Where to Start With Coding?


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edited in Questions and Answers
Happy Sunday, guys

As I'm sure you've figured out, I'd really like to get into game dev and design, but I have no coding experience. It seems pretty essential so I'd like to learn, but it's quite intimidating and I really don't know where to start. There's different kinds of languages and not all of them benefit game development. I'd just like some help to get going in the right direction. Thanks in advance, guys.

Comments


  • Notice: Undefined variable: GuestHourOffset in /home/nitrogen/public_html_mgsatest/forums/themes/mgsa/class.mgsathemehooks.php on line 281
    I recommend getting GameMaker (free) and using their drag-and-drop interface to make some prototype games. It's very comprehensive and easy to learn and you'll immediately have some exciting results

  • Notice: Undefined variable: GuestHourOffset in /home/nitrogen/public_html_mgsatest/forums/themes/mgsa/class.mgsathemehooks.php on line 281
    Alternatively you could give the Unity Engine a go. You can code in C#, JS or Boo. I would personally recommend C#. The nice thing about Unity is that you can code in one language but port to several platforms. Also, there's a lot of useful plugins, resources etc on their asset store, so most of the time you won't even be doing the heavy lifting in terms of complexity.

    Then hit the web, Youtube in particular for tutorials. It might seem intimidating at first but you'll get the hang.

  • Notice: Undefined variable: GuestHourOffset in /home/nitrogen/public_html_mgsatest/forums/themes/mgsa/class.mgsathemehooks.php on line 281
    I would recommend you get any paperback book on game programming and work through it. If I had to start game coding now it would probably be Unity using C#.

  • Notice: Undefined variable: GuestHourOffset in /home/nitrogen/public_html_mgsatest/forums/themes/mgsa/class.mgsathemehooks.php on line 281
    I also recommend Unity and C#. there are many tutorials online that will put you off to a great start. I also think it is more time efficient and beneficial in the long run to start with Unity and C# than most other options, especially in SA.

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    edited
    C# and Unity are helluva deep-end stuff for a first-time coder though. It's powerful, yes, and still softer than C++, but it can be very intimidating coming in fresh. Trust me. I know.

    Unity has a bunch of brilliant C# tutorial videos up on their site, so that's a good way to gauge whether C# is too much too fast for you. I'd start by following those Unity tuts in combination with whatever other resources you find on the webz.

    If you find you're really in over your head, though, then I'll happily second @Fengol in recommending Game Maker. GM's a great way to get started if you really know nothin' 'bout nothin'. Drag 'n' drop gets you making functional games quickly and teaches you the basic concepts (variables, loops, conditionals, blah), and then you can start learning the GML scripting language, which teaches you the ropes of scripting (using Java/C syntax) when you're ready to level up beyond drag and drop while still keeping you in that familiar GM framework. Never forget - the basic programming concepts you would learn in GM are applicable to ANY programming language, even if the specifics differ, and if you find GM too limited you can use those skills as a baseline to learn C# or Java or whatever language you need.

  • Notice: Undefined variable: GuestHourOffset in /home/nitrogen/public_html_mgsatest/forums/themes/mgsa/class.mgsathemehooks.php on line 281
    Game programming and game design are very different fields. Game Maker is a good way to dabble, lightly, in both, but depending on your aspirations, useful recommendations will differ, I think.

    If you want to be a game designer, you want to spend as much time tinkering with prototypes, researching and deconstructing other games and learning general designy things as you can. To practice your game design, you want to get the difficult hurdles out of the way so you can get to playing and making stuff. For this, use whichever tool you're most comfortable with. Game Maker is good. Construct 2 is good. Project Spark looks quite nice. Level editors for shooters (especially Unreal Tournament) are a great way to practice your level design. There are a couple of other options. Try them all.

    If you want to be a game programmer, your path is different. Here, genuine software engineering skill and knowledge is incredibly valuable. Learn a language. It doesn't matter which one. Make something that interests you. It doesn't matter what it is. Maybe it's a simple GUI program to automate something you do on a daily basis. Script something in Python. Make a mod for a game that changes the behaviour of a weapon or something. The path of learning never stops, so just keep following it, chasing your interests. Your starting point is really just a springboard. If you're looking at something more formal, go and study for a BSc in CompSci. That's about the best start you can have. And remember, there is basically no such thing as irrelevant experience when it comes to programming. Everything you learn, in any language, any tool, any framework, will make you better. It might not directly contribute to you landing a game dev job, but it will make you a stronger coder and a more attractive hire.

    Actually, bloody hell. Just watch this and then this.

    Now, our local environment is another factor that's definitelyworth considering. There aren't a lot of big studios around that hire people in specific dedicated roles. Especially not standalone designers. Unless you're looking at moving abroad or landing a gig at an existing studio (that probably already has their own designer who has, likely, shaped their game-making culture), it's a tough gig trying to be a dedicated designer. So for stuff around here, you kinda want to be a bit of both. In which case, following most of the designery-advice in this thread is probably your best bet, while dabbling lightly in coding stuff on the side. That is, if you want to be a designer. If you want to be a coder, there will almost always be room for you.

  • Notice: Undefined variable: GuestHourOffset in /home/nitrogen/public_html_mgsatest/forums/themes/mgsa/class.mgsathemehooks.php on line 281
    I think I love you guys, you're all kinda awesome. I've game jammed and made board games with a friend and I feel comfortable with my art and practical design, it just became apparent to me after a while that I'm lacking in this field and it feels like an essential skill to have.

    Game Maker seems like a more practical place to start, I've heard plenty about it but wasn't sure. Unity seems to be a good start to the theory side of things. This is all really useful and insightful guys, thanks.

    P.S, Are some of you from the NAG Forums?

  • Notice: Undefined variable: GuestHourOffset in /home/nitrogen/public_html_mgsatest/forums/themes/mgsa/class.mgsathemehooks.php on line 281
    Happy to help. Everyone's advice above is valid, but pay careful attention to Chippit's post regarding your focus as a designer or programmer. He speaks wisdoms born of experience. ;)

    (Also, yeah. Chippit, Fengol and I were heavily involved in the NAG Game.Dev subforums back in the day. :) )
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