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dixego1

Help for a total begginer in programming

7 posts in this topic

Ok, so here's my situation:

I want to learn how to program games. I have no experience with programming whatsoever. I started reading a book (Beginning C++ through game programming) for a few weeks but I just didn't grasp any concept or learn any part of the structure or the things I was using.

After reading the boards here for a bit I read some recommendations about not starting with C++ and learning something easier instead.

Will learning another language make it easier for me to understand C++ later? Will I get the whole idea if I try with a different language?What should I do as a start?

Thanks in advance.
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Learning an "easier" language before going after C++ may be the way to go for you, however being someone who tackled C++ first I think it's more the book you are reading than the language. The consepts of C++ can be a bit tricky for a beginner, and while I've yet to read the book you mentioned, I'm going to guess that it moves pretty quickly.

One more thing to remember... Programming is both an Art and a Science, you are setting yourself up for failure if you think a few weeks of reading will unluck the secrets to programming. It takes lots of hours to get things down, and lots and lots of practice.

-Good Luck
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When programming, the language is just a tool to solve your problems. Naturally some tools are easier to handle than others, while more complex problems require more complex tools. Since you start from scratch, I would recommend to pick an easier language, possible one of the scripting languages like python, ruby, php etc. for your first steps.
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[quote name='dixego1' timestamp='1334629729' post='4931998']
Will learning another language make it easier for me to understand C++ later? Will I get the whole idea if I try with a different language?What should I do as a start?
[/quote]


We all learn differently, so there is no universal answer. C++ is however a great deal more complicated than many languages out there, to say nothing of the fact it's standard libraries are absolutely piss-poor. These two issues alone cause a great many people to have issues learning C++.

However, yes, after learning one language... any language, learning the next language will be a great deal easier. Most programming concepts are pretty universal, and learning them in a language with the lowest overhead possible ( legacy features, complicated compile/link process, etc... ) makes the process much easier. There is a school of thought that interactive languages are the best to start with; this meaning languages where you type code, then see a result immediately. Python is one such language, as is Ruby and a few dozen others.


Reading [url="http://www.gamefromscratch.com/post/2011/08/04/I-want-to-be-a-game-developer.aspx"]this beginners guide[/url] might help you get started, as it covers some of the most common languages, the most used gaming libraries for each, as well as suggestions on materials to get you started.



One last thing to keep in mind, some people find a language that just makes them go "AHHHH", for many it was VB, for some Java, for me it was C#, there are many zealots for LISP, Erlang, Smalltalk, etc... a language isn't all things to all people, so pick one, learn the basics of programming, then start experimenting until you find the language that fits you best.
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Well, when I started, I was developing in BASIC - not OO, not procedural - simply BASIC. Then went on to learn Fortran, Pascal, COBOL, C, C++, Java, Assembly, . . . (I think you are getting the point.)

I will agree that once you learn one language, the others come more easily, as you know how to do something in one language, and all you need to discover is how it is done in another. BUT!!! Here is the kicker - C/ C++ is really a low level language - in my OPINION - IT IS AWESOME! And here is why: being a low-level language, you are able to do about anything to the computer - if you want to write in protected memory - it will let you, if you want to talk with the hardware directly, through DMA channels, interrupts, tweaking memory - YOU CAN! (Of course you might have to work around the OS, but a small price to pay, if you really want to do it.) Outside of Assembly, I can't think of a more powerful language. Try doing anything remotely as powerful in Java - not saying that Java is worthless (I develop with it every day,) just more secure to what is made available to the developer.

C/C++ is not a very hard language to master; just that as all other developers in here - you need to "put in your time." Don't think that by reading a book or two, you will have complete mastery - heck I have been doing development for over 30 years, and I still learn new ways of doing thing all the time. I suggest that you write some simple projects - nothing too complex like a game quite yet - maybe some "utility-type" programs where you are not trying to learn both the language and game development techniques. Concentrate on learning the basics, and then gradually expand your talents - soon you will look back and say "Wow! I did it!"

One last note - if you are anything like me, I HATE book learning, and most of my learning had been done with seeing task that I did manually (ripping apart a file to get to the report,) and then finding a way to get the computer to do it for me - maybe you could start by writing a simple "Eliza" game - simple text-based game that uses input, output and EXTREMELY basic AI. Once you finish that, expand a little further by adding simple graphics, then audio, then ... You will learn all about the language this way.

Well, enough of my ramblings... Good luck, and let us know!
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It seems to me like you want an actual suggestion and not "there are dozens of languages people like to start with" or "back in the 80s, here's what I started with."

Get Adobe Flash and learn Actionscript. It's an immediate, interactive language, it has a great set of built-in graphics, audio, animation, and UI tools and features, you can literally draw the components of your game right there in the studio, and there are numerous good books on writing Flash games, and it is a platform that is actually used by commercial games, especially commercial games by small studios and independent developers.

C++ is a bare-metal language. The code you write gets turned directly into machine code that goes to the processor. This means that a well-written C++ program can be just about as fast as your computer can go, but it means there are a whole lot of very difficult very mathy Computer Science degree tasks, like memory management, that aren't handled for you. C++ is still the language of a lot of games, but it's outdated, unloved, and as machines get more and more powerful other languages that are a bit slower but have features that make for easier development are taking over. Those languages are C#, Java, and Objective-C. Of those, it depends which platform you're targeting. If you want to write a Windows / XBox game, learn C#. If you want to write an Android game or a slightly slower game for most desktop platforms (think Minecraft) go with Java. And if you want to write a game for OS X and iOS, go with Objective-C. All 3 of these languages have libraries that are worlds better than C++'s. Libraries are important. A language on its own can't do much more than add numbers and move data around, you need libraries to draw graphics, create sound, interact with the keyboard and mouse, and so on and so on.

But all of those are harder than Flash & Actionscript.

It looks like Adobe has tutorials for the total beginner here:
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/actionscript.html

And you can download a 30 day trial of Flash that is fully-functional. How you go about acquiring your Adobe products after the trial is your business.
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www.learncpp.com

That is the website I learned from.
I am confident you wont find a better C++ tutorial than this. (at least I could not)

That website used to have a forum where I used to ask advice from all the time (and eventually became the moderator),
but spam bots eventually killed the forum.
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A great deal of thanks to everyone who has replied.
[quote name='keratacon' timestamp='1334681876' post='4932189']
It seems to me like you want an actual suggestion and not "there are dozens of languages people like to start with" or "back in the 80s, here's what I started with."
[/quote]
This was indeed what I wanted,thanks.
I will now proceed to learn ActionScript and see if that makes any more sense to me than C++ did.
Again, thanks for all your help.
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