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Help: what to do next?

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Hello everybody, I stumbled upon this site a few days ago and it's been an awesome resource, thumbs up! First, a bit about my current situation. I recently decided to once again take up the computer sciences course at university this fall. As preparation I picked up my C++ book again and started studying. After completing the included exercises, I started working on my own little projects. In the process, I got hooked on making games. Meanwhile, I've done a few simple games in C++ using the Allegro library (Minesweeper, Tetris, an incomplete 2d physics demo similar to Asteroids, and a mostly working Pacman clone). Doing these little games has introduced me to a number of concepts, including pathfinding with A* (pacman), double buffering, the basic structure of games, input management, timers (only using allegro) , 2d graphics rotations using trigonometry (asteroids), simple 2d physics (asteroids), collision detection, and more. edit: map loading from file (pacman), config files, managing highscores.. My question is, where do I go from here? Since I'm only familiar with game programming using Allegro, I have no clue what the alternatives are.. I'm assuming libraries like Allegro are beginners tools; how are these aspects (graphics, sound, timers, etc etc) usually done? Which libraries/techniques/languages would you recommend having a look at? [Edited by - Gyna on June 7, 2007 2:47:54 PM]

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3D! OpenGL Game Programming is a good book for giving a general overview all the elements of a 3D game from concept to finish. It sounds like you have the basics down so this book should point you in the direction of what's next, without burying you in the details of one topic..

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Hey, this is just my two cents, but don't count the 2d world out by any means. There's a lot of ground you can cover without needing to add another dimension. Think about the Nintendo DS. Not everything is 3D on that, and there's a slew of good money making games on that platform. Look at Brain Age (well, besides the weird disembodied head).

What about AI? Or more complex games with networking, skill trees, role-playing elements?

I would LOVE to be in your shoes.

- Goishin

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Hey, thanks for the quick replies!

thesilencer, I am very interested in 3D, but I think it is a bit early to start out on that. Also, I can't see myself ever (in the foreseeable future) making a good looking 3D game, so it's more of a technical interest at the moment :)

Goishin, I agree with everything you said; and yeah, I will definitely be looking into and experimenting with more advanced methods. After all, I've barely covered the basics yet, the ghosts AI on my Pacman clone gave me a terribly hard time :)

But my original question remains, what is the standard way of coding the games? I currently have no intention of abandoning C++, but I'd like to get rid of the middleman Allegro. What are replacements for it, what skills will I have to learn?
Am I right in looking at DirectX for my next step?

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Why would Allegro be a beginners tool? I've never worked with it, but the fact that such a framework makes your life easier doesn't mean it's bad or dumb. Virtually every game is built on top of existing frameworks, API's and sometimes complete engines are licensed, just so a team can focus on creating the game. Don't go by what you think is amateuristic, go by what you can use in an effective way. If that's Allegro for you, then go with Allegro.

Anyway, it's still a good idea to try out multiple of these frameworks or engines. You'll get more flexible, and you'll see various approaches, that could give you fresh idea's on how to approach specific problems. You may find Kylotan's list usefull. As you can see, there's a lot of possibilities. Personally, I'm working with SDL at the moment, which is pretty broad and somewhat low-level, but it's well documented and easy to set-up and work with so far. Much better than the deprecated DirectDraw (ugh!) I used before. :)

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You know, Captain P, I work with Allegro. I've never used SDL, but I see everybody on these boards uses it. How does it compare to Allegro?

- Goishin

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Hum, didn't mean to step on anyones toes by calling Allegro a beginner's tool, forgive my ignorance :). Thing is I've only tried Allegro so far and I assumed there was a standard professional way to do these things.

SDL: I was going to check out the Njam source code since it was made using SDL, but unfortionately it seems they've since gone commercial and the source isn't available anymore.

Kylotan's list: Wow, talk about an overwhelming amount of information :)



Some kind of comparison between the different options would be very interesting.

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Yeah, you know what, Gyna? That's a good idea. I'm gonna start a new thread on that. I've no doubt this question's been asked before (to death) but I'll ask it.

- Goishin

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