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Rumsfield

Help a Newbie Choose a Program Language

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Hi, I'm new here, and I just read these articles regarding game development for newbies(like me):

 

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/641721-new-to-the-forums-start-here/

http://www.gamefromscratch.com/post/2011/08/04/I-want-to-be-a-game-developer.aspx

 

Anyway, the articles didn't scare me away. You see, I am not a programmer, but I have an idea for a game that I can't get out of my head, it wants to be made. I need to make it!

 

Here's the catch, I know very little about programming, but I have taken a few programming couses in college years ago: QBASIC, Visual BASIC, and Introductory C++, but that is as far as I got because I switched my college major to the healthcare industry.

 

Anyway, I know what I want to do with this game, but not how to achieve it. Let me first tell you about the game.

 

Here is a quick description of the game:

 

What type of game is it?  It is a 4 player cooperative real-time strategy PC game

What is it about/what do you do?  This is a space exploration game which involves micromanaging a space ship along with up to 3 other human players, but it won't be overwhelming or too tedious. Every mouse click will serve a purpose and every player will feel like a valuable member of the crew.

How is this better or different from other space exploration games?   I'm attempting to make a space game that doesn't suck! While the game will certainly be challengeing, it will not be a space simulator. It will include: adjustable difficulty levels, artificial intelligent enemies, ship upgrades, role selection(from several).

2-D or 3-D?   I feel that playing a 2-D game about space travel will not help immerse the player, so I feel it must be 3-D. Unfortunately that means it will be much more difficult to create.

High quality cutting edge graphics?   No, maybe medium quality at best. The graphics will compliment the game's light and humorous style of gamplay.

Who will create it? Just me???

 

Help clear the galaxy from space scum!!!

 

So, what is my question???  I need to know based on the info I provided above about the game I want to make... which programming language do I need to learn that fits all my needs(and isn't a pain in the ass to learn)?

 

Python? C#?

 

I will be happy to answer any question. Thanks for any feedback!

Edited by Rumsfield

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Since you're not a programmer and never made a game before, I'll suggest the following:

 

Make this game 2-D

Make it one-player

Use ENIGMA to make the game.

 

Doing this will make creating and finishing the game far more achievable. Once you've done this, you will have learned the basics and can move on to more complicated aspects (ex: multiplayer, network play, 3-D).

Edited by Alpha_ProgDes

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For me, Python is always the best language to start learning how to program. Its where I got my start! biggrin.png I'm not so sure if Python is suited for 3D programming. But its still the best place to start learning the very basics. smile.png

 

Game Maker is an ease-to-use game creation tool that can make both 2D and 3D games. But its 3D capabilities are a bit limited and very advanced.

 

Many people recommend using C++. And many of the greatest 3D games were made with it. And since you already had an introductory course on C++, I don't think you would have a hard time learning one of the best languages out there.

 

XNA is also a good place to start (according to some) and its great for 3D games. And it uses the C# language, which I believe is great for beginners.

 

In conclusion:

If you are really serious about your game idea, then learn a very easy language that you're comfortable with. Then, once you have mastered it, move on to a more advanced language that is great for 3D, like C++.

Edited by Icarius_24

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I started with Ada so... Don't start with Ada biggrin.png

Ada is hard to learn even after you have years of programming experience. So yes, don't start with Ada ;-)

 

Python on the other hand is very nice as a first language. It is simple enough to get started and it doesn't get obsolete once you're good at programming. The way you use python and the features it provides will improve with your abilities.

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Love the concept.  I had a similar idea a while ago, thought it would be cool to have each player performing a different role on a starship co-operatively in realtime, sort of based on the Star Trek universe.  

 

For example, the Helmsman would steer and fire (or even better split that into 2 players roles), the Communications Officer would help send and receive orders to other ships in the area to coordinate, the Engineering Officer would help with damage control, the Captain would help with overall strategy and perhaps fill underling roles when a bridge officer is incapacitated or otherwise too busy, and each role would get a totally different interface.  I never developed the idea but always thought it had some potential.  Not sure if this concept is kind of what you have in mind but good luck regardless, would love to see more true teamwork types of games.

 

In terms of the programming side, I feel it is easy to underestimate how long things take particularly if you are new at programming.  Most aspiring game programmers have this idea that "games are FUN, therefore they must be super quick and easy to create!  I'll just bang out a revolutionary new multiplayer game that is better than Starcraft by myself in a year or two of hard work on the side" and thus they tend to underestimate a realisitic schedule.   Many commercial games have a dozen or more programmers working full time on it (as well as a small army of artists, modelers etc) so you just got to be realistic about things.  That generally means start with a very small game -- complete it -- and work your way to more and more complex projects with more and more team-members.   

 

Good luck!

Edited by starbasecitadel

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I got started in C#, and I think it is really pretty great. Just about any language you choose will be able to create the "game of your dreams", but I think C# stands out for the game you want to make because you can use C# in Unity, which is a fast development environment for 3D games. Learning a language in and out takes a while, and you may be disappointed that you wont be able to dive into your space project right away. Make a few small games, then prototype your project in two dimensions. Once you feel really confident, finish it off in 3D.

which programming language do I need to learn that fits all my needs(and isn't a pain in the ass to learn)?

The only one that isn't a pain to learn(that I have worked with) is Processing, which is based on Java. You can learn the basics in hours, and probably master it in a week, but of course it is limited. It can do 3D graphics(in very few lines of code surprisingly) but it was not built for performance and it isn't Object Oriented, which is a must for a big project like this.

 

Game development is not a "one off" kind of thing, it is a life long hobby that you can keep getting better at if you start small and work your way up. One doesn't learn how to play the piano the day before their recital. 

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Thanks everyone!

 

OK, so everyone seems to be saying this is a HUGE project that I am undertaking, and I need to start small first?

 

Should start off by learning Python to get me into programming and then later move on to C# when I am ready to make the game. Or to save time should I just start learning C#. I get the impression that C# or something like it(i.e. C++), is what I will require to make this game?

 

 

Love the concept.  I had a similar idea a while ago, thought it would be cool to have each player performing a different role on a starship co-operatively in realtime, sort of based on the Star Trek universe.  

 

For example, the Helmsman would steer and fire (or even better split that into 2 players roles), the Communications Officer would help send and receive orders to other ships in the area to coordinate, the Engineering Officer would help with damage control, the Captain would help with overall strategy and perhaps fill underling roles when a bridge officer is incapacitated or otherwise too busy, and each role would get a totally different interface.  I never developed the idea but always thought it had some potential.  Not sure if this concept is kind of what you have in mind but good luck regardless, would love to see more true teamwork types of games.

 

In terms of the programming side, I feel it is easy to underestimate how long things take particularly if you are new at programming.  Most aspiring game programmers have this idea that "games are FUN, therefore they must be super quick and easy to create!  I'll just bang out a revolutionary new multiplayer game that is better than Starcraft by myself in a year or two of hard work on the side" and thus they tend to underestimate a realisitic schedule.   Many commercial games have a dozen or more programmers working full time on it (as well as a small army of artists, modelers etc) so you just got to be realistic about things.  That generally means start with a very small game -- complete it -- and work your way to more and more complex projects with more and more team-members.   

 

Good luck!

 

@starbasecitidel Yes you pretty much nailed my game concept. I believe if done properly, it will be a blast to play!

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Should start off by learning Python to get me into programming and then later move on to C# when I am ready to make the game. Or to save time should I just start learning C#. I get the impression that C# or something like it(i.e. C++), is what I will require to make this game?

 

No need to make a switch. Just choose one that fits you best. Python is perfectly fine, but I recommend C# if you want to use Unity down the road.

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An important question that I forgot to ask... how much will C# cost me? Where can I get it for the best price? I don't have to buy that ridiculously priced Microsoft Visual Studio do I?

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