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Help getting into game development! (Forums : General Banter : Help getting into game development! ) Locked
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Aimforthehead Aimforthehead
Sep 7 2012 Anchor

Hi guys, I am having some trouble maybe finding the motivation or direction to actually getting into game development.
I am currently a computer science major, with only 3 programming classes under my belt so I am not too experienced but I would say I'm okay at it. It was java, python and currently C++.
My dream is to eventually start/join an indie game development company, but I believe majoring in CS will open up many opportunities in case that doesn't go well.

Currently, I am having trouble finding the direction and motivation (the motivation because it seems so daunting and I have no clue where to start) to actually get involved in game development. I've been told by some here to continue working on my programming courses before I even try to tackle game programming, but I feel like it'll take years before I will have the experience to work on games, and I know many people started way before I did (I'm 21 now). As it is now, I can make simple levels in UDK, but that's the extend of my game making skills. I tried following tutorials on SDL, but I start to notice none of the information is really sticking with me, and I'm just copying what the tutorials say to get anything working. The logic isn't exactly sinking in just yet.

Could anyone offer some advice on a better way to get into game development, while I continue my education in computer science? Is it recommended that I put all of my focus on schooling and worry about things like game making much later? Thanks!

Edited by: Aimforthehead

Sep 7 2012 Anchor

I'd recommend doing something little, you could try using XNA, which is c# (same as C++) and is used in making games for the xbox 360 (mainly xbox live indie games), windows pc and windows phone 7, they have starter packs for it so you could attempt to use your skills in improving that starter pack to make it a better game. Doing your courses is important and you'll learn over time, but self learning by doing little things really improves you.

I did a game development course a few years back, which had art, programming, 3d modelling and level design, my specialisation is level design, but the course had very little on it. I took my hand to mods for games which had good level editors, it really improved me very well, i also used the UDK and learned that, when it came round to level design on my course using UDK i knew more than my tutor which was funny.

From me, i'd say focus on your education but add a little self learning at some points as it will help.

Aimforthehead Aimforthehead
Sep 8 2012 Anchor

That's some good advice I'll take it to heart!
I think part of my problem is that I want to learn a bit of everything, and it's too overwhelming to learn so many programs (UDK, photoshop, blender, C++). So narrowing it down to my classes and some free time in UDK mapping and unreal script will probably be the best choice I have.

Sep 8 2012 Anchor

make sure to take these courses i don't how your program works at your university/college if these are in your curriculum :linear algebra, vector calculus, probabitiy and statistics, numerical methods, mechanics etc. I cannot say it enough It's very critical to understand the math and physics before beginning to do game programming especially matrices and vectors. As for programming make to be very familiar with object oriented programming, data structures, multi-threading etc. As suggested start off with XNA or DirectX and learn how to build your own engines, because this is the hard part. Once you get good at that move onto using a game engine such as Unreal or Unity, and will see how easy it is to use an engine as opposed to building one.

Aimforthehead Aimforthehead
Sep 9 2012 Anchor

I'm just getting into Calculus I and OOP (for C++ anyway).
So I'm not really at that level yet.

Sep 9 2012 Anchor

I would definitely start out with something small, when I first started with game development I tried to go straight for something epic and quickly learned that by the time I finished something I had learned so much that I had to go back and redo everything to incorporate what I had just learned. What worked well for me was making small little arcade style remakes such as asteroids and breakout clones with minor 3d upgrades. You have to imagine that when learning English one does not go straight to writing ten page essays, but starts out with single sentences and moves slowly up to bigger and better articulation.

I would suggest finding a few old school games that you really enjoy, try your hand remaking them and adding some of your own twists. I believe you'll find that if you enjoy the game you're working on and look forward to visualizing your own touches in the game then that will serve as motivation to enjoy the finished product. Moreover smaller games shouldn't take too long to develop so you won't have to stay motivated terribly long, but the more you do the more you can do and will likely be willing to do. Currently I'm working with Unity which has some absolutely stellar documentation shipped with it which helps quite a bit for beginners. Although I cut my teeth programming a game in C++/SDL it was really using the Blender Game Engine with Python that helped me leaps and bounds with my game development talents.

By the way, I noticed that there were quite a few "games" that I worked on and never actually finished. All part of the learning experience, even though I lost interest in those games what I learned from the development process was worth quite a bit. Personally I think what you learn is more likely to stick if you're working on something that you enjoy, try not to force yourself into something simply for the purpose of learning, work on something that you enjoy.

Edited by: ATryder

Aimforthehead Aimforthehead
Sep 9 2012 Anchor

All great advice thank you guys!
Actually, on that subject, I recently created tic-tac-toe in C++ (no graphics just console using arrays). So that's a start!

Sep 9 2012 Anchor

If I remember correctly tic-tac-toe may have been my first way back, my second was a worms like game programmed in Pascal with all text graphics :). That was back in high school though, I stopped programming for several years and got back into it about a year or two ago. Having a blast these days :D

Anyway best of luck with your development endeavors.

Sep 9 2012 Anchor

My advice is to develop a small game and keep it SIMPLE. I did certificate course which went for 1 years and we were told to build two fully completed game using C++ and SDL. I learned heaps, the motivation to get the certificate motivated me to complete the games. But Previously I did a little C and OpenGL 3D stuff in my spare time, but never completed any games, just demo's.

If your going to develop, I suggest you work with the target platform you want to develop for. Like I want to stick to Windows and Linux at this moment.
My focus is C++ OpenGL, SDL, OpenAL, SDL Networking .

My Mistake and the Course mistake.

I ended up using the SDL drawing Blit function, that's just too slow, Now I need to port both games over to OpenGL. I would of just preferred to bypass SDL surface renderer. Some times you can learn language and find it's basically useless for your long term objectives.

I'm doing tests now and my frame rate went from 50fps using SDL surface to 1800fps in OpenGL. 36 times faster. It's insane, but OpenGL is a little harder then SDL surface drawing but not that much harder.

With C#, I never learned it, people say it's slower then C++. If you know already know C++ then I say you should stick with C++.

Edited by: Timodor

Sep 10 2012 Anchor

Normally I recommend Game Maker in these situations, but I'm not sure how much use that would be to you, other than speed.

As already mentioned. Start small, get bigger, finish stuff.

I recommend making rip offs from each generation, starting at atari and working up. That's not saying "Make a game for atari" but rather, a game of that complexity. A simple space invaders or asteroids clone is good. Took me 2 weeks in C#. After that I swore by game maker, because I could make said game in 2 hours once I knew my way around.

As a guy who mostly does programming, art became the major stopping point for me because I find it almost impossible to keep an artist loyal and working. I have spent most of my time recently reading art books. I'm no master by any means, but I recommend it if you don't want a game made of bricks or MS paint doodles.

Edit: On the art front, I recommend going for pixel art. The reason being is that it's fast to make, forgiving of mistakes, and looks good without requiring an art degree.

Edited by: SabreXT

Sep 14 2012 Anchor

Just like others have already reiterated, start small. Its better to start with 2D games before you get you head into the 3D heavyweights section. (IMHO)
Here are some game engines that might be of help:
(Game Editor) 2D game making program (Open Source) Uses scripting similar to C ( )
Game Develop ( ) another 2D game making program (also Open Source) that allows you to make games without any programming!
And my page: (Has a lot of game creations programs, tools, modellers etc)
Silent Walk Renaissance (SWR) FREE ( ) A basic 3D FPS maker that needs Zero coding, good for visualizing your game levels.
Also you can also start making mods for games, lots of folks started from that point. :)

Sep 24 2012 Anchor

First off, read this.

As it is, you're already in a strong position. As you said, majoring in CS is a great standing because it provides ammunition both in the game industry and elsewhere, lest you wish to change careers. The most important thing though is to determine if you want to program games, or are you just looking for the fastest route to making the game of your dreams?

Everybody is different, but I would say graduate college with a a CS major under your belt (if that's what you want) and then try to get an entry-level job at a game studio or publisher, then keep pushing for a programming role (if that's what you want). In the meantime, learn everything you can about game scripting and programming (if that's what you want) and then offer your skills to one of the many mods. Being involved in a mod or game project is the single best thing you can do outside of actually working for a company.

As you noticed, I said if that's what you want quite often. You really need to figure this out right away. Is programming for a game your true passion? Is there something else you would rather do?

Dec 2 2012 Anchor

Some useful advice here too:

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