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Frankzilla

Complete newb to game making, few questions

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Frankzilla    122
Hey guys, first post here, and I have a few questions. I'm very interested in making games, (I actually have no programming knowledge at all, so I literally am a complete newb) and I was wondering where I could find some good tutorials, or where would be a good place to start? I was thinking maybe Flash would be a good way to start, so if I were looking into that, where could I find a good tutorial, and the necessary tools to make a game? Thanks.

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templewulf    526
The Forum FAQ is a good place to start.

You need to select a platform on which to develop. If you want a pre-built package, you might try Blender. If you want to really learn how it's done, you need to pick out a programming language. A lot of people will tell you C++ because it usually has the most 3rd-party libraries and documentation, but it is HARD.

C++ does not come naturally, and you might be better off with its more modern cousin C#, or a scripting language like Python along with the PyGame library. If you do decide to learn how to program, you would greatly benefit from buying a real book, as it would give you better focus in your learning.

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Frankzilla    122
Quote:
Original post by templewulf
The Forum FAQ is a good place to start.

You need to select a platform on which to develop. If you want a pre-built package, you might try Blender. If you want to really learn how it's done, you need to pick out a programming language. A lot of people will tell you C++ because it usually has the most 3rd-party libraries and documentation, but it is HARD.

C++ does not come naturally, and you might be better off with its more modern cousin C#, or a scripting language like Python along with the PyGame library. If you do decide to learn how to program, you would greatly benefit from buying a real book, as it would give you better focus in your learning.



Alright, the platform is Windows XP (if that's what you mean), but I also have a Mac OS X Version 10.4.6, is one necessarily easier than the other? Is C++/C#/Python necessary for Flash? If I wanted to start out with Flash (which I heard is a good place to start, but as I've stated, I know nothing) where would I look for maybe an online tutorial/tools for that? I've tried Google but I don't know exactly what I'm looking for. I'll probably look into picking up a book soon, I was just wondering if there were some good online things to look at.

Thanks for all the help.

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jbadams    25713
Firstly, welcome to GDNet.

Flash can be an excellent starting point, but unfortunately it's one with some associated costs unless you can use a copy of Flash through your school or university. Developing games in Flash involves working with the ActionScript scripting language. If you don't have access to Flash through school, you'd need to purchase a copy, and unfortunately it's not particularly cheap. You can order it or download a time-limited trial from the official webpage, or may be able to pick up a copy from a local computer store if they have it in stock. As for learning resources, there are some excellent tutorials provided with Flash to get you started, and you could also take a look at the Flashkit and w3schools tutorials.

C++/C# and Python are programming languages, and would not be neccesary if you were developing with Flash; everything required comes with your purchase of the official package. If you're not sure if you want to spend the money you could try downloading the evaluation version and trying it out - I believe it allows you to try the product for 30 days.


There are of course options other than Flash, and if you don't have access to a copy and don't want to invest in one you may want to consider something else. Adventure Game Studio is a freely available package that allows you to create old-style adventure games with little or no programming knowledge, although a scripting language is provided for adding some more advanced functionality. If you wanted something more general you could also try Game Maker. Game Maker again allows you to work with little or no programming knowledge, and again provides a fairly simple scripting language for more advanced functionality. Game Maker actually has a registered version with a few additional features, but the free version isn't actually crippled in any way and you're able to use it for as long as you like if you want to give it a try.


Another potential option is to mod existing games. Many games these days include tools that will allow you to produce mods, and this can be an excellent way of producing your game without having to neccesarily do all the development associated with creating a standalone game. The catch to this is that you'll generally be limited to something fairly similar to the game in question. I don't know what games you own, what you want to make, and all games are different, so if you wanted to look into this I'll leave it up to you to Google for resources on any games you might own that you think may be suitable - if a game is moddable there will generally be one or more online communities somewhere that will be able to help you out with tools and information.


All of the above options are somewhat limiting, but are generally easier and faster than learning a programming language. However, plenty of people do learn to program for themselves, and if you wanted to do so it can be a very rewarding experience. To learn to program you'd need to choose a programming language - it doesn't really matter which one, learning new languages becomes a lot simpler once you've learnt your first - and set about learning it. A few choices (along with some suggested resources you could use to get started) are:

Python. You can get all the tools you need to get started from the official website, and a couple of good texts for learning Python are the freely available How To Think Like A Computer Scientist and Dive Into Python.

C#. You can currently get Microsoft's Visual C# 2005 Express edition for free, and Microsoft provide a series a video tutorials to get started here.

C++. Again, you can currently get Microsoft's Visual C++ 2005 Express edition for free; you would also want to install the Platform SDK following the instructions on that download page. Beginning C++ Game Programming is a good book for getting started with C++, and you could also try the online tutorials at www.cprogramming.com.

If you were to choose one of those programming languages rather than one of the above tools or modding I'd personally recommend Python as a good choice, but choice of programming language is largely a matter of personal preference and my choice may not be best suited to you.


Hope that helps, feel free to ask if you have any further questions. [smile]

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Frankzilla    122
Wow, thank you. Very, VERY helpful post there. I do have just one more question for you though. You said after learning your first programming language, new ones are easier to learn, correct? So my question is, since Python is your personal favorite, would you say it's an easier starting point than say C#, or C++, or is there really no difference between the difficulty of starting one of those 3? Thank you for all of your help everyone, I'm hoping to start learning one of these languages as soon as I can :)

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Fubator    122
Hey im new here too aswell, i've messed w/ game programming before some but never realy seriously as I have been lately. But I just wanted to say that i've found the c++ the easiest language for me to learn, I learned the basics quite a while ago but never did much more than the practice things from books, etc.
But esp if you dont have money to spend on much right now, i'd suggest getting Bloodshed Dev-C++. It's and IDE/compiler kinda like visual studio, except its free. I've been using it a week or so now and i'm liking it alot. I used to have some real good tutorials for c++ basics bookmarked but i can't find them atm, ill look later for them. Then after you think you can use c++ look for tutorials or a book on learning some kind of graphics api, I like OpenGL alot and theres alotta good help online for learning it. Also look into doing some stuff with graphics and art. I use Gimp, its a good free program like photoshop is good for all kindsa stuff like making textures, converting, resizing, etc.
Well this is what works for me atm anyways, hope you get some use out of it. And good luck

Edit: LOL those tutorials on c/c++ at cprogramming that he mentioned in his post where the ones I was looking for. I liked those alot.

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ForeverNoobie    134
Quote:
Original post by Frankzilla
Wow, thank you. Very, VERY helpful post there. I do have just one more question for you though. You said after learning your first programming language, new ones are easier to learn, correct? So my question is, since Python is your personal favorite, would you say it's an easier starting point than say C#, or C++, or is there really no difference between the difficulty of starting one of those 3? Thank you for all of your help everyone, I'm hoping to start learning one of these languages as soon as I can :)


Python would be the easiest of those three. C# is also eaiser than c++. Still whats important is that you learn the underlying concepts which are pretty much the same for any language.

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jbadams    25713
Quote:
Original post by Frankzilla
You said after learning your first programming language, new ones are easier to learn, correct?

Yes, that's correct. Learning to program can be quite difficult, but learning a programming language is relatively simple; because you're effectively doing both with your first language, it's almost always the hardest for you to learn, as after doing so you'll be able to apply many of the same concepts to other languages.

Quote:
So my question is, since Python is your personal favorite, would you say it's an easier starting point than say C#, or C++, or is there really no difference between the difficulty of starting one of those 3?

As I said, it does come down to personal preference somewhat (you'll note Fubator for example found C++ to be a good language for him to learn), but in general, most people tend to find Python simpler than C++, which is why I recommend it.

Python is interpretted rather than compiled like C++, which makes it a little easier to try out your program as you go; this tends to encourage playing around with small changes a bit more. It's also designed in such a way as to protect you from some of the potential problems that can arise with C++, but is similar enough that after learning Python you'd find a lot of C++ quite familiar and easy to learn.

As ForeverNoobie said, C# is also generally considered to be easier than C++, but perhaps slightly harder than Python. I also don't want to give you the idea that those 3 are the only viable choices for programming languages, but I didn't want to mention more because a large list can easily become quite confusing, especially when we're telling you that it ultimately comes down to a matter of opinion.


Quote:
Original post by Fubator
But esp if you dont have money to spend on much right now, i'd suggest getting Bloodshed Dev-C++. It's and IDE/compiler kinda like visual studio, except its free.

You can currently get the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions from Microsoft for free. Visual C++ 2005 Express is very good, and is definately worth the download in my opinion. That being said, Dev-C++ is also a good development environment and would certainly be good enough for any beginner's needs if you prefer it.

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Frankzilla    122
Awesome, thanks a lot everyone, I'm going to download Python, and both of the MS programs, and jump right into Python, with the tutorials for the better part of the day. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions as the day progresses ;)
Thanks again to everyone that helped!

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Ezbez    1164
Wow, Kazgoroth, if I was a mod I'd sticky this thread just for that post. Extremely comprehensive post. :)

Best of luck learning Python, Frankzilla.

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