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darcmagik

Most Important C++ Skills

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Hey everybody been quite a while since I last posted. I've been spending a lot of time lately working on my C++ skills trying to make myself a better and more solid programmer with C++ before I worry more about the various API and game engines available to use for development. And I have come up with what I think is a genuine question. My question is what are the most important areas of C++ programming for game programmers to know. I know that in general all aspects of the C++ programming language and programming logic are important but like I'm trying to decide what aspects of the language I should be spending more time studying and what areas that maybe I can read and do a couple exercises but don't need to spend real quality time investigating and pounding into my head. Oh I should also probably post that I'm building my skill set right now to get a job in the game industry and I'm hoping eventually to work my way to being either a graphics programmer or a game play programmer. I realize those are 2 completely different aspects of game programming and require different skill sets to be proficient at but regardless those are the 2 aspects that interest me the most. So lets hear opinions on this aspect.

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Well as you mentioned yourself, you have a big distinction between learning multiple API libraries, learning design patterns and how to create a good object-oriented architecture (whatever the language), and learning the language itself. C++ in itself isn't much complex, memory allocation, pointers, templates, binary operation. If you want to expand after the basic language, the std library is pretty much tied to the C++ language, and learning to use it properly is probably the answer you seek. Quite complex though, and much less user-friendly than the C#/.Net one. Or you could learn some parts of the boost library, which is an attempt to make a better std library, but I wouldn't start with it. Still, learning a language without any methodology on how to write code is quite useless

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The specialisation in graphics or gamplay is mostly about learning lots of theory/patterns/ideas that transcend a particular language or API.

When it comes to being a good C++ programmer though, I'd say the most important thing is being able to write bug free code. C++ is a very dangerous language, which makes it extremely easy to write lines of code that cause crashes ([i]or worse - I'd argue a subtle memory corruption bug is harder to diagnose/fix than a hard crash[/i]).
I'd recommend reading ([i]and re-reading[/i]) [url="http://news.slashdot.org/story/05/06/07/1531214/Effective-C-Third-Edition"]Effective C++[/url], [url="http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/"]The C++ FAQ[/url] and [url="http://www.gotw.ca/gotw/"]Guru of the Week[/url] until you grok it.

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