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66Gramms

How did you learn making games?

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Hello Everyone!

To be honest, after 1 year of using game maker, I feel like, finaly i can make a game on my own, with codes and i'm so proud of myself. But i feel like it was a lot of time, and interested if was it so much time to everyone? So i made this: http://goo.gl/forms/RXBDZPJnxU I would be happy if some of you were answer the questions :)

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Any particular reason why we can't discuss such things here? (although a better place would be GDnet lounge, I think).

What was the language you used for for first?

BASIC, 6502 assembly language


How much time did it take to learn the language? (When were you able to do on your own, a game)

Not sure, I never really saw "learning a language" to be part of it (I was 14). I was just exploring a fun thing called computer by trying arbitrary things with it.
I also never tried making a game until some years back. After 30 years, that may be a bit late for a career in game development :)


Have you uploaded the game to somewhere (like gamejolt)

It's on github (freerct), but not finished nor playable.


Do you think it was a good game? Was it succesfull when you showed it to your family/friends

Not being finished, there was little point in showing it :)


Are you still making games? And if you, can you feel that, you make progress in game making?

I hack games, as in doing code refactoring and adding features. I still don't understand some parts of games, but that's the fun of it.
Being able to continue learning new things.

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the very first thing i learned was how to program a guess the numbers game on a programmable desktop adding machine (olivetti underwood 101)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programma_101

 

Olivetti_Programma_101.jpg

 

next i learned how to program in basic. that was enough to write a lunar lander clone for the ibm 360 mainframe. i took a class in high school, basic and fortran over one school year.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Lander_(1979_video_game)

 

Lunar_Lander.png

 

and i also wrote a flying saucer shooter arcade game for the IBM PC XT.

 

then i learned pascal for speed as part of my non-game progamming , and some trig and such in school.

 

this was enough to write the world's first star trek flight sim.

 

101547.jpg

 

 

the game was uploaded to the biggest BBS at OSU (this was before the internet). someone re-uploaded it to AOL, and it became a top 10 download on AOL, 10,000+ copies downloaded the first week.  first i showed it to my friends, and they said "looks cool! needs better explosions!". so i added better explosions. then i emailed the sysop of the biggest BBS at OSU and asked him how to prepare a download file. he said: "used the wolf3d method: a little for free, and pay for the rest." (wolf 3d had just come out). so that's what i did.

 

yes i still make games.  since then i've learned how to do true 3D stuff.   and you really never stop learning.   just keeping up with the hardware and customer expectations more or less guarantees that.

 

surprisingly little of my formal education applied to making games, despite being a software engineer, and having enough hours for 4 engineering degrees (i was a professional student for a while).   some math, programming obviously, some CS stuff (discrete math etc), and physics, that's about it.  almost everything game specific was learned through individual study. i have a saying: "everything i ever needed to know about building games, i learned on compuserv's gamedev forum.". sad thing is, its by and large true. 

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What was the language you used for for first?
BASIC then moved straight to C++. Since have dabbled in other languages. 
How much time did it take to learn the language? (When were you able to do on your own, a game)
I've been programming since I was 13 (2 years BASIC due to school), but started in on C++ when I was 15. I'm now 35 and still learning it as the standard updates add new things for me to play with. After a year you should be more than comfortable to start making games like the ones listed in this article.
Have you uploaded the game to somewhere (like gamejolt)
Nope. 
Do you think it was a good game? Was it succesfull when you showed it to your family/friends
Outside of a basic Pong Clone I wrote using C++ and Allegro I have not publicly released anything I've done since 2006. I do what I do for myself so I don't have the need to publish any of it. 
Are you still making games? And if you, can you feel that, you make progress in game making?

Yes. You only make progress by pushing yourself, once you stop experimenting with ideas and settle into doing the "safe projects" is when you stop progressing. Think of Call of Duty, every sequel has felt like the previous game with just one or two features added. 

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What was the language you used for for first?

 

That was the Beginners All Symbolic Instruction Code on the C64 (never bothered much with 6502 assembly), then GfA-Basic on the Atari ST, then Turbo Basic on the PC. Later Turbo Pascal, C and C++.

 

How much time did it take to learn the language? (When were you able to do on your own, a game)

 

The C64 forced you to learn BASIC immediately to some extent. Otherwise you would have only been able to SHIFT+RUN/STOP and PRESS PLAY ON TAPE. Fortunately the manual gave a nice introduction. The first simple (dare I say BASIC) game I made took me a few weeks in terms of learning the language. The actual coding then took maybe a day or two.

 

Have you uploaded the game to somewhere (like gamejolt)

 

No, by the time the World Wide Web was invented I already had lost the game. 

 

Do you think it was a good game? Was it succesfull when you showed it to your family/friends 

 

It was an okayish game. Nothing great by today's standards, but I was quite proud of it.

 

Are you still making games? And if you, can you feel that, you make progress in game making?

 

Yes, that's how I make a living. And if I stopped getting better at it, I'd be jobless pretty soon.

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What was the language you used for for first?

 

C64 Basic 2.0 ( as it was noted above, C64 sort of forced you to learn basics of Basic ), then asm 6502.

 

How much time did it take to learn the language? (When were you able to do on your own, a game)

 

Hard to say, if I count simple text games in Basic as games then it's just few days. But as my first I count a sprite based samurai fighting game I wrote, I think, few months later. I was 9 or 10 back then, so I don't remember exactly.

 

Have you uploaded the game to somewhere (like gamejolt)

 

I don't think gamejolt existed back then. The Internet didn't either. Those early games didn't survive to be uploaded anywhere nowadays.

 

Do you think it was a good game? Was it succesfull when you showed it to your family/friends 

 

It was a game I was proud of, so my judgement could be slightly clouded :) I never really shared it with anyone. At least I don't remember that.

 

Are you still making games? And if you, can you feel that, you make progress in game making?

 

Sort of. Haven't been working in the industry directly for like 2 years. I switched to tech side rather than gameplay too, so there are less games coming out of my coding. Now I'm indirectly connected with the games industry.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I would like to put comment on your poll as it shows how young you are ( it's nothing bad! ) and how things changed over years. First question asks about the language but NONE of options is an actual language. These are engines which, comparing to the age of the whole industry, are relatively young. C, C++, assembler ( of any architecture ), python and back in the past - Basic 2.0, Amos, Blitz Basic, Pascal - these are languages.

 

Third question also is too "modern" :) As you probably noticed, many people who responded to your poll are veterans of the industry. We started when there was no such thing like the Internet. There were BBS services and few other Internet-like solutions back then, but they costed lot and they weren't so common in use ( especially for non-US people ). I think it would sound better if you change the question to "Have you published your game", because then, even if you made a 100 copies of your game on floppy disks and convinced a local store owner to expose them ( which happened in my case, but with different, better game ;) ) - well, today it's called self-publishing :D

 

 

Edited by j_uk_dev

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They were popular in much of the US as well in the peak time frame, from 1990-1995, hitting a sudden drop-off with the invention and popularization of the World Wide Web.

 

For many of us (including me) the BBS was my preferred way to access Usenet groups, since paid access to a BBS that processed subjects I was interested in was far cheaper than access to the school's SLIP services as a non-student.

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They were popular in much of the US as well in the peak time frame, from 1990-1995, hitting a sudden drop-off with the invention and popularization of the World Wide Web.

 

For many of us (including me) the BBS was my preferred way to access Usenet groups, since paid access to a BBS that processed subjects I was interested in was far cheaper than access to the school's SLIP services as a non-student.

 

 

Haven't heard anyone mention SLIP in a long time, we used to use slurp over our terminals to access the internet and browse the web with graphics using Mosaic!  It sure beat Lynx text browser, although the text browser was great for looking up fantasy football stats :)

 

I suppose I should answer the questions here too:

 

I 1st programmed BASIC on an Apple IIe, 5th grade, probably 1986, and I made text adventure games.  I never truly "learned the language" I only learned the parts of the language needed to make text games, but, considering it was simple input and if/then mechanisms, it didn't take too long.

 

No, I didn't upload any of those early games anywhere, and games I'm made more recently have mostly been just for me, or I've shared wqith a few friends as a hobby.

 

Occasionally, I'll get the urge to dabble with game making, but it's not as often any more, and if I do, again, it's just for fun as a hobby.

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What was the language you used for for first?

I started out with BBC BASIC on the BBC master 128, then 65C12 assembler. I was using these in 1993 when they were already pretty much obsolete.

How much time did it take to learn the language? (When were you able to do on your own, a game)

The first real program I made in BBC BASIC that wasn't a modification of someone else's program was a text adventure game. I was doing this within weeks of starting out, BASIC is very easy to pick up.

Have you uploaded the game to somewhere (like gamejolt)

No, there was no Internet for me and I didn't have access to bbs.I did send a few to a public domain library though and to my knowledge they still have a few of my programs and games... Some of my non game software later found its way to various emulation abs abandonware websites, e.g. search Google for "TBI-109 Crypt Paint II".

Do you think it was a good game? Was it succesfull when you showed it to your family/friends

Well, I enjoyed playing my games but nobody else had a beeb that I knew to play them... So I don't know what others thought.

Are you still making games? And if you, can you feel that, you make progress in game making?

Yes, I still make games and comparing what I make now to what I made back then there is simply no comparison (see the links in my signature)

Hope this helps!

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The other questions I'd probably answer much the same as everyone else.

 

How much time did it take to learn the language? (When were you able to do on your own, a game)

I don't think it's a matter of learning the language as much as it is learning pieces of the language and figuring out what it is you can do with that. Get input from a user, testing against a few conditions, and outputting something doesn't take much time to figure out. And once you find the syntax for generating random numbers, you're pretty much good to go. When you find that what you want to do requires something more advanced, then you find out what that is and go learn that.

 

Are you still making games? And if you, can you feel that, you make progress in game making?

As a hobbyist, sure, I still make games. Or rather I've been working on one single game for a few years now adding one thing to it and then another. Other than that, what does "making progress" mean? I'm not looking for a job "in the industry" so while you may be attempting to "progress" towards that goal, it's not where I want to go.

I haven't thought seriously about trying to make money as a lone indie developer in some time. I have very much enjoyed just working on my own stuff for the hell of it and not having to answer to anybody. I make progress in that I go from working on one thing that I want to another thing and they'll probably all come to some kind of end product eventually, maybe, If it doesn't all come together, I have whatever code I've come up with and my notes to look at if I decide to work on something new. Such is my plan and so far everything is going according to plan.

I haven't totally ruled out the possibility of releasing something to try and make some money. It pops into my head from time to time and is something I've thought about just this weekend seeing a results of a friend's cake making pursuits. But at the moment, it's not a driving force behind my game making. Having too much fun.

Edited by kseh

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There were BBS services and few other Internet-like solutions back then, but they costed lot and they weren't so common in use ( especially for non-US people ).

 

Eh? BBSes were very popular in Europe.

 

 

I should have say they weren't so popular where I come from :)

Edited by j_uk_dev

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There were BBS services and few other Internet-like solutions back then, but they costed lot and they weren't so common in use ( especially for non-US people ).

 

Eh? BBSes were very popular in Europe.

 

 

I should have say they weren't so popular where I come from :)

 

Fair enough. Not all countries are the same. My perspective is from Northern Europe (Finland).

 

Onto the topic:

 

What was the language you used for for first?

QBasic, Turbo Pascal.

 

How much time did it take to learn the language? (When were you able to do on your own, a game)

Learned before high school, first "game" was a chatbot.

 

Are you still making games?

In my spare time I mostly make game/graphics engines. Continuosly learning new stuff by reading Siggraph and GDC papers/slides and blogs.

 

Have you uploaded the game to somewhere

Current programmer generation has discovery solved with services like GitHub and sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Edited by bioglaze

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What was the language you used for for first?

ZX Spectrum BASIC,  then Amiga Asm, Then C++ and Pascal

 

How much time did it take to learn the language? (When were you able to do on your own, a game)

Not long. Surprisingly back then in the UK programming was more readily available.  There were at least two TV programs teaching BASIC coding, several magazines, every computer games magazine had type in code listings.  Even a lot of the story books in the school library had type in adventure games in the back (The Ghost of Thomas Kempe is one that I remember).  Some mainstream broadsheet newspapers also had code listings.
?The school book clubs regularly features the Usborne programming books too.

http://www.usborne.com/catalogue/feature-page/computer-and-coding-books.aspx
I mean nowadays if you want to code you can use the Web but, you are only going to find coding stuff if you are searching for it whilst back in the early 80s it was kind of thrust in your face.

 

Are you still making games?

Yes in my spare time.

 

Have you uploaded the game to somewhere

I have published games on the App Store and also worked on several Console games.  Any of the stuff I did in the 80s and early 90s is gone due to all medicks and stuff getting stolen in a couple of burglaries at my parents house.

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I mean nowadays if you want to code you can use the Web but, you are only going to find coding stuff if you are searching for it whilst back in the early 80s it was kind of thrust in your face.

A lot of that vibe seems to be present in the Rasp.pi scene, magazines there publish Python code to hack.
Robotics also seems to catch on nowadays. Edited by Alberth

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I learned game-making about 8 years ago, so I hope my perspective is usefull to you.

What was the language you used first?

At first, I used both python and scratch (about the same time).

How much time did it take to learn?

I wouldn't say I ever finished learning. I might have gotten a little bit better, but I still allways start on projects that are too hard for me. But in your scale, a reasonable mastery to understand the features, maybe 3 years for python, 1/2 years for scratch.

Did other people like your first game?

My first game that I "Published" was a horrible horrible snake game clone. My dad was the only person who would come close enough to play it, and I don't believe he enjoyed it very much. I did upload it to google code, but I probably shouldn't have.

Are you still making games?

I am balancing them among my many hobbies.

Edited by mousetail

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I mean nowadays if you want to code you can use the Web but, you are only going to find coding stuff if you are searching for it whilst back in the early 80s it was kind of thrust in your face.

A lot of that vibe seems to be present in the Rasp.pi scene, magazines there publish Python code to hack.
Robotics also seems to catch on nowadays.

 

 

Yeah the Raspberry Pi scene is pretty awesome also the new micro:BIT that the BBC has started rolling out in schools.

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