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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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MrJoshL

Where Do You Actually Start?

8 posts in this topic

I am a competent C programmer and I know OpenGL ES 2.0 fairly well. I'm not so much a newbie, I am just confused on where to start. Do I design everything before getting started programming, or vice versa?
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Well, yeah, I agree with L. Spiro in her advice in this case.

You have a head start with C, so get a general direction and get to work on simple game programming now. Game design is an important part which will evolve in your mind as you progress later.

Both GeneralQuery, Spiro, and me are encouraging you to use your strength which is programming and not get overwhelmed with the art aspects in early stages of growth. When and where the time comes to design, you will know it based on need and naturally fill that need. Much can be done in programming until design is needed. Get an understanding of how games are fundamentally structured, then you will be ready for the design aspects.

[img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

Clinton
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100% agree with Spiro. If you dont know where to start, just think about a simple aspect that you can easily describe and get started on it.
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As far as beginner development goes, set your sights on a vision that's rather simple. Include a few simple key features in the initial 'design' and then improvise with what you already know and/or can find with a quick google search for clues and hints on general approaches to the implementation of various aspects of a project.

My early days consisted of simply producing something interesting, regardless of code quality. Just get it to work! After that you'll see how and why you made certain decisions, which reveals what you can do differently in terms of streamlining your development process and technique and improve the overall quality of future projects and their performance.

I start with my project's main function, and the core initialize/loop stuff, then slowly bleed into platform-specific stuff (whether its native win32 or utilizing a platform abstraction library like SDL/SFML) and user-input.. venturing into rendering and entity systems, then networking.. That's a very rough sketch of how I used to do things. Once you're there, it's the same as when you start, you'll always be seeing what you can do different/better. Each project I create is essentially a refactored version of a previous project, refining my overall scheme with each iteration.

Tutorials are all very good starting places, just do your best to put together gained knowledge into something concise, and focus on more advanced program design as you become more aware. I've been doing this as a hobby for 15 years and still don't know *everything*, if there is such a thing.
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When I was young I was always starting by what you see first when you launch a game : the menu.
when you don't know how to start, start where it starts :)
then the menu becomes a bother because it takes you click/enter steps to go to where you want to test, so you can put a command line switch to disable it.
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Yeah, chime me in on the just start programming school of thought.

I am a big advocate of design, a proper design can save thousands of hours of work and be the difference between success and failure.

That said, you need to know what the hell you are doing before you can create a proper design.

Generally when I am approaching a new subject or API, I create a pie in the sky project, where I just start coding and try to figure things out. I generally don't even bother reading the manual/instructions, unless I run into a problem, and I just code. Think of this like an artists rough sketch before beginning their masterpiece. It's through this learning process I learn the ins and outs and various problems that I need a solid design for in the first place.

However, this code is *ALWAYS* throw away. Even if I end up re-using 90% of it, I always start from scratch on an actual process. Sure, I will cut and paste from my "sketch", but that's about it.
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