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mkuehling

Aspiring game developer needs advice

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Hello everyone, I just signed up for this forum after browsing it and think it would be of great and vast assistance to me. Let me get right off the bat and state that I have absolutely no knowledge of programming, but wish to learn. My background is in 2d traditional art and composing music. I have a great idea for an action rpg, similar to 16 and 32 bit console games but with a modern twist. It's a lofty goal at this point, and I know I must start small. But I don't know where to start.

I've been playing a lot of flash games lately and was wondering if I should start there, or with java? Eventually I want the game to be a standalone and not browser based to run on a pc. I also want to make several smaller, simpler games before I progress to my big idea, as in the end I would like to market the product.

I was thinking I could start in flash, but after checking out the price of Adobe Flash Pro CS6 that really truely killed that idea. (Almost seven hundred dollars)

Any advice would be much appreciated, and I thank you for your time.

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Well good news for you is that Java is completely free and there are some very nice editors you can use too such as Eclipse. But since you're a novice to programming in general, perhaps starting with Java might be a little overwhelming for you. If you want to use Java, you should first get a book and learn the very basics. Java is an OOP language which will force you to use classes; other languages such as ActionScript are less strict and allow you to code procedural. That last sentence probably doesn't make much sense to you at the moment.

If you are really serious about doing it though, I suggest getting a few good books on your language of choice, such as Java, and begin making basic scripts. Once you get the basics down, you can begin diving into deeper waters and experimenting. If you just try and make a game before learning any of the basic syntax and ideology behind the code, you will end up in a confused and stressed mess.

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Hey Mkuehling,

Just wanted to reply to your post to hopefully give you some useful advice. I'd steer clear of flash if you are just starting out. I'd be more inclined to reccommend GameMaker ( http://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker/windows ) It requires very little coding so if you have an artistic backround you can put something together much faster and keep your involvement high. Along with this before things are getting too complicated you can visualize overall how coding a game works by using the predefined code blocks in Game Maker. You essentially create a game by linking general predefined logic together in conjunction with your artwork. Along with this it's very easy to publish your game on YoYo games when you finish your projects and best of all Game Maker is free to try. If your working on an action RPG i'd focus on your movement, jumping, ground collision and animations first.

Reference:

http://wiki.yoyogames.com/index.php/Main_Page

Getting Start Tutorial:

http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=3251.0

Game Maker Programming tutorial ( For when you get a bit more advanced )

http://birchdale.net/gm/BG1HTML/Beginners_Guide_1.html

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Thank you both for your replies, they have been very helpfull. When I can save up 40 bucks (I think) I'll purchase Game Maker and start from there. I tend to stay away from trials, as with my luck I'd make great progress in learning only to have it end. Novadust, Baloniman, again thank you.

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I wouldn't recommend getting game maker without trying it.

What I'd do if I were you is this:

  1. Learn the basics of programming at http://hackety.com
  2. Learn how to make a game using python and the Pygame library Python: http://www.python.org/ Pygame: http://www.pygame.org/news.html
  3. Then I'd learn C# and XNA 4.0. This may be a bit of a learning curve so it will be hard.
  4. Finally, I'd know enough to apply my knowledge of how games and a C-based language works to go on to learn C++ and DirectX to make fully fledged games.

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I wouldn't recommend getting game maker without trying it.

I second that. If you go out and spend that money only to not enjoy the product that's really not gonna be very helpful.

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I'd say learning the principles of programming languages, and how to program to a rudimentary level, are essential prerequisites for moving into game programming. However, you may be able to combine both of these. I'm sure there are plenty of tutorials out there which are designed to do just this.

Practical exercises are key to learning how to program, so it's important not to just read but to have practical experience. The obligatory Hello World program is the place to start, and you would then progress from there.

I found C a good introductory language (although I leant Pascal at college - but this just shows how old I am), and went on to learn OOD and development in Java. I recently started learning C# / .NET, and am now in the early stages of using SlimDX.

Choosing a learning strategy is quite daunting, as there are so many options and opinions. You need to choose one that suits you really. It depends what you want out of the experience. smile.png

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Thank you both for your replies, they have been very helpfull. When I can save up 40 bucks (I think) I'll purchase Game Maker and start from there. I tend to stay away from trials, as with my luck I'd make great progress in learning only to have it end. Novadust, Baloniman, again thank you.


The trial is actually pretty full. It's forever, and there are only some special effects you can only do in the full version.

However, in my opinion, although you should be able to be good at gamemaker, you should eventually switch to Java. Oh, and if you don't like eclipse, there are other options like NetBeans.

By the way, there are numerous java tutorials at TheNewBoston (like, over two hundred), including a group on games.

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I second, Game Maker. Try it out. Do some of the tutorials. Don't be fooled by the name, its quite capable! And I would also go for Java. Since its not mainly locked to Windows.
But, yes, you can use C# in portable ways also, but, not with the companies(Microsoft) "support". Like .Net and XNA are Windows only. But there are alternatives made by other people like Mono and OpenTK and stuff to be portable. But I'm the type that prefers the backing of a company for such things. =/

*Or you could try a Game Engine like Unity, but you said 2D games, so, not sure how their 2D support is. It uses C# and Scripting and its portable. I have not tried it, but its very popular.

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Ok this weekend I am going to download and try Game Maker, but I've also read up on how powerfull java can be for a language. Maybe that's not the right word I'm thinking of, I just woke up. However, if I choose java, I will need some books. Can you suggest some good beginner books to read? Thank you.

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