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getting into C++

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Hi, At the moment I use Blitzmax and Java to program. However, I'm starting to get into C++. Since I'm quite familiar with Java and OOP, now seems like a good time to get into C++ (I tried before as my first language, but it seemed too complicated). However, now I'm not sure whether I should use torque2D to create a project I'm about to embark on. I'm torn between whether I should use Blitzmax or Torque2D for this project? If I buy torque2d does it provide a framework which would allow me to access user input etc.., or will I still need to download something like Allegro? Reason I like torque2d is that it would be easier to export, in the very long run, to xb360 etc.. (Don't worry, I know about license costs and Microsoft's criteria, but just as a principle). Any suggestions? Thank you

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Not to discourage the use of Torque2D. I think it should be pointed out that if you are rather new to C++ it might be a good idea for you to learn the language before jumping into an SDK.

I do suggest that if your willing to buy such an SDK its a great way to develop games. No, you will not need to download another SDK, such as Allegro if you are buying Torque2D. Torque2D runs on its own engine and does not utilize other resources that you would also need to download.

I do strongly suggest you learn C++ if you are not familiar with it, before purchasing such a package. Torque is rather large engine and can be quite overwhelming for someone new to C++.

Another library I can recommend if you are wanting to develop a 2D based game is HGE. It is a great library and I recently did some work with it.

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I'll second DevLiquidKnight's suggestion to hold off buying Torque. Don't spend money on a tool you don't know how to use, and don't even know if you'll want to use once you learn how.

Learn the language first or you run the risk of deciding you don't like C++ and then being out the money for Torque.

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Original post by jpetrie
I'll second DevLiquidKnight's suggestion to hold off buying Torque. Don't spend money on a tool you don't know how to use, and don't even know if you'll want to use once you learn how.

Learn the language first or you run the risk of deciding you don't like C++ and then being out the money for Torque.

According to that argument, no one would ever buy development software. You can't learn how to use it unless you own it, ne? GarageGames' Torque engine is a recognized leader in the field of game middleware -- in particular, T2D/TGB is designed and marketed to be really, really beginner friendly. You can program any of the Torque products in either C++ or TorqueScript. Beginners would generally find the second route easier, but once you've exhausted that route you can jump to the C++ interface and even, if you desire, modding the engine itself (for which full source code is always provided).

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Original post by TDragon
Quote:
Original post by jpetrie
I'll second DevLiquidKnight's suggestion to hold off buying Torque. Don't spend money on a tool you don't know how to use, and don't even know if you'll want to use once you learn how.

Learn the language first or you run the risk of deciding you don't like C++ and then being out the money for Torque.

According to that argument, no one would ever buy development software. You can't learn how to use it unless you own it, ne? GarageGames' Torque engine is a recognized leader in the field of game middleware -- in particular, T2D/TGB is designed and marketed to be really, really beginner friendly. You can program any of the Torque products in either C++ or TorqueScript. Beginners would generally find the second route easier, but once you've exhausted that route you can jump to the C++ interface and even, if you desire, modding the engine itself (for which full source code is always provided).

While this is slightly true, TorqueScript is very similar to the C++ syntax. Knowing C++ before hand is going to be a huge leap forward, especially if your talking about buying a specific software package.

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Original post by DevLiquidKnight
While this is slightly true, TorqueScript is very similar to the C++ syntax.

I won't deny the similarity, but what precisely makes my post only slightly true? I'll have you know that each post I deign to bestow upon the GameDev community leaves my fingers virtually dripping with pure, unadulterated truth!

With respect to the original post and poster, I maintain that Torque is an excellent engine for a C++ beginner to use, particularly because that similarity will help ease one into real C++.

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Original post by TDragon
Quote:
Original post by DevLiquidKnight
While this is slightly true, TorqueScript is very similar to the C++ syntax.

I won't deny the similarity, but what precisely makes my post only slightly true? I'll have you know that each post I deign to bestow upon the GameDev community leaves my fingers virtually dripping with pure, unadulterated truth!

With respect to the original post and poster, I maintain that Torque is an excellent engine for a C++ beginner to use, particularly because that similarity will help ease one into real C++.

It may be very beginner friendly, but since it is a scripting language. You don't have the luxury of easily debugging the code through a user friendly IDE. Knowing how to code the syntax before hand will greatly increase your odds of success.

I do think if you were to start with Torque Script your transition to C++ will be easier. The same argument can be said the other way around though, if you start with C++ your transition to Torque Script will also be easy.

Also, if you know the C++ language you will be able to figure out the source code of the engine that you are buying, which Torque does provide. Therefore people would buy development software because they know how to use C++ therefore they can figure out how to use the engine.

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According to that argument, no one would ever buy development software. You can't learn how to use it unless you own it, ne?


I don't know. I see your point. But you don't need top-of-the-line tools and APIs to learn the language, you need top-of-the-line tools and APIs to learn those tools and APIs. If I didn't know C++, one of the first things I went to purchase would NOT be one of Visual Studio's Standard (or "better") editions. It's such a huge investment that may turn out to be a really bad one, if C++ turned out to be the wrong language for me or for solving my specific problem.

Torque is, of course, nowhere near as expensive, but I still feel that the point still stands, especially for complete beginners (which the OP is not) for whom C++ is the very first language they want to learn, period. I'd spend a while playing around with, and evaluating, the language via free solutions before committed my hard-earned money.

The OP has, however, mentioned finding C++ to be too complicated in the past. While the experience he's gained in the interim may lessen the language's rather steep learning curve(*), it's still possible that after messing around with it for a while he may decide its not for him. There's nothing wrong with that, but it can be frustrating to have to make that decision once you've invested money into the language / platform.

Torque does have a fallback, in the form of support for non-C++ languages, so that mitigates the risk somewhat (I don't know how much since I don't use it).

(*) The learning curve for C++ is quite steep, although it often doesn't seem that way until you're knee deep in problems, which is another reason to be cautious about financial investments that limit you to that language platform.

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Phi,

If you decide that you are interested in learning C++, there is a community right here on GameDev.net that will be learning C++ together over the next 21 weeks, beginning June 1st. I am the primary "tutor" for the class, but others will be helping as well. You can begin with us on June 1, or begin later at your leisure.

If you'd like more info on how to get involved and learn C++ for free, right here on GameDev.net, then look Here.

Cheers!

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Thanks for the replies. I finish my exams next week, so I'll sit down properly and give C++ a try. However, during mid-revision breaks I've been trying to do some, and I found that with my knowledge of Java, learning C++ is quite straight forward (so far). I'll play around with C++ on it's own, and then start using various SDKs once I get the hang of it.
jwalsh, I'm definately interested in the workshop so I guess you'll be seeing quite a few questions from me :D.

Also, is the primary function of SDKs to make certain tasks easier? ie, simply typing "DrawCube <parameters>" instead of having to manually code directly using DX/OGL?

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Phi,

The purpose of a Software Development Kit (SDK) is to make tasks easier by abstracting the functionality into a (usually) higher level library, that allows for simpler interfaces and a quicker startup time. DirectX itself is an SDK. But there are certainly higher level SDK's which wrap DirectX and allow for simpler integration into your existing architecture.

Cheers!

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