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Maniacis

So... Making games?

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First i would like to say hi to everybody :) I'm new on this forum. I'm a 15 years old boy who always have loved to play video games. When i was 14 i started to think of making games, but did not really do anything. So some months ago, i took the step, and tried to begin program. I started in the language Java, but actually i don't really know anything about making games, so i thought stepping by a website which was about making games, found Gamedev. So i kinda want to ask you guys some questions. First, is the program Java any good for making games? Should i start trying out the program called: Game Maker? How much experience do you need in a programming language, such as Java, to start making games? That was pretty much it :) Hope you will answer :) Maniacis

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Welcome to the forum. I'm still a young programmer myself, with only 3 years experience.
Quote:
Original post by Maniacis
First, is the program Java any good for making games?
The programming language Java is fine for making games. It's one of the more well-known languages out there. I personally haven't any experience with Java, though.
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Should i start trying out the program called: Game Maker?
No, Game Maker would limit you more than it would help you. Game Maker is good for just playing around with, but it'd be better for you to actually learn a language, especially since you already started with Java. You can make games with Game Maker, and there's ways to do incredible things with it through add-on libraries, but having used Game Maker myself, I don't believe it's too good as a stepping stone to programming. Although, it's not bad as one, it just... holds your hand too much, and using Game Maker doesn't really give you an idea of how to program. (My personal opinion)
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How much experience do you need in a programming language, such as Java, to start making games?
It's been 3 years since I've started programming, and I've been programming off and on, leaving many unfinished projects behind in my laziness. I'm just now, 3 years later, almost finished with my first real game. (A 2D turn based space game) I've been casually working on the game for about 3 months in my spare time.

Ofcourse, if you have the determination to actually get projects finished, you should be able to start on your first game within a year, if it's a small project. Before that, though, you should start by making a game like Tetris or Pong. Pong is very simple, and a good starting point. Before even that, however, you need to learn at least the basics of Java.

The single most important pieces of advice I can give you, is start small, and finish what you start. If you drop one project, and start another, you might get into a cycle of unfinished games. Also, since you have chosen Java as your programming language, the same thing applies. Don't drop Java for another language.

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Here is a piece of advice I wish someone had given me back when I started: start super small. Before you program a game, animate a sprite. Play a sound. Start using input. Display a 3D model then rotate it. You need to know the smaller pieces of the puzzle before you can assemble them. Good luck!

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Quote:
Original post by Servant of the Lord
The single most important pieces of advice I can give you, is start small, and finish what you start. If you drop one project, and start another, you might get into a cycle of unfinished games. Also, since you have chosen Java as your programming language, the same thing applies. Don't drop Java for another language.


Perfect advice. Again, welcome to the forums.

I thought it was only me who find more joy in starting a project than working for months and months on the same thing. There are points though where the most logical decision is to scrap a project, no harm in that as long as you aren't consistant about it.

Java is a good language, although usually quite difficult for new programmers (I've programmed for ~6 years and I still have problems with that language). Many people use Java for games, but from what I understand it seems more difficult because I think (not positive) you need to use a lot of different API's to build your game whereas something like DirectX and C++ will give you access to the graphics, input, sound, etc...

Many people use Game Maker but I would consider 'games' made in it more as a modification of their default template rather than a homebrew game. Plus, I think GameMaker is a scripting language so it doesn't necessarily behave similar to languages used for games.

You really don't need a whole lot of experience to make a 'game'. I learned VB6 in 2003-04 and built a game within the first few months of learning it. Yeah, the game was really simple, but it was a game none-the-less. In fact, the final for that class was to build a game after only a few months of learning the language.

I would suggest looking into XNA. It is really simple to get started but, if you look at some of the already created games/demos, it has loads of power to build awesome games.

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I started off with java and, at first, found programming incredibly hard and criptic. I read books about it and struggled to get the concepts down for 2 years. Then I got more determined after I met a fellow programmer in person and he agreed to help me out. I began to really practice and ask a ton of questions on these forums and to him. By March of '08 I had Pong. I decided to ditch java and make games with C# which is a very similar language but (in my opinion a large support base).

Java is a good language to start with and if you follow your books and tutorials you should get off on the right path.

You probably won't make graphical applications/games for 6 months to a year. You will likely start off by making console apps and stick with that for a while.

Good Luck :)

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One of the languages I've seen recommended, and am thus trying out myself, is C#. Looking for Visual studio express C# (as well as the other languages) is a great way to go. Also there is PlayBasic where the learning edition is free (though the fuller retail is about 25 dollars.) Either way, if you're really looking for it try those.

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I've been programming Java for close to 10 years now and would be more than happy to help you along, just drop me a PM if you have any questions.

While I agree that Java can be cryptic sometimes, the fact that you need loads of APIs to program a game is just not correct, you only need to find the correct one.
Personally I use JMonkeyengineM It s a great APIs for games, got everything you need from a scene based gfx engine to sound to input handling.

Having someone to help you with the basics help a lot though, saves you from having to reinvent the wheel on so many levels. I wish I had someone like that when I started, but back then, Java was still a small language, mainly used for applets and such. Now Java is used almost as much as C++ and C# (which btw. is almost a complete rip off of Java...) and in almost the same areas as well. Even some of the bigger gaming companies now use Java for parts of their games. Oblivion is one example. The main reason bing that it makes it easier to port games between platforms, all they need is to write a JVM for a platform once, and then for each game to port the GFX layer and they're done.

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I would actually seriously recommend GameMaker, if you are interested in designing games over programming games. I think you'll find that, starting from scratch in both departments, you'll have to learn a ton of programming before you can even begin designing games. Just making a humble level editor will require a fair amount of knowledge of data structures and file IO. Meanwhile, GameMaker gives you a far more balanced approach. You need a little code to set things going, but you can begin designing levels, writing stories, trying new ideas, etc a lot faster than starting from a C/C++ or Java program.

Now, if the emphasis is on game programming/programming in general over game design, then GameMaker will rob you of some experience. I'm not saying you won't learn any coding with it, but you won't write game engine code like managing resources, loading levels, low-level collision checking, etc. It doesn't restrict you, but it does basically force upon you a prebuilt engine, albeit one that is very well suited for almost any type of (2D) game.

I would also advice you to ignore anyone's opinion of GameMaker who doesn't actually tell you they've seriously used it (I've used it, not exclusively). I get the impression many newbies work and slave over C/C++ or Java and are frustrated when GameMaker users can produce games like these without having to go through all that. And all of those game creators are no slouches with programming, they simply use GM because they prefer to spend more time making games.

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I also think that playing with GameMaker for a couple of weeks before filling your head with code is a good idea. It's not hugely flexible, but it will help to give you an idea of all the parts that go into a game, and will clue you in on some of the possible approaches one can take to things.

You can always learn how to write that low-level code later. Playing with GameMaker first will help to give you a 'big picture' view so that when you come to start playing with code, you'll know where you're heading.

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Quote:
Original post by sadron
We talking Game Maker or GameMaker 'cause there is a difference between them. (Besides the space in the name)

Could you elaborate please? I'm aware of
http://www.gamemaker.nl
which redirects you to
http://www.yoyogames.com/make
They both appear to be about the same program, created by Mark Overmars.
Google also shows http://game-maker.en.softonic.com/ - but that also redirects you to yoyogames.com, where the latest version is Game Maker 7.0.

I digging more deeply, I also found GameMaker Lite 1.2.2 by Al Staffieri Jr. - for Macintosh computers. Is that the non-space one you're referring to?

And trusting you that there's a difference between them besides what OS they run on and having a space in the name or not, how is Super's and Matthew's recommendation to give the program a try affected by the difference?

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First i would like to say thanks to all people who replied to my topic :)

Second, i actually got more confused. Some is saying "Stick to Java", others: "Go GameMaker".

I'm queite confused, but i guess i just stick to learning Java.

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Hey maniacis,

I messed around with game maker for a bit. Actually had seem some great products from similar sites and some that were from earlier versions. The biggest point I have read and come accross is you have to know a language to get further into the construction. C#, C++, etc are a common ones. I ve started in classes and will be following C++ through the courses with intro into others. From a stand point I would say you can learn a little using them but starting with a language and working around it seems to be better.

Ive picked up a few books on Direct x programming which looks pretty informative also.

DR0318

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If you're not planning to program your own engine and making 3D game, pick Torque Game Engine. Well documented, strong community, source code,indie license(you can sell the content), all for 150bucks. The best thing is that there is a book for it, made for total beginers with no previous experiences, it covers scripting, modeling, texturing, sound engineering... - all to make a game.

If you're interested, PM me.

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Quote:
Original post by Maniacis
Well, i think i'm going to make engines my self, but thank you anyways :)


Writing an engine is a great way to learn, and that's how I took my big jump into game development after a couple years of programming, but it's also a huge undertaking that will take you several years. I agree with the advice that the others gave, start incredibly small and make sure you finish what you start.

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Quote:
Original post by Silicon Munky
Quote:
Original post by Maniacis
Well, i think i'm going to make engines my self, but thank you anyways :)


Writing an engine is a great way to learn, and that's how I took my big jump into game development after a couple years of programming, but it's also a huge undertaking that will take you several years. I agree with the advice that the others gave, start incredibly small and make sure you finish what you start.


Maybe, but...

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Quote:
Original post by Maniacis
First i would like to say thanks to all people who replied to my topic :)

Second, i actually got more confused. Some is saying "Stick to Java", others: "Go GameMaker".

I'm queite confused, but i guess i just stick to learning Java.

If you want to know a bit more about game development as a whole, play with GameMaker for a while. I've done 4 years of level-design before I started programming. It has given me a great deal of insight that's still very useful now that I'm a game programmer, even though level-design has little to do with programming. After creating a few simple games, start programming. Because you built a few games already, you'll have a better idea about what you need to program in order to get a game up and running.

Of course, you can jump straight into programming just as well. It's up to you. :)

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Quote:
Original post by MaulingMonkey
Quote:
Original post by Silicon Munky
Quote:
Original post by Maniacis
Well, i think i'm going to make engines my self, but thank you anyways :)


Writing an engine is a great way to learn, and that's how I took my big jump into game development after a couple years of programming, but it's also a huge undertaking that will take you several years. I agree with the advice that the others gave, start incredibly small and make sure you finish what you start.


Maybe, but...


It depends on what you want to get out of it. I wanted to become a rendering programmer, not specifically a gameplay programmer. Writing a small engine for my own tech demo helped me learn what I needed to get a job working on my company's graphics pipeline/engine.

Edit: I agree with you though, if the OP doesn't want to get into rendering work specifically and actually wants to make games, then using a prebuilt engine is so much better since making your own engine is a huge piece of work.

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