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I am all prepared to get into game development, how do I start then?

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This is my first post and I would like to say hello forums.

 

I have plenty of questions releated to game development, industry and getting 'seriously' into it.

I don't like writting essays and lenghty posts so I'll just put it into quick, easy to understand list..

 

First of all, I would like to mention these facts:

- I have 6 years of experience with Lua, I can do basically anything in Lua and that's where most of my programming experience comes from, in addition that's where my pocket money comes from.

- I have played with C++ at school and rarely at home, never got outside the black console box.

- I know other languages such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP (basics), SQL - and even though most of these are minor languages, I think it's worth mentioning.

- I own a very mobile laptop (an ultrabook) that I bought especially for programming/learning.

 

Okay, now that I've shared a little bit about myself, let's head on to the questions.

 

1) Knowing my past experience with C++, should I (and why/what engine):

a) work on a game engine for 2D game like Towns or Gnomoria as a learning process

b) use a premade, free for commercial use engine to create a 2D game (like the two mentioned above)

2) I am a pragmatic, I learn quickly by practicing but I suck at theory (which means I also suck at maths), will it be an issue for me?

3) I don't have modelling, graphical design and sound creation skills, are they required for succesful development?

4) I always feel an urge to plan everything (like planning my code) and if my code doesn't look perfect I just HAVE TO re-do it and that's why I can't focus on big projects, how can I stop that feeling or start planning my code effectively to prevent it?

5) What IDEs should I look into (please base the answer on your previous answer to question 1.)

 

Thanks in advance! I'll be glad to provide any more info or answer your questions if you need more details.

Edited by Netheous

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#1 - Considering your level of experience as far as I can tell from your post you might want to solidify your coding a bit prior to start working on a game(engine), though you can pour these 2 together. Personally I'm getting deeper into C# by working on my private little game project.

 

On the point of either using or making an engine, that depends on how deep you want to go and how much time and effort you want to spend on it. Writing an engine from the ground up is rather tedious (depending on what you want your engine to be able to do of course) even when using frameworks.

 

#2 Programming, especially at the beginner stage is mostly trial and error and really learning by doing, but ofc you need theory too.

 

#3 There are free models, textures and sounds on the internet, and maybe you know someone who can make such stuff for you for a beer or a few bucks. I'm also a crap modeller and even less of a texturer.

 

#4 No clue here.

 

#5 I don't know may IDEs. In university I work(ed) mainly with Bloodshed-Dev++/CodeBlocks and Visual Studio 2013

I think of it mainly as a personal preference, but I like VS most

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Make a game?

My personal experience is to say that you should make simple games and work your way up, even games you have no real interest in making. If you want to take your coding seriously then nothing will test your abilities more than that. So many people try to start with moderately complex games and they never really go anywhere.

There's a big difference between making a little 3d tech demo where you can walk around vs making a complete and polished 2d game that uses dozens of different integral concepts to good effect, and they'll make your later stuff that much better.

2) I am a pragmatic, I learn quickly by practicing but I suck at theory (which means I also suck at maths), will it be an issue for me?

You don't have to be a math wizard to make games, more knowledge of math can certainly help though, the main thing you need math for is figuring out how to implement certain algorithms. Practical experience is best for coding, although lots of theory to help give you ideas and new ways to implement things will help you more quickly learn what works best and what the pitfalls of different techniques are.

3) I don't have modelling, graphical design and sound creation skills, are they required for succesful development?

Depends what you want to make. Having those skills is not required but the visuals of your game are going to have a low bar. If you're making a commercial game or something you'll probably want to invest time in finding free resources and learning to tweak them, or get a partner. One thing to point out is that art is a -big- part of games, expect to spend lots of time making or finding programmer art just to test things(look, feel, dimensions, collision, etc.) It's almost impossible to test things in a game without visual reference.

4) I always feel an urge to plan everything (like planning my code) and if my code doesn't look perfect I just HAVE TO re-do it and that's why I can't focus on big projects, how can I stop that feeling or start planning my code effectively to prevent it?

I'm just like you, best thing I can say is to make small projects and try to force yourself to finish them, you learn a lot from finishing a project and can more easily see how pieces need to come together and how you can write them better as a whole. Just keep telling yourself you'll be a better coder by finishing projects rather than restarting constantly.

5) What IDEs should I look into (please base the answer on your previous answer to question 1.)

For C++? Visual studio.

Visual studio.

Then some more visual studio. Edited by Satharis

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Holy crap, that's a lot of helpful info on everything.

When I hear Visual Studio I always get confused... Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual... what? I feel like there are 6 different programs and I don't know which one to grab.

I would be more than grateful if I've received a direct link to the software.

 

Also, I am waiting for other replies aswell :)

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Visual Basic, Visual C# and Visual C++ are the Express Editions. They only support the respective programming language in their name, are generally limited in their functionality and not allowed for use in commercial projects

 

then there are the regular (paid) editions: Professional, Premium and Ultimate, increasing in functionality in this order.

 

And the newest and probably most interesting Edition is the Community Edition, which is basically a free version of VS Professional that can also be used for commercial projects up to a certain extend. It is also intended to replace the Express Editions in the future, so you probably fare best with this one. 

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They only support the respective programming language in their name,

That used to be true, as of.. think its 2013, maybe 2012, either way they changed it. One install for all three languages.

are generally limited in their functionality and not allowed for use in commercial projects

They are almost completely fully featured, there are only a few things that you can't do with express that you can with the paid versions. Also I don't know where you read that but as far as I know you can use them for commercial projects just fine.

As for the OP, I highly recommend Visual studio 2013 express edition(desktop, since I doubt you want to write those silly windows store apps.)

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They only support the respective programming language in their name,

That used to be true, as of.. think its 2013, maybe 2012, either way they changed it. One install for all three languages.

are generally limited in their functionality and not allowed for use in commercial projects

They are almost completely fully featured, there are only a few things that you can't do with express that you can with the paid versions. Also I don't know where you read that but as far as I know you can use them for commercial projects just fine.

As for the OP, I highly recommend Visual studio 2013 express edition(desktop, since I doubt you want to write those silly windows store apps.)

 

 

In regards to your suggestion that store apps are silly, I don't think this is good advice at all to give someone starting today. They will take what you are saying to heart, and it's bad information to be bandying around. WinRT, with which store apps are built with is being lined up as the successor to Win32. As of next year, with the coming of Windows 10, WinRT apps will have equal billing on the desktop by the expansion of their windowing options, ie non-docked / snapped & desktop integration. WinRT is not a silly little toy cooked up to appease the mobile crowd only. Yes, it targets mobile very well, but the WinRT / XAML stack and the language projections provide a powerful system that will be just as effective for desktop application in the next generation of Windows. Arguably, it will be preferable to using traditional technologies as it is fleshed out.

I have worked with WinRT a little, and I completely believe that there will come a time, when it doesn't make sense to use Win32 and the traditional desktop model any more.

And with the availability of Community Edition, I would choose that over express from now on.

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In regards to your suggestion that store apps are silly, I don't think this is good advice at all to give someone starting today.

Well not to be a jerk but quite frankly I strongly disagree with you there, and wording your statements like "it is bad information" and implying it is an amazing invention is just as opinionated as saying not to use it.

Except in my case even if I did like windows store apps I would not tell someone just starting out to develop them, needless complication and a whole lot less information available, So I feel what I said is perfectly fine. Edited by Satharis

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Make games because you enjoy making games. Trying to make games in the hope to get rich quick is a bad idea, most products never make it to market. Most of those that make it to market never turn a profit. Most of those that turn a profit only recover a tiny amount of money.

 

 

This.

 

If you want to get rich, become a stock broker. Or enter some other business shark line of work. If you want to earn the bucks with even less work, work yourself into a management position. Wear a suit, go to bussiness school and become a busy looking, well paid suit.

(as a disclaimer: no, I don't think all managers and brokers are the same. But my what I have seen in person from them formed my opinion on them)

 

Making games from what I can tell this far is like creating art. Some are very successfull with it and get well paid (though they still work more for less payment than some of the suits or sharks).

Most of them will probably barely survive with what they earn. The saying "starving artist" does come from somewhere. 

 

 

Simple as that: your chances to get lucky like notch are almost nil, Your chances to become a big game dev megastar like Carmack are almost nil.

 

The only reason to keep doing what you plan to do is because your really do enjoy creating games.

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You could put up a motion-sensor app that draws a brown fluid-like screen with bubbles that makes it look like you are drinking something, and sell millions of copies.

 

Hey, we made that app smile.png (or at least one of them)

Though, to be fair, it didn't sell a single copy, it was a free app, and was funded by a drink company as an advertisement.

(also, it actually had some kind of rudimentary gameplay before presenting the "drinking simulator")

I think it did get a couple of million downloads though.

 

Most of that kind of apps didn't really bring in much in cash actually, they were free, and didn't usually even have ads in them.

It was more of a "fun thing" for the creator too.

 

I do agree with all your points though, except possibly that it never was as "easy" as rumoured to get rich on app stores.

 

(Though I guess it was easier to get noticed if you actually produced quality content, so at least it was easier to make some money, even if you didn't get rich from it)

Edited by Olof Hedman

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Make games because you enjoy making games. Trying to make games in the hope to get rich quick is a bad idea, most products never make it to market. Most of those that make it to market never turn a profit. Most of those that turn a profit only recover a tiny amount of money.

 

 

This.

 

If you want to get rich, become a stock broker. Or enter some other business shark line of work. If you want to earn the bucks with even less work, work yourself into a management position. Wear a suit, go to bussiness school and become a busy looking, well paid suit.

(as a disclaimer: no, I don't think all managers and brokers are the same. But my what I have seen in person from them formed my opinion on them)

 

Making games from what I can tell this far is like creating art. Some are very successfull with it and get well paid (though they still work more for less payment than some of the suits or sharks).

Most of them will probably barely survive with what they earn. The saying "starving artist" does come from somewhere. 

 

 

Simple as that: your chances to get lucky like notch are almost nil, Your chances to become a big game dev megastar like Carmack are almost nil.

 

The only reason to keep doing what you plan to do is because your really do enjoy creating games.

 

 

Well, I want to get into development because I have always enjoyed creating addons/modifications for games than playing them and creating my own game would be like... making a huge pack of mods (whatever that means).

Money is also a side effect, I wouldn't mind not getting paid if people really enjoyed my game, but I also want to pay bills and I don't know how long my other sources of income will keep flowing, so to focus fully on development I would have other things settled.

Edited by Netheous

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4) I always feel an urge to plan everything (like planning my code) and if my code doesn't look perfect I just HAVE TO re-do it and that's why I can't focus on big projects, how can I stop that feeling or start planning my code effectively to prevent it?

 

Hi. The clue is to not over-plan things. Of course you should put a reasonable amount of thought into your class design, but don't overdo it.
Especially as a beginner, start with a minimal amount of features, and plan your design around that minimal set. It is not uncommon to later on expand your feature set and to then refactor your code to support those extra features.

 

By planning for less complex features at first, you retain a somewhat decent design, yet actually manage to get things done. I feel this is very important as a beginning game dev.

 

So yeah, when you have something that works, give yourself a pat on the back, and move on to the next feature. Of course your ability to judge the right balance will also enhance with experience.

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Well, I want to get into development because I have always enjoyed creating addons/modifications for games than playing them and creating my own game would be like... making a huge pack of mods (whatever that means).

Money is also a side effect, I wouldn't mind not getting paid if people really enjoyed my game, but I also want to pay bills and I don't know how long my other sources of income will keep flowing, so to focus fully on development I would have other things settled.

 

 

As far as I can tell, the harsh truth is this: If you cannot join an existing studio (either you lack the needed education / expierience, there are no studios in your area and you cannot / do not want to relocate to an area with more game dev related jobs, or you want to go the Indie / Solo route), prepare to not earn much.

 

So rather than put everything on one card, and blindly start game dev full time, you should make sure you have a steady income or at least a plan B available if your game dev plans fail /fail to earn any money / get delayed considerably / just do not make as much money as you thought they would.

As said, there were developers that go lucky, but they are an exception. Most, from what I read around the internet and in magazins, fight for dear life if they have no other sources of income.

 

 

Its just an extremly competitive field, too many devs trying to serve a too small pool of players, so to speak. That is also why a lot of studios and devs use sometimes rather extreme means of cost cutting (slacking during QA like Ubisoft did recently, cutting features like a lawn mower cuts grass, creating obviously crappy games to cash in on people that didn't read the reviews, and so on).

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Visual Studio's express editions certainly are allowed to be used in commercial projects.

 

Were they always? Because someone here claimed they weren't.

 

 

Yes, since their introduction.  You own what you create and can use it however you want. 

 

More info: 

The DreamSpark and Academic licenses do have some restrictions. You still own everything you create, but their license forbids using those tools to build commercial software. Their intent is to get you comfortable with the tools used in the marketplace, not as an alternative purchase path for commercial users.  Of course, the rules are not vigorously enforced and they can be easily overcome by downloading the other free tools from Microsoft and using them when the product is sufficiently advanced, transitioning from an educational experiment into a commercial product.

Edited by frob
Add more info.

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Visual Studio's express editions certainly are allowed to be used in commercial projects.

 

And so can the real deal:

 

http://www.visualstudio.com/products/visual-studio-community-vs

 

Visual Studio Community 2013 from Microsoft is free and you can use it for commercial stuff. It is actually the Visual Studio 2013 Professional edition. 

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And so can the real deal:
 
http://www.visualstudio.com/products/visual-studio-community-vs

 

...unless you enlist some friends (>5) OR start to make money (>$1M)

 

I guess you could bypass it by organising yourself as some kind of a collective of individual developers, though that is probably more hassle then just paying for the VS license.

Edited by Olof Hedman

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Hey Netheous,

 

Here my 2 cents. From your presentation I gather you are a young coder, so, excluding the usual "make your own engine" that is totally impossible unless you are willing to invest a few years full time without even producing a single game (and usually giving up later on!), you need three things:

  • An entry point with a sweet learning curve
  • A lot of easy accessible, ready-made, free/cheap game assets repository
  • Something that has all the above and is also a solid professional standard used by AAA studios

The three elements are all met by one single game engine: Unity. There are plenty of free learning resources online and the free version allows you to get serious result. Unity comes with MonoDevelop but I'd advice to get Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition and the related Tools for Unity, it's a great set! Moreover, Visual Studio is mandatory to publish games on Windows Store so... kinda unavoidable wink.png

 

Now, a word of advice that goes beyond the tools (your question #2): coding games is all about knowing your maths, so... if you really want in, then get down to learning your math: vectors math, trigonometry and matricial math are the basics. Sure, using Unity libraries everything is made easier, but rest assured that as soon as you want to get something original and very performant you will need your own optimized code, so man up and face your enemy biggrin.png

 

Cheers,

Pino

 

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Visual Studio's express editions certainly are allowed to be used in commercial projects.

 

And so can the real deal:

 

http://www.visualstudio.com/products/visual-studio-community-vs

 

Visual Studio Community 2013 from Microsoft is free and you can use it for commercial stuff. It is actually the Visual Studio 2013 Professional edition. 

 

Yeah, I was just responding to the statement that Express couldn't be used. (Felt too lazy to quote at that time, sorry.)

 

 


And so can the real deal:
 
http://www.visualstudio.com/products/visual-studio-community-vs

 

...unless you enlist some friends (>5) OR start to make money (>$1M)

 

I guess you could bypass it by organising yourself as some kind of a collective of individual developers, though that is probably more hassle then just paying for the VS license.

 

That's pretty reasonable. If I made more than a million dollars, I wouldn't mind paying for a license. If I made even a quarter of a million I'd pay for it. The IDE and development tools are perfect, I'd even say the Express edition is worth money.

 

Chances are, if you're a beginner, you're not going to have 5 programmers on your team anyway.

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