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Learning programming...

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I am an indy game developer, I've been making games since about 1998, but it was always a problem for me because while I CAN do the art, I CAN do the design, I CAN do the music, I've never been a coder. I read something the other day that said, "If you want to be an indy game developer, you had better know how to code". I can see why. It's difficult being at the mercy of other unpaid people to bring your dream to life. I am very experienced in almost every other field of game development, but there has just been this WALL for me against learning programming. I'm sure that I can do it, it's just I have never gotten to the point where it didn't horribly bore and confuse the hell out of me. I've tried to learn C probably 5 or 6 different times in my life, and more recently I started to TRY pick up Java. Java in particular interests me because the game I'm currently developing is in Java and I'd love to be able to help that along (as well as get advice and help from my programmers). Some have suggested FLASH being that it is easier, I also am familiar with FLASH, just not code-wise. Anyway my question to all of you is, do you have any advice? How did _you_ learn how to code? Do you recommend taking a course? I've bought many books before but just gave up. Any other advice? Thank you very much for listening to my sad tale. It's SO frustrating to be as passionate as I am about games, have a small game idea and not be able to try it out. -Keith Burgun PS. if you want, check out my game here at this post.

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It may not be what you want to hear, but coding is the single game development skill that requires the most experience in order to get off the ground. If you put an inexperienced artist, designer and composer together with a good coder, they'll make a bad game. However, if you put an inexperienced coder with the best of the rest, nothing will be produced.

But if you're dedicated, you can learn to code in a matter of months. How I learned to program is irrelevant, but here's what I recommend for you:

Forget about C. It's not dead, but maybe it should be. C++ is alive and kicking, but it's not without its major flaws. If you want to make an industrial game, you'll probably need to be handy with C++, but that's mainly down to tradition and industry inertia. C# is a step in the right direction, but it's proprietary, relatively non-portable and still carries a few archaic curiosities from the days of C.

Being a one-man indie developer, you're in the perfect position to pick and choose exactly the tools that are best-suited to your experience and preference. If you listen to the echoes from the walls of these forums, you'll realise that Python comes highly recommended to newcomers. It's entirely possible to make a profitable indie game in Python, and moreover, it will cost you far less in terms of learning and development time.

My experience with Python is limited, but altogether positive. Although it may not let you create the next big FPS, it can teach you a lot about programming mentality. It's widely accepted that your first language will be your most difficult to learn - after this, expanding your vocabulary is relatively easy. For this reason, picking the most learner-friendly language out there is a good choice. The fact that it also happens to be a very powerful language in itself is just a bonus.

Good luck
Admiral

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You are not alone. Learning to program is a great FULL-TIME struggle for me.

But let's keep in mind that one person does not typically do all three positions you mentioned. You have artists, you have designers, and you have coders. If you are good at all three, that would be exceptional (and maybe rare), but would you have time to perform all three jobs?

Here is my opinion: You should decide which job you're best at/and which you're most passionate about. And stick with it.

Although, if your ambition is to DO all the jobs required in building games, I wish you the best of luck. It'll be a hard road, but maybe your efforts will pay off.

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I kind of agree with the above - but only for the simple fact that you said " it's just I have never gotten to the point where it didn't horribly bore and confuse the hell out of me." Everytime I open my C++ books, I enjoy learning new things and even get excited sometimes about learning how to communicate with a computer... (please don't think differently of me people.) I can't draw if my life depended upon it - nor would I be able to do much else rather then code (which I'm still rather horrible at, but getting better.)

You've got to be passionate about it, or maybe its just not your cup of tea...

Either way if you are interested still, you have to understand that learning to program they are going to teach you concepts and methods that won't entirely click the first time you read them, and that you won't get alot of things at first... but after you read afew books, things start to click. (Read the books, don't just read over them, pretain the things they are saying, or reread them. You don't have to understand them all entirely at first, but atleast know of them) Try different methods of learning, I don't grasp ANYTHING I read online tutorial wise, with these free books etc,. I've got to have a paper-back infront of me... but I know of other people that are other way around.

If you're having a real hard time getting on your feet in coding, I'd suggest going with Python like alot of fellas say.

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Cool. I will look into python.

I do agree that coding just sorta "isnt my thing", however, game design IS my thing and it's very frustrating to not just sort of see if simple designs float or not. So while I kind of hate coding, I am willing to sacrifice myself a little to be able to make things without being at someone else's mercy. I love game development in general a lot. And I'm not talking at all about "making the next big fps", i just mean little tiny small projects.

Thanks

-Keith

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