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Starting from scratch

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I have been researching on how to get my foot into the games industry for a while know and I have a few questions I would like to ask. Being someone who just started to learn how to program I am overwhelmed with the amount of work I am being advised to do. The most common advice people usually give and deem to be the best is to make a game and/or focusing on your specific area such as art or programming.

 

I want to be a programmer but in order to make my game not only do I have to learn programming I also have to learn how to make art too? That's a lot of work and I don't know how to divide my time across each field.

 

What game engines should I use when making my games? Shall I use the more popular Unity/Unreal engines or simpler ones like RPG Maker, etc?

 

I am currently learning Python as it's a good first language to start with but should I practice with Pygame or jump into C++ when I feel I got the hang of it, at a really basic level?

 

Also what kind of games should I be able to make so that decent employers will consider your job application. I can't imagine, being a one man team, that I will be able to do much so if possible, can people give me examples of projects so I have a goal and target to aim for at the start.

 

I am studying computer science at university and still have 4 years left so I have quite a bit of time before the job hunting begins, I am also doing a few coruses online for game developlment later on after I learn programming so I am willing to put in the work provided I have some guidance.

 

To sum it up:

1) How much of a good artist do I have to be if my aim is to become a programmer.

2) Should I work with 3d engines such as Unity/Unreal or simpler 2d ones such as Gamemaker/RPG Maker.

3) What should my completed games that are worthy of being included in my portfolio be like?

Edited by HassanD

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Well buddy. Uhh... You're question is really kicking it's own ass at the moment.

You don't need to be a good artist to be a programmer. And you do not need to be a programmer to be an artist. The two are utterly different disciplines. Although, it does help to have a programmer that's familiar with an artist's tools, such is the way of a "Technical Artist". Which from what I am seeing usually requires a Computer Science/ Computer Engineering background.

Question number two. You could if you want.


Question number three. I can't answer that.

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Ok, so I'm going to give advice based on these assumptions: Your main goal is to get a job as a game programmer at a game dev studio, and you have some years while in school to get to this point.  That seems to be what your question is, so here's my advice:

 

1. You dont need to be an artist to be a programmer, so ignore that... unless you really, really want to do art.

2. You dont need to have good art to make a game.  You can make a game with white dots if that's all you have or can make.

3. Learn C++ and get really good with it.

4. Learn math (especially 3d math) and get really good at it.

5. Get Unity and familiarize yourself with it.  This will teach you the basic components of a game engine, what an editor does, etc.

6. Start doing small projects with your c++ as you learn it.  Start with small manageable projects and then work your way up.  Most importantly, finish your projects once you start.

7. Read as much as you can about areas (those that interest you) such as: graphics, AI, physics, animation, audio, engine architecture, multithreading, tools development, etc.

8. If you find one of those areas above that you really like, focus on it and learn as much as you can.  Start doing small projects around that topic.

 

If you follow basically that approach then in a few years you will know enough to get hired as a junior engineer at a game studio.

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I want to be a programmer but in order to make my game not only do I have to learn programming I also have to learn how to make art too? That's a lot of work and I don't know how to divide my time across each field.
A game needs art. If you work for a big enough company, they have hired someone providing it. Otherwise, you hire someone to make art for you, you use art that has a proper license for releasing in your game, or you make it yourself.

Those are your options, I think. Assuming you have already decided to be programmer, I'd advice, try doing some art. Take a few drawing lessons if you like/can, or hack some pixels together for a simple icon or so, and so on. You get a bit of experience in the field which is never a bad thing, and who knows, maybe you like it.

 

What game engines should I use when making my games? Shall I use the more popular Unity/Unreal engines or simpler ones like RPG Maker
Given that you're doing CS at a university, I'd spend not too much time on dedicated game engines (RPGmaker is not a generic 2D engine, it's a game engine specifically aimed at making RPGs). You can better sharpen your skills in proper programming languages, imho (assuming your main goal is to learn about programming now).

As for Unreal/Unity, these are mostly aimed at 3D games. 2D games generally don't really need an engine, but libraries like SDL or SFML (both for C++) are common.

 

I am currently learning Python as it's a good first language to start with but should I practice with Pygame or jump into C++ when I feel I got the hang of it, at a really basic level?
Do both. Python is a very good language to known inside out and upside down. It's my standard language for anything between a simple 5 line shell script, and low-level power like C++. C++ gives you full control, at the cost of having to handle all controls.

 

Programming is mostly an exercise in structuring the problem you have to make it fit in a computer. A light-weight language like Python is much more tuned to experimenting, figuring out how to do things.

 

Also what kind of games should I be able to make
I have no experience here, but from other threads, any game that you push all the way to publication. Others may have more feedback on this subject.

 

I'd only like to add that you should keep your options open. Game industry is where every kid wants to be (although I don't believe it's that much fun as people think), so it's difficult getting in. Prepare for the case that it doesn't work out.

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Start with a very basic first game. Something like Breakout or Tetris. Then add features that most games have around the game play. Things like a leader board, Settings options, configurable input, etc.  Perhaps even Achievements. Those features may be just as challenging to program as the game play itself in a small game. And they add so much more quality and professionalism to the game.

 

After that you should have a good idea what it involves to make a game, and what area of game programming you'd like to concentrate your efforts and skills.

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