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good program to practice with?

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I can repeat this 1000 times : Card / Casino / Gambling slot machine.

Why ?, its very simple + you can make a whole casino if you want to practice more.

Before you finish a complete simple playable game you learned enough to go on.

Then you can move on to Tetris!

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Your question is a bit unclear. What do you mean with a good program to practice design on. Since you want something cheap, I'm assuming you are looking for software and not what to make?

If so, you can start with anything.

A free graphics program like GIMP or paint.net (if on windows). Maybe check out Inkscape as well. Gimp and Inkscape can be a bit tricky to learn.

For 3D, use Blender.

For audio, maybe audacity, or whatever you can find that suits your needs.

for Programming it depends on your OS and programming language. I like both Visual Studio and Visual studio code, but there are lots of other IDEs, and editors.

For design. Start with a Word processor, and some mind mapping software (there are free online alternatives for both).

Not sure if this is what you wanted, but hope it helps.


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To extend on gilder.


If you need free for graphics. Krita for making concept art. Gimp or Paint.Net as he stated, Inkscape and DragonBones, and PiskelApp for pixel art. If you want to pay then you can get Photoshop in place of Krita and Gimp and ProMotion for pixel art.

For 3D I too recommend Blender.

For audio, free would be audacity for sound effects, music I'd recommend LMMS. If you have money to burn you can invest in FL Studio ($100).

I also agree with programming and OS due to the selection of compilers and IDEs you can chose from.

For design, I also agree with Word Processor, Libre Office, and doesn't hurt to become well versed with Excel or Libre Spreadsheet (Will Wright, creator of The Sims swears by it). For mind mapping I enjoy Free Mind (uses Java so can be a bit picky on Windows10).

A couple of programs I play around with from time to time is Sculptris and Dia (I believe it is outdated, but I still like using it from time to time).

One thing I would recommend learning, if you plan to lead a team or just to get used to giving yourself dead lines to meet, is a Project Manager program. Just something to get you into the habit of setting deadlines and working to meet them. Beneficial tool, but can be put on the back burner until you have more experience to know what deadlines are possible and what are just insanely optimistic and improbable. ProjectLibre is the one I use due to it being free.

Edited by BHXSpecter

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