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Author Topic: What's a good path into proper coding?  (Read 510 times)
Aztec
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March 24, 2013, 10:37:42 PM
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Hey all

I've been developing web apps for about 13 years on and off using javascript, SQL, Asp.net, C#, Java, CSS and all that jizz

I've made some pretty decent apps over the years but I had to take a hiatus from it and now I feel like getting under the bonnet a bit more.

What languages should I learn? What kind of mini projects should I work on and what type of apps are good to make to help with learning the languages and concepts?

What type of maths should I get into?


Thanks

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March 24, 2013, 10:39:49 PM
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Depends on what you wanna do...  I'm a novice coder so I don't know nothing!  But I want to get into game design, and I've been told C++ is the key to that.

On the other hand, I hear it's great to be good at everything, to know many languages, and be able to solve most any problem.  PHP is supposed to be the most popular language today (I think?) and that'll land you plenty of work.

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March 24, 2013, 11:00:57 PM
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Depends on what you wanna do...  I'm a novice coder so I don't know nothing!  But I want to get into game design, and I've been told C++ is the key to that.

On the other hand, I hear it's great to be good at everything, to know many languages, and be able to solve most any problem.  PHP is supposed to be the most popular language today (I think?) and that'll land you plenty of work.

C++ is probably not a good choice for a game designer unless you are going to write your own software, and then it is still not a great choice. The choice of the language depends mostly on the platform.

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March 24, 2013, 11:04:09 PM
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Depends on what you wanna do...  I'm a novice coder so I don't know nothing!  But I want to get into game design, and I've been told C++ is the key to that.

On the other hand, I hear it's great to be good at everything, to know many languages, and be able to solve most any problem.  PHP is supposed to be the most popular language today (I think?) and that'll land you plenty of work.

C++ is probably not a good choice for a game designer unless you are going to write your own software, and then it is still not a great choice. The choice of the language depends mostly on the platform.

Post 666 ahhh!

But yeah I'm just repeating what I hear, AFAIK C++ is supposed to be the most common in the industry.  At the moment I'm trying to wrap my head around my first language, Python, and then plan to jump into C++.  But to be fair, I still don't know what I'm doing, and I've yet to find anyone who can code and has a passion for video games Tongue  What do you mean exactly by platform?  You're referring to consoles, handhelds, or PCs, right?

Aztec
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March 24, 2013, 11:13:42 PM
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Depends on what you wanna do...  I'm a novice coder so I don't know nothing!  But I want to get into game design, and I've been told C++ is the key to that.

On the other hand, I hear it's great to be good at everything, to know many languages, and be able to solve most any problem.  PHP is supposed to be the most popular language today (I think?) and that'll land you plenty of work.

It is a bit of a vague question in hindsight but I'm not sure what I want to make. I just want to increase my coding ninja skills. Games is a good call. I know a few games programmers and C++ is the only way. Although they used to make a lot of games in flash for the web. The maths is very scary for games.

I've done a bit of PHP in terms of self development but I never seem to be able to finish the books on it. I can do it all with ASP.Net and it seems like a real ballache to do it with somthing else that you have to learn all over. true there are jobs in it though.

I might get back into Javascript for a bit I used to love coding with javaScript and it's took off a bit since the last time I coded anything with it.

Thanks for the ideas man and good luck with your own coding Smiley



 

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Aztec
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March 24, 2013, 11:16:09 PM
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Depends on what you wanna do...  I'm a novice coder so I don't know nothing!  But I want to get into game design, and I've been told C++ is the key to that.

On the other hand, I hear it's great to be good at everything, to know many languages, and be able to solve most any problem.  PHP is supposed to be the most popular language today (I think?) and that'll land you plenty of work.

C++ is probably not a good choice for a game designer unless you are going to write your own software, and then it is still not a great choice. The choice of the language depends mostly on the platform.

Post 666 ahhh!


Oh no. watch your step fella Smiley

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March 24, 2013, 11:18:15 PM
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Depends on what you wanna do...  I'm a novice coder so I don't know nothing!  But I want to get into game design, and I've been told C++ is the key to that.

On the other hand, I hear it's great to be good at everything, to know many languages, and be able to solve most any problem.  PHP is supposed to be the most popular language today (I think?) and that'll land you plenty of work.

C++ is probably not a good choice for a game designer unless you are going to write your own software, and then it is still not a great choice. The choice of the language depends mostly on the platform.

Post 666 ahhh!

But yeah I'm just repeating what I hear, AFAIK C++ is supposed to be the most common in the industry.  At the moment I'm trying to wrap my head around my first language, Python, and then plan to jump into C++.  But to be fair, I still don't know what I'm doing, and I've yet to find anyone who can code and has a passion for video games Tongue  What do you mean exactly by platform?  You're referring to consoles, handhelds, or PCs, right?

I don't want to hijack the thread. The answer for the OP is that Java is probably still a great choice, but it depends a lot on the platform and application. There are some new and interesting languages, but I don't know which to recommend.

Python is a good choice for a game designer. C++ is the dominant language for PC and console games, but it is not a great choice for someone writing their own games because you spend more time working on the low-level code than the game code. Android apps are written in Java. iOS apps are written in Objective C. A game designer in a large game company might use Javascript, Lua, Python, or ActionScript, if he does any programming at all. I was a game programmer for about 20 years until I got out of the business recently.

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Aztec
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March 24, 2013, 11:22:48 PM
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I don't want to hijack the thread. The answer for the OP is that Java is probably still a great choice, but it depends a lot on the platform and application. There are some new and interesting languages, but I don't know which to recommend.

Python is a good choice for a game designer. C++ is the dominant language for PC and console games, but it is not a great choice for someone writing their own games because you spend more time working on the low-level code than the game code. Android apps are written in Java. iOS apps are written in Objective C. A game designer in a large game company might use Javascript, Lua, Python, or ActionScript, if he does any programming at all. I was a game programmer for about 20 years until I got out of the business recently.

Thanks man great advice there. I didn't know Android Apps were done in Java. What kind of Dev Kits are there? Also what are IOS apps?

Cheers  Wink

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March 24, 2013, 11:28:51 PM
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You can find some good tutorials to give you some basic programming concepts at code academy or Udacity (I like code academy better but that's just me).

What language you start with doesn't matter much, IMHO.  You just want your first language to teach you basic programming concepts, like how to work with arrays and iteration and objects.  Python is a good starter language, but you can pick up knowledge from old school BASIC or even LSL (the secondlife scripting language).  Just use a language that you can have some fun with.  Personally, I played with BASIC as a child then learned some Access and Visual Basic programming (programming MS Office) and then went into web design, spent a lot of time scripting in SecondLife/OpenSim, learned some python... along the way I picked up some C++ and Java in a few college courses I took for fun.  There are always more languages to learn, and the language you choose doesn't matter as much as you might think it does when you are starting out.  What matters is how well you can learn and use programming and mathematical concepts.

You don't need a fancy IDE and debugger to script or code.  To start out I would recommend getting notepad++ and maybe learning some simple web scripting.  HTML/CSS a good starting point and it is always going to be practical.  You can set up a local dev environment with WAMP in a few minutes and be ready to go.  If you want to get into web scripting learn some Java Script and PHP and SQL after you learn HTML/CSS.  If you want to get into programming learn python instead.  Python is probably the easiest, most practical programming language to start out with.

Once you learn one language from tutorials or from a big spider killer book you can move on to other languages much easier.  When I want to use a new language now I don't even bother with tutorials, I just read the language specs from the organization that manages the language.  Here are some useful links for a few different languages you might want to learn:

HTML/CSS
JavaScript
PHP
Python
Java
C++

Also, the http://www.reddit.com/r/learnprogramming/ subreddit is a good resource for asking questions and finding resources.

If you want to learn game design SecondLife is a good first step with that.  Just don't go crazy thinking you will get rich off of the in game currency.  It's a dying medium but it's still a good place to learn about collisions, geometry and quaternions.  I ran the most trafficked academic sim in SL for 5 years, and I taught quite a few classes in LSL scripting.  If you want help getting started with LSL shoot me a PM and I'll walk you through it in world.  It's not as practical or useful as web scripting but if you want to do game design it's not a bad place to start.

Here is the LSL wiki I use most, and here is the official LSL wiki.

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March 24, 2013, 11:31:46 PM
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Oh, I almost forgot... if you want to really get into game development try Cry3 or Unity or even just mess around with Garys Mod.

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March 24, 2013, 11:33:13 PM
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Python is a good choice for a game designer. C++ is the dominant language for PC and console games, but it is not a great choice for someone writing their own games because you spend more time working on the low-level code than the game code. Android apps are written in Java. iOS apps are written in Objective C. A game designer in a large game company might use Javascript, Lua, Python, or ActionScript, if he does any programming at all. I was a game programmer for about 20 years until I got out of the business recently.

Ahh, so you know 100% what you're talking about Grin  Wonderful!  I'll definitely take your advice, then, and continue learning in Python--might give Java a shot, but I keep hearing that it's an inefficient language (since it's like a VM,) and to go with C++...  But as long as I'm sticking with indie games for the moment, I don't think it'll be too big of an issue, right?  I don't plan to focus on coding in the long run, as I'd much rather be on the artistic side of things, solving creative problems, not writing out algorithms, but at the same time, I hear it's good for a game dev to know core coding practices so he can understand his programmers and how everything needs to be done.

It is a bit of a vague question in hindsight but I'm not sure what I want to make. I just want to increase my coding ninja skills. Games is a good call. I know a few games programmers and C++ is the only way. Although they used to make a lot of games in flash for the web. The maths is very scary for games.

I've done a bit of PHP in terms of self development but I never seem to be able to finish the books on it. I can do it all with ASP.Net and it seems like a real ballache to do it with somthing else that you have to learn all over. true there are jobs in it though.

I might get back into Javascript for a bit I used to love coding with javaScript and it's took off a bit since the last time I coded anything with it.

Thanks for the ideas man and good luck with your own coding Smiley

Sorry OP!  Didn't mean to hijack.  I believe the philosophy behind coding goes this way: understanding code is great, and you should be good with it, but in the end, it matters most what you do with it.  It's like writing; you can have beautiful prose, and masterful technique, but it don't matter if you never put it to work!

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March 25, 2013, 12:15:48 AM
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Sorry OP!  Didn't mean to hijack.  I believe the philosophy behind coding goes this way: understanding code is great, and you should be good with it, but in the end, it matters most what you do with it.  It's like writing; you can have beautiful prose, and masterful technique, but it don't matter if you never put it to work!

No problem it's all good information. I quite fancy learning Python too.

You're right about the content/product. Coding is very conceptual. The more tools you have in your armory however, the more diverse you can become. It's like a fine artist is often comfortable with a range of mediums. Like others have mentioned, C++ is good to learn but the nature of the job dictates the tools you have to use. The customers hardware and budget constraints, the platform it's for etc etc. C++, Python and Java sound like a good career progression for a games programmer to me.

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March 25, 2013, 02:10:42 PM
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Depends on what you wanna do...  I'm a novice coder so I don't know nothing!  But I want to get into game design, and I've been told C++ is the key to that.

On the other hand, I hear it's great to be good at everything, to know many languages, and be able to solve most any problem.  PHP is supposed to be the most popular language today (I think?) and that'll land you plenty of work.

C++ is probably not a good choice for a game designer unless you are going to write your own software, and then it is still not a great choice. The choice of the language depends mostly on the platform.

Post 666 ahhh!

But yeah I'm just repeating what I hear, AFAIK C++ is supposed to be the most common in the industry.  At the moment I'm trying to wrap my head around my first language, Python, and then plan to jump into C++.  But to be fair, I still don't know what I'm doing, and I've yet to find anyone who can code and has a passion for video games Tongue  What do you mean exactly by platform?  You're referring to consoles, handhelds, or PCs, right?

From my own studies I've learned C++ is what you use to glue all the game assets and functionality together while OpenGL or Direct X is what you learn if you want to do the graphics side of programming, so that's all the fancy game engines and particle effects etc. oh and of course, procedural generation, which is badass, I wish I could learn it Sad
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March 25, 2013, 10:40:22 PM
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I like OpenGL better than DirectX but it's good to know both.  OpenGL stays up to date better and it's open source.  I'm all about the open source.

If you really want to get started with game development, though, just get a free open source game engine and learn what goes into a game engine before you start.  There's no reason to re-invent the wheel here, either.  Do you want to make games or do you want to make game engines?  I personally have never made a game engine... I probably could if I wanted to but I just never felt a need to do it because there are already game engines out there that do what I need.

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