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Please Point Me In The Right Direction!

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#1 demongunsman   Members   


Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:30 AM

So basiclly.. I have been learning C++  . I want to get into game development, but I need some goals, and some objectives to set, and maybe some stepping stones. Seeing as I dont have a teacher,mentor, or someone in general that would be looking over my shoulder assigning me tasks etc. Please tell me the steps I need to take next based on my knowledge of C++  . Im currently at the stage in my programming learning curve where I understand the concpets of things like Unary Score Res opp, Function Overloading,Reccursion,Structures/Multi dimensional arrays, Classes/functions/arguments and how to pass values between them and everything around that level of C++ .

I know where I stand with my knowledge. But what should I do next? Are there any good youtube tutorials you could recommend. Prefferebly on C++ and/or game programming?


My last project was a turn based game in dos, where the user would select their character, enter its levels, which would then determine the users free stat points to allocate into their character. The allocated stats would then be proccessed in specific algorythms to output the characters damage/defence etc to be used in the turn based game.This game used multiple class and header files. I would like to turn this from a dos game to a 2d game. I just dont know where to get started.


Sorry for the rant haha. But your advice is like gold to me guys, I really appreciate it! Like the title says; Please point me in the right direction.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Edited by demongunsman, 09 January 2013 - 10:32 AM.

#2 Servant of the Lord   Members   


Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

It sounds like you should start playing with some small 2D games. SFML is a good API for that. Try to have your projects completable within one month apiece, so you get in the habit of not quitting projects. Also, try to end every programming session with your code being able to compile. Having your code in an uncompiled state for too long is wearying and demotivating. Break large tasks into smaller bite-sized tasks, and complete them one by one, always trying to keep your code able to compile. Implementing a "feature" should not take two weeks - but rather be 14 days of small sub-tasks that together make the feature.


It also sounds like now is almost the right time to read Code Complete and the 'Gang of Four' (GoF) book Design Patterns.

The Pragmatic Programmer also covers some of the same ground as Code Complete and Design Patterns, but not as in-depth.


If you can only get one of those three books, make it Code Complete, and follow it with Design Patterns later. If you can't get any of them, badger your library to get a copy for you - that's what your government pays the libraries for (and that's what you or your parents pay taxes for).


Put your effort into learning to write clean code, and in learning the higher level architectural details. It's better (from a learning perspective) if you code one small game that is very well written, then if you code three small games that are poorly written.


Fare ye well on your journey! smile.png

Edited by Servant of the Lord, 09 January 2013 - 10:57 AM.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' or 'SotL' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.
Of Stranger Flames - [indie turn-based rpg set in a para-historical French colony] | Indie RPG development journal | [Fly with me on Twitter]

#3 Dan Mayor   Members   


Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:21 AM

Firstly, check out my profile and shoot me a message sometime.  I'm always willing to help and coach fellow coders, I'll spare all the other readers of this thread my credentials and experience by just saying in short I started as a freelancer and have evolved to the point where I have some very large clients and I now work from home coding for money.  My statements are always a bit different than the popular consensus but they are real world applicable (people actually pay for things I say, things I make actually get used and so on).  Sorry if anyone takes this as bragging just want a little quickie that of who I am and why what I say might be helpful.


Now on to the actual question, TETRIS!  It always seems that tetris has nothing to do with "real" games but it actually teaches you lots of the fundamental rendering techniques and issues that you will be dealing with in more complex projects.  Make your own tetris clone, from the sounds of it you should be able to hammer through it pretty quick and not even really notice how much your learning as you go.


Next, MARIO!  Don't do mario first, tetris will actually be the one that teaches you the collisions, positioning, translations, rotations and all the good stuff that enables you to expand into more advanced games.  The idea of mario is where you will actually start learning sprite states, ai and world dynamics.  You learn how to tell when mario is jumping, if he's little, big or has a tail, how to make the enemies "think"  (yes it sounds stupid but they still have to "think" to patrol a small area.)  This will carry over more than you realize, coding an NPC to patrol is pretty much the same in every game, you assign nodes that the NPC would travel between, select one that is closes to the current position, translate to it (move) and continue.  In later projects you will just extend upon this knowledge to also "look" for the player, charge, shoot or what have you.


After those two you'll actually have a pretty good grasp on most of the core fundamentals of game programming and can probably go ahead and get into visualizing your text game.  If you want to push your experience and knowledge a bit farther before moving into a real project go zelda!  Zelda (the old snes version) is actually one of the most advanced 2D tutorial projects you can make.  It incorporates stats, items, more advanced AI, keys, quests and conditional events, dialog and lots of other minor things most people never notice.


So, in short that is my suggestion for your direction.  Tetris, Mario, Zelda clones.  Like the old adage goes, you must first learn to crawl before you can walk.  The text based game you have built is great for learning how to program but there is still a lot you need to learn about core game development techniques before you can really go jumping into making something of your own.  These three games are pretty easy to clone and will teach you a lot more than you would think.  They will also start to show you the importance of having a known design before getting started.  (Which possibly is even more important than actually knowing all the little animation, collision an AI tricks).

Dan Mayor

Professional Programmer & Hobbyist Game Developer

Seeking team for indie development opportunities, see my classifieds post


#4 demongunsman   Members   


Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:55 PM

Thank you guys alot for the feedback. To Servant of the lord:

Those books seem like great reads. I'll be sure to pick atleast 1 or 2 of them up if possible, in the order that you said to. SFML seems like a great start. I will mess around on that website a.s.a.p. Also what you said about breaking a big project down into small pieces is a great idea, because we are only humans beings and can handle so much. It makes it sound and feel much easier and less stressfull; although programming is like a sport for me. Your advice is very reflective on life in general. ^^

Dan Mayor:

Your advice is awesome too. I can not call myself a "gamer" and deny that tetris is the founding block of gaming.  Although it might not be as technologicaly advanced as the games out today, I agree that there are many logical lessons to be learned from it, along with the other clones you recommended. By the way, dont worry about the whole not trying to be "cocky" thing haha. I understand there is a difference between being big headed, and relaying facts and actually having the credentials. I have checked your your page, and you seem very knowledgable. It's very inspiring actually because I am a very logical,dedicated, and fast learner. I love to program. One may find it teadious but I enjoy doing it. To me there is no better feeling than hitting compile and run, only to see that your work came out perfectly. I'll be sure to inbox you when I have a question here and there. Don't worry I wont spam ya ;) , from what I have read you are a busy man ^^ . Well take care for now, I really appreciate the advice from both of you guys. It means alot to me.

#5 ApochPiQ   Moderators   


Posted 09 January 2013 - 05:42 PM

Don't bother trying to study techniques in a vacuum.


Go build something. Anything. Make it something just slightly more than you think you can already accomplish - a minor stretch goal, if you will.


Then build it, and pay attention to the itchy feeling you get when you look at your code and think "there must be a better way." When you have that feeling, then and only then are you ready to learn a new technique.



If you just look at a ton of abstract examples of code without understanding why code is written the way it is, you'll spend a lot of time lost in the weeds and wind up with a lot of superstitions and magical thinking. Programming does not forgive religious mindsets. Learn the why first, then the how.

Wielder of the Sacred Wands
[Work - ArenaNet] [Epoch Language] [Scribblings]

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