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Broadway83

Teaching game programming

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My younger brother has recently started bugging me about teaching him to program. Unfortunately, his high school doesn't have any intro-programming classes. I'm less than excited about teaching and have been putting him off for quite a while In order to clear my conscience I figure I should at least point him in the right direction. So let me pose a few questions. My brother is 15, and I have seen some amazing things produced by younger members of this forum. Do any younger members have suggestions of books or tutorials that you found useful and would recommend to a friend? To those that have taught (or attempted to teach) high school students to program, do you have any advice on language, books, or tutorials? Or just any advice in general? Thanks

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I started programming when I was 13, I am currently just 16 and considered an Intermediate-level programmer by someone I worked on for a project, who's currently 28...

All I can say is, I first downloaded the Dev-C++ compiler, although MSVC++ 2008 Express Edition is probably a better option. I then decided to learn C/C++, so I headed my way to CPlusPlus.com, and went through the tutorial there.

Once you complete the tutorial, you should probably set about learning Win32 basics, which is where theForger's Win32 Tutorial, which pretty much covers the ground levels of programming within the Windows environment.

From here, the options are wide depending on the game he wishes to make, although I suppose it will be graphically advanced, in which, the choice is narrowed to between OpenGL and DirectX. I couldnt get the hang of DX, so I started learning from NeHe's OpenGL Tutorial, which teaches you game programming with graphics in a way.

That's how I did it anyway <.<

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Frankly; how smart is he?
If he's a real smart ass, and can do maths/logic without even thinking about it, start him at:
http://www.cplusplus.com/doc/tutorial/
Then throw him at google. While he may whine, spoon feeding never helps anyone, he must also have the motivation to want to learn it himself and figure it out for himself, otherwise he isn't going to go anywhere.

On the other side you could try with a higher language (Python/pygame, or even Java).

However it also depends on what you know TO be able to teach him. No point telling him to learn Python if you don't know it yourself.

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I didn’t know our standard advice mattered based on age. Don’t start with C++. Start with Python or C# or another high level language. Go slowly, starting with the language and focusing on writing small programs. It’s the same whether you’re 10 or 50. Age is irrelevant.

So I highly disagree with the previous posters who talked about starting with C++. I also disagree partially with infinitas’ statement that it depends on what you know to be able to teach him.

Actually, if your brother is 15, why is he himself not posting here? Why is he not Googling? Why is he not taking the initiative by himself to learn? Teaching game programming is not like showing someone how to use e-mail. There are no 10 secret steps to memorize.

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Something about teaching younger people. They like to see results. So everything you need, he needs to be able to actually see the program working and what he is learning without hours of typing.

theTroll

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I agree that C++ might be a rough way to start. And while I make a living at it now, I didn't find it to be a friendly way to learn OOP or programming in general. I was considering pushing him towards either using scripting or C#. But I was hoping to hear from a voice of experience.

As for why he isn't posting . . . . I might be impatient, but I wasn't about to throw him onto the forums. I figure I can offer him some help without the forum flaming.

Plus, I'd rather he annoy me than other people hahaha

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I started with a nifty tool called Gamemaker:
(gamemaker.nl)
It was a drag-and-drop (GUI) based game creator, but you also had the option to go "advanced" where you would could code. This got me to a point where I understood how to declare variables and run functions ( very similar to C ). Then, at the age of 11, I started C++. My dad had a book. (That thing was huge) and a compiler on the pc so I just sat and read it. I had no help what-so ever from any outside source (unless you count Google and website tutorials I would stumble upon) until I found GameDev.net at the age of 14 (est. time)

So in short:

Gamemaker.nl ( it also has a forum for development ) //Start him on this first
Beginning C++ ( you'll probably find it in your nearby library ) //After he feels like he could do more, go into C++
Beginning Game Programming by Michael Morrison ( uses Windows API [called GDI or something] ) //Take him into graphics land when he's ready
Beginning OpenGL Game Programming //3D graphics land after 2D gets boring

And if he needs help, send him my way. I like helping/tutoring. :p

I hope I helped any!
~PCN

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I was around 18 when I started programming so I was older than some of the other younger people on the forum. When I started I found a simple language like VB helped the most because it was simple and still taught me the general techniques of programming. VB holds your hand partially through development which is a major help compared to something like C++ where error messages and the language are a more learned/engrained knowledge. Plus, in VB you start with a form you can put stuff on, allowing images, sound, etc...

I'd say set him up with VB and give him little challenges. "See if you can program this button to put text in a text box." "Can you convert the number in the box if I click this button?" Just very simple things to build the understanding of general programming eventually leading up to classes and objects. Once he's a bit comfortable with it, see if he can make a simple game in VB or see if he wants to try a different language. Heck, send him my way, I'll give the kid some easy stuff to work on :D

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^ oh god no. Not VB :P It took me a long time go get my twin brother to switch to C# from VB. (I used VB6 and VB.NET extensively in high school along with C++ and looking back I can't stand the syntax).

I didn't seem to have a problem picking up C++ when I was 13. However it wasn't until I was 14 that I think I understood why I was using OOP and how to do inheritance and such correctly. I used a cheap book called Sam's Teach Yourself C++ in 24 hours. It's not the best, but it does cover the basics. (I own the 21 day version and it looks much better).

Since I'm 19 now I've seen people go through their first year of CS (I opted out of the low level classes) and they used C#. You gain solid OO ideas which would make learning C++ later much easier since a lot of people I've met got tripped up with the pointers and couldn't see the big picture.

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Quote:

I used a cheap book called Sam's Teach Yourself C++ in 24 hours. It's not the best, but it does cover the basics. (I own the 21 day version and it looks much better).


That was the huge freak'n book that I had to self teach myself! It scare the crap outta me! 0.o

DO NOT START HIM ON THAT!

It would be like making junior high kids recite Homer's Odysee... in French!

Please... spare him. 0_0

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