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need help getting started in game development

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i can picture what the game looks like and how it will generally function from a visual standpoint, but have no idea what it takes to make that happen. i know nothing about programming so what i am about to ask will be very noob-like and i hope you can bare with me. i am interested in developing games for the xbox360 with this new xna that i read about. i know that i will need to start from the very basics and move up from there. 1] it seems that xna needs programs written in C#. is this the very first language that i can dive right into and learn, or do i need to learn other languages before C#? it is so confusing because there are visual basic, C, C++, C#. 2] i went to the local book stores to purchase books on visual C and they all said that i need microsoft visual studios and .net framework as a compiler and it totally threw me off. do i need to purcahse some software in order to learn the C language? 3] what book(s) would you recomended in getting started? remember that i am a complete noob and have never coded anything before. 4] what are the steps in making a game from start to finish? if someone new how, would they first create game code, then the network code, then game's graphics using 3dsmax? 5] how long will it take to learn how to code properly and to learn the entire process of making a game to today's standards? 6] do you require to know math like algebra, calculus, algorythms in order to code successfully or can you simply copy other engines or use pre-existing codes? one thing i notices is that all xbox games require the implementation of the havoc physics engine so i assume that the engine is a plug-in that works with the game engine. basically, if there are codes out there that i can use to simply paste together to create the game (assuming creating games for non-proffit), won't that be a good idea so it can cut down on prduction time, or does something like this simply don't occur in the real world? as described, what steps would you recomend for me to get my feet wet and at least see if this is something for me. my long term goal is to create games in 3D like the ones we are used to seeing. i believe i have the drive and will to make this into a reality, but i am affraid that i will never have the smarts because i may need to learn triginometry or complex math and or the fact that i am 28 years old is too late to get started.... i am sure i have confused concepts and am probably on the wrong thinking track so any additional info that could be given to me would be greatly appreciated. i have been playing video games since 1985 and now i would like to create them. i have developed game ideas and concepts for years and i would like to see these turn into reality.

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it appears that i may have asked a very broad range question. if i can make this simpler, i am basically asking; for someome that never programmed or made games before, and that someone would like to create games for the xbox360 platform, what steps would that someone need to do or learn?

also, are there any software or anything that needs to be purchased besides xbox360?

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Quote:
Original post by Argh28
for someome that never programmed or made games before, and that someone would like to create games for the xbox360 platform, what steps would that someone need to do or learn?


Don't know if you already know how to program at all so:

1) spend 6months or so learning a programming language
2) spend a year or so learning to program PC games
3) start playing around with XNA

-me

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Go to microsoft.com and get the Visual C# express edition. It is a handy IDE that is free. I am pretty sure it comes with .net, but if not you can get it from microsoft as well. C# is a fine language to start in. VB is VERY simple and yet still can accomplish a huge amount of things. If you're patient, start with C# or C++.

Dont worry about getting books right now, there are plenty of tutorials that can teach you the basics.

To make a game, it ALWAYS starts with planning. Some people have huge and long plans (design documents) and some people use smaller, more versatile documents. It is up to you for how you work best.

As to what order things are done in, that is entirely up to you as well. If you are building a multiplayer game, you have to main tasks.. the server and the client. I prefer working on the network code first amnd then the mechanics, but thats just me.

To learn how to make a good game can take anywhere from a few months to a year. That is time to learn, not to make. To make a good game, by yourself, it depends on the game. A deep, large RPG could take several years, but simpler games like a Tetris clone could take considerably less depending on your skill.

Knowing math is a definate plus, but if its not your strong suit thats fine. Get a friend to implement that stuff, but there are also many libraries that have things done already but it really helps to be sharp in math. Personally, I'm lucky because I've always done well with math and during school for extra credit but calculus teacher had me make her neat calculus programs so I had to tear apart the math and truly understand it.


Biggest lesson you can learn: Creating games is not anywhere as easy as playing them. Creating games is fun and rewarding but very challenging. Good luck!


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I've got a few minutes while waiting for a QA script...this is just my personal opinion. I'm sure everyone who reads this will have their own ideas.

Quote:
Original post by Argh28
i can picture what the game looks like and how it will generally function from a visual standpoint, but have no idea what it takes to make that happen. i know nothing about programming so what i am about to ask will be very noob-like and i hope you can bare with me. i am interested in developing games for the xbox360 with this new xna that i read about. i know that i will need to start from the very basics and move up from there.

1] it seems that xna needs programs written in C#. is this the very first language that i can dive right into and learn, or do i need to learn other languages before C#? it is so confusing because there are visual basic, C, C++, C#.


C# isn't too bad. The first language I really learned to code in (as opposed to just messing around in BASIC/Pascal) was Java, and C# is quite similar. Many kids today seem to start with something even higher level, like BlitzBasic. I've never used these though, so I can't really say how good they are.


2] i went to the local book stores to purchase books on visual C and they all said that i need microsoft visual studios and .net framework as a compiler and it totally threw me off. do i need to purcahse some software in order to learn the C language?


Visual C++ is a Microsoft compiler, so yes you would need to purchase their software if you want to use it. Fortunately, there are quite a few other options including a free version of Visual Studio Express: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/


3] what book(s) would you recomended in getting started? remember that i am a complete noob and have never coded anything before.


I haven't looked at basic programming books in ages, so I can't really recommend one. There are plenty of online tutorials, though. I would start learning the basics of syntax (what is a variable, how do i do arithmetic, etc.), then learn about polymorphism (why/how do i create a class, etc.), then look into complexity (how long will this take to run, how can i make it fast, etc). The whole time you wanna learn more about how a computer actually works (stack vs heap memory, etc.). At least, this is usually how a first year college course would go about it from what I remember.


4] what are the steps in making a game from start to finish? if someone new how, would they first create game code, then the network code, then game's graphics using 3dsmax?


Erm... This is probably more involved than you realise... Generally you would design the game, then architect the system. Then you'd build some prototypes to try parts of it. Then you'd start actual implementation of the components. At some point during implementation you'd bring in artists, etc to produce content for your game. Then you'd go through a few iterations of QA and bug fixing until you're ready for release. This is a really over simplified explanation of one way to go about it. Obviously, doing something like Pong is a lot easier than something like GTA.


5] how long will it take to learn how to code properly and to learn the entire process of making a game to today's standards?


In short? Years. But I doubt you'd want to make a game up to today's standards by yourself. It'd take a very long time. Try something simple first.


6] do you require to know math like algebra, calculus, algorythms in order to code successfully or can you simply copy other engines or use pre-existing codes? one thing i notices is that all xbox games require the implementation of the havoc physics engine so i assume that the engine is a plug-in that works with the game engine. basically, if there are codes out there that i can use to simply paste together to create the game (assuming creating games for non-proffit), won't that be a good idea so it can cut down on prduction time, or does something like this simply don't occur in the real world?


Basic algebra for sure. Some linear algebra would be very useful. Calculus would be useful as well. It depends on what you're doing really. Yes there is code out there that you can just copy and paste, but you'd still need to know how it works for it to be useful to you. In short, you'd have to look at the code, see how they do it, and then implement something similar yourself. The exception would be if you decide to use a complete library or engine. Then you would simply be calling their API.


as described, what steps would you recomend for me to get my feet wet and at least see if this is something for me. my long term goal is to create games in 3D like the ones we are used to seeing. i believe i have the drive and will to make this into a reality, but i am affraid that i will never have the smarts because i may need to learn triginometry or complex math and or the fact that i am 28 years old is too late to get started....


It's never too late to get started - I mean, you have the rest of your life to learn. Just start off slow. Write a little "Hello World" program, and move your way up to something like Pong, a simple 2D game, and in a few year maybe something 3D. At some point you'll have to pick up some math, especially if you're not comfortable with trig yet. Even something like Pong is going to need trig. The good thing is that there's a ton of free information out there, and math is a lot easier to learn when you can play around with it while making a game.


i am sure i have confused concepts and am probably on the wrong thinking track so any additional info that could be given to me would be greatly appreciated.

i have been playing video games since 1985 and now i would like to create them. i have developed game ideas and concepts for years and i would like to see these turn into reality.


Sorry, my replies are buried in the quote above...



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