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outside looking in

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 11:28 am
by snarky
I was inspired by your story of how you got into programming. I was wondering if you had any advice for a would-be hobby programmer. I've had some general experience programming but would like to venture into making my own games. Do you have any advice on where to begin?
IE- how did you make the transistion from someone with no experience into someone who is now making games?
thanks for your input.
Also, any others out there with advice?

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 1:14 pm
by Gary Gorski
Well, the best advice I have is to program. Remember, the first attempt I had at making a game turned into something that ended up in the scrap heap. It's not hard to design a game - anyone with some creativity can do that in a notebook. The hard part is being able to take what you envision and turn it into what happens through the code. If you can make yourself learn and stick with it there's no reason why you can't learn how to make a game.

One other thing that was helpful was to look for small victories the first time around. I knew what I was doing back then wasn't probably very good so I was willing to accept that all the work I was doing might end up just as a learning experience which it did. I remember how excited I was when I got the code to program a jump ball. Yeah, that sounds dumb and now progamming a jump ball is simply one of a thousand tasks on my to do list for a basketball game but when I was first learning it was really cool to see the code actually do something and because I saw small victories like that along the way I was able to keep at it.

For someone doing what I do now that's a terrible way to go about it. The right way is to plan out the entire design and then work through it in a very organized fashion but for someone first starting out I say just dive right in and make it do something because otherwise you will get bored and quit. You'll be doing it in a way that is less than optimal and probably the least efficient way of doing something but at least you'll gain the confidence that you can do it and that's really the most important thing IMO because coding a game is a long haul with many frustrations along the way and until you actually prove to yourself that you can make parts of your game happen with your code then its really hard to work through those tough spots which usually are the reason why the people who do not follow through with their projects end up quitting.

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 1:54 pm
by snarky
Thanks for the response, input.
I'm at the point where I'd like to play around with programming, and was wondering what language you use for making these sim games. Also, any recommended must-have programs?
thanks again.

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 2:17 pm
by Gary Gorski
I use Visual Basic 6 to do my stuff - its easy to learn and plenty powerful enough for what I do. I would recommend going to your local bookstore and looking for a beginner's book on it (or whatever programming language you want to use) and choose one with a learning edition of the language on CD. You won't have all the features needed to produce a full game but you won't have the high cost either. You'll be able to learn the basics on the learning edition - enough to determine whether or not you want to spend the money for the software which will run you a couple hundred. Good luck to you!

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 6:47 pm
by snarky
Cool, thanks for the tips. Turns out there's a free version of Visual Basic for me to play with.

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 2:54 pm
by matth3322
I was thinking the same thing. It is something that I have always wanted to do. Where did you get the free version of VB?

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 4:26 pm
by Icy
matth3322 wrote:I was thinking the same thing. It is something that I have always wanted to do. Where did you get the free version of VB?

From microsoft website:

They have also tutorials and lots of free stuff there.

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 5:07 pm
by matth3322
Icy wrote:From microsoft website:

They have also tutorials and lots of free stuff there.

duh thanks. Didnt even think of checking microsofts website. I feel like such a idiot.

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 8:14 pm
by Randy Chase
They also have a couple of very good books they are offering for free - as long as you don't mind getting them in .pdf format and printing them out. (And they are great reference books. At least one of the free ones I paid $49 for a few weeks before they started giving them away.)

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 10:09 pm
by TC Dale
Are you thinking of upgrading Randy, Gary to the next version (free version offered.. ) or are you guys going to stay with what works?