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Total Beginner here. Have a few questions

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Hi, what's up? Humans have named me Steve. I am very interested in programing/designing games. But I have no experience in programming at all. I was going to go to my library today and pick up a book on C/C++. I have also heard of a progam called XNA and how it uses C# which is sort of like C/C++, and I hear that it is much easier to make PC games with it. Is this true? As for now I am only looking to make PC games. Maybe later I might start work on a console game. But for now PC game making is what I want to learn.

I have also looking to go to college to help me learn more and for a future job. I was thinking about going to my community college for either Computer Science, or Game Development then transfer to a 4 year college. But what I was wondering was should I go for Computer Science, then transfer to say Digipen for a Game Designing Degree? Does that sound better then just going to community college for Game Designing then transfer to Digipen for Game Designing?

And does anyone know any good books I should pick up? I was looking at the Beginner C/C++ for Dummies book. Is that one good or should I stay away from it and try something else?

And I know that this field of work is hard and takes a lot of practice and time to master. And I am willing to do what I can to do this. And I thank you for helping me with my questions.

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Hello human.
Your beginner programming question is properly posted in the right place. You just need to read the forum's FAQ (scroll up and look for the itsy-bitsy teeny-tiny link that says "View Forum FAQ").
If you want to post questions about design, you can post those in Game Design. But you should start by reading that forum's FAQ first.
If you have questions about college, you can post those in the Breaking In forum (but read that forum's FAQ first, before you ask any questions there).

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A few points on your programming concerns:

- Learning C and C++ is not the end goal.
- Consequently, stop asking how things are similar to C and C++. It's not relevant.
- It is going to be far easier to make games with C# and XNA, than with C++. And C is even worse. Search this forum for more discussions on languages. Essentially the advice boils down to avoid C and avoid C++.
- You will only be making PC games. Well, you've got XNA and homebrew for console games. But professional development kits for consoles are not open to the public. You will not get access until you work for a studio that develops for a console. Don't worry about console vs pc.
- The book you pick up will depend on the language you choose to learn. Pick a language first.
- And please stop talking about studying C/C++. It's like talking about studying Latin/English. See what I mean?

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Original post by oler1s
- And please stop talking about studying C/C++. It's like talking about studying Latin/English. See what I mean?


I'm not sure I agree with this. I 'studied' Latin/English when I was in school.

While a language is usually just a means to an end (a functioning program/game if you're talking about a programming language or a means of communication if you're talking about a written/spoken language), you can certainly study them.

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Original post by Mantear
Quote:
Original post by oler1s
- And please stop talking about studying C/C++. It's like talking about studying Latin/English. See what I mean?

I'm not sure I agree with this. I 'studied' Latin/English when I was in school.
You mean that you studied Latin and you studied English, correct? The point Mantear was trying to make is that C and C++ are seperate languages, and learning them correctly involves studying each independently; you can "study C and C++", but you can't (or at least, shouldn't) "study C/C++".

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Original post by Kahroo
I have also heard of a progam called XNA and how it uses C# which is sort of like C/C++, and I hear that it is much easier to make PC games with it.
C and C++ are programming languages. You use them to write out instructions telling the computer how to perform a task, or a group of tasks. C# is also a programming language, but is much newer (and therefore more modern) than C or C++. You can read more about the C# programming language on wikipedia.

When you're working with a programming language, it's common to use libraries of existing, pre-written code to help you get things done; you might for example use the DirectX library to help you draw graphics on the screen or to get input from the keyboard. You could write the code to do these things yourself from scratch, but it would be a lot of uneccesary work. XNA is a library for .NET programming languages, most easily usable with C#, which helps you to create games for the PC or for XBox 360.

C# and XNA are an excellent choice for a beginner, and will probably be easier for you to get started with than C or C++.


Hope that helps a bit! [smile]

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Original post by jbadams
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Original post by Kahroo
I have also heard of a progam called XNA and how it uses C# which is sort of like C/C++, and I hear that it is much easier to make PC games with it.
C and C++ are programming languages. You use them to write out instructions telling the computer how to perform a task, or a group of tasks. C# is also a programming language, but is much newer (and therefore more modern) than C or C++. You can read more about the C# programming language on wikipedia.

When you're working with a programming language, it's common to use libraries of existing, pre-written code to help you get things done; you might for example use the DirectX library to help you draw graphics on the screen or to get input from the keyboard. You could write the code to do these things yourself from scratch, but it would be a lot of uneccesary work. XNA is a library for .NET programming languages, most easily usable with C#, which helps you to create games for the PC or for XBox 360.

C# and XNA are an excellent choice for a beginner, and will probably be easier for you to get started with than C or C++.


Hope that helps a bit! [smile]


That was really helpful!

How do you compare XNA to learning java or python for a total beginner? I'm going to be taking beginner programming next semester, but am trying to get a jump and do a bit of programming. Currently have started python, but am wondering what the best 'foundation' would be for programming language.

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If your college is anything like mine, your first year course will likely cover C++ in the most 'For Dummies' way possible. If you just want to be ahead of your class and make your life easier, I'd recommend learning a bit of C++. But if your intent is just to make games, C#/XNA is where it's at. I personally did both, but I was doing them for about 3 years before college, so you may want to focus your time on one or the other.

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Original post by Quasimojo
The over-sensitivity to the general use of the term, "C/C++" here just cracks me up. Someone needs a latte...hmm...that does sound good about now... :P


... So I was working on this Java/C# project the other day... and I realized I needed a scripting engine; do you think it would be OK to expect users to script in Perl/Ruby, or should I roll my own?

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Original post by Zahlman
Quote:
Original post by Quasimojo
The over-sensitivity to the general use of the term, "C/C++" here just cracks me up. Someone needs a latte...hmm...that does sound good about now... :P


... So I was working on this Java/C# project the other day... and I realized I needed a scripting engine; do you think it would be OK to expect users to script in Perl/Ruby, or should I roll my own?


AUGH!

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Original post by Bromordra
If your college is anything like mine, your first year course will likely cover C++ in the most 'For Dummies' way possible. If you just want to be ahead of your class and make your life easier, I'd recommend learning a bit of C++. But if your intent is just to make games, C#/XNA is where it's at. I personally did both, but I was doing them for about 3 years before college, so you may want to focus your time on one or the other.


Thanks for the info. Again, not to thread hi-jack, but in what sense of games, just pc open source?

The way my course load works is roughly beginner programming first, then C++ for the next two years.

I figure in that time span I should probably be working on getting to a point to be able to code some games and whatnot, so I guess learning C# or XNA on the side and working on programs wouldn't be such a bad thing. But will it be extremely difficult to switch to C++ after I've developed games on say XNA? I'm kind of guessing a lot of core elements are similar, but this is the beginners forum, haha.

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Original post by BGrizzMayne
How do you compare XNA to learning java or python for a total beginner?
The tools you'll be using to develop with C#/XNA are better than most of those available for Python, and comparable-if-not-better than those available for Java; whilst there are some very good Python environments available, most of the better ones are not free, whereas Microsoft provide an excellent IDE free of charge for C#.

The results you're able to achieve with any of those languages are pretty comparable, although you'll probably find more resources available for working with C#/XNA than with Java or Python.

If you're starting from scratch and choosing between these languages, I'd personally rank C# as first choice, followed by Python then Java.

The important thing however is to choose any language and start learning. If you've already made a start with Python you may be better off sticking with it. Try another language if you like, but make sure you stick to one of them; don't fall into the trap of changing technologies every few weeks or months without progressing past a beginner to intermediate stage.


Quote:
But will it be extremely difficult to switch to C++ after I've developed games on say XNA? I'm kind of guessing a lot of core elements are similar, but this is the beginners forum, haha.
General programming skills are transferable from one language to another. Knowledge of how a game works will also transfer to creating games using different languages or libraries.

I wouldn't worry about the difficulty of switching languages at a later stage; just get started with what you've chosen and deal with learning additional languages when the time comes.

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