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TheHappyPeanut

Questions from a newcomer

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I am an interface designer by trade, but I have always had a great interest in learning to develop video games. The problem is that I am really unsure of where to remotely begin. Perhaps I could tell you my goals and have you suggest a route to begin? My goal is to be able to create/develop 3D video games similar to San Andreas. So let's say I wanted to create Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas... where would I start as a complete beginner?

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That's a really common question, the starting route is always the same regardless of the final game you want to make: Put your final goal aside, start making simple games.

 

Look here: http://www.gamedev.net/page/reference/faq.php/_/for-beginners-r1

 

For your particular goal, you'll probably never be able to make a game like GTA San Andreas by yourself, even a really good programmer and designer would have serious troubles making something like that, consider how many people worked to make that game, the time and the money they invested. It was probably a big team, working full time, and needed millions of dollars (and the company had a lot of experience with previous GTA games, which made everything a lot faster probably).

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You'll have to be a little more specific. What would your role be in the creation of that kind of game? Do you want to be the lead who guides a team of people in making a game of that style/scale? Do you want to be the guy that figures out the technology behind the scenes on how to display the graphics? Do you want to be the guy that decides what those graphics looks like? Do you want to write the storylines the player experiences when playing the game? I'm guessing you want to be the visionary since you indicated you wanted to create the game rather than saying you wanted to just work on making a game for someone. Usually the lead person comes about because they either helped someone else with their games or because they made their own games. Either way you need skills applicable to the creation of a video game. These are of course usually either programming or artistic roles. Of course it's never a bad idea to know a little about programming when you're an artist or a little about being an artist when you're a programmer. If you want to go the programming route you should pick up a programming language (there's plenty of topics about that). If you want to go the artistic route you could look into modeling programs such as Blender and find modding communities for games you like so you can show off your skills as you learn how to model, for example. In any case you want to make a portfolio of completed projects. "Here's what I was able to program!" "Here's what I was able to draw!" "Here's what I was able to model!" For programming you'll likely progress from making text-only programs to 2-d graphical programs to 3-d programs. You'll learn mathematics such as trigonometry and linear algebra as you go along. Hopefully some of that is helpful.

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I would say forget about GTA for now and focus on improving your skills first. Start making small games.

You will also need a great language. I recommend using the Delphi Programming Language, because you can create games for windows, ios, osx, android, linux, xbox, etc with the same codebase.

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My goal is to be able to create/develop 3D video games similar to San Andreas. So let's say I wanted to create Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas... where would I start as a complete beginner?

 

The last few GTA games have been measured in fractions of a billion. So start out with a quarter billion dollars, then hire several hundred experienced developers...

 

The For Beginners FAQ has already been mentioned. The Breaking In FAQ is also a bunch of excellent reading.

 

The very brief summary is to figure out what you want to do and build a path that is unique to you alone.  If your interest really is programming, then the standard industry path begins with a degree in Computer Science or equivalent, along with building small game-related stuff on your own. More details in among all those FAQ links.

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Choose a good game engine.  You should probably use the standard coding language which is recommending by the game engine developer.  That could be Python, C#, C+, Java, and so forth.  Usually you should avoid the native language that the game engine developer invented, but there are exceptions which I will not cover here.  Preferable is that you choose a language where you have a lot of experience.

 

Next you need to focus on programming basic applications for the game engine, such as GUI, display "Hello World" on the screen,  import 2D textures to be displayed and make them user operated with device controls, and so on.  Think of a game engine as both a development framework and a runtime environment for running code which will do what you want, though there are many variations of game engines.  Some game engines depend on an already existing runtime, such as that inside of .NET Framework and may use a combination of game engine framework and platform framework.  The important thing to remember is that you are selecting a game development pipeline of software and applications. Read my signature at bottom.

 

Make simple single person 2D games

Create simple multiplayer 2D games

Develop single person 3D games

Create multiplayer 3D games

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Well san andreas is a big goal, there must be hundred of thousands of assests. I guess it could be done with plugins, like city generators, character generators, vehicle gens etc, then script the heck out of it.

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