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I have zero experience when it comes to game development. It's not that I'm completely ignorant. I've been doing everything I can to try and learn, just short of actually enrolling in school for it (I'm kinda poor, and can't really afford it.) There's only so much I can gather from internet tutorials, though. I need someone to give me some advice, or tips. Even an encouraging word would be appreciated, really. I'm working by myself, and the whole thing seems a little overwhelming at times. Be gentle.

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What's up dawg....these days you definitely don't have to enrol unless you want a piece of paper that states you qualified, you can search for YouTube videos that can give a good solid foundation( I have learnt many things this way, I learnt how to play guitar without spending a single cent ). Also this site has many tuts you can look at, so in my opinion its in your hands and I assume you have general programming skills so now its just a matter of understanding OpenGL API and I would recommend Qt as well, it will save you from headaches in the future( depending on if you will use shaders or not ) and also dont forget that the forums on this site can also provide assistance

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I agree with wath BitMaster said.

 

It should also be said that it is possible to design and create games without much programming at all, using an engine or software such as Unity or GameMaker.

Haing said that, personally I would do pretty much as what BitMaster suggested.

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I learned all I know about games from internet. I am a begginer too and trust me, if you want to learn from tutorials you will need to be patient. Firstly I recomend to learn a programming language and after you can do some basic stuff go on to a game engine (SDL, SFML, HGE, UNITY, etc). Keep yourself motivated starting small at the begining, don't be shy to ask and read anything about game development. Good luck!

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Let me tell you two fairly quick stories in regards to enrolling in college or classes to learn it.

  1. Me, I went to college thinking I would learn something new about game development and everything they covered I had already read about and learned between GD.Net, Gamasutra, and Flipcode.
  2. Jason Rubin, formerly of NaughtyDog, told me most the guys he worked with on Crash Bandicoot had no college degree and a couple even had no high school diploma or GED. 

My point for telling you is that you can learn everything on your own without classes or college. All it takes it dedication and using the online resources available to you like all the language tutorials, tools, libraries, engines, articles, etc. Just ask questions here as you just did and have a thirst for knowledge, no matter how cliche that saying is it holds true. I'm not saying don't go to college or anything, I'm just saying that you don't have to stress over it if you can't afford it.

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Sorry about the delay in response. Thanks for the advice everyone, you've all been a huge help. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

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@BitMaster, you seem to assumed that I have no background in development...I have been coding for a while, because I ask a basic question about game dev does'nt mean I dont know what I am talking about, I can refer you to my profileon another forum site if u wanna see that. Your tone is a little arrogant as far as I am concerned.

 

In this day and age people can learn over the internet( there are many online universities and this is the cheaper option for most people, my self included ) so unless you are suggesting that the information on the internet cant be trusted at all, I think it is perfectly sound advice 

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@BitMaster, you seem to assumed that I have no background in development...I have been coding for a while, because I ask a basic question about game dev does'nt mean I dont know what I am talking about, I can refer you to my profileon another forum site if u wanna see that. Your tone is a little arrogant as far as I am concerned.
 
In this day and age people can learn over the internet( there are many online universities and this is the cheaper option for most people, my self included ) so unless you are suggesting that the information on the internet cant be trusted at all, I think it is perfectly sound advice 


No, I'm suggesting you don't really know what you are talking about because you are suggesting Qt to a complete beginner. The other question you asked just further reinforced that distinct opinion, especially because the question you asked and the questions that should have been asked by someone really knowing what they are doing have such a small intersection set.

I did at no point suggest that 'trusting advice on the internet' is never possible. However, I don't think blindly trusting advice on the internet is a good idea in any situation. You need either some knowledge in the field to to detect bullshit advice or knowledge about the reliability of the person involved. Both is extremely difficult when you are fresh in any field.
C++ is notorious for having a lot of stuff written about it all over the internet. A lot of that is unhelpful, misleading or plain wrong though. While large parts of Qt are well-documented, there are currently some glaring holes as well, especially in areas new to Qt5. Working with Qt will also imply a lot of knowledge about libraries, linking and build systems. Finding that information while you don't even know what you are looking for is borderline impossible for a beginner. Letting someone start there is a recipe for frustrating them out of programming for life within days.
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I am the first one to admit when I am wrong and was wrong in this case, the reason I suggested qt is that the api has some support for OpenGL and shaders, I would have imaged that it would be efficient enough to use for gaming, I was not sitting in a dark room being "borderline malicious" as I am also here to learn, I was just contributing to the discussion

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Well I've seen Qt used to make Pong and Breakout games, but it really isn't the best for game programming. From what I have read online, a game's performance takes a hit when using Qt for the GUI and it is recommended not to use it for games.

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the reason I suggested qt is that the api has some support for OpenGL and shaders

I think a beginner doesn't even need to know what a shader is. I recommend anyone to stay away from OpenGL and DirectX for as long as they want, since those are, not only harder, but unnecessarily complex when it comes to simple games. OpenGL and DirectX gives the programmer access to a lower level rendering system than, say, Ogre3D and SDL; this allows for several optimizations as well as customized rendering processes. This is certainly not something simple games would benefit from.

So, my 2-cents? Stay away from OpenGL for now. Pick a language and an engine to start off with. Some recommendations:

  1. Love2D with Lua;
  2. MonoGame with C#;
  3. HaxePunk with Haxe;
  4. LibGDX with Java;
  5. SFML with C++;
  6. FIFE with C++;
  7. Angel2D with C++.

You should also consider game creation tools like GameEditor, since they can give you a good insight of how games work pretty fast. You can then move on to a language of your choice. Also, never consider that X is 'your language'; remember, you can use any language you want anywhere.

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I have zero experience when it comes to game development. It's not that I'm completely ignorant. I've been doing everything I can to try and learn, just short of actually enrolling in school for it (I'm kinda poor, and can't really afford it.) There's only so much I can gather from internet tutorials, though. I need someone to give me some advice, or tips. Even an encouraging word would be appreciated, really. I'm working by myself, and the whole thing seems a little overwhelming at times. Be gentle.

First, the schooling issue.

Schooling can be expensive, but it doesn't need to be. For whatever reason, grants and loans and scholarships are not enough for you to get schooling as you list cost as the major factor. Your user profile shows you as being in PA, and from previous discussions on universities over the years I recall looking at the various schools like Penn State and noticing that your region has a relatively expensive education system. IIRC it was around $16,000 per year for a state resident. Contrast with the state schools in my area, where non-resident tuition is about $8000/year for some of the schools, and two years in to your four year program you become a resident, dropping your rate to about $6000/year for the third and fourth years. There are even less expensive options available, I have relatives who went to a relatively small school paying around $3000/year. Sure the school is tiny, located in a small town in a fly-over state, and doesn't come with the prestige of MIT, Yale, or Stanford, but it is an accredited bachelors degree and it satisfies everything needed for HR purposes. If right now today you can afford luxuries like a smart phone for you, or your family pays for a cable/dish television system, the family absolutely has enough money to afford a university education in the United States. It may mean living without the luxuries for a few years, but it can be afforded in those cases.

But lets go on face value. You really don't have the financial resources to get a bachelors degree in the US, or for some other reason you are prevented from entering higher education. What then?

You never really specified your job in the game industry. The major reliable roles for entering the industry are programming, art, animation, and QA. I'll take them in turn.

Programming. There was a time, 20-30 years ago, when self taught programmers were common in the industry. Many of the very old big names in programming were tinkerers who learned to program on their own, often were individuals who were stars at mathematics and logic, and were able to start founding a field. Those days are past. Today the standard HR filter in the US is a bachelors degree. There are just too many skilled individuals who have the degree that it is generally not worth the risk of hiring someone without it. While there are a small number of people who are able to be game industry programmers without a four year degree, most of these people started programming when they were five or six years old, probably knew three or more programming languages before finishing high school, and are able to present some very strong evidence that they can do the job, such as a completed game or very strong personal recommendations from high-ranking people at the company. The only reliable way to enter as a programmer is with a four year degree, or much less reliably, by becoming even more educated than a traditionally educated programmer AND also putting in even more work creating complete games on your own AND marketing yourself to the right people to force your way in, and even then you will like still earn less money. Of the two, it is far better to just get the degree.

Art and animation. Similar to programming, the days where you could get in without a degree have passed. In addition to the degree you need a strong portfolio. For modeling, this means far more than drawing women and guns. It means being able to create a wide range of objects in a wide range of styles. Similarly for animation, it is more than just knowing about squash-and-stretch, but showing you know how to create expressiveness and life. You need both the degree and the portfolio, or you need to self-educate to beyond the level of a traditional education, provide an even stronger portfolio than the traditionally educated, and do even more work than the traditionally educated, again for less money. The degree route is better if you can afford it.

QA. This is an interesting beast. QA is often seen as a turn-and-burn job where a bunch of people are hired under contract and at the end of three or six months almost every one of them goes away. A small number of these individuals are able to make a lateral switch within the company, sometimes moving over to art if they have the background and talent, or moving over to level design if they demonstrated a certain knack for that during testing, but most of them are friendly faces you work with only on a single project. If that is your goal and you REALLY work hard at it, you might be able to make the move. You don't really need the degree to get the first QA job, you just need to be at the right place at the right time since QA jobs are seldom advertised more than word of mouth. The degree will help with the lateral move after getting the first QA job, but that job is a small toe in the door to the industry that does provide a somewhat reliable entry path.

There are other ways in to the game industry such as writer, level designer, audio tech, or extremely rarely an associate producer or non-technical manager, but these are not reliable for breaking in. Most are filled be people from the four roles above. A studio might hire one of these without industry experience, but they'll only do that maybe once every few years. Given the number of major studios in the country that may be around 20 or 30 such highly-coveted openings every year nationally, and they are almost never advertised.

Beware that many people get enticed thinking making games is just like playing games. It is not. It is work. It is hard. It is frustrating. It is mentally and emotionally painful. It typically pays less than other industries. It can consume you and leave you an empty husk. Age discrimination is a very real thing and older developers are often forced out of the industry. Many people have been quickly burnt out by a few years in the game industry; there are far more ex-industry workers than current industry workers. Other people work hard to get in to the industry only to discover it is nothing like they imagined, and then quickly leave. Be careful before deciding that the game industry is the only one for you. It can be a great job and a good fit for some people, but be prepared with other options just in case.
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I have zero experience when it comes to game development. It's not that I'm completely ignorant. I've been doing everything I can to try and learn, just short of actually enrolling in school for it (I'm kinda poor, and can't really afford it.) There's only so much I can gather from internet tutorials, though. I need someone to give me some advice, or tips. Even an encouraging word would be appreciated, really. I'm working by myself, and the whole thing seems a little overwhelming at times. Be gentle.

First, the schooling issue.

Schooling can be expensive, but it doesn't need to be. For whatever reason, grants and loans and scholarships are not enough for you to get schooling as you list cost as the major factor. Your user profile shows you as being in PA, and from previous discussions on universities over the years I recall looking at the various schools like Penn State and noticing that your region has a relatively expensive education system. IIRC it was around $16,000 per year for a state resident. Contrast with the state schools in my area, where non-resident tuition is about $8000/year for some of the schools, and two years in to your four year program you become a resident, dropping your rate to about $6000/year for the third and fourth years. There are even less expensive options available, I have relatives who went to a relatively small school paying around $3000/year. Sure the school is tiny, located in a small town in a fly-over state, and doesn't come with the prestige of MIT, Yale, or Stanford, but it is an accredited bachelors degree and it satisfies everything needed for HR purposes. If right now today you can afford luxuries like a smart phone for you, or your family pays for a cable/dish television system, the family absolutely has enough money to afford a university education in the United States. It may mean living without the luxuries for a few years, but it can be afforded in those cases.

 

 

Holy cow! What schools are those? I attend Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, and 12k is what I drop per semester for 4 classes. Those options are relatively cheap in comparison.

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Holy cow! What schools are those? I attend Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, and 12k is what I drop per semester for 4 classes. Those options are relatively cheap in comparison.

Our local community college (Ivy Tech) when I was going for an AAS was only $795 for the fist semester (that includes credit hours, books, and technology fees). When I transferred to DeVry University for their Game and Simulation Programming Degree the fees went through the roof. As it stands now, I owe $8k to DeVry (they were nice enough to let me finish my last semester of the degree even though the loan company dropped paying) for back tuition and almost $82k to said loan company and apparently $10k to to a second (~$100k total). The rates for the colleges are different from one state to the next.

Edited by BHXSpecter
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I have zero experience when it comes to game development. It's not that I'm completely ignorant. I've been doing everything I can to try and learn, just short of actually enrolling in school for it (I'm kinda poor, and can't really afford it.) There's only so much I can gather from internet tutorials, though. I need someone to give me some advice, or tips. Even an encouraging word would be appreciated, really. I'm working by myself, and the whole thing seems a little overwhelming at times. Be gentle.

First, the schooling issue.

Schooling can be expensive, but it doesn't need to be. For whatever reason, grants and loans and scholarships are not enough for you to get schooling as you list cost as the major factor. Your user profile shows you as being in PA, and from previous discussions on universities over the years I recall looking at the various schools like Penn State and noticing that your region has a relatively expensive education system. IIRC it was around $16,000 per year for a state resident. Contrast with the state schools in my area, where non-resident tuition is about $8000/year for some of the schools, and two years in to your four year program you become a resident, dropping your rate to about $6000/year for the third and fourth years. There are even less expensive options available, I have relatives who went to a relatively small school paying around $3000/year. Sure the school is tiny, located in a small town in a fly-over state, and doesn't come with the prestige of MIT, Yale, or Stanford, but it is an accredited bachelors degree and it satisfies everything needed for HR purposes. If right now today you can afford luxuries like a smart phone for you, or your family pays for a cable/dish television system, the family absolutely has enough money to afford a university education in the United States. It may mean living without the luxuries for a few years, but it can be afforded in those cases.

 

 

Holy cow! What schools are those? I attend Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, and 12k is what I drop per semester for 4 classes. Those options are relatively cheap in comparison.

 

 

Am I allowed to drop some socialist Canadian smugness in this thread ? :)

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Am I allowed to drop some socialist Canadian smugness in this thread ?

 

We're partially derailing the "help" thread, but I suppose I'll add some of it.

 

The topic of education costs comes up almost every year, and it usually gets involved with comparisons between different countries and different locations within different countries.  

 

Two other nations frequently mentioned are Canada and Australia.

 

Australia is frequently mentioned because relatively few people have tertiary education. They have a small number of schools, just 43 total 4-year institutions. True they are a small nation, with only 22 million citizens to feed into those schools, but still they have one of the lowest per-capita rates for modern nations. There is a common cry that you don't need higher education in Australia.

 

Several nations such as Canada heavily subsidize their higher education, so out-of-pocket cost isn't a good direct comparison. That doesn't mean Canada isn't a great place for education, it certainly is. Canada has the highest per-capita tertiary education.

 

Canada is #1, followed by Isreal, and then the US and Japan are basically tied for third. 

 

This isn't universal.  Many nations will pay your full academic bill, but they strictly control who can enter the programs. If your primary and secondary grades were not stellar you have no chance of getting tertiary education in the nation. Germany is one example of that.

 

Rounding up the international education discussion, the situation in the UK also has a notable quirk. There is a series of tests, the GCSE grades, that basically determine what you can do with your life. (No pressure kids.) They have been studied globally and are the prime example of both the benefits and pitfalls of high stakes testing. 

 

 

 

But you live in the United States. Those fresh out of high school need to apply to the top-tier schools with their grades and test scores, but most community colleges, most trade schools, and many small universities will take anyone who applies. Also by the time you hit age 25 the grades and tests are mostly irrelevant, even most top-tier schools will take any adult who is willing to pay and show they will work hard.

 

Some points of reference from earlier university discussions.

 

In 2010 the United States had 2774 four-year colleges and universities. The mean cost was $4081 per semester, the median cost was $2916 per semester.

 

If you have taken stats (which you probably haven't, because we are talking about going to university studies) then those numbers should be unsettling. They are heavily right-skewed.

 

Think about that for a minute...

 

The median cost of schools is $2916. That means of the 2774 schools in 2010, there half of them (1387) charge exactly or below $2916. Hundreds of four-year institutions cost less than $1000 per semester, although most of those are community colleges rather than universities.

 

 

There are several groups that rank universities in the nation by various factors, one is the US News' annual rankings. They only rank about 15% of the four-year schools, focusing on large universities rather than the plentiful colleges and the smallest universities, but the numbers are still very illustrative.

 

For the top 30 universities, you can pay $40,000 Carnegie Mellon or USC.  However, also among the top 30 are UCLA, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, or UV, where the cost is below $13,500.  Even though the schools are similarly ranked as the best quality educations some have have triple the cost.

 

This years US News' report said the cheapest in their survey was University of Wyoming, coming in at $4,404 per year for tuition and fees together.  It is a pretty small school, just over 10,000 students, but the degrees are perfectly valid and they cover all the same topics you would cover in any other school.

 

One year at Penn State (roughly $18,000 for tuition and fees) could pay for your entire four year education at University of Wyoming. 

 

Further, you could attend a community college for two years if your chosen school has residency requirements. Most community colleges are much cheaper than universities. If you are willing to move around the country you can get an associates degree at a community college for under $5000 in two years. Follow it up with an inexpensive two years for the bachelors degree and the whole thing costs about $10,000 spread across four years.  

 

That is $2,500 per year for a bachelors degree.  

 

That's why I wrote above, if your family is wealthy enough to have a smart phone for you (roughly $1200/year just on a one-person luxury) or a cable/dish television system (roughly $2,000/year) then the family can give up some luxuries for a few years and afford a university education for you.

 

Plus if you are willing to work hard you can get scholarships and grants (who doesn't like free money?), and student loans to make up whatever difference is left. 

 

There are other circumstances that may prevent getting a four year degree, but in the US at least, cost alone is generally not one of them.

Edited by frob
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If you are looking for money, you could try making a website with weebly (easy and free) and signing up for an affiliate program with amazon (free) if you are 18+.
It's not a magic solution but if done right, you will have enough money to spend every month.
If i remember, its 6 - 8% of whatever your site visitors buy through your affiliate link (in a month 6+% of $100+ products bought by 20+ visitors on your site everyday for 30 days) :)
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I know a few other people have mentioned it, but I think programs like Game Maker, Construct 2 or Stencyl are great for beginners. Particularly Game Maker, since it is still fairly code-focused. They are designed specifically for games, and I think a new dev could learn a lot simply by playing around with them. They will learn how animated sprites work, what the game loop is, how basic collision detection and physics work (from a high level), among many, many other things. Plus, most of these packages have some kind of "event" or "action" system that allows the new dev to simply drag'n'drop logic blocks around. While it can be easy for coders to look down on this type of development, there are thousands of game developers who basically learned programming logic from working with these type of systems. And learning to "think like a programmer" is the biggest hurdle for any new developer. 

 

It is a great learning environment for making games, and would be a good foundation to then move on to all coding, or even stay with them, as they are quite capable of making high-quality games (particularly Game Maker Studio). 

Edited by dacypher22
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This isn't universal.  Many nations will pay your full academic bill, but they strictly control who can enter the programs. If your primary and secondary grades were not stellar you have no chance of getting tertiary education in the nation. Germany is one example of that.


Sorry, but that simply is not true. Some subjects are indeed admitting people under a numerus clausus. The most important ones are probably medicine and law. There is also an unrealistically high number of people striving for those, especially law.
However, the majority of all subjects (including computer science) does not fall under this. Sometimes specific universities will impose a local NC or the NC is so generous everyone who wants a spot gets one (see this table for computer science).
Even if the subject falls under an NC you usually can just wait it out because if you persistently declare the desire to study the subject at that university after a few waiting semesters they have to let you in. You can work during that time or learn a vocation (in any field). Edited by BitMaster
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