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confusedmelon

Complete novice, where to start?

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After enjoying video games for a long time I have decided I would like to learn how they work (hopefully one day working in the field). I am an absolute novice and know nothing about games development but I want to learn and hopefully make a very simple game, my question is where do I start, I have ordered a C++ beginners book from Amazon to get me started but is C++ the best place to start?

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Well, some people say C is the best place to start. It's a little simpler than C++, because it's lacking all of the OOP stuff. But If you already have a C++ book then go with that. After you master the basics (and the OOP stuff) I suggest looking at http://www.libsdl.org/ . There's http://lazyfoo.net/SDL_tutorials/index.php that will show you how to use it, and theres a few books out there aswell.

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Although you already ordered a book you may just want to hang onto it for a bit, if you're a complete novice to programming i'd recommend picking up another language until you thoroughly grasp the basics. C# and Python are some of my favorites to recommend, they have rather easy to understand syntax. You can also find alot of material online for both languages.

If you really wish to, its entirely possible to start off learning C/C++(especially if you have a good book). Programming in general takes awhile to pick up, don't be afraid to play around with code and re-read material alot.

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Like the other replies said SDL and the lazy foo website is a great resource. SDL is great for making 2D games.

One other thing: SDL also has python bindings. It may be easier to pick up python as a first language and if you should desire, later on, using SDL in with C++ will be an easier transition. Also, C# with XNA is another good (and straightforward) beginner's option.

The main thing, in my opinion, is finding something that you can get results to keep you motivated. That said, once you choose yr language, stick with it and FINISH yr projects. Also, you will have to learn programming basics before you can make graphical games. Often people advise making console games (guess the number, hangman, text rpg) before moving on to graphics.

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And you are already certain that you want to get into game programming? There are a lot of fields of game development out there so i would first recommend reading this article by Tom Sloper. And after you are certain of what you want to do I would recommend three things no matter what path you take.

#1. Continue reading any of Tom Slopers articles that interest you. Especially if you have chosen that you want to do design.
#2. Frequently visit sites like Gamasutra and GameCareerGuide.
#3. And of course, continue asking questions on Gamedev.net :)


Now here is a bit of advice if you do decide to take up programming.
First, decide what language you want to start with. I personally chose c++ after i tried a few weeks of python but i have fiddled with c# and XNA and i certainly see the merit in choosing a simpler language. And even if you start with something simpler for the first couple months, that extra experience will probably allow you to pick up c++ much quicker.

Second, decide on an api to use with the programming language. For c++ i would recommend SDL(fit's cleanly with OpenGL if you decide to move to 3D), Ogre3D, or if you feel ready, pure Win32 with DirectX.

Third, learn everything you can about the language and api that you chose. For c++ I would recommend cplusplus.com or cprogramming.com. For SDL i would recommend lazyfoo.net(mentioned above). For OpenGL there is the nehe.gamedev.net website(though that is a little outdated). For Ogre3D i would recommend just looking around on there forums and wiki. For pure Win32/DirectX i would recommend DirectXTutorial.com and the msdn.microsoft.com documentation. And remember to keep looking for more books on all this.

Hope this helped. :)

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