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Roadmap to advanced game design for beginners

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A while back, I found this post on here:

Roadmap to a 2D MMO

The post is written by someone who wanted to build a 2D MMO, but recognised that they might not have the required skill set to just jump in and give it a go. There is an image missing from the post I have linked, but it is basically an itemised list of game types, increasing in complexity, that the user must design and build in sequence - thus slowly learning how to build bigger, better and more complex games.

I liked the post because it diffused the tiresome, naive approach that lots of people seem to take: "I have an idea for the next Warcraft, it will be better, how do I do it... etc..."

I don't quite aspire to making a AAA blockbuster title, but I would like to make some hobbyist, homebrewed multiplayer games.

As it goes, my skillset doesn't fully match this aspiration. I am an artist (which I suppose bodes well for the visuals of any games I produce), but I have absolutely no idea about programming or computing (i.e. what sort of magical clockwork goes on inside the case of my machine when I press buttons).

I was hoping that more experienced members of this community would be able to use this thread to help me design a roadmap of my own, starting with something like "Hello World", and taking me all the way through to a professional standard multiplayer game. This will be in small, bitesized steps - so the leaps between each stepping stone aren't too daunting or difficult to make.

Ultimately, I aspire to makeing 2D multiplayer RPGs and browser based strategy games.

I would also like to request that someone point me to an idiot's guide to how these pieces of software work, perhaps a beginner's glossary of some kind. This should be in simple, leyman's speak - assume that I have no idea about what a server or a browser is, or how information is managed etc...

Thanks in advance for any help that you can give.

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If your not experienced in programming at all then a MMO game is the last think I would recommend you to do.

I guess starting out learning about the principles of programming and learning at least one language until you know it solid would be a good start.

Also knowing something about the Hardware (As you mentioned you dont know whats going on inside) cant be wrong. Whats the memory for, what does the CPU do, why use graphic cards?

Once you get the link between the programming and hardware its pretty simple to understand.

Your next step would be to get into graphical programming or atlast graphical maths. Alot of games require knowledge in these.

Now you have two steps. You can go the way start learning XNA/SlimDX/DirectX/OpenGL and try to make ur own code base or you start using an engine.
Because you are an artist and you wont get the deep knowledge of programming in less then 3 years. I would recommend to you go with an engine.

For Example unity. It implements C# and JavaScript for scripting which is more then simple. Scriptable languages are made for game designers rather then programmers.

To summarize a small road map, in my opinion your way should look like this:

--------Level 1--------


-Get yourself into computers and his components. (Hardware)
-Get yourself into programming (I would recommend C# as language)

-------Level 2--------

-Learn something about Computer graphics (theory and Practice)
-Use your knowledge with XNA (If you have learned C#)

--------Level 3-------

Fun Begins:
-Get an Engine (For Example Unity3D)
-Learn the Engine
-Create Content
-Script the Logic
-Publish Game

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Thanks for your prompt and thorough reply Olaf, can you recommend any resources, or point me to any links that I could use to make a start on the first basic step with (Getting to grips with computers/components/ hardware)?

Ordinarily, Google is my first port of call, but this subject is simply so big, it's easy to get lost in all of the (usually quite technically worded) search results. To this end, I'm open to suggestions for sources of information.

Any comments anyone else might have are also welcome.

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