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Starting up! Where, what and how?

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Hi! I will start to say that I know that this has been told maybe a million times, but i can't seem to find a specific answer anywhere for my question.

But anyway, Hi! My name is Aleks and I'm 23. I`ve been inspired to dive into the whole indie "scene". At first just to dip my toe and see if I enjoy the water. I have no preknowledge of coding nor art, so this will at first start as a learning experience. Everyone started somewhere, so I'm not discouraged. I poked around and very many suggested c# + XNA as a great working area. But! Here comes some questions.

1. Is xna dead?  With this I understand that it's just not supported anymore and of course still will be working. But should I use time learning it as a noobie, if I in the long run want to publish something and have used all my time on a "dead horse"? What else should I use?

2. Should I use months and years learning c# in and out before attempting game programming? Or rather learn along, with first easy games? ( any recommendations?)

3. Do you have any other tips for a guy who starts out from scratch?


I'm eager to learn, and if I fail in the long run, so be it. Anyhow it will be a fun and educating experience. My big " goal " in the long run( years) is of course to release a game like SMB or braid or anything like that. ( please don't try to dis encourage, I'm  capable of doing that on my own hehe.) I want to put most hours in something that is relevant to game making at first and find a balance with not biting over more than I can chew. I understand that instant gratification is a key for staying motivated, but with an ocean of bad (and good) tutorials, it's easy getting lost.

Thanks for any answers smile.png 

 

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1. Is xna dead?  With this I understand that it's just not supported anymore and of course still will be working. But should I use time learning it as a noobie, if I in the long run want to publish something and have used all my time on a "dead horse"? What else should I use?

 

It is no longer being developed or updated by microsoft, but that doesn't take away that it's still a really stable and easy to use framework for developing games for Windows with. There is no support for developing Windows 8 metro apps with XNA though, but there is an open source implementation of XNA called MonoGame which does support this. XNA or its open source implementation is still a very viable option for doing game development, the fact that XNA itself is not being developed anymore shouldn't discourage you from using it.

 


2. Should I use months and years learning c# in and out before attempting game programming? Or rather learn along, with first easy games? ( any recommendations?)

 

I'd just say get comfortable with the language for attempting anything big. In the beginning this will mean programming some really simple applications and doing programming excercises to get familiar with the language syntax and the basic concepts of object-oriented programming, which is the paradigm C# was designed around. Simple games like pong or breakout can be part of this learning experience if you want, but you'll probably want to be somewhat comfortable with the language before attempting these.

 

How long it will take before you get to that stage of being comfortable with a language varies from person to person, and of course depends on how much time you actually spend programming.

 


3. Do you have any other tips for a guy who starts out from scratch?

 

Practice, practice, practice! The only way to learn how to program well is by actually spending a lot of time programming :)

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Your first step is to learn the language.  You can't learn to sprint before you even know how to stand up, let alone walk.

 

Patience is the key.  Learning the language and then setting your sights on cloning some basic games like Pong, Tetris, etc... are what I would recommend. 

XNA is fine to develop in.  It is a stable platform that will work for a long time to come.  

 

Best of luck

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I'm just getting started with my game in XNA/C# as well. I will probably be porting it to MonoGame once complete. I think its a great platform for learning, and you should not let the "doom and gloomers" about its support status deter you. 

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If you want to make games quick without learning a complicated language: I heard GameMaker is good for that.

 

If you love to learn what happens behind the scenes in a typical programming or a video game: pick an object oriented language: Java, C# or Python. There are plenty of tutorials of these languages online and tons of community that can help you when you are stuck on a programming problem. Be sure to explain what you did and what was your thoughts on why it is not working when you decide to use these forums.

 

Tips:

1) Be consistent with learning the programming fundamentals, comments, good programming style, understand what a loop is, conditions, variables, methods, class, object, array, array list, interface, inheritance, superclass, subclass, events and listeners. I'm pretty sure this should be the minimum of at least you need to know before you make a game. Understand why you would need this.

2) Once you learned and have a deep understanding of step 1, learn graphics built-into the language. It would not hurt to download an open source game code of Pong and tinker with the codebase. Question why things the work they do in the program.

3) It is important to be patient and work hard. I remember early this year, I started game programming. I was stuck with making the monster move up and down for a week. After a week, I figured out what was wrong. Had I stopped, I would not have learned a lot about basic AI.

4) It is important to just start coding and struggle with it. Execution is key to success. I spend a good 5 months developing a simple game. It had a main menu, gameplay, collision detection, animations, music. Trust me, it is worth it.

 

It is also important to not underestimate time during your programming session. Sometimes, things take more time to solve than you would imagine. I remember thinking that since I have prior experience programming that I can get all the things I wanted into the game in a month. Well, I was wrong. It took me 5 months and I am still working on adding new stuff and experiementing.

Edited by warnexus

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Thanks for response guys. So what you are saying is that learning XNA won't be the dumbest thing to do. Since this monogame is essentially a followup, will it be the same to code in? What is the difference? Why not just start in monogame? 

Another thing, if you make i game in either monogame or XNA would you have to pay license? Is there any legal issues with using either? This is a little further down the road, but still I'm wondering : )

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Thanks for response guys. So what you are saying is that learning XNA won't be the dumbest thing to do. Since this monogame is essentially a followup, will it be the same to code in? What is the difference? Why not just start in monogame? 

Another thing, if you make i game in either monogame or XNA would you have to pay license? Is there any legal issues with using either? This is a little further down the road, but still I'm wondering : )

 

XNA is dead the same way DX9 is dead.  

 

XNA is a wrapper for much of the functionality of the DirectX 9 family of interfaces. DX9 is not going anywhere. XNA is not going anywhere. Both work just fine, and will continue to work just fine for the next decade or so.  XNA is also the primary path of getting your game on the X360 if that is your goal.

 

Monogame is just a different implementation of the libraries. Your code should work unmodified; if not, that is likely a bug in monogame.

 

There is no licence fee to use XNA. Download it, install it, use it, release your game, no fee is involved.

 

I wouldn't be so worried about any legal issues.  Both of the licenses allow you to make games and distribute those games.

 

For XNA the EULA limits a few things, such as proper use of their trademarks and such. Some early versions of XNA included some restrictive language by overzealous lawyers that was later removed. It is possible that you could write a game that violates the terms, but it unlikely. Read the terms of the XNA package you want to use. The current license allows pretty much anything you would want to do in a game, and only really restricts you from doing things like stealing their IP and claiming it as your own, or stating that Microsoft endorses your game when they really don't. For monogame it is also possible that you create your own legal demons the same way, by claiming their stuff is yours or by claiming they endorse you. You can use it for making games all you want. 

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