's doing. I lack the ability at the moment to apply what I know. Hence the practice. I'm starting to ramble so here's my question: 1) What techniques/skills/etc.. should anyone that want's to become proficient at 2D games have? For example, off the top of my head I can think of: - Tilemaps (layered, multi-dimensional) - Smooth scrolling (backgrounds, tilemaps etc..) - Collision Detection (pixel perfect, varying bounds tests..) This can also lead into varying data structures and algorithms: - Lists - Different path finding algorithms and other AI - Stacks, queues..etc.. I think you guys get the idea. Thanks Casey Somewhat Strucutured Thoughts

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What I did when I was first learning how to program was I would set myself a bunch of small challenges and try to solve them.

Programming is more about learning to think then just about the syntax, it is more of a frame of mind then anything. In order to be a good 2d programmer (or any sort of programmer) you have to have strong problem solving skills and tons of patience when it comes to debugging your programs.

You could start with console applications and build up your skills working with classes, strings, input, vectors, ect. Write applications that scramble strings and simple guess the number programs.... Then you could move up to drawing graphics on the screen in an API like PTK. After you are able to do things like make a ball bounce around the screen then you could tackle something small like a pong clone or a catch the falling objects game.

Then you should move on to something harder with simple 2d collisions and basic animation systems like Pacman or Joust. (Many of the older arcade games are good tests of skill).

After you have mastered that then you may want to research tile based routines and the like and work on making a simple 2d side scroller. A side scroller would be a good test of skill as well as mathematical knowledge so it would be a good game to make.

If you can do all of these things then I would say you are well on your way to being a decent 2d game programmer.

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Thanks for your reply. I have made a few small games, tetris, pong, breakout and a couple scrolling demos. What I am interested in though are the types of things that will really help to build a solid foundation. Tools for the toolbox.
Like for instance, the only collision detection that I can do is bounding box detection. I am planning on learning pixel perfect collision for use in my next game.

~Casey~

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