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Detective D

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Detective D    100
Hey all, new poster sifting through all of the information the board's got to offer. I've got a few nub questions to get out of the way while I'm still on my first day. (Can't have me going and acting intelligent and browsing the thousands of threads similar to mine, now can we. :P ) I've been reading up on developing games for a while, and as a writer, I've had a couple of ideas brewing. From what I can tell, sitting outside of computer classes at colleges offering candy to programmers doesn't work, so I figure I'd better start learning something or I'll end up being one of those odd Starbuck's writers. Anyway, I've looked at a few sites and most all of them suggest developing a close relationship with C++ because of it's wide use, but I'd like to know if programming with this language can produce a commercial game that can compete in today's market, and if so, what step should I look at after learning C++?

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oler1s    585
Quote:
Anyway, I've looked at a few sites and most all of them suggest developing a close relationship with C++ because of it's wide use, but I'd like to know if programming with this language can produce a commercial game that can compete in today's market, and if so, what step should I look at after learning C++?
Directly: Can you use C++ to produce a competitive commercial game? Yes. What's the next step after C++? Programming a lot. Write programs of increasing difficulty.

You know how to search the forums and Google, so here are pieces of information you want to consider:

- Consider that to be a programmer, you should like programming. If you consider programming an obstacle to making a game, you will have trouble going down the programmer route.
- C++ is not a requirement to make a game.
- C++ is not the goal of programmers.
- C++ is not the goal of beginning programmers.
- This forum constantly has members warning not to pick C++ as a first programming language.
- You cannot read your way to competence. Just as much as you cannot be a good writer because you flip through a dictionary and memorize the vocabulary of a language.
- Look at Tom Sloper's site: http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html . Read carefully.
- Consider http://norvig.com/21-days.html which is a reality you should acknowledge.

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CodeCriminal    290
Well, it is true that C++ is used to develop commercial games (among other languages and development tools) but a solo developer trying to create a commercial game to compete with high end games is quite improbable (unless you are some uber nerd with patience to span the universe and Alot of time on your hands).

Even so creating "fairly" decent games is possible for solo indie developers (take a look at the Image of the Day forums), it still going to take quite a while before you are at that stage, and by then you would probably be offered a job as a programmer, especially with C++.

If you want to create fairly decent games your going to need alot of patience (i.e. start small and work your way up), and you have to actually enjoy programming, otherwise you will end up getting bored and cease to program. I dont mean to get you down, but its simply not that easy to start creating cool games especially with C++ (tis hardcore).

I would recommend trying C++ out first and if you feel as though its to hard (nothing to be ashamed of, I didnt start with C++) you could try some other tools to help you develop your games, there are a ton out there. I'll list a few things to help you get started

IDE's:
Windows Platform - Visual C++ Express IDE - http://www.microsoft.com/express/Windows/
Linux Platform - http://www.codeblocks.org/
Macintosh Platform - http://developer.apple.com/tools/xcode/

Useful sites for learning C/C++ programming:
- http://cprogramming.com/
- http://www.cplusplus.com/

Useful beginner Libraries for games programming:
- http://www.libsdl.org/
- http://www.sfml-dev.org/
- http://creators.xna.com/en-GB/ C#.NET only
- http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=2c7da5fb-ffbb-4af6-8c66-651cbd28ca15
- I would send you the link to OpenGL but i dont know how to get it, never used it and it doesnt seem to be as simple as downloading something the SDK and slapping it in a directory your IDE can reach

A few of many game Engines:
- http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/ (I used this when i first started, I was 15 at the time :D)
- http://unity3d.com/
- http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/downloads.html
- Ugh, cant think of any others i know... T_T


Im sure some other people can recommend some more items of iterest and such, those are just the ones i can remember of the top of my head.

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Detective D    100
Wow, thanks for the replies. Good info in both of'em. Honestly, I don't think I'm going to end up enjoying programming, for what it's worth. But I do have the patience to keep something up and eventually get to my goal; and I'm in no rush. I'm asking now since I've signed up for the Air Force and I'm getting a free education out of it. I've technically already done the schooling that I really need to, but if they're giving me free classes, why not?

I'm looking more at the long term of things. My main concern is that writing an idea for a game is easy. The plot, the twists, the character development, and all of that is more or less sitting around with some friends and batting ideas at one another. I want to be more of a help than just, showing up on day one of a project and setting down a stack of papers with a story and saying, "Good luck turning it into a game!" Even if I'm stuck doing the most basic code to free up better programmers, I'd rather do that and be of some help.

Oh, and I do have a friend who's got TONS of time on his hands and he's in on the idea as well. Even if we have to start small on the idea, it's a place to start. Anyway, thanks for all the advice. I'll be sure to sort through it thoroughly.

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CodeCriminal    290
Quote:
Original post by Detective D
I don't think I'm going to end up enjoying programming, for what it's worth.


I felt the same way when I started out (I was only interested in creating this cool game idea I had). However over time, i fell in love with it and now working my way towards a career in programming games (or middleware for games, either one, i dont mind). Perhaps the same story will hold true for you aswell, who knows.


Good luck!

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Tom Sloper    16062
Quote:
Original post by Detective D
1. I've looked at a few sites and most all of them suggest developing a close relationship with C++ because of it's wide use, but I'd like to know if programming with this language can produce a commercial game that can compete in today's market
2. what step should I look at after learning C++?

1. Self-evident. That C++ is widely used to create commercial games that compete in today's market should be proof enough that C++ can produce commercial games that can compete in today's market.

2. Depends. What do you WANT to do after that? In other words, where do you want to wind up? You didn't tell us that little bit of information. EDIT: That was written before I saw that you posted more.

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Detective D    100
Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
1. Self-evident. That C++ is widely used to create commercial games that compete in today's market should be proof enough that C++ can produce commercial games that can compete in today's market.


It's self evident to someone who knows that it was used widely IN commercial games. I was only told that it was widely used, not where. I was also told Java was popular, then again, you don't often see Java advertised on your average console FPS.

Anyway, as an update to anyone who cared, I found out an old buddy of mine is familiar with C++ and has taken a few classes and kept the books from said classes. Hopefully this means the three of us can start learning and practicing coding.

Quote:
[i]Original post by CodeCriminal

I felt the same way when I started out (I was only interested in creating this cool game idea I had). However over time, i fell in love with it and now working my way towards a career in programming games (or middleware for games, either one, i dont mind). Perhaps the same story will hold true for you aswell, who knows.


Good luck!


Thanks a ton. I hope it does turn out that way or this will end up being a looooong road. D:

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Tom Sloper    16062
Quote:
Original post by Detective D
It's self evident to someone who knows that it was used widely IN commercial games. I was only told that it was widely used, not where.

You didn't tell us that before.
If you'd done some reading of the FAQs here, you'd've known that a place where C++ is widely used is the game industry.

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Detective D    100
Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
You didn't tell us that before.
If you'd done some reading of the FAQs here, you'd've known that a place where C++ is widely used is the game industry.


I didn't think I needed to... My post was very clearly nub'd up. :P

I probably should have done more browsing, but I figured that if I made a custom post detailing my plan, specifically, perhaps another opinion or point of view would show up. But thank you for pointing out that it's so highly valued.

Oh! I've looked over a few engines and read an awesome topic on how to choose an engine to run your game on, but the thought occurs. With two similar engines that have seemingly equal performance, what can be deal breakers?

For example, I've looked at the Jupiter Ex. engine (strictly because the Condemned: Criminal Minds game was built on it) and I can really appreciate the lighting and [in my inexperienced opinion] physics to it. Will a bit more knowledge of engine-work or preference come into play once I am a bit more avid of a programmer? Or is this something I should read up on separately?

The reason I ask is that I don't want to go spend a large amount of time studying engines when I could be learning C++, only to find out that I need knowledge in programming to even compare engines, or a similar situation vice versa. Thanks again for all the help. :D

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oler1s    585
Quote:
With two similar engines that have seemingly equal performance, what can be deal breakers?
You have a set of requirements. One or both engines fail to meet those requirements.

Quote:
Will a bit more knowledge of engine-work or preference come into play once I am a bit more avid of a programmer?
No meaningful answer to that question, so let me rephrase it as: Will experience as a programmer make a difference when choosing engines? Answer: Yes.

Quote:
Or is this something I should read up on separately?
You don't read up on engines. You form requirements. Business requirements, technical requirements, legal requirements. Whatever it is, you have certain constraints and demands. You desire a particular solution (which falls under the category "engines"). Inventing your own is generally a bad scenario, unless you happen to make it your objective to build and sell an engine or the like. So you look at what exists, eliminate those that don't meet your constraints, and then prefer one over the other based on your priorities. This is no different from any real life decision making.

Beginners struggling to make a choice fall into one of two categories.

1) They can't form the technical requirements. Tackling a problem far too complex for their level of experience, or not enough work done to determine requirements, or somehow a deficient set of requirements.
2) They don't properly make a decision. Consider a scenario where you want to buy a car. You have ultimately weeded out two top choices but you can't clearly differentiate one over the other. How do you pick? Go with what you personally favored, or mentally flip a coin. Replace car with game engine. Is there a difference?

That's it.

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Detective D    100
Wow, alright. I'm way off from even thinking about engines then. So it's more like looking a set of specs. the engine qualifies for. I suppose the programming proves to be the biggest factor when it comes to visual quality, then. Thanks for the info.

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nobodynews    3126
Quote:
Original post by Detective D
Wow, alright. I'm way off from even thinking about engines then. So it's more like looking a set of specs. the engine qualifies for. I suppose the programming proves to be the biggest factor when it comes to visual quality, then. Thanks for the info.
Programming for visual quality has diminishing returns though. A well-designed game would allow more polygons to appear on the screen, sure. But if you don't have good artists/modelers/level designers those extra polygons are wasted.

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Dragonsoulj    3212
Just to add what CodeCriminal said, the sfml-dev website is actually quite helpful. I've learned a decent amount of C++ through classes and teaching myself, be it through books or online tutorials. SFML doesn't seem too hard once you learn the C++ and how that language works. I believe it is the C++ equivalent of SDL for C. (Granted you can use SDL, SFML is object oriented like C++ while SDL is not.)

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