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New to the World of Programming

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Hello to all.

I'm nearly completely new to programming, but I absolutely enjoy the thought of programming and creating games from scratch. I wanted to get into game development for quite some time now, but never told myself to do it until this afternoon, so I'm committing myself to learn as many aspects of game development as possible. There is only one problem, I don't have a very great foundation of programming knowledge. The most I've used was a C++, but all I learned how to do in a day was "Hello, World" before the real world provided me with some nasty obstacles, sadly, I had to postpone my new project. xD. I've forgotten nearly all I learn aside from a lot of these, "{ } [ ] ()". Not to worry though, I believe I have all the tools that I need to develop my own games that have some production value to them:

  • I learn very fast. I'd say I'm capable of learning faster than the average person.
  • I have a lot of experience in sound recording, music production, graphic design, painting in the digital medium, and story writing.
  • I am a frequent roleplayer in forums, brain storming is one of my key abilities.
  • I believe my imagination and logic are at par with each other.
  • On top of everything else, I am an excellent problem solver and my observation skills are second only to FBI agents. >8 )
    Now that I've gotten that out of the way, what I need is a course of action. I know, as of right now, I could download a couple programming programs, watch a few youtube videos, read forums and articles, but that isn't the way I want to take this. I'd like to know quicker ways of teaching myself through the learning experiences of other users. What helped your learn. School? Forums? What type of exercises did you do, etc.. Anything that could give me some insight on how you guys learned what you know and what knowledge you could pass on to a newcomer. I do have a deadline to motivate myself. I plan to have a small but fun innovative game in 6 months. As of right now, I do not know what that is yet, or how it's going to be played! ^_^ I may not be an active poster because I have nothing to contribute, but I will be reading...a lot.

    Thanks for listening. :)


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Step 1: Pick a language. Since you've forgotten most of C++, and you didn't have much experience with it anyhow, don't feel like you need to stick with it. Other languages will get you started faster, and Python and C# are the common beginner language suggestions (though Java is popular as well).

Step 2: Decide how you want to learn it. A class will be more fixed-pace than you might want, but it will force you to practice coding skills. Depending on your motivation level, this might be a better option than learning on your own. Alternatively, you can buy (or get from the library) a good programming textbook. You can go through the textbook at your own pace, but make sure that you do all the exercises (typing them out, not imagining solutions). If you slack on the exercises, you can end up in a nasty spot where you can read code fairly well, but aren't very good at writing it.

Step 3: While you're learning, make as many programs as you can. Even if they suck or do something trivial/uninteresting/unnecessary, practice is the only way your skills are going to improve. Try to stick to language features that you're learning as you go, and then re-write programs to take advantage of new features as you learn them. Re-factor code you've written to make it more efficient, more elegant/readable, more portable, etc.

Step 4: Try to solve problems you encounter as you go. Get to know the documentation for your programming language. When you're really stumped, come here and ask, providing your code and explaining what you've already tried. Also post here for questions about how the language works, to deepen your understanding.

Step 5: Once you're an ok programmer in your language of choice, download some libraries that will help you transition to games with a GUI, input, and so on. What libraries you have to choose from will depend on what language you choose, but PyGame (python) and SDL/SFML (C#) are pretty popular.

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