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Creegz

Where to begin?

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Creegz    100
Ok, well I have a feeling this might have been posted before, but I am looking for something a little different than the average person. I am looking to start somewhere, but I have no idea what to begin with, as I did some web coding like PHP, HTML, CSS and a small bit of Flash as well as doing some Visual Basic in high school. My knowledge is very base, but functional, and I have no problem reading code and figuring out what each section does, and where it comes into play. I figured web design would hold my interest, but it just led me to the truth here, I don't like dealing with that kind of customer base, since I do not have patience to do cookie cutter things, which I ended up doing a lot. I used the same templates multiple times and just changed them enough to make them look different. It became repetitive because I basically did the same things, take a base template, change images, adjust sizing and margins to make it fit clean, add content, format content, rinse, repeat. Now, my main problem is math. I have seen a lot of people mention math is important. Now I'm not going to go off saying I know nothing, but my math performance was sub par in high school since I missed a lot of grade 8 and 9 math, resulting in me defaulting to grade 11 and 12 general, as opposed to academic or advanced (which is a long story). I am looking to see where I should start, if there is an online course I can take to up my math to a more academic (or even advanced level) enough to hop into school part time. Main reason I'm looking for online is so I can minimize my student loans that I will inevitably end up taking out, while maintaining my current work schedule so I don't have to deal with a loss of income. This is mainly due to the fact that I'm married and want to stay as far away from a lot of debt as I humanly can and keep a good sense of financial safety for me and my wife. I have a serious interest in video games and software, in all honesty, it's one of the few things I can sit down and focus on, be it learning how they operate to using/playing them, it doesn't matter, it calms me as well as captivates me. So the issue is what should I look into doing for math, and what books programming languages should I look into learning the basics of? I have a C# and Java book available to me (not sure how old the two books are and if they're up to today's standards, but it's a start) and I'm well more than willing and able to get others. I would probably start small, like programming small time games for Windows and my Android phone. I use a bit of Linux, but I probably won't program for it as a career, however if there's something I can do with that to help my understanding and knowledge, I'll take the time to do it. Any good tips or pointers from those who are farther than the initial stages I'm currently in would be greatly appreciated, and I would be extremely grateful. Thank you in advance, looking forward to being able to get far enough to give back to this community.

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kindjie    290
Definitely start by reading the forum FAQ.

If I understand your situation correctly, you're insecure about your math ability and want to become a programmer in the game industry. You want to know what your next step should be. Is that correct? I'll answer assuming yes, but there are other jobs (including design and QA) which you might enjoy in the game industry.

If you're really serious about becoming a programmer, your best bet is a university degree. You can save some money by starting at a community college (like UFV or Douglas College) to improve your math and get some transferable credits, then applying to university (like UBC, SFU, or UNBC). You can probably go to most of the schools I mentioned without relocating (maybe not UNBC :P), and many offer part-time programs and online courses.

I can't tell you what the industry will be like by the time you finish (we're in a recession right now), but odds are things will have picked up and the many studios in the Vancouver & Burnaby area will be hiring. Most importantly, with a degree you'll be qualified to work in any area of software, not just games or the web.

Meanwhile, you should DEFINITELY start building a portfolio of games and software. Most people will suggest you start with C# and XNA, I personally recommend ActionScript 3 and Flash. Once you know one, it's surprisingly easy to learn a new one. If you're planning on going into console development, you will need to know C++ since that's what most developers use.

Good luck, and don't let math hold you back!

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Tom Sloper    16062
Quote:
Original post by Creegz
1. I am looking for something a little different than the average person.
2. I am looking to start somewhere, but I have no idea what to begin with
3. my main problem is math.
4. what books programming languages should I look into learning the basics of?

1. So, you're saying you are above average. Either that, or you're saying you are special. Then you proceed to ask frequently asked questions and express frequently expressed concerns. I don't get it.
2. View Forum FAQ (above).
3. You can get beyond that. I gather that you haven't gone to university yet. They'll require you to take some math classes. Just apply yourself and do well in those. As well as you can, that's all anybody asks.
4. See, that's a frequently asked question. I won't address books, and others will suggest several languages. When you go to university they'll offer you languages to study, and some will be required to graduate. Don't worry if we say you should take those up -- just do it. It's not about what languages you know. It's about how well you understand programming.


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Creegz    100
As far as it goes, Tom, you did help a bit, however you misunderstood me, most of that is due to my poor articulation of my question. Mainly, my question was aimed at leading into what I should do for math, and what coding doesn't require a high level of math to get me started, because as previously stated by kindjie, I am insecure about my math abilities, and am unsure of what I should be doing in that case. The books question was more in a base statement, relative to anything I might need to learn, programming languages included, but not the main base of the statement. I don't consider myself special or better, I call my case different because I work days only at my job and I need a way to learn in evenings. I also want to do what I can to save my money to be able to go to school full time, so I need a more cost effective solution, as opposed to taking out loan after loan, that's what I meant by that statement.

As far as kindjie's statements go, that's basically a good start for the direction I'm trying to head in. I was wondering if I should have put effort into getting better with math or start learning some languages. The bulk of my post was to give an idea of how much I know, and how willing I am to learn, but I'm looking for a direction to focus on, so I don't wander aimlessly and become frustrated and get turned against something I find this fascinating.

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kindjie    290
Quote:
Original post by Creegz
As far as kindjie's statements go, that's basically a good start for the direction I'm trying to head in. I was wondering if I should have put effort into getting better with math or start learning some languages. The bulk of my post was to give an idea of how much I know, and how willing I am to learn, but I'm looking for a direction to focus on, so I don't wander aimlessly and become frustrated and get turned against something I find this fascinating.


I can relate a little with the math thing. Although I had zero issues with math at the highschool level, when it came to university I had a lot of issues. If you have a tough time with it too, it will get frustrating. You'll probably feel like quiting sometimes. Just stick through it, PRACTICE by doing the problem sets, and you'll get those credits. Ask for help if you need it from friends, professors, and even tutors (you'd be surprised what 2hrs a semester can do). If you're like most people, once you "get" it, you'll love it and you'll be talking your wife's ear off about how you used this clever algorithm you figured out to get something cool to happen in a game.

From what I'm gathering in your posts, I think you're getting distracted by the math and programming languages questions. These really are non-issues. You'll figure them out at school. That's why you're going!

The fun projects you work on on the side should be just that: fun. Use them to keep yourself motivated and to put your academic studies into practical use. Once you get started on more complicated projects you'll be scouring the internet for answers to math questions instead of having them fed to you in class. That, or you'll be thinking "Oh, that's how I should have done it!" while you're sitting in a lecture. They'll also look great next to a resume when you're applying for jobs.

To directly answer your question, you should be putting your effort into figuring out a way to get that degree. Look at grants, scholarships, loans, family, or anywhere else than can help you. Investigate the schools and see what your options are. Also, don't just trust what an advisor tells your right away when it comes to transfer credits - double check with the school you want to transfer to and get everything in writing.

When you've got a solid plan, just start building stuff. Look through the posts on these forums for some ideas. A classic first project is to do a Breakout clone in AS3 with Flash or C# with XNA. If you want to get right into C++ you can start doing little console-based text adventures or ticktacktoe.

It sounds like you've broken through the first barrier that a lot of people have, entitlement, and realized that it's going to take hard work and dedication to make your life what you want it to be. Go do it.

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Creegz    100
Thank you, that is basically the answer I was digging for. Whether or not to do anything at all or just get straight into school, I appreciate the answer along with some simple projects to tackle. I have been perusing the boards to see what people are into, even though it's a bit advanced for me, it has me excited and encouraged to get to the level I need to be at to contribute.

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