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ashtewierik

Getting started as a Game Developer.

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Hello there, first of all I guess this question has been asked quite a few times, but everyones situations are different, and this is my situation. Any feedback would be great! Well my question is basically whats the best way for me to get started in game development? I'm 18 years old, with no previous programming knowledge. I only know web design like XHTML and CSS. But anyway I would really like to start in game development. I was thinking about picking up a few books on C and C++ Programming, to learn as programming languages. Are they good languages to start with? Or should I start somewhere else. And a compiler, well I guess the best thing would be to go out and buy a good compiler from a computer store. I use windows at the moment, should I continue to use windows or change to linux... (bit of a debate there.) And with the compiler. I don't mind spending some money and buying a good compiler for C, C++ if thats what I learn, what would be the best compiler for me to get? So yea, I would love to start my own journey into game development. Am I on the right path? Any feedback would be great. Cheers, - Ash Tewierik

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Hello and welcome. You don't need to spend money to get a compiler as Visual C++ 2005 Express is free Visual C++ Express .

I don't advise learning C and I almost don't advise learning C++ for a novice. You might want to look into other easier to learn languages such as Python or C# first.

Buying books is definately a good idea, but I would search around on this site for books that have good recommendations.

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You pretty much got it. Go buy a book on whatever language you choose, probably C++, and then read through it and DO THE EXERCISES at the end of each chapter. Even if you completely understand what you just went over, do it anyways. This way you will be more likely to remember what you read, and it will give you a reference on your computer to look back to. Don't rely on online tutorials to learn your language, just use those as a quick reference.

As for a compiler, you don't need to spend money. If you choose C++, Microsoft Visual Express is completely free, just download from their site. Also there's Dev-C++, also free, and there's plenty of other ones out there. If you choose Python or Java or Lua, they all have free compilers, so you shouldn't need to spend money.

And as for Linux, if you know what you're doing and have the computer for it I would recommend partitioning your hard drive for dual-booting with XP and Linux. Although Linux is good to know and often required at the business level, you don't need to know it to do game development or programming on your own.

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Most of the good compilers are free. If you buy MSVC.NET you're mostly paying for the IDE. It will wrap-up your development with a nice user interface and it will come with many additional development tools but you probably won't end up using all of them.

To a certain degree, your choice of language doesn't matter because most languages that are popular are fundamentally similar.

As for Windows or Linux, that's also just a matter of preference.

When you land your dream job, there is no telling what language,compiler or OS they'll be using.

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hey thanks for the great feedback, and it came so quick. Great! :)

Anyway, about learning a different language first such as Python for example I was thinking about doing that, because I have heard that C++ is a hard language to learn as a first language. And that it would be a lot easier to learn a language such as Python first, and then it would be easier to move onto another language such as C++.

Is their any benefit besides it being easier to learn another language if I learnt Python first?

Thanks

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Quote:
Original post by ashtewierik
hey thanks for the great feedback, and it came so quick. Great! :)

Anyway, about learning a different language first such as Python for example I was thinking about doing that, because I have heard that C++ is a hard language to learn as a first language. And that it would be a lot easier to learn a language such as Python first, and then it would be easier to move onto another language such as C++.

Is their any benefit besides it being easier to learn another language if I learnt Python first?

Thanks


Well, I havn't had any experience with Python, and when I started I just jumped right into C++. Yes, people say it's harder to start with C++ than with other languages, but unless you've done programming in the past, you won't really know that it's hard becuase you have nothing to compare it with. So since you have no experience, just start with C++. The thing with C++ is that you're not guaranteed results fast, which doesn't help keep you motivated. This is what I've heard. But, I can say that the learning curve for C++ is exponential (at least for me). Meaning you'll start out learning pretty mundane stuff (still essential though), and then once you learn a little more stuff you start seeing how they can all work together. Once this comes, you start picking up speed and the pieces start to fall into place, and it's no longer mundane stuff haha.

And, once you know enough C++, you can then go to Python, learn some of that and you can actually insert Python code into your C++. I'm not sure if this works vice versa, my guess would be no, but I'm not sure. So start with C++ basically.

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I'm sorry, but that's some of the worst advice you could give. "Since you won't know it's hard, do it the hard way?" Why?

There are no advantages to learning C++ first. Only disadvantages: you'll be hampered by the languages legacy archaism and be focused more on fighting the language to get useful things done than you will learning about useful, language-agnostic programming and software development concepts. You'll probably spend 95% of your first week of C++ learning stuff that ultimately incorrect because of the proliferation of bad C++ (or bad C-disguised-as-C++) information on the web. You'll be bogged down in all the tedium and potentially-undefined behavior and it will take much longer to see interesting, motivating results than with a better language like Python.

You will note that I avoided the term "easier." Python isn't a "toy" language -- it's easily as powerful as C++ in its own right (although its power is manifested, like all languages, in different ways). It has a learning curve that is more forgiving for a beginner, which results in said beginner having a better time of things at the beginning and moving on from "beginner" status quickly. You'll be a beginner in C++ for years.

Some people (usually people who only know C or C++) will tell you that C or C++ are more "pure" languages because they let you talk directly to the hardware via pointers and other low-level machinations. This is wrong, however; pointers and the like are not that important as far as concepts. They're just implementation detail of a particular concept (referential semantics) that is important and is also present in nearly every language out there. Basically, none of the "low level" and "complex" stuff that C++ enables you to do (which you wouldn't be getting to as a beginner anyway) is particularly critical knowledge for any programmer in general (and certainly not a beginner, specifically). So there is no reason to start with C++ unless you enjoy making things hard for yourself.

I would recommend you look at Python. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck in terms of time invested and knowledge gained.

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Hey thanks heaps! Well I guess I will start learning Python then.

Thanks for the advice, it has all really helped.

Cheers,

Ash Tewierik

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To add to the above posts, you should definitely stick with Windows. Games are not made with Linux nowadays, and you should become comfortable with the Visual Studio development environment. Games are by and large developed for DirectX, and you will not be able to use this in Linux.

Python is fine to start programming with, but again you won't see it used often in professional game development circles. You might want to consider C# instead, since it is not only up-and-coming, but even already used in some studios.

Come up with ideas for simple games, then just try and program them. Of utmost importance is to develop a portfolio as soon as possible. Start with the number-guessing game where the computer is thinking of a number, then later try text adventure games. Make a trail of games that you can put on a personal portfolio website. Being productive like this is important to break in.

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