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Bv202

Where to start?

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Hi, I know there are a lot of these threads already, but I want to make my own to get some advice. I've learnt the basics of a few programming languages (Java, C++, PHP,...) and would like to learn a bit more. I've seen in C++: - Basic things like if/else, loops, arrays, functions,... - Pointers/references (still practicing on this...) - Basic OOP things (Basic classes and methods, overloading operators, inheritance, polymorphism and VERY basic of templates) - A few simple algorithms for searching/sorting (binary search, linear search, bubble sort, merge sort, insertion sort, etc.) - Some data structures (arrays, vectors, linked lists, stacks, deques, etc.) - Some basics of the WIN32 API. Just some basics as you see. I would like to improve my programming skills, but don't know where to start. I was thinking on trying this course: http://www.gameinstitute.com/Graphics_Programming_with_DirectX_9_Module_1.html (Anyone got experience with this?) That should be possible with my current knowlegde. But is that a good idea? Isn't it better to get a good engine/library (what's the difference?) and start using that? SDL (http://lazyfoo.net/SDL_tutorials/index.php) doesn't seem that hard to start with, but will I learn enough with it? Or is the DirectX course a better option? And if I use library's like SDL, which is the best one to start with? There are SO many available? How many should I learn? Or is it better to learn a language like C# and start with something like XNA (which also looks very cool)? I'm not good in maths, but also not that bad in it. The level of math at my school is terrible, so that's likely the main reason for this. I'm willing to learn all necessary things if needed (any good book for this?). Or should I wait with all these libraries/engines or DirectX stuff and just practice C++? There are so many things to learn, but what's the minimum you should know before starting with libraries/engines or DirectX? I'm interested in learning AI, but I've got 0 experience with this. Should I start learning this (and if so, how)? As you see, I'm a bit lost lol. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you EDIT: I'm also EXTREMELY bad with all design stuff. I like to code, but not to make any graphics with Photoshop etc. [Edited by - Bv202 on February 20, 2010 6:23:37 AM]

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May i recommend some assembly language tutorials.
It will help you understand any high level language better.
And it will make you a better programmer as you will know the internals.
And if you want to play with graphics engine might i suggest Wolfenstein3D.
No matter what you choose to study it will not be a waste of time, so go for it :)

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Hi,

I have been thinking about learning Assembly, but it looks REALLY hard (but interesting). Is it really needed and where do I start?

Thanks

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Did you read the beginner's FAQ?

There is also some 'getting started' information at the Game Programming Wiki.

What is your situation and what are your goals? If you're trying to break into the game industry as a programmer you can try to find information in the 'breaking in' forum. If you're trying to prepare for university then learn all you can. If your goal is to be a hobbyist or indie guy then choose a language, formulate a goal and get started.

Honestly, the C# with XNA approach is decent. Make a few games. Start basic and progress.

Quote:
I would like to improve my programming skills
Write programs! This will improve yr programming skills. Practicing programming is the same as anything else. Just do it.

So with the information you provided, I'd say C# and XNA is a nice fit. Try and make a few simple games. If you bang out games quickly, then you'll know you need to move on, improve your skills.

But if you've never made a game just make some simple ones like Tetris, breakout, pacman, etc. After you've made a few of these you'll know where you stand and where you'll need to go.
Quote:
I'm interested in learning AI, but I've got 0 experience with this. Should I start learning this (and if so, how)?

As far as AI goes you can get started with A* and FSMs. That'll cover a lot of ground regarding AI in games. Start with that. If you don't know these terms, look 'em up in google. Resourcefulness gets you far in programming.
Quote:
I'm not good in maths, but also not that bad in it. The level of math at my school is terrible, so that's likely the main reason for this.

I'm guessing the level of math at your local library is decent. Go there and get books. Again, you need to learn how to teach yourself. Don't rely on others. They cannot be trusted and they don't love you. So grab some books and read and enjoy.
Quote:
I'm also EXTREMELY bad with all design stuff. I like to code, but not to make any graphics with Photoshop etc.

Use programmer art, or ready made free graphics as placeholders. You can buy/contract pro art later, or find an artistically skilled collaborator.

Quote:
learning Assembly, but it looks REALLY hard (but interesting). Is it really needed and where do I start?

No it's not needed. It's only needed if your goal is to make a game in assembly. Is this your goal? Otherwise, use the proper tool for the job. Assembly is rarely the proper tool for making quality games on modern hardware whatever.

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Hi,

Thank you for the reply. I've downloaded XNA and I'm now working on some basic C# tutorials.

What about the gameinstitute course? Is it any good?

thank you

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