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The Next Step

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Hey guys, I've been doing game-programming off and on for a few years now. I started with DirectX, switched to SDL, and then last semester I had my first course in OpenGL at my university. My next graphics course is coming soon, in which I'll learn how to do things like Ray Tracing. While really cool, I ideally would like to get into the game-industry (that's why I'm here). I know I should probably start writing more games (I have yet to create a 3d game) but I feel like I need to know a little more in terms of graphics before moving on. In my last graphics project I did some procedural clouds with a really simple skybox, some billboarding, really simple particle system, again a simple terrain system, and used some mesh code I found off the internet :P. In which you could move around in a first-person view. This was done with OpenGL and GLUT. While I feel this is a great start, I still think I have a long ways to go. I was wondering what my next move should be, and if anyone can suggest any tutorials or books that could push me in the right direction. I already have the following books, although I haven't read through them all the way (mainly take bits and pieces of stuff): Programming Game AI by Example Game Coding Complete Programming Role Playing Games with DirectX Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus Interactive Computer Graphics: A Top-Down Approach with OpenGL Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9 Game Coding Complete is still a little beyond me I think. I've done the most in the AI book and the 3D book. The Tricks book was good when I first started a while ago and still has some info in it I like. The opengl book was my university book and I hope to use the role-playing book when I start working on my first RPG. So other than knowing the "next step", what is the best way to learn some more of the cooler graphical techniques. My guess is I need a good shader book, we did a bit with shaders in my last class (and I think we'll touch on it in my next class) but I have a feeling that is the way to go. I would say my strengths are that I love learning about this stuff and that I'm a decent programmer. My weaknesses lie in that I still need to work on my design skills and I often lack motivation to start a project (once I start I'm fine) which is why I try to take classes (they force me to do things =D).

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What better way than to learn by example? Study some source code on major game projects... I mean really analyze them... think about how they are doing things what they could do better and get a general understanding for how things work. I know doom and quake source code are in the resources of gamedev... Maybe that is a good place to start... It sounds to me like you know how to program you just don't know how to put everything together... Hope this helps.

You can't learn everything from a book.
-durfy

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I think you're making the classic mistake of seeing the books as a goal rather then a means to an end. My advice would be to start with a (semi) ambitious project and learn the algorithms and tricks you need to complete that project. In other words: learn what you need when you need it, skip the rest.

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