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Joseba

Artist with no programming knowledge. Where do I start?

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Hi there!

I know there are plenty of threads of beginners like me asking for advice, where to start and so on, but sometimes I see contradictory answers and I don't know if those apply exactly to my specific case (I know, for example, that there is never a unique valid answer like "use unity" or "use Game Maker").

So I'll tell you my case and maybe you can help me: I'm a freelance animator and illustrator and I love video games. I always had in mind the idea of making a game by my own, but never had the time or the determination to start learning programming, game design... But now I have decided that I want to jump into it... I just don't know where to start. I want to do everything by myself (like I do in my animations and illustrations) and I know it will be difficult and tough basically because I know nothing about programming (does a bit of HTML count? :D), but I guess the "art part" is solved in my case (I still don't know the restrictions for the art, requirements and all that stuff). I'm a self taught artist, I learned how to use Photoshop and After Effects by myself and the help of tutorials and guides, so I'm now willing to start learning something new like a game engine and programming (I now see it way tougher than learning After Effects).

  • The point is I want to make a 2D game (not sure if a platformer, endless runner...), side view, with a strong parallax effect and I don't know which engine I should use (and learn) for this. If I did this for an animation in After Effects, I'd use a 3D enviroment, camera, and separate layers in z-axis (so easy!), but in this case... Would it be easier (better?) to use a specific 2D engine like Game Maker (or others) and then apply some kind of coding to make this parallax effect or start building it in 3D in Unity from the beginning (all sprites will be 2D, no 3D objects)?
  • As far as I know, Unity has more potential than Game Maker and I was thinking... Once you start learning programming or using a new software... Shouldn't directly go for Unity? Is it so hard to start learning C# from zero? I mean, if I choose Game Maker, I surely have to learn some code (I want to do things right) but I couldn't use this knowledge anywhere else, so once I have to learn some programming... Does this make any sense at all? Should I go directly with Unity or try something else before?
  • Beyond specific youtube tutorials for specific tasks, is there any great book or website or something that I should use? Is there any MUST for a total beginner? What's the best way to start learning programming? And not only the code side, but also any book about game design that is a MUST?

Forgive me if I said something wrong (I'm sure I did!) and sorry for my English! :D

Thank you very much for your help!!

 

Edited by Joseba

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Seems like Unity is the best for what you want but perhaps you should take a step back and first try and attend a local GameJam (if one is available). A GameJam is basically an event where you make a simple game over a weekend. Think it will give you some insight and will potentially put you into contact with other people with other skills. 

As for Unity I'd try their official tutorials and see how that goes, only you can see how quickly you're approaching your goals as you're the only one that knows what they are, how much time you can invest towards it and how fast you're going to progress. 

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On 10/31/2017 at 4:22 AM, Joseba said:

I want to do everything by myself

You're in for a wild and stressful ride.  Good luck.

On 10/31/2017 at 4:22 AM, Joseba said:

I want to make a 2D game (not sure if a platformer, endless runner...), side view, with a strong parallax effect and I don't know which engine I should use (and learn) for this.

Don't start there, start simpler for a total game and if you want do small experiments to work towards that goal at the same time.  If you're gonna stick with 2d games and potentially simple 3d games then gamemaker studio 2 is a good choice.  It has a built in tilemap editor which I'm not sure if unity has.

On 10/31/2017 at 4:22 AM, Joseba said:

I mean, if I choose Game Maker, I surely have to learn some code (I want to do things right) but I couldn't use this knowledge anywhere else, so once I have to learn some programming... Does this make any sense at all?

You'll be learning two things at once programming and a programming language.  The language used by gamemaker isn't used anywhere else (but it might be similar to other languages... don't remember).  The programming knowledge you gain will be transferable to other programming languages.

On 10/31/2017 at 4:22 AM, Joseba said:

Beyond specific youtube tutorials for specific tasks, is there any great book or website or something that I should use? Is there any MUST for a total beginner? What's the best way to start learning programming? And not only the code side, but also any book about game design that is a MUST?

There are books on game design, game programming, generic programming... there are also tutorials, and youtube videos.  Choose a development platform with lots of tutorials.  I think both unity and gamemaker have a lot of tutorials.  I know there are unity books, don't know about gamemaker.

My suggestion is use gamemaker studio 2, it will save you a lot of head ache and is very versatile.  If you ever want to do 3d then transition to something else.

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On 31/10/2017 at 8:48 PM, Net-Ninja said:

Seems like Unity is the best for what you want but perhaps you should take a step back and first try and attend a local GameJam (if one is available). A GameJam is basically an event where you make a simple game over a weekend. Think it will give you some insight and will potentially put you into contact with other people with other skills. 

As for Unity I'd try their official tutorials and see how that goes, only you can see how quickly you're approaching your goals as you're the only one that knows what they are, how much time you can invest towards it and how fast you're going to progress. 

 

I've heard something about those game jams and it certainly sounds like a good idea, I'll take a look if there is any nearby. thanks!

 

7 hours ago, Infinisearch said:

You're in for a wild and stressful ride.  Good luck.

Don't start there, start simpler for a total game and if you want do small experiments to work towards that goal at the same time.  If you're gonna stick with 2d games and potentially simple 3d games then gamemaker studio 2 is a good choice.  It has a built in tilemap editor which I'm not sure if unity has.

You'll be learning two things at once programming and a programming language.  The language used by gamemaker isn't used anywhere else (but it might be similar to other languages... don't remember).  The programming knowledge you gain will be transferable to other programming languages.

There are books on game design, game programming, generic programming... there are also tutorials, and youtube videos.  Choose a development platform with lots of tutorials.  I think both unity and gamemaker have a lot of tutorials.  I know there are unity books, don't know about gamemaker.

My suggestion is use gamemaker studio 2, it will save you a lot of head ache and is very versatile.  If you ever want to do 3d then transition to something else.

 

Thanks for the advice! I've read everywhere what you say about starting with a very simple project, and I'm totally ok with that, I just had a goal for the long term (that 2D game with parallax effect bla bla bla) and I just wanted to take the right road from the begining (Unity or GameMaker).

While I was waiting for some replies in this forum, I saw a cheap online course about programming in C# on Unity... And it definitely looks as overwhelming as I expected, but not more. I mean, I find it quite hard but... "reasonable"? I don't know, maybe I should take a step back and try first with GameMaker (isn't free anymore?!).

Any other point of view?

Thanks!

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The main reason I say gamemaker studio 2 is because it has a 2d level editor built in.    When getting started the less headaches the better.  It also has drag'n'drop visual programming and allows you to switch between that and scripting.  Do you have any aspirations of advanced 3d programming?  If not I would seriously consider using gamemaker exclusively.  Like I said before gamemaker can do simple 3d as well, and if its not good enough you can move on to something else.

https://forum.yoyogames.com/index.php?threads/i-prefer-drag-and-drop-is-gms-2-out-of-my-league.17616/

https://forum.yoyogames.com/index.php?threads/parallax-scrolling-backgrounds.25444/

edit - BTW there is a trial but its a limited version

https://www.yoyogames.com/get

Edited by Infinisearch

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