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Starting and stopping learning to code, then forgetting :(

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So I've been a lurker of this forum for ages now, and I suppose I'm not out of the ordinary - just another gamer with a ton of ideas and no real game-specific technical skills to apply as yet.

I've made a few stabs at learning to code, but seem to run out of steam and stop while still in the land of C++ "console" apps - and usually just long enough to forget most of what I've read and get bogged down by the syntax/other mundane things all over again.

Just wondering if anyone else out there is in the same boat or how much consistent discipline you think is required to really get a grasp on programming and make some solid progress in the field.

It would also be interesting to know how long it took you to go from complete programming noob to simple 2D games, and from there to basic 3D games or some combination of the above - basically the time it took you to reach what you would consider key milestones in your programming journey, and what they were for you exactly.

I've got a ton of respect for you coders out there, I just think it would be so damn cool to be able to put your ideas into reality.

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I'll just mention that if your primary interest is in getting some of your ideas in playable form, you'd probably be best off trying to eliminate as many obstacles as possible, which means (among other things) not trying to write your games 'from scratch' using C++.

Instead, take a look at Python+Pygame, C#+XNA, Unity, Shiva, Blender Game Engine, etc. That you've already done some work in C++ really shouldn't matter much, especially if you haven't made much headway as of yet. Using one of the aforementioned frameworks will get you going much faster. You'll still have plenty of work to do, but there will be far fewer obstacles in your way.

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If your main goal is to get to make games, then find a book and language that's suited for starting with that, rather than trying to learn a language just on its own with no clear short-term goals. I'd recommend you start with Python, since its a great beginner language (unlike C++). I can also recommend the book "Python for the absolute beginner" (Dawson, not Hall and Stacey), which focuses on development of simple games throughout the learning process, with each chapter teaching a particular concept and ending with the creation of a simple game showcasing that concept. It starts out with simple console games and builds up to fairly complex 2d games. Once you reach that point, you can continue with Pygame, learn C++/another language, or pick a Python-supporting game engine to fool around with. Once you know one language, its pretty easy to lay your knowledge onto another one.

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Programming is a practical skill, if you don't use it enough you won't internalise it. There is a threshold, once you pass that you'll never entirely forget how to program.

The discipline is just to work through the tough times, don't abandon it because it seems difficult. They say that finding out how little you actually know is an important step in master any subject. It seems demoralising at the time, but the main thing is to view it in the positive light: discovering the true depth of your lack of knowledge actually takes a fair understanding of the subject matter.

Power through it. Keep writing programs. How long do you tend to last between starting and stopping? You're probably closer than you think to "getting" it.

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I don't see any need to go to 2d first if 3d is your ultimate goal. Just make sure you understand the basics of 3d coordinate system and something called 'linear algebra'. All this means is you will be able to deal with vectors in a 3d space and be able to determine things like if they intersect, or if they are pointing in the same direction, etc.

Be strategic. Be economic. Cut to the chase. At the same time I think it's hard to move on with something if you don't understand some part of it. If so, go ahead, feed your curiosity. You will eventually get through things if you stick to it.

Make sure you understand basic truth statements & boolean logic.
Find out what your problems are, alternate between planning and executing your ideas.
Learn to make sense of the code you write.

When things get too constrained or messy, find a good stopping point and work on simplifying and clarifying things, maybe starting from scratch on your current code or go on and tackle a new direction.

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