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Hi, I've read all the stuff on the site about beginners and stuff, but i still need help. I have no experiance whatsoever in programming, but want to start. Is C++ a good place to start programming? Should i learn to program on windows, or is dos a better choice? I also need to know some good books for beginners. Honestly, i would like to start with C++ in windows, but i have no clue what is the best to start out with. Is MSVC++ a good compiler to start out with, or does it even matter? Is there anything else i need to know about or get to start programming? I want to start programming simple games (tetris etc.). What do i need to know for this? DirectX i suppose...right? I know all these questions are probably a pain in the butt, and have probably been answered a million times, but i would really appreciate some straight answers. Thanks. -Roger Edited by - Roger the Shrubber on September 3, 2001 9:32:21 PM

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Yes, C++ is a good language and is used by most people, but you can still use any language you want. Visual C++ is a great compiler, you should be fine with that.

First, you should buy a book on C++. Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days is good, plus a few others. After reading a book like this, you'll have the knowledge to make simple text console applications.

Then, if you want to learn Windows Programming, you'll need to learn the Win32 API (or MFC). I'd recommend buying either "Programming Windows" by Charles Petzold or "Windows 98 Programming from the Ground Up" by Herbert Schildt.

After you learn Windows programming, you should learn a graphics API or something. DirectX is a good choice, and so is OpenGL. If you want to learn DirectX, I would really recommend getting "Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus" by André LaMothe (anyone will tell you this is a good book).

Just start simple and work your way up. You have the right idea by wanting to make simple games at first. Also, in some C++ books, there's a lot of stuff that you might think isn't useful for games. But don't skip any of this stuff and make sure you understand everything completely. Don't try to rush through everything either, just go slow and start simple.

Edited by - Midnight Coder on September 3, 2001 9:43:18 PM

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As for API''s, if you want to learn OpenGL rather than Direct X, "OpenGL Game Programming" by Kevin Hawkins and Dave Astle is a great book. Possibly the best game programming book available.

Do yourself a favor, and don''t ask: "Well, which is betterm OpenGL or Direct X." Youll start a flame war. So, Ill put out a simple opinion which I can say is correct by factual representation:

If you like very clean and organized code, more like DOS programming, OpenGL is for you. If you like messy, english-like, to the point phrase kind of stuff, such as

DRAWLINEONE

in a sentence type structure, Direct X is for you.

Good Luck.

BTW: Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days is a good book, up till week two, it jumps from beggining to intermediate, without discussing any steps needed in between. I personally don''t know a better book, but go to amazon.com and check the reviews of other C++ books and see wha suites you.

"I''ve sparred with creatures from the nine hells themselves... I barely plan on breaking a sweat here, today."~Drizzt Do''Urden

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Drizzt, have you ever even used DirectX? Once you actually know it, it isn't messy at all. Both APIs are equally good, it's totally a matter of preference.

Edited by - Midnight Coder on September 3, 2001 9:57:18 PM

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Thanks a bunch!

Now i have a direction to go in.

Actually, i have another question. You may think im a complete idiot, but here it is: DirectX and OpenGL can be compiled in VC++, right? Do you only really need 1 compiler for all your programming needs?


Thanks again!!!

-Roger

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Yes, DirectX and OpenGL can certainly be used in Visual C++, as well as most other compilers. You will only need one compiler for all your programming.

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I didnt mean to start an argument, I am going by the fact that the Direct X code I have seen when I did try to learn it, was in more of a sentence structure than a programming language structure.. It looked out of place in my code, and seemed to be nothing. It completely is a matter of preference, I agree, but I stated my opinion, is that illegal? I find DX code to be messy, and windows code is messy to, making it a combination I can''t work very well with. OpenGL seems clean to me(the API I use, my "preference") and helps to lessen the messy code. It also stands out, so its easier to find in your C++ code. the Direct X code was pretty confusing to me, maybe because I wasnt reading a book, and I was reading tutorials, but from what I saw, it loked similar to windows programming, alot similar. So, I had trouble with it.
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
You should look through them both and see what you decide.

"I''ve sparred with creatures from the nine hells themselves... I barely plan on breaking a sweat here, today."~Drizzt Do''Urden

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Sorry if I sounded offensive, I really didn''t mean to. I just wanted to make sure that Roger didn''t right away get the idea that one API is better than the other (without deciding for himself).

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If you had of asked me a year ago, I would have said "DirectX all the way." It''s not that one API is significantly better than the other, but take my advice:

NEEDED DirectX information is scarce at best. I''m stuck now trying to learn how to use their .x file format, and there''s not alot out there. As far as books go, not one really good book on Direct3D8 is out there. (I check Amazon.com daily. There are two potentials, but not until October or December). Everyone will tell you to read the SDK. First off, if you are not using the common file framework, it can throw you for a loop. And sometimes, the information in the SDK is just plain hard to find.

I''ve written code for a long time professionally in ecommerce. I''ve been programming Visual C++ for almost a year now, and DirectDraw for about 6 months and Direct3D for about 4 months. The resources alone are worth it for you to learn OpenGL. I have wasted/lost SOOOO much time, just looking for ways to do intermediate things, and sometimes the resources are just not there. I have found 3 decent sites to help get you thru the basics, but after that, you''re on your own, and some people on these boards have attitudes when you ask for help, or your question doesnt get answered at all. Save yourself some heartache and learn OpenGL. There are plenty of resources to get you going. Please learn from my mistake.

Sincerely,

Paladin

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Actually, Roger still has to learn C++ itself, so he really doesn''t need to make a decision on an API for quite a while. It would be more useful to him if we could give him some more ideas for C++ books.

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I find resources on Direct X much easier to find than OGL. This is one reason I reccomend DX to new comers. You should just take a basic tutorial on both, and see what you like.

"I''ve sparred with creatures from the nine hells themselves... I barely plan on breaking a sweat here, today."~Drizzt Do''Urden

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I cant agree with Drizzt. There is some of basic stuff out there, but that resource is depleted quickly after you start, and finding a BOOK on Direct3D8 is almost impossible presently (almost meaning that the few that are out need some help). For some decent tuts to start (just to see), go to nehe.gamedev.net.

But I do agree with the others. When I first started, I jumped right into Windows programming and found myself overwhelmed. I got Ivor Horton''s book Beginning Visual C++ 6 and read the first half of it and stopped before he went into the MFC.

Yeah it was 4 to 6 months of console programs, but it did the trick. All in all, it''s a great beginner''s book. Also recommended is Accelerated C++. Good and not so thick of a beginner''s book. I would spend the first few months at least getting the basics of C++ down. It is essential to have that foundation before you dive into windows and 2D/3D programming. The math alone will get you if you actually try to understand it and not just use it. Good luck.

Paladin

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*Its me (Roger the Shrubber). I just decided to re-register and change my username.*

Thanks guys,

I''ve looked around for books online and I think im probably going to get "Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days" to start off with.

You can bet I''ll be back here soon, though, asking more questions.

later

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