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What do you make of it?

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Well, this is my first post so I will apologize for any posting-misplacements and I will present myself which is part of my post self [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

My name is Ricardo and I have been a construction worker all my life.

Now I am really tired of my trade and for a long time I had wished to for part anyhow of the game industry.

For years I have been fiddling with programs like Photoshop, 3DMax, Unity and reading (not really trying [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/unsure.png[/img] ) game mods (Rome Total War at the most ), just being curious, nothing serious mostly due the lack of time and the tiredness that my work provides.

Also I have “playing” with Python, JavaScript and HTML as well as getting some (good?) knowledge of computer hardware…

Where I go with all of this?...

Well, as I said I will love to “be able” of computer gaming creation, where I somehow stop dry is that I am already 53 years old and I really do not know if any of this will bring me anywhere ….

What do you make of all of this, guys?

Thanks in advance for the time reading and if come to, for answering it.

Ricardo

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It really depends on what level of "computer gaming creation" you are interested in

Being able to make your ideas a reality can be fairly straightforward, depending on how complex they are, here are a few options:

Downloading a copy of [url="http://www.yoyogames.com/"]GameMaker[/url] (you will probably want the Lite version, it's free) and tinkering with that. It will produce 2D games only and has a graphical user interface, as well some scripting capacity, which you can but likely will not need to take advantage of. This is the best option in, in my opinion, to create games quickly and easily

Acquiring a more powerful engine like Unity you mentioned. This would allow you to create 3D games but requires more time and energy to learn and use

Learning a programming language like Python and finding some sort of graphics library to use with it (I believe Python has one built in or at least readily available). This will require a significant amount of effort to do a limited amount of creating. Although it will give you the most power and control over your games, and you may prefer if you don't like dealing with the user interfaces of the graphical environments

However; if you want a career in the industry, then you have a much more complicated process ahead of you that will probably involve some college
In that case, you should acquaint yourself with programming by learning a simpler language like Python, and then learn C++ probably followed by DirectX or OpenGL
For this point, I am not really certain about my suggestions so you should consult other sources Edited by TheResolute

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If you want to get into the professional industry and make games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, I'll be honest in saying that being 53 years old isn't going to be in your favor. The reason is that the game industry is notorious for pushing their programmers, often requiring them to work 60+ hours a week to meet their deadlines. Plus, they game programming doesn't pay as well as other types of programming. It's a lot easier to pick up a fresh college grad of 22 years old than it is a 53 year old fresh college grad for an entry position, because the young 22 year old a) probably doesn't have a lot of financial responsibility and will be more likely to take the not-so-great pay, b) has the uncanny ability to program until 3:00am and then wake up at ~7:00am and get straight back to the keyboard, and c) probably something else I'm not thinking of [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]. This is *not* to say that it's impossible for you to change your profession to a game developer, but I am saying there's a lot of competition and it would be quite difficult, and unless you're talented and incredibly motivated (mixed with some luck), that probably won't happen.

On the other hand, if you want to be more of a casual/indie developer and make games in your free time, then the world is all yours (and no one's there to stop you but yourself)! You can certainly learn to make games. Depending on what your current experience is, and how much effort you put into it, it's entirely reasonable that you could make something like Angry Birds within a couple of years from today.

If you don't want to be a programmer, and instead want to be a 3D modeler/animator or a graphical artist, you can certainly do that as well and team up with some other indie/hobbiest developer.

I guess you should ask yourself what you really want to do. If you want a profession in game making, you've got college (like TheResolute said) and a lot of competition ahead of you. If you just want to be capable of making games and do it in your free time (and there are *a lot* of great games made by people like this), you absolutely have the ability to do that, and the only competition there is yourself.

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Even though collage gives you practically nothing for your 4 year commit, employers insist on it.
You can learn all they teach in collage in 3 months (not exaggerating ). Still, this wont help you if you want to be employed as a game programmer. They like diplomas, and young naive boys/girls.

I say learn on your free time. However, do not just read. Make small games. You learn only by practice.

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[quote name='saejox' timestamp='1336125781' post='4937331']
Even though collage gives you practically nothing for your 4 year commit, employers insist on it.
You can learn all they teach in collage in 3 months (not exaggerating ). Still, this wont help you if you want to be employed as a game programmer. They like diplomas, and young naive boys/girls.

I say learn on your free time. However, do not just read. Make small games. You learn only by practice.
[/quote]

That's a dangerous statement you're making, and I can assure you that what they teach you in a proper 4 or 5 year CS curriculum cannot be self-taught in 3 months, especially when you have no real previous programming experience.

To the original poster: As stated by other posters here your age will definitely not play in your advantage when looking for a professional career in game programming. Not saying that it is impossible, but I do believe you realize the possible complications that come with it.

When looking at game development as a hobby you have a lot more options. Start off by learning a beginner-friendly language, I don't want to start another discussion on "which language is the best to begin with?" but languages like Python, Java or C# are always a good choice to learn the basics since the chance of "shooting yourself in the foot" is much smaller than in certain other languages (like C and C++).
When you've made a choice about your language the key will be to start simple: get comfortable with the language and with how very basic games work, working your way up until you have an understanding on how to take up more complex projects. There's no way around the fact that this will take time and dedication though, so practice is key.

From then on you should be free to build pretty much any game you want, as long as your goals remain realistic (eg. you won't be making a huge and extensive MMO all by yourself, no matter how experienced you are), and seeing how the indie scene is becoming more and more popular, and since independent developers these days have a large amount of options to get their games distributed, there will be a realistic chance of being able to actually get some of your creations out there as long as you stay dedicated.

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[quote name='saejox' timestamp='1336125781' post='4937331']
Even though collage gives you practically nothing for your 4 year commit, employers insist on it.
You can learn all they teach in collage in 3 months (not exaggerating ). Still, this wont help you if you want to be employed as a game programmer. They like diplomas, and young naive boys/girls.
[/quote]
But at least it hopefully teaches you how to spell [i]college[/i] [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img]

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[quote]Where I go with all of this?...[/quote]

You go to Unity forums and start there.

Unity is here to stay for a while and it has a growing community as well as platform support. It's a professional toolkit, but also caters and needs to support complete beginners so there's likely to be tutorials at all levels.

What is more important is that it allows creation on PC, but targets mobile devices, which is where the market is. Publishing something you've made has never been easier.

I don't know about actual accessibility of platform for someone starting up, but it's probably the most complete end-to-end platform out there.

Python, Javascript, HTML and such are not really useful, they all have you spending more time wrestling the language and libraries than focusing on making something. Plus, delivering what you've made to someone is difficult at best or requires vastly disproportional effort.


As far as tools and accessibility go, Flash would be the way to go several years ago, but it's on the way out and doesn't exist on mobile, which is key today. Community will also be likely less enthusiastic, since beginners aren't expected to go that way anymore.

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[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1336152122' post='4937422']
[quote name='saejox' timestamp='1336125781' post='4937331']
Even though collage gives you practically nothing for your 4 year commit, employers insist on it.
You can learn all they teach in collage in 3 months (not exaggerating ). Still, this wont help you if you want to be employed as a game programmer. They like diplomas, and young naive boys/girls.
[/quote]
But at least it hopefully teaches you how to spell [i]college[/i] [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img]
[/quote]

It is called "university" here. "College" is a high school for rich kids.
Also why is everyone grammar experts on the web.

I stand by my previous point. College is very overrated. Especially for game programming.
I have a degree in Computer Science. I can easily say, it gave nothing to me game programming related.

just a fancy paper to impress employers and boost your self confidence (or paycheck).

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[quote name='saejox' timestamp='1336168329' post='4937487']
[quote name='Cornstalks' timestamp='1336152122' post='4937422']
[quote name='saejox' timestamp='1336125781' post='4937331']
Even though collage gives you practically nothing for your 4 year commit, employers insist on it.
You can learn all they teach in collage in 3 months (not exaggerating ). Still, this wont help you if you want to be employed as a game programmer. They like diplomas, and young naive boys/girls.
[/quote]
But at least it hopefully teaches you how to spell [i]college[/i] [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/wink.png[/img]
[/quote]
Also why is everyone grammar experts on the web.
[/quote]
Take it easy, bro. It was meant to be a humorous correction (hence the smily face), because you spelled "[url="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/collage?s=ts"]collage[/url]" instead of "[url="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/college?s=t"]college[/url]." Edited by Cornstalks

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[quote name='saejox' timestamp='1336168329' post='4937487']
Also why is everyone grammar experts on the web.
[/quote]

Because it's the web. Where people like me try to "educate" with little jabs. Such as pointing out that spelling and grammar are two completely different things (I even checked if the definition of the English word is different... it's not). Or throwing a fit every time somebody writes "of" instead of "'ve" ("He should of...").

Back to the topic: yes, it's probably a little late to enter professional game development. Personally I stopped dreaming about it when I took a hard look at just how much time it takes to just stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and fancy features (mostly into 3D programming). Especially when you compare the work hours and pay with a "regular" programming job.

Anyway, Indie is probably the best way to go and beats working for a select few companies with a tendency to hire young and idealistic people just to burn them out over the course of next one or two projects. Still, if you got something to show, it might just help to make up for the age thing. I studied way too long, but because the reason was that I rather worked on my own projects, at least I got a "portfolio" to answer the unavoidable question of "why the heck did you take so long?" (Some employers can still be put off by the apparent lack of focus on the actual goal of getting that degree, but hey, when are you ever again going to have that much time available to teach yourself stuff?)

Just jump right in and do something simple. Pong or Breakout are nice to just deal with some basic issues like your main loop, time steps, input and simple rendering. Even something "lame" like a text adventure can you teach you a few things about how to organize and structure your game world and manage game objects (with a tree that is kind of a simplistic scene graph).

The worst thing that will kill your motivation is being too ambitious. Trying to make the next Zelda, because "hey, it's 2D, how hard can it be?" or making yet another Minecraft clone, because everybody does and it looks to awfully lame and blocky, it just has to be really simple.

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