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About DanaS

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  1. DanaS

    Any Mentors Out There?

    That makes sense.     Many people here haven't studied CS, yet they manage to make nice games. On the other hand, I did do CS, and haven't finished a single game yet :D Big part of the reason is that I don't push towards it. I prefer to just hack open source games instead. I am attracted to games as they are fun. They look very intelligent, but when you look under the hood it often is an extremely simple way to pull off that effect. You can do a lot with some smoke and mirrors ;)   Programming as a concept isn't hard, children can learn it eg with scratch. It becomes hard when you're doing high-end techniques or complicated algorithms. None of that is required in games. There is usually a simple way out that doesn't sacrifice the game experience too much.   I don't think it is. I have been programming the last 30 years, and came here about a year ago, and learned that there exist things called "game engine", and "textures" and "shaders". I have only a vague idea of what they mean. Luckily there are enough others that can answers questions about them. I find AI much more interesting, but it's the same story. Lots of terms where I just started to be able to place things at the hopefully correct spot. The world is a big place, it's impossible to know everything, instead just work on expanding your knowledge, while having fun :)   C++ is not a language normally recommended for beginners, as it assumes you know what you're doing. New users however tend to barely understand themselves, so they experience a hard time, as the language doesn't prevent you from shooting yourself in your foot. Instead it simply crashes in one of many interesting ways.   On the other hand, making a game is complicated enough, you don't really need the burden of learning a new language at the same time. A language you're comfortable with is normally more important than having a language that helps avoiding mistakes. (You'll just make different mistakes instead :P )   In your case, I would say, use C++, and stay away from template magic, and operator overloading (for now). Variables with their types, assignments, loops and (if)tests, and functions are first, then structures, and perhaps unions. Start with a couple of console games, like guess higher/lower, or hangman, or perhaps even a text adventure (lot of work!). Console games work without additional libraries such as SDL, so you can concentrate on the language first to get comfortable with it.   From there, one direction is to extend C++ knowledge into classes, inheritance, and object-oriented programming. Operator overloading will become useful too at some point there. The only big things left are then STL and template programming. Another direction is to add libraries such as SDL, so you can make games with graphics.   You probably want to do both directions in some mixed way :)   Excitement is good, since it will take a long time, enjoying the journey is really helpful.   Welcome aboard, have an enjoyable flight!     This is very encouraging.  I think what I'll be doing then is posting questions in the beginners forums whenever I happen to have a pressing question.  It's clear to me that I'll get plenty of help!  Thanks!
  2. DanaS

    Any Mentors Out There?

    I have 0 formal training in programming, so I won't be asking homework questions, lol.  However, I am a successfully published novelist, and I've found that coding surprisingly uses the same kind of organizational skills and logic involved in novel writing.  Of course, my biggest problem is that--- since I'm not a computer sci major--- in some areas I'm way ahead and in others there are these huge gaps in my understanding.  For instance, my current project involves hundreds of thousands of lines of code, hundreds of variables, I'm managing 5 other developers on the development team, I'm dealing with graphical assets and localisations, I've worked with numerous repositories... but I still don't QUITE understand terms like "class libraries" or where to find them or how to use them.  I know, its embarrassing.  I never sat down in a programming 101 class, so a lot of the basic knowledge and basic assumptions just aren't there, and given the nature of my schedule and my time, that's not really plausible.  Online courses are problematic too for a variety of reasons.  So I guess what I'm trying to do is build a game using C++ since it resembles the language I'm used to.  Building a game excites me, and its something I can *think* about while I'm taking care of the kids or off at work. 
  3. DanaS

    Any Mentors Out There?

      The whole forum is like a mentor and much more effective than a one-2-one mentor.    You can always ask for hints, tips, advice and any general questions on game development issues. Often, there is always someone who's been there, done it and can offer valuable advice.    One-2-one mentor maybe too restrictive to that single person's experience and availability only   There are pros and cons to both methods. Both offer the chance to ask questions of a experienced programmer. 1-on-1 has the con of learning wrong if the mentor programmer is new enough him/her-self to the point that they are teaching poor or bad habits. Forum mentors have the possible con of the mentors getting into a conflict about what method to use for the question and possibly adding to the confusion of the person asking. Just for example, I'm perfectly fine using C++'s Standard Template Library in my games (like using vectors to hold my tilemaps) while many veteran game programmers still have the mindset that you have to roll your own containers for games. I just wanted to put that out there.   That said, I completely agree that asking here is far more beneficial in the long run than having a 1-on-1 mentor where you are left waiting for their time to free up to get an answer. The forums usually get you an answer within a matter of minutes instead of hours or days.     I'm kind of at the point where I'm "asking questions about what questions to ask."  The problem I'm running into is that it seems like every tutorial that exists on making a simple game revolves around platformers or first person shooters or genres of that nature.  I already have a reasonably advanced understanding with working with "containers" and "variables" and hundreds of moving parts, but I'm lacking some basic knowledge due to the fact that I was doing fairly complex stuff in a NARROW space.  Where would I go to get my feet wet starting with a very simple tile based, 2d turn based strategy game?  It could literally be just making a chess game or something to that effect, and then I can move on from there  Or am I getting ahead of myself?
  4. DanaS

    Any Mentors Out There?

    I agree that a whole community is probably better, and it will also prevent me from wearing down one person's patience.  The development team for the mod I was working on was quite helpful, and I could direct my questions to numerous people rather than just one, so I see your point.  Also, I'm finding that while I can learn from "doing coursework and solving problems" I seem to learn best when I'm tackling a project and self-teaching through resources such as these.  It's very encouraging to see all of the responses!
  5. DanaS

    Any Mentors Out There?

      The whole forum is like a mentor and much more effective than a one-2-one mentor.    You can always ask for hints, tips, advice and any general questions on game development issues. Often, there is always someone who's been there, done it and can offer valuable advice.    One-2-one mentor maybe too restrictive to that single person's experience and availability only     Good point, and I'm inclined to agree.  Now that I see how helpful and ready people are to help, I see that I'm likely to get a swift response on these forums.  Thanks!
  6. Hey guys, I always wanted to learn to program, but always assumed I was too dumb at math to be any good at it.  However, I started writing some scripts for Europa Universalis 4 which has its own language vaguely similar to C++, and I was totally hooked!  Every time I sit down to code, its such a thrill, and I can't wait for the next chance I get to sit down at do some coding.  Programming feels like... magic powers or something. I made my first major mod a year ago and it was broadly praised by EU4 enthusiasts, and now I'm on to my next major overhaul which now is generating quite a bit of buzz in the community.  Its tremendously complex and its almost like making a game from scratch in many ways, but I know I can do it and I've already made great progress.  I wake up at 3 in the morning every day to work on it, and after about 4 months of working on it so far, I'm still electrified every time I sit down to code. ANYWAY, to make a long story short, I feel like I have what it takes to make my own game one day, and I figure I should start getting my feet wet sooner or later.  My education and professional background is actually in population biology and ecology (I was first introduced peripherally to programming via statistics and structural equation modeling), and I'd like to one day make a tile based, fantasy strategy game which harnesses the principles of ecology and population biology. So I guess I'm curious whether there is anyone out there who would be willing to be a mentor for this purpose.  I'm quite limbered up when it comes to logic and learning syntax, but there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge as far as bringing an entire game together.  Is anyone out there working on any strategy games and have a bit more experience?
  7.   Hm, I guess that just means I was using brackets in C++ even when I didn't need to.
  8. Ohhh, I see.  Yeah, so it appears that in C++ you always need the brackets whether its one line or not.  In C# you only need brackets if there is more than one line, is that the idea?   I realize this is true also for loops, etc.   Edit: And Thanks!!!
  9. Hey guys, so I've done all my programming in C++ up to this point and the syntax and logic surround IF ELSE statements seems to be a bit different.  I'm learning the rules around C# now, and I can't seem to figure out why my little 20 line "pick a number" game isn't working.  Maybe someone can clue me in?  Here's the code. Console.WriteLine("Let's play a game! I'm looking for a number 1-10"); int rightNumber = -100; int points = 100; while (rightNumber < 3 || rightNumber > 3) { rightNumber = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine()); if (rightNumber > 3) Console.WriteLine("Too high!"); points = points - 1; else if (rightNumber < 3) Console.WriteLine("Too Low!"); points = points - 1; else Console.WriteLine("You go it!"); } Console.ReadLine(); Console.WriteLine("Your points equal " + points);  So basically, it's a loop that continues to loop until you select the correct number.  If you get the wrong number, you are notified and then a point is subtracted from your score.  I want each section of my IF ELSE statement to do two things: 1. Notify the player that they were too high/low/correct and 2: if they were too low or two high, a point is added to their score.  In C++, IF a statement was true, you could have it generate multiple effects.  For some reason, I'm having a hard time making that happen in C#.  Can anyone clue me in?
  10. A fine choice, have you tried 2d with it yet?  I seem to recall it being more 3d oriented, so I was wondering if that's true or not.  If it is true then you might want to try gamemaker, godot or your own combination of C#, box2d, and SFML.     Apparently you can put 3D tiles on a 2d plane, then lock the camera.  So "technically" I suppose its still 3D, but appears rendered as 2D.  At least, that seems to be what some other sources are saying. 
  11. Thats not necessarily true, it has a scripting language for a reason.   Then why don't you go the C# SFML route?  If you're doing simple 2d graphics then that might be exactly what you're looking for.     GML is only used in gamemaker AFAIK, so unless you plan on making GM games its not much use.  I haven't looked at GML in a long time so I couldn't tell you if its similar to another language (like how the scripting language for Godot is supposedly similar to python).  As a stepping stone I'd say all programming experience is good in regards to logic and problem solving.     If you don't want to learn another language for whatever reason look into C# with SFML it might be what you're looking for.     I was learning C# for Unity, so I might just stick with that route.  I wasn't having a very difficult time with it.
  12.   Thank you for your time.  My only concern was that most people seem to use Game Maker specifically so that they don't need to learn much code, where as I'm actually TRYING to improve my coding skills by making games.  The finished product itself is kind of just the engine of my learning experience, rather than the objective itself.  Since I'm still a relatively new coder, is GML a language that's actually worthwhile learning?  Is it a useful stepping stone?  I've learned some C++ and python and I'm in the process of learning some C#.  I'm finding it not too difficult and actually quite enjoyable, but I'm still sort of in the early-intermediate stage. I'll totally give Game Maker a shot 
  13. Unity is not a bad pick to start with... I got to like Unreal Engine 4 despite it being "more involved" in some areas where Unity gives you shortcuts, but I am not sure how good the 2D Aspect of UE4 is. Speaking of which, did you have a look at Game Maker or similar 2D engines? Using a fully blown 3D engine for a 2D game is always a little bit overkill... About the "work around the engine" part... yes, you will end up there eventually, when you try to something that the engine wasn't made for. I had to do many ugly hacks in my time with Unity. That being said, this only happens when you get into the REALLY complex parts of your project (for me the worst was actually PhysX, which was/is a buggy mess that needs a ton of hacks to work for complex situations), and you will encounter that with any engine out there. The only thing that can help you in this cases is going with an engine you get the source for... which is something that Unreal Engine 4 would provide you, while Unity AFAIK still only does that in parts. How much time you would spend amending the engine for your customization, and how screwed you would be when you had to re-apply your changes to every new version of the engine IDK though. For MOST cases you will not be hindered in any way with your scripting though. I wouldn't worry about it until you are trying some cutting edge stuff that was only just published in a theoretical paper a month ago. You might run into other problems like I did when trying to use Unity/PhysX wheel colliders for offroad racing, but these cases are rather rare. Unity's C# system (which is using Mono under its hood) is pretty good to work with. For me as a professional Java Engineer much easier to get into than Unreal Engines C++ Stuff. Okay, interesting. It was my impression that Game Maker was rather--- how shall we say--- simplistic. Am I wrong? Aside from using the basic premise of tiles and bei g isometric, my game concept had little to no similarities to other turn based strategy games, so I want a lot of liberties to build from the ground up, but enough boundaries to hone my skill without being ovrwhelmed. That, and I wasn't sure if there were any robust assets to use for my kinds of purposes (for my case, a good selection of fantasy tile sets to buy from the asset store).
  14.   Thanks, this way very helpful.  I was leaning toward Unity (and correct me if I'm wrong) because I didn't want to have to deal with art assets at this early stage, and it would be nice to be able to drop a few hundred dollars to get take care of that end while I'm just fitzing around.  If the game ever becomes more than a dedicated hobby, I can then go from there.  Really, part of the point here for me is to become a better coder, learn some new languages, etc. and I seem to learn best by working with a pre-existing foundation and working outward.   I'm wondering, though, how much flexibility I would have for my scripts as far as Unity was concerned?  When I was working with the EU4 engine I was very, very limited with what I could do and I had to come up with totally exotic and CPU heavy ways to get it to do what I wanted it to do.  Would I be able to work through the engine or would I have to work around it?  In my EU4 mod, even though EU4 it wasn't a CPU intensive game per se, I ended up slowing it down quite a bit because I had to work around the engine (the language involved was similar to C++, but with Downs Syndrome).   And I think I'd like to build my game from scratch in the long term, but right now, I feel like maybe I'm still too much of a novice to take that plunge.  Am I wrong?  Part of "sticking with it" is seeing milestones and results, and I feel like if I spend 6 months stuck at the foundation with no moving parts, I might lose my momentum.
  15. Hey guys, I'm new here and new to game developing in general. I'm not explicitly trained in programming or coding per se, but I've learned to code on my own and built structural equation models and done population biology modeling with higher level programming languages. I've also done some relatively intensive modding for strategy games like Europa Universalis. So anyway, now I want to make the plunge. I'd like to use the principles of island biogeography to make a 2D tile based "sim fantasy" game vaguely in the tradition of the old school Master of Magic (and if you don't know what Master of Magic is, think Civ). To start, however, I'm trying to determine whether I should use Unity or Unreal for this purpose. Can anyone clue me into the limitations and benefits of both engines if one is interested in building a game that has humble graphics but involves a lot of brute force calculations? Unity seems like an easy candidate, seeing as how the asset store could give you some helpful shortcuts to get started. On the other hand, I'm not sure if Unity is capable of doing what I need it to (similar tiles will need to connect with one another to form ecosystem "patches," withon which would contain wildlife information which would regularly be recalculated based on numerous intetnal and external variables). Obviously, I'd be starting very small, playing around for a few months with maps of a few dozen tiles, but I would eventually want to scale it up to many thousands of tiles. I understand the extent of the undertaking and I don't have any dillusions as to the difficulty or the immense amount of time required (I'm actually a successful published novelist, so I KNOW how much time a major project takes). When you get down to it, I'm really interested in just playing around with an engine and creating population and migration models with graphical representations, and if some semblance of a game comes out of it, great, if not, than it's an enjoyable hobby. However, everyone must start somewhere, and I'm just not sure what criteria I should use to judge the available engines. Thanks in advance.
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