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AdvanceStratagist

Learning the Basics

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Hey there everybody, glad to meet all of you! I'm hoping I can get some information on where to get started here with programming and see where this goes. I'll post what my situation is currently so you know where I'm coming from. A few months ago I decided I'd like to try to go into Game Development. Video games have always interested me, and I figured it'd be something to look into. However I have about as little actual programming knowledge as you can imagine someone having, unless you count maneuvering through DOS programming. Making a funny looking background on a place like myspace would be new to me for example. I am currently getting enrolled to go to Full Sail, and will be starting classes in November at the latest, and am getting a refresher in math from a tutor to help me get ready for it. Supposedly they'll still teach you from the ground up and not assume you have any programming background to begin with, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to have some clue about programming to begin with before I go to Full Sail and have to worry about figuring out all the basics while getting used to living in a new enviorment and all the joys that are bound to come with moving to a new place. I found this site actually because of Full Sail's launch site that listed GaveDev as a good source to help get started and learn about Game Development. I registered on the forums thinking it'd be a perfect way to at least get my feet wet before November rolls around. After seeing the questions that were coming up in the Beginners forum, I was worried I was going to be asking too basic questions for this audience, so I contacted jpetrie under suggestion of the Forum FAQ. After assuring me it'd be just fine to bring this up here, he also said that C++ would probably be the language to start with because of my future classes at Full Sail, along with suggestions to look up "Visual C++ Express", "Thinking in C++", and "C++ A Dialog". So that's about where I am right now. I'll be looking around for those items shortly, but I'd be glad to get any more tips or suggestions on how to start out.

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My tip, which is helping me learn c++ right now, is that if your reading a book on how to program with c++, do the example at the end of the chapter, then try and do another program, one that you make by yourself, without looking back at the chapter. This should help to see if you have remembered what you just read in the chapter.

Oh and maybe after you learn someting in class, when you go home try and make a program with the stuff you learned in class. If you dont understand something, dont be afriad to ask your teacher. They will be more than happy to help.

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Well I just found Visual C++ Express, I'll be sure to download it once I'm on a computer that I'm able to download stuff onto, and mess around with that for a bit.

Also, as a side question, I've never bothered with e-books before. Are they something you can still read on your computer, or are you just screwed if you don't have an ebook player? If that's the case I'll have to either get myself one or see if there's a pdf or a hardbound copy somewhere for those 2 books.

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Welcome to the forums and congrats on deciding to do game programming!

A tip for when your learning C++ is don't try to memorize all the syntax of commands right away, you'll pick that up fast without trying, but rather, focus on the concepts of what the book is teaching you. Since concepts in programming transfer from one language to another, this is more important to learn rather than just one language.

Also, after you finish a section, make sure to write your own program using the concepts you learn. You can read stuff all day long, but if you don't try it yourself, you won't remember it.

Good luck and we welcome any questions you have!

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Quote:
Also, as a side question, I've never bothered with e-books before. Are they something you can still read on your computer, or are you just screwed if you don't have an ebook player?
Ebook's really a generic term, so it depends on the file format of the ebook. If it's something like a pdf file, you can just open it up on the computer. Same goes for anything distributed like a bunch of HTML pages. The two books you were recommended are freely available as ebooks, and you can read them on your computer with no problems.

Quote:
What exactly do you mean by the syntax of commands? That just the programming equivalent of [img] for an image and the like?
In that sense yes.

For anyone who is trying to learn C++, I name at minimum two books, and additionally a third if they are serious. The first is Accelerated C++ by Koenig. This is designed more like a course, and teaches you how to use C++. The second is C++ Primer, 4th Edition by Lippman. It's like a reference book. The third book if you're serious about C++ is The C++ Standard Library by Josuttis. The rest of my recommended books I recommend after some proficiency in C++ programming. Then again, they cost money, so you may prefer to stay with the ebooks, and see what Full Sail has you buy for a C++ book.

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I guess I'll take a look and see what e-books I find then before I get too worried about it then. Doesn't sound like it'll be too much of a problem, as long as I can find some decent links.

The C++ Primer book actually sounds familiar, I think that was one of the books we were told they used at Full Sail around the start of the course. At least it was for the class I got to talk to anyways, they were literally in the last week of their final class when I got to talk to them. Which was pretty helpful as far as getting information on what the course was like, and what kind of final results came out of it. I remember they said they got a blue C++ Primer book near the start of their time there, and from what I know about C++ so far it doesn't sound like it'd be something they'd take out, except for maybe a revised version. So that'll definitly be one to look at.

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When I say syntax of commands I mean how to tell the computer what you want to do. The same thing is accomplished in different ways, depending on the language you use.

For example, to declare a variable that can hold an integer, you do:

C++:
int myVariable = 45;

Python:
myVariable = 3

PHP:
$myVariable = 21;

This is a very simple example, but as you can see, every language does things in slightly different ways. So don't worry too much about memorizing the exact way to type everything, at least not at first. Do NOT be afraid to look in a book or on the internet to find the syntax for things! I've been programming for over 10 years and I frequently use Google to figure out how to write something.

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If you are totally new to C++ I'd recommend watching the Microsoft introductory video's on C++ you can download from their visual c++ express page. They are actually pretty decent and will give you an idea of how to start a console project and move around and get familiar with the visual studio IDE so you can concentrate on learning C++.

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One suggestion I have for you, not quite related to programming, is to ALWAYS ask your professors for help if you do not understand something. Trying to figure out some things on your own may work but you will be paying a lot of money to have someone teach you, so utilize them a LOT. Also, from what my friend told me of Full Sail, was that a lot of the professors are ex-developers from the software and game industry so they probably have a lot of contacts still in their respective industries. Utilize that to further your career and achieve your goals.

And another suggestion: Stick with it!

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Original post by phear-
And another suggestion: Stick with it!

Quoted for Truth.

Programming isn't hard, but to the vast majority of the population it is extremely unfamiliar. It requires you to draw on knowledge of math, computer science and the inherent domain of the actual problem, not to mention electronics (for certain uses). It is virtually guaranteed to be overwhelming at times, but if you stick with it and patiently work on each of the aspects related to your current challenge, you'll succeed.

Good luck, and happy hacking! [smile]

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One thing that always helps me is anything I learn I go and reteach it on my website (its a personal website I have for me thats not online, only in my computer). You wouldn't believe how many things I learned once I thought I knew something, tried to teach it on my website, then realized I couldn't explain it. It takes some extra time but its worth it in my opinion.


Also there will be many many times you get stuck. If you do, just start breaking down whatever concept your stuck on to its simpelist form and write a program with it. There are a lot of programming books that when learning new concepts through in everything they can for whatever reason.

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I certainly have no problem with asking a teacher for help if I have no clue what they're talking about. Especially now that it's not just high school anymore, and paying to get these classes in the first place.

I finally managed to get a hold of that visual program, although I haven't gotten a chance to take a look at those videos daviangel mentioned was on the site. I'll have to take a look again to see if I can find them. Probably will be helpful, considering I didn't really know what to do with visual once I got it turned on. When you hit new project, what one in there is either the one I'll usually be using, or at least a good one to use for a first run through of it?

Chrono, that sounds like a good plan. I'll probably get a roommate while down there because of costs, so I'll see if he/she'd be opposed to me trying to relay what I learned in class to make sure I got it. Doubt that'd be a problem since they'd be there for the same reasons I would hope.

I've been using these practice tests I've gotten from Full Sail to help my math tutor get an idea of what kind of things to go over, and what stuff won't be as neccessary. Thankfully there's been no real problem there with refreshing/catching up on my math skills and with any luck it'll stay that way.

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Well after realizing I had downloaded and installed the wrong visual express, I went back and made sure I got the RIGHT one this time.

I still haven't gotten to see the full video yet, just because my computer hates me and was having a hard time getting the video to load. So I'm gonna see if I can just download the dang thing and watch it that way.

In the meantime, someone was telling me I would need a compiler as well. I have no idea what they really are at all, so hey what compilers are good for learning C++?

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A compiler is what transfers your typed code into instructions the computer can read (its more detailed then that but bear with me).

If your downloading Visual Studio you are downloading an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) which includes your compiler, linker, debugger, and text editor all in one. Visual Studio in my opinion is the best there is :)

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