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SonicD007

Game Programmer's Rite of Passage

10 posts in this topic

Hey everyone, I was just wondering what games you guys think a programmer should have under their belt. For instance, most people say do a text based game, then pong, then tetris, then ........ so I would like to know what games you guys think should be made and in what order you would do them. If you could list concepts that would be learned from making each game that would also be great.

Thanks.
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I'd probably suggest making a text based game*, then pong, then Tetris, etc... I can't think of any [i]specific[/i] concepts you would learn from a particular example. It's just that practice is critical in becoming a good programmer (and in becoming a good game designer), and these are fun ways to practice.

[size=2]*Actually, I'd suggest doing several of these, slowly building up in complexity. Don't worry about graphics until you have a decent understanding of your language.[/size]
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Here's basically my path of game programming.

When I was learning, I wrote text based games, and had fun with it. I moved to simple graphical games, like connect four, or checkers. Then I made an arkanoid/break out clone. These were done in BASIC or Turbo Basic. I started learning C, and I then tried to make a shoot'em up, and I did OK, but I was missing some understanding of loading levels from a file, etc. (realize this was back in 1992/3 before the internet). Soon after I went to college.

Eventually, I got back to making that space shoot'em up (in 2000), and I was pretty happy with it. I was able to load the levels, enemies, and other objects from external files. From there I made an AI engine, which tried to learn to win using a neural-net type process by playing simple games (tic-tac-toe, connect four, etc.). I then made a Multiplayer engine (MUNE: [url="http://mune.will.jennings.name"]http://mune.will.jennings.name[/url]), and used it to make an RTS type game.

Finally, I've been making action games using 2d physics engines, and I wish I had found out about them earlier.
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I have to agree with Cornstalks. Don't use graphics until you have a very thorough understanding of how your language of choice works. Otherwise you end up getting hung up on issues, unsure of whether they are from syntax, or implementation. Or at least that's how it went for me.

Take it from someone who did it wrong. :)
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[url=http://www.gamedev.net/blog/355/entry-2250592-become-a-good-programmer-in-six-really-hard-steps/]This is my opinion on the subject.[/url]
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I think everyone should try doing something with procedural generation at least a few times. You can really put your code and hardware through a lot of different scenarios because it's pretty easy to scale how much stuff you're generating or how sophisticated the simulation is. I also think that exploring applications of noise functions should be something to try out a few times too.
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[quote name='Legendre' timestamp='1340814039' post='4953368']
My (newbie) advice would be to design a game you would like to make, something that you enjoy playing/making. Strip it down to the basic elements, see if it is a realistic project. Then try doing it!
[/quote]

I'd have to agree with this without a doubt!

Most people struggle to grasp concepts or retain information because they are doing something that doesn't interest them or doesn't keep their attention.

I'm a complete noob and have only made one game, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I also wrote an article about [url="http://jdgamedev.com/ambitious-vs-simple-projects"]going ambitious from the start[/url], if you'd like to check it out.

No matter what you do, I wish you luck and can't wait to see some finished stuff that you make.
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I think one advantage we older programmers have over younger ones is that we had simple computers like the C64 to get started on. There wasn't really a need to start with text, though of course first programs would have been like that too, because with the help of hardware sprites it took a line or two (without the concept of library or framework) to get a sprite on your screen. One or two more lines to actually move it. On the downside BASIC was way too slow to code a useful game with and assembler forced itself upon you.
The lack of hardware sprites made me shun PC's during almost the entire nineties and I desperately clung to my Amiga. LOL
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Thanks for the replies! I'm not too much of a noob as I've been programming on and off for about 6 years but I'm going at an incredibly slow pace. My friend and I decided we would create Tetris->Asteroids->Space Invaders for now. I'm in the bad habit of starting projects and not finishing them but I've still been learning. I'm hoping by having someone else programming with me I won't want to stray away from finishing the projects.

I recently read Head First: Object Oriented Design & Analysis which was a great read. I'm trying to keep the concepts from this book in mind when I program now and I think it's helped a lot so far.

I didn't think of trying to program Pac Man, that should be fun. A maze game would also be fun to make. It could definitely be expanded upon to add traps and monsters, maybe that will be our fourth project!

ApochPiQ, I read that a while back, it motivated me a bit to move my butt haha!
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