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SoulHeart

How to get into graphical game programming?

13 posts in this topic

I was wondering how/when I should start graphical game programming. I've been into console project for about 3 weeks now and I'm looking to go up a step. Is this the right next step? What would I need to know to make this step? I'm trying to keep this brief but if you have any questions please ask away. Thanks.
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[quote name='SoulHeart' timestamp='1326413135' post='4902158']
I was wondering how/when I should start graphical game programming. I've been into console project for about 3 weeks now and I'm looking to go up a step. Is this the right next step? What would I need to know to make this step? I'm trying to keep this brief but if you have any questions please ask away. Thanks.
[/quote]

1) Pick any 2D API (Either the one provided by your platform/OS or a higher level one, whichever you prefer)
2) Load an image and display it on screen
3) Get the image to move at a fixed speed (say 20 pixels per second or whatever) regardless of framerate when you press the arrow keys
4) Make games.
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the 2D graphics library SDL http://www.libsdl.org/ is pretty basic. try do what simon said, or get a square bouncing off the sides of the window.

then try to make pong/tetris/breakout. Those games cover all the basic gaming concepts
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[quote name='SoulHeart' timestamp='1326413135' post='4902158']
I was wondering how/when I should start graphical game programming. I've been into console project for about 3 weeks now and I'm looking to go up a step. Is this the right next step?
[/quote]

If you've been programming for 3 weeks, then it's not the right next step. Work on learning the rest of the language, the standard library, more complex programs.

[quote]
What would I need to know to make this step?
[/quote]

You need to be comfortable working with pointers, templates, memory manipulation, debugging mildly complex programs, building programs in the range of 2000 lines of code minimum...

[i]Everyone [/i]tries to make this step about 30% of the way to where they need to. If you think you're ready in 3 weeks, try in 9-12. Learning graphical programming concepts isn't exactly simple and is best done when you're already comfortable with the programming concepts that library integration brings.
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In saying that ^^, you might be some really gifted person and can learn programming and graphics all at the same time. Give it a shot. youll soon find out the things you dont understand, at which point you can go back to the drawing board and learn them.

At least this way gives you a path to learn from
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[quote name='DjMaSh' timestamp='1326421871' post='4902190']
In saying that ^^, you might be some really gifted person and can learn programming and graphics all at the same time. Give it a shot. youll soon find out the things you dont understand, at which point you can go back to the drawing board and learn them.
[/quote]

Or you can not waste your time trying to do two things at once...

You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.

Tons of intelligent people come here thinking that they are above the usual advice of starting slow, not using C++, not getting into graphical programming for a while. The fact of the matter is that this [i]is[/i] the advice for the intelligent crowd. Just because you're hot stuff compared to your school peers doesn't mean you're that high a percentile among aspiring programmers. And even then, programming is an art. Getting good at it takes practice and dedication. There are no shortcuts, just landmines.
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[quote name='SoulHeart' timestamp='1326413135' post='4902158']
I was wondering how/when I should start graphical game programming. I've been into console project for about 3 weeks now and I'm looking to go up a step. Is this the right next step? What would I need to know to make this step? I'm trying to keep this brief but if you have any questions please ask away. Thanks.
[/quote]
By graphical, did you mean like a game where you can actually see pictures rather than ASCII art? Or did you mean to know how to push polygons and render realistic graphics?
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[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1326421322' post='4902188']
You need to be comfortable working with pointers, templates, memory manipulation, debugging mildly complex programs, building programs in the range of 2000 lines of code minimum...

[i]Everyone [/i]tries to make this step about 30% of the way to where they need to. If you think you're ready in 3 weeks, try in 9-12. Learning graphical programming concepts isn't exactly simple and is best done when you're already comfortable with the programming concepts that library integration brings.
[/quote]

Not exactly true, it depends, really. I moved from text-only to graphics programming without barely knowing about pointers and memory allocation (and did not know anything about the other topics, I just knew loops, arrays and structs, not much more). I did barely know what a library was and struggled with linker errors all the time.
That was more than a decade ago, with time I learned everything else and now I work as a graphic programmer.

Templates, really? What use there is the need for learning that concept at this point, he is not going to need that yet, he just needs to start messing around with some graphic libraries, SDL and such, and work his way up the rest of concepts. Working with graphics instead of text is surely more complex for a beginner but also much more interesting, and that's a sure way to make him want to learn more stuff instead of having the feeling of hitting a roadblock.
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The use that pretty much every single useful part of the standard library makes use of templates?
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I learned C/C++ and Java by jumping in and making games. I do it just for fun and not for a job. I found creating the junk programs as a way to learn very boring.
I did have a basic understanding of C/C++ but nothing beyond arrays, loops and keyboard/mouse commands. With Java I knew nothing I just jumped in and went with it, but by then I had a greater understanding of C/C++ and libraries like Allegro.

Best way to learn is to do imo.
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[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1326458797' post='4902324']
The use that pretty much every single useful part of the standard library makes use of templates?
[/quote]
Sure, but most programmers probably start using std::vector and so on without having an idea how it works. It is usually not a problem in the beginning, since if they really get interested on programming, later they will start asking themselves how that stuff really works.
I know lots of people that wanted to learn how to program games, and they got overwhelmed (and bored) with all the concepts they had to learn, and were not able to make any progress, so I really think they should start doing 'fun' stuff and learn the basics at the same time, just my opinion though.
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A good indicator of your current ability is to answer the question: "What is the most complex project you have completed"?
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To be honest, I'm not sure the move to writing graphical apps vs console apps is really all that big of a jump [b][i]if you use a good library[/i][/b] That of course means be able to use headers correctly an understand how the linker works. If you can cross that hurdle, you would probably be just as effective churning out simple 2D apps that hold your interest, over console apps that don't. Motivation is always a big factor that is often overlooked by the more... seasoned amongst us. Some people are also much more visual in their thought process, so having something giving immediate feedback is a big boon. This is why I think everyone ( rich ) should start their programming career with Lego Mindstorm! Apparently some courses actually do this, which is excellent.


I have no idea what language we are talking about here, but it's probably C++. In that case, 3 weeks is probably enough to get you ready to use the likes of SDL or SFML if you can get through the configuration part, that is going to be your biggest hurdle. When writing [url="http://www.gamefromscratch.com/page/Game-From-Scratch-CPP-Edition.aspx"]my tutorial[/url] I actually envisioned my reader to be about 3 weeks to a month into their development. Basically having gone through an introductory book, understood the basic concepts of programming like variables, program flow, function declarations and that's about it. I think you could easily get to that stage in that timeline.


Now, going to Win32 coding and writing DirectX or OpenGL code... that's a bit of a jump for a programmer 3 weeks along in their development.



[left]Mind you, what Telystan said[/left]
[left][i]You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. [/i][/left]
Is exactly right.

All the intelligence in the world doesn't let you skip the learning curve. You may think this is what you are doing when you jump right in with many things at once, but you are really just deferring the learning curve to another time and making the entire process more difficult.
That said, I don't think the OP is doing that. Frankly ( and this is rather sad ), but so far as beginners to this forum goes, a 3 week investment in learning something is actually quite a bit higher. Most posters to this forum try to skip that stage completely.
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Thanks for all of the replies. I just got a c++ beginner book and I will try to master it without cutting corners(long shot for me)Then i will reconsider after that. Wish me luck
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