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Regarding assembling a small team just for practice.

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Hello! I just wanted to ask a question, and though I searched the website prior to making a topic of my own, I didn’t see this exact concept in the results nor in the latest list of new topics.

 

Well, I was wondering in so many words how a beginner would go about supplementing his programming studies with a team. Not a "serious" team as such, but one to learn with. Now I have seen vast swaths of 1) real coders and artists posting genuine job appeals to join or assemble a team, and 2) warnings against beginners doing the same. The reason is that if you don’t have skills in coding or art or sound, etc. you are just an “idea guy”, and an “idea guy” can’t honestly expect to attract talented, trained people for serious months and years for no monetary compensation.

 

That is perfectly valid. But in my case I have come to understand the limits of my own self-study in programming. I have had many false starts, from my first days in the 10th grade all the way up to my current age of …. [redacted]5. Ahem. I have failed to learn GW-BASIC way back in the day, followed by failing to learn Java, Visual Basic, Pascal, C++, Python, Ruby, and most recently C#. I actually started as a computer science major, but changed when I failed the initial C++ course tests and the prof warned us that we might never see our families again due to the nature of a programming career.

 

But, see, in schools students independently decide to assemble into study groups for support and motivation. It’s just common sense, and it is very psychologically encouraging. I wish I could do the same in my town or online. Unless, of course, there were a YouTube video tutorial SO beginner friendly, SO game oriented, and SO comprehensive, from ‘Hello, world’ to 2-D and 3-D finished game examples, that anyone coding along with it could become semi-pro all by themselves. Barring that kind of series (which doesn’t exist, but should!) a real-life physically present mentor is likely best. But since that doesn’t typically exist either for most of us, I feel beginners may kind of need the support at least of one another.

 

How then can someone like me, who tends to fail, who has read countless articles describing the harsh realities of this industry and is no vapid dreamer, and who…. still dreams of making a game project come to life anyway, find like-minded people to stop failing alone and start communally learning and practicing with?

 

Certainly there is this very forum, and I wish I had found it years ago. But Q&A isn’t collaboration. So is it audacious to suggest, “noobs assemble! Bring your dreams and your C# installations! Let us pin down those variable declarations and then we can for-loop a .png kitten into Bowser for fun and learning” with a beginner trial-and-error team? As opposed to being all alone, pressing and persevering with code until we have made something of ourselves to offer to "real" serious artists, programmers, and sound guys? so that then and only then we can join a team and learn to work and share with others? I’d love to work with others right now. When it’s just me I tend to feel the weight of comprehensive ignorance on my shoulders. But I mean, this wouldn’t even need to have the end goal of selling anything we made. Just a learning team. Two heads are better than one, even from square one. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Etc.

 

I live in Japan, which is awesome, but the language barrier makes it hard to do anything with others, not to mention how hard it is to just casually meet new people in this culture. (You make your friends mainly through work and organizations. People never talk to each other on the silent trains. Even established friends don’t typically hang out for no reason.) So really, online collaboration is the best bet, unless someone can direct me towards a game-making club in Tokyo or something.

 

I don’t want this post to be overly long (too late), so I will just stop here. Whether it were to come from this website or not, I wish to try learning and slowly generating simple game-oriented code actively with others and not continue the lifelong start-stop spurts that have gotten me nowhere by myself.

 

To clarify, my level of experience is: beginner, but with a healthy dash of coding concepts and a distrust of textbooks. :P (Half kidding about the textbooks.)

 

Thanks for any advice you guys can give.

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search online for other beginners looking for a team to work with.   it will give you someone to work with. you may learn some stuff along the way. odds are nothing will come of the project, but you've gotten some experience.  then go find an new project. eventually you'll get where you want to be.  but the fact that your track record is poor when it comes to learning languages does not bode well for your future as a game coder. you may want to consider art or audio or other content creation (level design, writing, etc) instead.

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I'd like to add to Norman's post by asking what caused you to give up on all of those languages? I think that's an important answer to have before you go looking for a group to share your experiences with. 

 

That's not to say that you shouldn't try, but that you should have some idea of what adversarial elements you bring to your own success.

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Are there such groups? I have searched before for beginners looking for a team, but it leads to results that don't seem at all like beginners to me, or else to perhaps a help forum like this. How exactly should I search for that? Could you direct me to such a community?

 

And, yes. My future is not as a game coder. I love the idea of programming; I think it's utterly fascinating to create visceral experiences from bland-looking encoded commands from one's fingertips. Coding is as awesome to me as the grandest artwork laid on top of it. But I already know that it is not strictly speaking my future. I really am more of a designer at heart. When it comes to getting down and dirty into the nitty gritty problems of a game, it isn't a coding issue I think of, but rather the perfect balance of an item crafting system, the most intuitive way to lay out a control scheme, and even the subtext of why a character would be willing to do something violent or not based on both their innate personalities and prior player actions.

 

That kind of thing. That’s what gets my juices flowing.

 

But I'm not stupid. I know that is not enough, not even for anyone who is a master at it. Not for a newbie and not for Shigeru Miyamoto or Ken Levine or Warren Specter. If I were a designer of any capacity at all, I would need to know as much as possible about other people's jobs in the team. Let's say I was even lead designer someday, but couldn't understand the time frames and resources required to produce 50 more character animations, or add a new feature to the code. Would I not inevitably turn into a three-word-wizard: "Can't you just double the enemies here? We want it to be harder." "Can't you just make a weather system for me? I need rain, snow and the occasional tornado?" "Ummm, yeeeah, I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday, and can't you just redo all this A.I. It just doesn't... feel right. MmThanks, Peter." Can't be like that. Got to support and collaborate through thick and thin, and for that I must know the foundations of what they know. Even if it isn't my gift.

 

Whether I become a coder or not, I need to learn coding. Art too, to an extent. Obviously level design. Management, budget... as much as possible. Even if I literally never wrote a line of code in practice I should be as well-versed as possible. It's not my passion. It is, however, the bones and sinew of that passion. And I owe it to anyone I work with to do as much of anything as possible, coding included. And maybe I would find that I have more of a knack for programming than I thought given enough small to medium successes. But all that is thinking way too far in advance. All I really need to start is to get my hands dirty in a learning session with others, and that most likely means starting with code.

 

I really do type too much.

 

So, then. How does one search out these like-minded people also looking to start a beginner’s team? I have never seen that before, though I have searched here and there.

 

Thanks again.

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Assembling a team requires aspects of sales and managing. Once the team is assembled, somebody has to coordinate and facilitate - and you're the logical choice. At that point, you're talking Production. And this board, For Beginners, is not about that. If this discussion veers that way, I'll move this to the Production board.

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I have searched before for beginners looking for a team, but it leads to results that don't seem at all like beginners to me, or else to perhaps a help forum like this. How exactly should I search for that? Could you direct me to such a community?

Try our Classifieds section, if you haven't already.
 

And, yes. My future is not as a game coder. I love the idea of programming; I think it's utterly fascinating to create visceral experiences from bland-looking encoded commands from one's fingertips. Coding is as awesome to me as the grandest artwork laid on top of it. But I already know that it is not strictly speaking my future. I really am more of a designer at heart.

This board (For Beginners) is a technical forum. You can discuss game design in the Game Design forum.

I'm even more certain now that this needs to move to Production.

And when your team is assembling, you all need to discuss and come to agreement as to the terms of your collaboration (and that's a Business/Law topic: collaboration agreements). Edited by Tom Sloper

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I don't mean production at all! I would be no where near such a feat. All I am describing is a learning group. Whether it were to become something serious later isn't the concern. (I brought design and management up because even if a game maker didn't become a coding-focused person, they would need to know others' jobs.)

 

To keep it brief, I floundered in languages due to a number of variables. In high school and college I had profoundly bad instructors. (My BASIC teacher, for example, once scolded me for harming the school printers because I had been using the PRINT command in my programs. You know, the command that writes a line to the screen. She didn't know the language at all.) I had a number of books that came with languages on CD, and even the example code didn't work when I tried to make it or even copy and paste it from the disc. I pored over it for hours. No typos. Java and C++ simply had issues with my setup. Some compatibility problem. I'm talking "hello world" level stuff in the Java case. Just didn't work. To this day, I can't understand why. It really started to have a profound effect on my confidence, and real programmers started to seem like superbeings to me. Most of all, though, years and life just happened. False starts occurred when things came up. Bear in mind, most of my false starts were actually before the indie scene was really a thing. So after I graduated with a degree in International Trade, I would sit at the PC and think, "wait... to be serious about this aren't I honestly going to need to go back to school again? Or else devote myself entirely to it at the expense of everything else?" And the forever coding alone feeling is miserable when the bugs hit and the way is as clear as mud. I'm not profoundly bad at programming, I think. I just don't learn well by myself with bad resources. And they have almost all been bad, instructors and texts. Not that I can blame only outside factors, of course. I'm not fit to be a full time coder, that I know.

 

But that's all I meant: group study. I'm starting to actually feel a little ashamed typing all this out. So please have patience if what I am suggesting seems a little out of the ordinary...

 

Back on topic, then; actually, many times I have tried searching for beginning teams to see if there is anyone who wants to try a little trial project. Maybe my search terms have been off, but I always end up with higher level, accomplished groups that I would never qualify for, or else support boards for specific questions. Could Norman Barrows give me a bit of direction as to where these other beginners who want to meet other beginners might be? 

 

And if all else fails, my last query would have to be: is my idea totally daft? People who can't code getting together to learn how to code? Not to make a real game; that comes later. Just to learn together, demonstrate what they have already picked up, share resources, fail and try again. It's the way I would like to learn. Just being a realist, I don't feel I will ever see it come together unless the people do first.

 

Whew...

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Have you tried googling tutorials? I started from there and then attempted to do my own things, googling tutorials/help for specific pointers along the way. Never needed a team, just kept edging myself on. Of course I kept failing and starting over due to beginner reasons like getting lost in spaghetti code not commenting enough or wrongful use of inheritance and to this day i still haven't finished my first project yet... But recently i decided to move onto a framework and to my surprise i could actually understand most of it by just looking at the documentation, no tutorials needed. Experience is goodsmile.png .

 

The good side of tutorials is that if you search "game dev tutorial" or something and follow them all the way through then ideally you will have a finished game which is a huge morale boost. From there you can attempt to tweak what you've done, screw around and get a better understanding of what does what. Add things to the game bit by bit and then eventually you'll have your own game that's not a clone! Take what you've learned from that point and do more and more projects and your knowledge and confidence will eventually increase as well.

 

Edit:If you still have access to some of the things you've done like that Java program you could always post it to the forum and let us see what's wrong.

Edited by draika

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I don't mean production at all!

You're trying to collect people together, to coordinate a group effort. That's what producers and managers do. For Beginners is a programming forum, where people talk about beginning programming. You're talking about forming a group (you're not asking how floating point operations work).
 

All I am describing is a learning group.
is my idea totally daft? People who can't code getting together to learn how to code?

Of course it's not daft. People are doing that all the time here. Most of them are not satisfied with just studying, though - they want the learning to happen while making a game. So the best place to form groups is probably the Classifieds.

We don't permit group-forming in the discussion boards. If you were saying, "hey, who wants to form a learning group with me? Email me!" then we'd shut that down, because we only permit that sort of thing in the Classifieds. You were asking "how do I form a group," and that's a management/producer question. Edited by Tom Sloper

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